NEW YORK -- Something interesting happened at the 2014 New York International Auto Show this year. The 2015 Toyota Camry debuted with a bold, polarizing design and the 2015 Hyundai Sonata debuted with a more traditional, conservative look. What is this, opposite day?
Beneath the new looks, the 2015 Sonata features a host of upgrades to its interior, upping its dashboard tech with an available 8-inch touchscreen navigation system that rolls in HD Radio, one of two premium audio systems, and Pandora and SoundHound app support. iPhone users will be able to take advantage of Siri Eyes Free integration, with Apple CarPlay being added to the 2015 Sonata's feature set some time post-launch.
Of course, Hyundai's BlueLink telematics and connectivity suite will make a return appearance, now boasting Google destination search.
One of the oddest tech convenience features is the available Smart trunk. Like the system offered on the Ford Escape, this trunk lid will automatically open without the driver having to reach for their keys. However, where previous systems required a foot to be wiggled beneath the rear bumper to pop the boot, Hyundai owners will simply need to need to approach the rear with the key fob in a purse or pocket and wait three seconds. On one hand, this sounds incredibly convenient. On the other, I can see the potential for annoyance due to accidental activation. We'll have to wait to test the 2015 model to decide.
Available adaptive cruise control with full-stop functionality, automatic high beams, and heated and ventilated seats trickle down from the larger Genesis, adding to the Sonata's premium feature set. And of course, the Sonata couldn't compete in this class without offering a full array of driver aid and safety features including forward collision warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, and a blind spot monitoring system called Lane Change Assist that automatically factors the speed of vehicles in adjacent lanes into the warning when switching lanes.
The Sonata's new body is stiffer which allows the new redesigned rear suspension to do its job more effectively for more responsive handling and a claimed improvement to braking stability. On the subject of suspension, the Sport 2.0T trim level features a unique "sport-tuned" setup, larger front brakes, and a new rack-mounted dual-pinion electric power steering system that the automaker claims offers more natural steering feel.
Engine options include the aforementioned 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that has been revised to output 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Also available is a revised 2.4-liter Theta II GDI four-cylinder that now outputs 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. Hyundai tells that both of these engines will be paired with six-speed automatic transmissions and will feature better low-RPM power delivery is up for better driveability, a tweak that sacrifices a bit of the 2.4-liter's peak power for this generation. The automaker's release doesn't mention how these changes affect fuel economy.
Surrounding these underpinnings is a new Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language that moves the brand's looks in a more upright and traditional direction, even as the competing Camry gets more dynamic. The exterior design helps the Sonata to boast a low 0.27 drag coefficient, which it claims is "lower than any non-hybrid in the mid-size sedan class." The result should be better highway fuel economy and reduced wind noise.
The new 2015 Hyundai Sonata go on sale early this summer.