With the Sonata's 2015 redesign, Hyundai made some significant improvements. They both improved ride and reduced road noise. The styling became more upright and less sleek, but it still looked pretty sharp. The new design made access easier and the view out appreciably better.
As before, controls are easy to reach and simple to use. Just as important, the modestly larger interior affords a roomy backseat with plenty of head room. All of that adds up to an easy-going, well-rounded family sedan.
As pleasing as the Sonata is in undemanding driving conditions, all is not perfect. When pushed to its limits, this iteration of the Sonata isn't so impressive. Partly to blame are the stock 16-inch Hankook tires on the SE model. Their lack of grip inhibits road-holding in hard cornering and doesn't contribute to short stops in panic braking. The Sonata Hybrid has a different braking experience, with very aggressive regenerative brakes also supplying a source of energy to the batteries from the friction generated by slowing and stopping.
As for ambiance, Sonata's seats are wide and comfortable. The spacious interior is also well-apportioned, though furnishings in the basic SE model are not what you'd call plush. The hybrid gets a "driver only" button for heating and air conditioning.
Our 2.4-liter SE's powertrain delivers ample acceleration. The six-speed automatic transmission ensures smooth and unobtrusive power delivery. We tallied a competitive 28 mpg overall in our non-hybrid car.
The same transmission worked well in our hybrid Sonata and shaved a full second off the 0-60 time, with smooth transitions between electric and gas. It also granted an impressive 39 mpg overall.
The Sonata strikes us as a worthy competitor to the best in the sedan class. Whether or not the hybrid's boost in fuel economy and performance are worth the price premium is a tough call.