$12,900 - $19,883

2015 Hyundai Sonata Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Hyundai Sonata was new.


Performance: 7.5

While not sporty, test drivers say the redesigned 2015 Hyundai Sonata has predictable handling and a comfortable ride. They write that its steering is precise and its braking power is impressive for the class. Reviewers note that the base engine feels strong around town, but a little less so on the highway. Several think the Eco trim is the most fun to drive because of its small but surprisingly lively turbocharged engine.

  • "The crisper steering and supple suspension action make the car feel securely planted. It's no sports sedan, but it never seems to put a foot wrong." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Though not quite a sport sedan, a revised suspension makes the Sonata a more willing dance partner than its predecessor." -- Left Lane News
  • "How does it drive? About like you would expect: Even the sportiest Sonata Sport model is hardly a canyon-carver, but Sonata owners probably don't spend much time at the drag strip or local SCCA autocross. Handling is moderately crisp, the ride is quite good and soundproofing is excellent." -- AutoWeek
  • Though there's nothing to complain about when it comes to its driving dynamics, there's also little that's exciting about the way it drives." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 185 horsepower. Sport 2.0T models come with a 245-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, while Eco models feature a 177-horsepower, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder. All models come with a six-speed automatic transmission, except the Sonata Eco has a seven-speed automated manual. According to the EPA, the base 2015 Hyundai Sonata gets 25/37 mpg city/highway, which is good for the class.

Test drivers report that the base four-cylinder Sonata accelerates quickly from a stop, but feels less powerful at highway speeds, which means passing takes extra time. Automotive critics write that the Sonata Sport 2.0T offers better acceleration, and some think it can match the acceleration of six-cylinder rivals. However, others say that the 2.0T is underpowered. The Eco is considered by several reviewers to be the most engaging trim, thanks in part to its peppy and responsive engine.

  • Good gearing within the automatic transmission allows the naturally aspirated engine to move the 3,252-pound Sonata 2.4 quickly off the line, but it loses some steam once it gets above city speeds. The gearbox is quick to downshift, but it doesn't have the torque to push anyone's skull against their head restraints. Although it doesn't have any issue holding highway speeds on grades, passing maneuvers will require planning and plenty of space, especially with a vehicle loaded with four adults and luggage." -- Autoblog
  • "As before, the 2.4-liter Sonata moves smartly off the line, but the gearbox hunts less and seems more involved in the action." -- Car and Driver
  • "The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder also returns as the go-fast motor, though this time around it wears a smaller turbo and churns out 245 horsepower (down 29) and 260 lb-ft of torque (down 9). Again, tractability has improved, and the engine feels capable of running with the competition's sixes while still returning an estimated 23/32 mpg." -- Left Lane News
  • Even the big-gun Sport 2.0T trim lacks serious power, though it will hit freeway speeds significantly quicker than the base model." -- Edmunds
  • "In a very brief, end-of-day drive, the Eco 1.6T proved to be the surprise of the day for its fun-to-drive nature. The smaller-displacement engine was smoother than either the 2.4 or 2.0T, zipping to redline more eagerly than its siblings." -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

Automotive experts agree that the redesigned 2015 Hyundai Sonata has both a comfortable ride and composed handling. Some say the Sonata’s steering system isn’t particularly communicative, but most agree that it is precise. According to critics, the Sonata has stronger brakes than many competitors, and a firm brake pedal inspires confidence at any speed.

  • "Later, as we spent time on the winding country roads through largely unspoiled woodlands and pastures, it came to us that the new car is not just comfortable but also extremely poised." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Ride quality, regardless of trim, is well controlled but never harsh." -- Edmunds
  • "Balance was good, braking firm and repeatable, steering a little numb but not objectionable." -- AutoWeek
  • "The default steering setting is pleasant enough, being both light and precise, which is good because it's the only option in Eco and Normal modes. There is a linear buildup of weight in all modes that accurately translates cornering loads, but feedback is muted." -- Car and Driver
  • "Pedal feel is reassuring at all speeds, with good modulation. I simulated a panic stop from 60 mph and the Sonata stopped straight and in a surprisingly short distance, with ABS clacking away but without much drama. I wish all midsize sedans stopped as well." -- Autoblog

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