$13,442 - $21,015

2016 Hyundai Sonata Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Hyundai Sonata was new.


Performance: 7.6

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata offers composed handling and a refined ride, according to automotive writers. They write that they steering is precise but somewhat numb and the brakes are strong. Most critics think the base engine offers adequate acceleration but doesn't feel very potent. They add that the two available turbocharged engines deliver lively acceleration, with most finding the Eco model the most impressive. The Sonata gets good fuel economy for a midsize sedan.

  • "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 (2015)
  • "Though not quite a sport sedan, a revised suspension makes the Sonata a more willing dance partner than its predecessor." -- Left Lane News (2015)
  • "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 (2015)
  • "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 (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The base 2016 Sonata features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 185 horsepower. The Eco model comes with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 178 horsepower. Sport 2.0T models feature a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 245 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, although the Eco model features a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission instead. The Sonata gets an EPA-estimated 25/38 mpg city/highway with the base engine, which is good for the class. The Eco model gets even better ratings, earning an EPA-estimated 28/38 mpg city/highway.

The Sonata’s base engine offers decent acceleration, according to critics, but they are unimpressed by its overall power. They say the turbocharged 2.0-liter can compete with the six-cylinder engines offered by class rivals, and the turbocharged 1.6-liter engine is surprisingly potent. Automotive writers report that the six-speed automatic transmission performs competently, but they note that the seven-speed transmission in the Eco model is erratic at times.

  • "Straddling the line is the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine in the Eco model, a drivetrain that offers surprising acceleration, better-than-decent fuel economy, but an unrefined feel thanks to the sometimes-jerky 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • " … the [2.0-liter] engine feels capable of running with the competition's sixes while still returning an estimated 23/32 mpg." -- Left Lane News (2015)
  • "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 (2015)
  • "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 (2015)
  • "Even the big-gun Sport 2.0T trim lacks serious power, though it will hit freeway speeds significantly quicker than the base model." -- Edmunds (2015)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers say the front-wheel drive 2016 Sonata offers a smooth ride. Most agree that the steering is precise, although some think that it could offer more road feedback. While not a sporty ride, most critics say the Sonata has controlled handling and strong brakes.

  • "Drivetrain choices aside, the suspension is comfortable, the highway ride acceptably quiet, and the steering - long a sore spot on previous Sonata sedans - is actually pretty good for this class." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "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 (2015)
  • "Balance was good, braking firm and repeatable, steering a little numb but not objectionable." -- AutoWeek (2015)
  • "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 (2015)

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