- - Sunday, October 12, 2014

A midsize sedan for your next vehicle, you bet and nothing fits the bill better than the 2015 Hyundai Sonata. Offering a new look and a complete redesign, expect a sexier appearance and a roomier cabin size all around.

She’s grown up now, and the Hyundai Sonata is not afraid to show it with a new powertrain and lots of additions to the standard features from technology goodies to elements that are all about ease — there is even a more earth friendly trim too.

There are a number of choices in the midsize sedan market, so the Sonata has to be a looker or else get lost in the crowd. Indeed, the fresh-faced new 2015 Hyundai Sonata can certainly go head-to-head with the likes of the competition like the Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and the Mazda 6.

There are five trim levels to choose from, including the SE, Sport, Eco, Limited and Sport 2.0T trims and there is also a Hybrid option in 2015 as well.

On the SE, you can expect standard features like 16-inch alloy wheels, rear spoiler, LED running lights, cruise control, power accessories, heated mirrors, tilt-and-telescoping steering column and 60/40-split rear seatback in addition to audio connect with Bluetooth phone and USB audio interface and auxiliary jack.

On the Sport and Eco trims, you get additional automatic headlights, rearview camera, eight-way power driver seat, more attractive door trim and the Hyundai Blue Link telematics system with a five-inch touchscreen audio interface.

One difference on the Eco trim is the engine, since this trim level is designed to be earth-friendly. The Sport trim, on the other hand, has 17-inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust and unique exterior styling — features not found on the Eco trim option.

For the Limited trim, you get all the Sport trim features without the unique styling, but you do get wood grain trim inside. There is also the addition of LED taillights, auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery and leather-wrapped steering wheel, six-way power passenger seat with heated and air-conditioned rear seats and window sunshades in the back too. The audio system is upgraded and there is a blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert features.

For the Sport 2.0T, this one includes most of the features found on the Sport and Limited trims with a few exceptions like the power passenger seat and the heated rear seats, but you do get 18-inch alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension and steering, rear diffuser with cool exhaust tips, xenon headlights, sport seats and a sport steering wheel and paddle shifters.

You can also opt for package additions to the lower trims that come standard on the higher end trims. There is also the optional panoramic sunroof, rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, eight-inch navigation system and a 10-speaker sound system.

Under the hood, it’s a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine cranking out 185 horsepower with 178 pound-feet of torque on the SE, Sport and Limited trims. It’s front-wheel drive and a six-speed transmission except on the Eco trim with a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 177 horsepower and 195 pound feet of torque with a seven-speed automatic transmission.

The top-of-the-line performance vehicle, the Sport 2.0T, offers a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 245 horsepower with 260 pound feet of torque.

For safety, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata has the standard safety features like antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side, full-length side curtain and a driver knee airbag. On all trims but the SE, there is a rearview camera and Hyundai’s emergency telematics system called Blue Link as well as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert standard on the Limited and Sport 2.0T trim or an option on the Sport and Eco as well as optional forward collision warning and rear park assist on the Limited and Sport 2.0T trims.

Loving the design, the 2015 Sonata is crafted simple for a down-to-earth feel, but the quality of the material inside is impressive with nice cabin accents on all the trims, but more than exceptional in the Limited with two-tone color schemes and high-end wood grain. The knobs and buttons are easy to figure out and are placed strategically so there is not a lot of discomfort trying to turn things on and off.

There is plenty of room for four adults and the two in the backseat won’t be cramped with plenty of head and legroom and there is a 16.3 cubic feet trunk. You can also use the 60/40-split-folding rear seat if needed for more hauling cargo and there is an option on certain trims for the hands free “smart” trunk opener.

Easy to drive, quiet, comfortable and an excellent road trip car you don’t just feel the road, you own it so instead of the road taking you for a ride, you take it for one instead. If you’re looking for a car to race this Hyundai won’t be a good choice, instead, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata is the beautiful cousin sipping the champagne and letting the admirers come to her.

Should You Need to Know: Take note on the 2015 Hyundai Sonata of the sports seats offered on the Sport 2.0T trim with a good amount of lateral support when needed.

Miles Per Gallon: The 2015 Hyundai Sonata has an average of 25 miles per gallon in the city and 37 miles per gallon on the highway.

Cost: The 2015 Hyundai Sonata starts at $21,150.

For more auto tips and information, follow Rita @RitaCook13.

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