NEW_CAR_PREVIEW

2015 Hyundai Sonata Preview

By: Jeff Youngs, 3/25/2014
Fast Facts:
  • Completely redesigned inside and out
  • Larger, more comfortable and premium interior
  • Claimed improvement to driving dynamics
  • Expected improvement for crash-test performance
  • Reduced noise, vibration, and harshness
  • New safety, convenience, infotainment features

Introduction
According to U.S. sales charts, the most popular type of vehicle in America is the midsize sedan, and in recent years all of the major players have been redesigned. With the new 2015 Hyundai Sonata, which is scheduled for a North American debut at the 2014 New York Auto Show, the automaker makes it clear that it intends to remain competitive in this key family sedan segment.

Exterior Features
Starting with the new 2015 Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan's exterior styling, the car is familiar, yet different, most noticeably in front where the new Sonata features a hexagonal grille and new headlights with LED running lights. Chrome trim spears--a hallmark of the previous-generation Sonata--stretch from the headlights and along the bottom of the greenhouse. Around back, the new 2015 Sonata displays a familiar view, looking very similar to the outgoing model.

Hyundai plans to offer a selection of aluminum wheels for the 2015 Sonata, ranging in diameter from 16 in. to 18 in., depending on the trim level and equipment.

Interior Features
Barely longer and wider than the car it replaces, the new 2015 Sonata's interior is claimed by the automaker to be roomier than ever before. Hyundai also says it uses higher quality materials and redesigned seats in its quest to deliver "segment-above style and dynamism." Special attention is paid to occupant touch points and how the switchgear feels to ensure that owners and passengers perceive that the new Sonata is a more premium vehicle than ever.

The result is a cabin that evokes thoughts of Scandinavian design in appearance and flavor, one employing more angles and straight edges than the outgoing Sonata. Highlights include height-adjustable front seats, a comfort-optimized steering wheel, new center console design, improved control layout, personal rear reading lights with directed illumination, and more.

Optional Features
Next-generation infotainment and multimedia systems with a maximum display screen size of 8 in. are also available for the new 2015 Hyundai Sonata, and they include smartphone integration, voice-recognition technology, USB/iPod connections, and more. Hyundai will offer the new Sonata with leather upholstery, and, depending on the color selected, metal or wood trim decorates various parts of the car's interior. A Saddle Tan leather option is available.

Additional upgrades include heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, LED cabin lighting, power rear-window sunshade, manual rear side-window sunshades, and a panoramic sunroof. High-beam assist headlights are also planned for the 2015 Sonata, along with front and rear park-assist sensors.

Under the Hood
The 2015 Hyundai Sonata will come with a standard direct-injection, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Hyundai says that the engine boasts improved low- and mid-range torque, and will make about 195 horsepower. The automaker made no mention of the current Sonata's optional turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine at the 2015 Sonata's global debut in South Korea, but that doesn't mean it won't return.

Hyundai has increased the use of high-strength steel in the Sonata's underlying structure by 30%, which helps contribute to a 41% improvement in torsional strength and 35% improvement in bending strength claimed by the manufacturer. These structural enhancements, combined with a new MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension, allow engineers to optimize driving dynamics in such a way that Hyundai claims the new 2015 Sonata will set new standards for midsize sedan ride quality in terms of softness, quietness, and comfort.

Hyundai also says the new 2015 Sonata boasts lower levels of noise, vibration, and harshness, especially with regard to road rumble and engine boom. The automaker has also reworked the Sonata's electric steering to deliver what it describes as gentle on-center feel combined with crisp and agile response. A standard Drive Mode Select system allows the driver to choose specific steering-assist profiles, depending on driving conditions and his or her mood. Hyundai also promises what it characterizes as superior braking for a midsize sedan, combined with improved pedal feel in the new Sonata.

Safety
Due to the 2015 Sonata's structural upgrades, Hyundai expects its new family sedan to perform well in crash tests. A driver's knee air bag is new for the Sonata, and Hyundai will offer blind-spot detection, a lane-departure warning system, and an advanced smart cruise control system with Automatic Emergency Braking as options.

Technology
Another option for the 2015 Sonata is a hands-free Smart Trunk system. Hyundai says that with Smart Trunk, the trunk lid will automatically open if the system detects the vehicle's Smart Key within proximity of the rear of the car for more than three seconds. In turn, this design means people with arms full of packages will not need to balance on one foot while waving the other foot under the bumper, which is a common design approach for this type of functionality.

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