Hyundai Motor America has had a presence in the U.S. for the past 29 years, with the Excel representing their initial product launch in 1986. The Hyundai Sonata made its U.S. debut two years later in 1988. The Hyundai Sonata entered its seventh generation celebrating the beginning of Hyundai?s 30th year on our shores last year. Sales rose from 14,144 units in 1998 through three basic iterations, coded EF, NF and YF to 203,648 in 2013 with sales actually being higher in 2011 with 215,593 and 2012 with 212,576.
Sonata?s buyer profile has changed dramatically over the years with buyers being younger, more with college educations, higher average household incomes, and with a higher ethnic diversity. The Hyundai Sonata itself has changed dramatically as well, resulting in continual refinement and evolution, along with a revolutionary Improvement in style, safety and driving performance.
This latest Hyundai Sonata epitomizes the essence of what consumers expect, with exterior and interior styling that reflects Hyundai?s new design philosophy, focusing on dynamicism, yet with a refined luxuriousness and collision protection assured by superior body strength while delivering a premium driving experience, precise handling and quietness. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata also grew in stature ? it was taller, wider and longer than before, with class-leading aerodynamics (Cd=0.27).
The 2016 Hyundai Sonata offers two Theta II four-cylinder engines: the base 2.4-liter, GDI that produces 185 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 178 pound feet of torque at 4,000 rpm; and a performance oriented 2.0-liter twin-scroll Turbo GDI that delivers 245 horses at 6,000 rpm along with 260 pound feet of torque in a range from 1,350-4,000 rpm. Both engines gear power to the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic (the 2.0-liter turbo?s transmission also comes with paddle shifters. A third engine variant is also available ? a 1.6-liter Eco Twin-scroll turbo GDI 4-cylinder that mates to a 7 speed EcoShift DCT transmission with Shiftronic. The 1.6-liter motor makes 177 horsepower and 195 pound feet of torque. Mileage estimates for the three engines are respectively: 25/37 ? 23/32 ? and 28/38 City/Hwy mpg.
Highlights for the 2016 model year include: Automatic Emergency Braking functionality added on models previously equipped with Forward Collision Warning; a 7-inch color touchscreen Display Audio with Android Auto is applied on SE, Sport, Limited, Eco and Sport 2.0T; the application of aluminum suspension components incorporated to reduce unsprung mass for improved handling; conventional sunroof is optionally available on Sport and standard on Limited models; new 17-inch wheel design and application of Sport front fascia on Limited trim models; and the Limited 2.0T adds a heated function for its D-cut steering wheel.
Trim levels for the new Hyundai Sonata include: SE which replaced GLS; Sport which replaced SE; Limited; Sport 2.0T and Sport 2.0T with the Ultimate Package; and Eco. The Sport trim with the 2.4-liter engine is expected to be the volume model Sonata along with the Limited. Option packages include: Popular Equipment Package; Sport Premium Package; Technology Package; Ultimate Package and Eco Plus. There are nine available exterior colors and four interior color themes for SE, Sport, Limited and Eco, with only Black and Gray available for the Sport 2.0T.
The 2016 Hyundai Sonata displays a sleek overall form that leads off with Hyundai?s winged hexagonal grille that flows into a sloped, sculpted hood and sharply raked windscreen carrying over a gently curved cabin roof into a slanted rear window and short deck with an integrated spoiler lip. In profile, the fast, arching C-pillar creates a sporty coupe-like persona despite its four doors, and the car sits low with pronounced wheel wells hugging the wheels and tires. There is a strong side character line, which Hyundai refers to as a Sabre line that?s reflected and complemented by precise rocker detailing.
My most recent test 2016 Hyundai Sonata was the Sport Limited 2.0T It wore a Shale Gray metallic exterior finish , complemented by a Gray interior. Its base price was $34,075, while the final sticker totaled $35,035.
SUMMARY: Driving the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T delivers a rewarding and pleasurable experience that is actually on par with many entry-level luxury sedans.
The turbo motor delivers a higher performance level than the 2.4 liter engine offering, but both perform satisfactorily in terms of acceleration, the transmission shifts smoothly, while the paddle shifters add a more enjoyable experience for manually changing gears than the lever. The user-selectable Drive Modes provide varying levels of vehicle performance: Efficient; well balanced; and Dynamic, governed by Eco; Normal; and Sport respectively.
This latest iteration Hyundai Sonata, regardless of trim level or propulsion chosen comes with a host of safety features including: a Driver Knee Airbag, Rear Parking Sensors, Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Auto High Beam Assist, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Individual Tire Pressure Monitoring.
Convenience features offered include: Smart Cruise Control with Stop/Start, Electronic Park Brake with auto vehicle hold, Driver memory seat, Rear side window sunshades, heated steering wheel, 60/40 split folding rear seat and Hands-free Smart Trunk.
Interior amenities include: Power front seats and 4-way driver lumbar Ventilated front seats, Heated front and rear seats, accent stitching, 4.2? color multi-info display and interior lights. There are also available audio and Navigation features including various entertainment and connectivity links.
Hyundai tops the majority of its competitors including Camry L, Accord LX, Altima 2.5 and Fusion S in terms of price advantage and feature content by more than $1,000 , while also offering a superior Basic Warranty, Powertrain Warranty and Roadside Assistance program.
Stating the obvious, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T truly raises the bar in terms of design, performance and feature content in the mid-size sedan segment. The Sport 2.0T Limited delivers a sporty (what else) coupe-like image with its blacked out ?B? and ?C? pillars with a high-gloss cabin window surround and rear decklid spoiler. My test vehicle included a tilt and slide Panoramic sunroof along with a host of comfort, convenience, connectivity technology and safety features, making it an affordable, well equipped sport sedan. It may well be the best available midsize car for the money, which happens to be in an incredibly affordable range, considering its content.
All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by Hyundai?s Assurance program, which includes a 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle limited warranty, Hyundai?s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, and five years of complimentary Roadside Assistance that includes: Automatic Collision Notification; Enhanced Roadside Assistance; Vehicle Diagnostic Alert; Monthly Vehicle Health Report; and in-vehicle service scheduling.
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?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T [/wptabtitle]
|Price as Tested:||$35,035.|
|Engine Type and Size:||2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, Twin-scroll turbo GDI inline four-cylinder with Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||245 @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||260 @ 1,350-4,000 rpm|
|Transmission:||Six-speed electronic automatic with OD lock-up torque converter, shift lock and Shiftronic? and paddle Shifters.|
|Drive Train:||Transversely mounted front engine / Front-Wheel Drive.|
Front – MacPherson strut with gas-charged Mando Dual Flow Damper (DFD) shock absorbers and 23-mm stabilizer bar.
Rear – Independent multi-link design with coil springs, gas-charged Mando Dual Flow Damper (DFD) shock absorbers and 17-mm stabilizer bar.
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with Dual diagonal, split circuit with proportioning valves, 4-wheel, 4-channel and 4-sensor with ABS, EBD and ESC.|
|Tires:||Kumho Solus XC P235/45 R18 94V mounted on 5-stylized?Tri?-spoke (15) silver painted alloy wheels.|
|Length Overall:||191.1 inches|
|Curb Weight:||3,505 lbs.|
|Fuel Capacity:||18.5 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||21-mpg city / 31-mpg highway|
|0 – 60 mph:||Not Tested.|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.