2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport review: For car buyers who want a car

2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport

2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport

There are cars that carmakers call “aspirational.” These are cars that people, well, aspire to. Cars people hope one day to own. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport isn’t one of those. The Sonata Sport is an ordinary sedan, comfortable, serviceable and reliable, without putting on airs or pretensions.

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport is a car for people who want a car.

That doesn’t mean those people have to suffer or live a life of this-is-why-we-can’t-have-nice-things. And for that the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport is Exhibit A.

2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport interior

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport interior attractive if not exciting. (click to enlarge)

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata ranges from the base Sonata SE up through the Sonata Limited, with stops at Sport and Eco, and then the Sonata Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T (as well as the Sonata Hybrid). The Sonata SE has a base price of 21,150, with Sport and Sonata Eco similarly priced at just over $23,000 though with different standard equipment, and Limited, with all the good stuff, at $26,525. The standard Sonata models are all powered by a 2.4-liter direct injection four-cylinder engine rated at 185 horsepower, the Eco with a special 176-horse 1.6-liter turbocharged four.

The 2.0T Sonatas have, as the name suggests, a turbocharged engine displacing two liters. It’s rated at 145 horsepower but has a broad and low 260 lb-ft torque band from 1350 rpm to 4000 rpm. The Sport and Limited 2.0T, however, list at $28,575 and $33,525 respectively.

2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport back seat

A back seat in white? Parents might consider something else for the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport. (click to enlarge)

While the parsimonious might stick with the SE and do without things like chrome interior door handles and leather-wrapped steering wheel, and options of navigation, trip computer and auto-dimming rearview mirror aren’t, well, optional. Heated outside mirrors, however, are standard on all Sonata trim levels.

The Sonata Sport, which we drove, lacks features standard on the Sonata Sport 2.0T, and oddly enough, the sport suspension on the Sport 2.0T isn’t available on the 2.4-liter Sport. The rear diffuser isn’t available on the 2.4 Sport, but is standard on the 2.0T, and while the Sport 2.4 has dual exhaust, both Sport and Limited 2.0T have quad exhaust outlets.

The 2.0Turbo models have HID Xenon headlamps, not available on the 2.4-liter trim levels, though all Sonata trim levels have the LED running lights that are typically reserved for top trim. At least the 2.4-liter Sport has the same sport grille—read black—as the 2.0T Sport. Grilles on other models are chrome, so the sport grille, all black including the trim around it, could be mistaken for a fleet or sub-base model. Both sport trim level cars plus the Limited 2.0T have “sport appearance” front bumpers

2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport instrument panel

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport instrument panel is simple white on black. (click to enlarge)

And so on and so forth. The 2.4-liter Sonata Sport isn’t particularly sporty, at least not the sportiness of the Sport 2.0T. It’s rather a step up from the base SE.

Which isn’t bad. The 2015 is a new generation of Sonata, all new with increased use of high-strength steel for a stronger, less flexible chassis. The styling is more subdued but the grille larger. It’s more aerodynamic, however, with a drag coefficient of 0.27, which Hyundai claims is lower than any non-hybrid in the mid-size sedan class.

Interior styling is conventional and subdued, though the Hyundai/Kia controls are easy to operate and understand. The steering wheel has buttons and such for audio, Bluetooth and cruise control.

2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport

2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport (click to enlarge)

The fabric seats have a durable feels and bun warmers are standard, and the driver seat has eight-way power adjustment, plus adjustable lumbar. Hyundai wasn’t stingy with the soft-touch plastic either, giving the interior a warm and welcome feel.

Steering wheel has buttons and such for audio, Bluetooth and cruise control.

The steeply inclined front and rear windows make getting in and out a watch-your-head procedure, but once in, legroom and headroom accommodate full-size human beings. Wind noise, road noise are not remarkable, as in not being particularly memorable. And that’s good.

2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport

2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport (click to enlarge)

The 2.4-liter non-turbo engine had what our notes say was vigorous acceleration. We recorded 24.3 mpg over a week’s worth of driving in the cold and in a hilly area. You will probably do better. The transmission was smooth shifting and wholly without drama.

That describes the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport. There’s little to get excited over, though little objectionable either. It is, we said, a car for people who want a car. And the 2015 Hyundai Sonata fills that need.

The end.

Specifications and window sticker on next page.