2015 Hyundai Sonata Walk Around

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata's redesign diminishes the profile character creases that made the previous generation a standout, but adds a little more authority to the front end with a wider grille and LED accents that serve as daytime running lights. Enlarged window openings enhance the sense of interior roominess, and some sculpting at the rocker panel level complements the strong character line running front to rear just below the beltline.

Higher trim levels are distinguished by a splash of chrome along the rocker panels, which are extended on sport models. Sport trim also includes revised front and rear fascias, dual exhaust outlets, and 18-inch aluminum alloy wheels (versus 16-inch wheels on the basic Sonata).

Whatever one may think about the more conservative design, it shows up well in a wind tunnel, with a coefficient of drag value of 0.27, prominent among the current mid-size sedan field (though upstaged by the 2014 Sonata Hybrid at 0.25).

A new and useful feature is a remote trunk opening function. Approach the rear of the vehicle with the key fob on your person, stand there for three seconds, and the trunk will yawn; handy when both hands are full of cargo.

Interior

Virtually every new mid-size sedan rolling off the line today is furnished with higher quality materials than its predecessor, and the new Sonata is no exception. Soft touch surfaces have proliferated, and the instrument panel is all new, redesigned for legibility and easy scan. For example, the 8-inch info screen that supports the optional nav system is on the same plane as the primary instrument array.

Hyundai reports that the design team invested many hours just in the steering wheels (there are two styles), to achieve just the right diameter, rim section, contour, and tactility. The standard steering wheel is round, while the Sport version has a flattened bottom, a design conceived for the tight quarters of a sports car, something the Sonata is not. The seats are essentially relaxed fit, designed for comfort, with wiggle room on long trips or stop-and-go commuting, and of course there's an expanded telematics menu, that includes a new Siri eyes-free function with the optional nav system.

The Sonata also offers the option of the second generation of Hyundai's Blue Link infotainment and service system which includes a destination search function via Google, remote start, and a car care app for scheduling maintenance.

The pace of advance in automotive telematics is far faster than actual development in cars and trucks, in part because of the long life cycle of any vehicle. There's a vast array of apps out there, and the array is growing exponentially. Carmakers present various platforms and systems, but with any of them the owner can access the expanding universe of apps simply by linking a smart phone to the car. There are obviously variations from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the connectivity and access is similar.

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