A few weeks ago, my plane touched down in Montgomery, Alabama for the media introduction of the New 2015 Hyundai Sonata. In addition to spending a few hours and a couple hundred miles getting to know the Sonata, I also got the unique opportunity to tour the Hyundai Plant, just outside Montgomery, where the new Sonatas are actually made from start to finish. The plant, which opened in 2005, employees just over 3,000 people and produces about 399,000 vehicles per year! But what really had me excited was the technology. There were over 280 robotics within the plant both working on their own and in tandem with people who work there. Pretty awesome right?
After touring the plant, we were treated to the experience of actually driving a car right out of the factory like they would off the assembly line. It was the perfect way to kick off the day’s drive! It also really threw me into the Sonata in a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of experience. Normally I refer to the first few minutes in a car as the “getting to know you stage.” I take my time, get to know the lay of the land, etc. Not having that opportunity this time really let me see how driver centric and user friendly the 2015 Sonata is. It wasn’t long at all before we were getting along like old friends.
During the course of the drive I was able to experience first hand both the 2015 Sonata Limited and the 2015 Sonata Sport 2.0T. Ultimately, I found that it felt like almost two completely different vehicles thanks to carefully designed differences in body style, interior design and handling. I really felt like it made the Sonata appeal to two different types of drivers, depending on the model selected. Personally, I would purchase the Limited but my husband would be all over the Sport.
The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Limited offers a more traditional, luxurious design. It includes standard LED daytime running lights, 16in alloy wheels, a rear lip spoiler and chrome surround. It also boasts rocker panel extensions and dual exhaust for a super sexy, VIP look.
The 2015 Sonata Sport, on the other hand, boasts a more aggressive design with a slightly different front grille and bumper, side rocker extensions and side chrome molding. The sport also has a unique interior featuring a D-cut steering wheel and paddle shifters, a sporty instrument cluster with six o’clock needle position and exclusive interior color combinations.
Styling aside, both the Sport 2.0T and the Limited offer awesome features such as the hands-free Smart Trunk, Smart Cruise Control with stop/start capability, panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated seats and a heated steering wheel. Seriously, cha-ching! I really cant believe all the value you get for such a great price point.
Another feature I found in the new Sonata was a focus on driver safety. No longer reserved for luxury cars, you get advanced safety technologies such as
- Forward Collision Warning
Sensors on the front of the car detect potential collisions given rate of speed, distance of the object etc. It provides an audible warning and a visual warning on the instrument cluster.
- Blind Spot Detection
Your blind spot just got a lot smaller thanks to this nifty feature. If the system detects an object in your blind spot you will be alerted. This works well with the Lane Change Assist.
- Rear Cross Traffic Alert
The rear view backup cam quickly became one of my favorite new features in recent model cars and the Rear Cross Traffic alert makes it even better. When backing out of a parking space it will not only alert of your vehicles approaching from the side, it even lets you know which direction they’re coming from.
- Lane Departure Warning
This one is pretty self explanatory, if you cross out of your lane without using a signal you will be alerted.
- Auto High Beam Assist
To help keep the driver focused on the road and less distracted, the Sonata automatically adjusts your beams based on oncoming traffic.
These were all huge pluses in my book and really made me take note of the 2015 Sonata. You just can’t beat the value packed into the Sonata with a base price of $21k and a max price point of $33k. But as a car girl who gets excited about technology packages far more than whats under the hood, I have to tell you about Car Play.
As I said before, driver safety was an obvious theme throughout the design of the new 2015 Sonata. Now Hyundai is trying to make one of our biggest distractions, our phones, safer. Car Play is an incredible innovative program that allows the driver to use many of their favorites phone apps while keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel thanks to voice command – including Siri integration! Use Siri to to make calls, send, receive and even read texts, listen to iTunes Radio OR your playlist, use maps and more. While playing with the system I found it to be incredibly intuitive. They really focused on minimizing the number of steps it takes to complete a task. Siri integration was clear, no need to repeat yourself and it was incredibly user friendly, mimicking the iPhone layout. They also integrated the ability to split the screen which means you’ll spend less time going back and forth between apps. In order to increase reliability and create a consistent user experience, the system must be connected via USB port. However, I see only positive benefits in that decision. Smartphone users will be happy to note that Hyundai is working on a user experience for Android as well, however, neither option will be available until later 2015 models. TIP: Don’t let that stop you from purchasing today, all models will be updatable!
CarPlay is just one more of the many features that make the 2015 Hyundai Sonata an incredible value. Everything about it is more than competitive with mid-size cars on the market today but the fact that you get so much technology and safety in a price point well below competitors gives it an added advantage in my book.
Disclaimer: I received airfare and hotel accommodations from Hyundai in order to experience this event. All opinions remain my own.