I recently drove the all-new seventh-generation 2015 Hyundai Sonata in Montgomery, Ala., departing from the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama plant. I quite liked the sloping lines both inside and out of the last-generation Sonata, so this new Sonata's appearance takes a moment to get used to. It has evolved drastically into what Hyundai calls its fluidic design 2.0, which is really no longer fluidic but much more linear, tailored and buttoned up (think back to the move from the iPhone 3G's curved corners and rocker plate back to iPhone 4's crisp, clean corners).
Hyundai's focus with the new Sonata is less on distinguishing itself from the pack with bold design statements and more on a sophisticated design, detailed engineering and thoughtful features.
The base engine is a 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder paired to a six-speed automatic transmission, and it gets an EPA-estimated 25/37/29 mpg city/highway/combined. I drove the Sport trim for the first half of the day. With the standard selectable drive modes, I was able to toggle between Sport, Normal and Eco, making minor modifications to the transmission, steering and engine performance. I felt quite comfortable in the 2.4, taking it easy as if I were out for a Sunday drive. It felt smooth when accelerating, cornering and braking, but it certainly wasn't mind-blowing in any one area, and maybe could even be described as slightly sleepy. This would be a good fit for the consumer just looking to get from point A to B. I was a little baffled as to why a couple of other Sonatas on the drive route were tailing me and using any opportunity to blow past me. In hindsight, I now know they were driving the zippy Sport 2.0T with a turbo four-cylinder.