THE king is dead… no wait, actually it’s the i45 that’s dead, and it wasn’t really the king, but it was a nice enough car, and its replacement returns a long standing name plate to the table for its maker Hyundai, with the arrival of the 2015 Hyundai Sonata.
Hyundai has jumped into the mid-sized sedan market boots and all, with three variations of the Sonata (Active, Elite and Premium), starting from $29,990 – for the Active, which offers an affordable entry into an over saturated space.
With styling not dissimilar to the new Hyundai Genesis (see separate Auto Review), the new Sonata Active has quite a sporty feel and is an all round nice car to drive, with power coming from a petrol 2.4L motor generating 138kW and 241Nm of torque – butted up to a six speed auto gearbox that delivers a good response through the gears.
You’ll find a better amount of standard features on the Active than pretty much all of its competitors at this end of the mid-sized market, including rear view camera, 17-inch allow wheels, a proper spare tire, Bluetooth, cloth interior, 4.3-inch touch screen (which is way too small), rear park assist and keyless entry.
The generally expected things like steering wheel controls, trip computer, air conditioning and cruise control are all there too, along with things like hill start assist. Quite honestly, it’s a comfortable car to drive, although the interior feels a little bland to look at and sit in, and we were genuinely impressed by its power and driving performance for a car that is an entry level vehicle in a relaunched (but brand new) model range.
It’s great on fuel economy, 8.3L/100km, and the four cylinder engine is solid. It scores a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, and comes with a five year, unlimited km warranty, so there’s plenty of positives from Korean car maker Hyundai, who continue to go from strength to strength in terms of their product.
On the down side, there’s no lumbar support and no SatNav in the Active, and if you accidentally drive the 2.0L turbo incarnation of the Sonata (the Premium), you’ll have a deep desire to somehow find the extra coin to pick up the top end model, rather than this one, simply on its beefy power alone.
With competition from the latest Ford Mondeo, Subaru’s new Liberty, the upgraded Mazda6 and the just released and overhauled Toyota Camry – the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Active is a good toe in the water for those looking to enter the mid-sized sedan market without the cost of some of the high end models. It represents great value for money, even if it is a little uninspiring.
Our test vehicle was provided by Hyundai Australia. To find out more about the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Active, contact your Hyundai dealer.
Road Test: 2015 Hyundai Sonata Active
Pros – strong entry level car; sporty feel; responsive drive.
Cons – simply bland; lack of seating adjustment, lots of plastic.