Susan Frissell, womenwithwheels.com
The 2016 Hyundai Sonata is available in several trim levels, including SE, Eco, Sport, Sport 2.0 T and Limited 2.0 T editions. The entry-level SE model available in two versions: SE. From there one can opt for the Sport trim level, and Limited edition. Something for everyone.
The 2016 Sonata resembles the 2015 redesign-more bland than we would like; perhaps a needed change, to reflect the new â€œFluidic Sculptureâ€ design that closely resembles the updated Genesis. The Sonata is sleeker, with improved aerodynamics and is packed with a lot of great features. Cabin roominess abounds, from front to rear seating areas. It looks bigger on the outside and feels bigger inside. The interior feels more upscale; again mimicking the updated Genesis.
The biggest change in the 2016 Sonata has to do with the base infotainment system. The touchscreen has gone from a 5-inch to 7-inch, while adding additional features already included with the 8-inch optional screen. Hyundai has added Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Smartphone functionality. A new version of Hyundaiâ€™s Blue Link telematics system now features remote ignition, automatic emergency contact notification in the event of an accident. All destination search powered by Google (w/navigation).
The entry-level engine in the Sonata is Hyundaiâ€™s 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder, with 185 horsepower. The choice of the turbocharged engine adds horsepower and quickness, but we found it to be wanting. Not as quick as expected, the 2.0-liter turbo had more 4-cylinder whine than we like.
The Sonata has always been a favorite and no doubt, a great value all around. For some reason, this drive elicited some different-and unexpected feelings in this writer. While a great daily driver, we thought the sedan felt â€˜light,â€™ less than agile underfoot, especially on wet pavement, and not as solid as some sedans.
While this impression in no way takes away from all that is the Hyundai Sonata, we felt as though other choices might be more in tune with our driving needs and choices.
Even now, no other manufacturer can beat Hyundaiâ€™s 100,000-mile warranty, more than fair pricing and vehicles that offer a lot more for the money. These are easy cars to drive and maintain, requiring very little.
Our test model was the Sport 2.0 T Limited edition, complete with several options. We especially like the new flat-bottom steering wheel, sport-tuned suspension, blind-spot warning, rear-cross traffic alert system, among up-to-date safety technology, giving it the highest possible safety rating. The center console is straight forward with old-fashioned buttons. We like the compass located in the rearview mirror and all the legroom.
The Sport version also has a more aggressive bumper, side chrome molding, side rocker extensions, unique rear fascia and quad exhaust outlets. As expected, the Sport version gets such goodies as Xenon headlights, sport seats with accent stitching, steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, and sport-tuned steering and suspension.
Adding a few additional items to the Sport 2.0 T limited, you get the panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise, automatic high beam headlight control, rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning system, auto pre-collision, auto engine start/stop, driver memory settings, heated steering wheel, rear window sunshade, ventilated front seat and nine-speaker premium audio system.
As with most new vehicles, connectivity is the thing; as up-do-date as possible. All Sonata models are equipped with iPod/USB/AUX inputs, SiriusXM satellite radio and Bluetooth for phones. While the base Sonata lacks a color infotainment display, a five-inch color touchscreen is one model level up with a vibrant eight-inch color display optional. Hyundai is also offering Apple CarPlay integration with certain headunits (late availability) and a 400-watt Infinity premium audio system with next-generation Blue Link telematics.
Among those features standard in the Premium package, the 2.0 T limited version adds a six-way power passenger seat, heated rear seats, LED taillights, leather upholstery, auto-dimming rearview mirror and wood grain trim.
Our limited edition Sonata came equipped with adaptive cruise control system, adaptive high-beam headlights, lane-departure warning system, rear parking assist sensors. All of this requires a different grill, front-end; the one with a big black plastic panel. Perhaps not as attractive as the other model.
Competition in the Midsize sedan marketplace includes Ford Fusion, Kia Optima, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Mazda6, and Subaru Legacy. Although it can be a tad difficult to name a few â€˜consâ€™ to the 2016 Sonata, we found that the new styling is more common place. When the Sonata first entered the marketplace in 2005, it stood out. To some it was too different, but we liked it.
Our second â€˜conâ€™ we mentioned before: we didnâ€™t find the turbo quick enough. On one occasion, the car quickly corrected itself after a sharp turn on slick pavement. While this was a good thing, the car felt light.
The â€˜prosâ€™ are many-and obvious: pricing, car for the money, long warranties, fuel efficiency, and for those concerned about the environment, the ECO edition. As stated above, the new Sonataâ€™s generous interior space is a plus, particularly when carrying that fifth passenger. And our Limited edition 2.0 T even came equipped with a CD player, slowly becoming an obsolete feature.
Disappointing engine performance and bland design put the 2016 Sonata a few steps back in our driving log. Nevertheless, it continues to remain an excellent value, and a great car to drive over the long term.
Pricing: starts at $26,887
Engine: 2.0-liter, Turbocharged, I-4, 240 hp., 260 lb. ft. torque
Transmission: six-speed automatic w/Shiftronic lock and Shiftronic manual shift mode, FWD
Wheelbase: 110.4 in.
Length: 191.1 in.
Width: 63.5 in.
Height: 58.1 in.