Shape-wise, the new car offers a more refined look through the company’s Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language as seen from the Korean debut photos, with some minor exterior differences between the US and domestic versions, notably at the front. Elsewhere, improvements over the outgoing car include a stiffer body structure, better ride quality, reduced NVH and additional safety and convenience features.
As previously mentioned, the new D-segment offering is slightly larger than the outgoing YF Sonata – it’s 35 mm longer and 30 mm wider, and its wheelbase length is up by 10 mm (from 2,795 mm to 2,805 mm now), translating into increased interior space.
The company proudly states that in areas such as passenger, cargo and interior volume, the new Sonata is class-leading against the likes of the 2014 Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima as well the Volkswagen Passat and Ford Fusion.
Engine choices for North America consist of a 2.4 litre Theta II GDI unit and 2.0 litre Theta II turbo mill. The 2.4 GDI, with 185 hp and 241 Nm, powers SE, Limited and Sport models, while the 2.0 turbo equips the Sport 2.0T variant.
According to the automaker, the 2.4 has a slightly reduced peak power to shift the power band downward for better responsiveness in lower-RPM situations, where customers spend the majority of their time. There’s also a new Electronic Intake Continuously Variable Valve Timing (E-CVVT), which improves performance in low temperatures and reduces emissions.
The 2.0 litre Theta II turbocharged GDI has also been revised – there’s E-CVVT, and the 245 hp and 352 Nm powertrain has also been optimised for lower-RPM drivability – the turbocharger features a smaller turbine and compressor wheel, which provide better responsiveness and more torque in the low and mid RPM range. Both Theta engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The Sport 2.0T gets a new rack-mounted dual-pinion electric power steering system, which offers a more natural steering feel, as well as a unique sport-tuned suspension and larger 12.6-inch front brakes. Inside, the variant also features a different D-cut steering wheel, complete with paddle shifters, than the Korean domestic model. There’s also a new instrument cluster, with different needle positions and scheme.
Standard safety equipment includes seven airbags, including a new driver’s knee airbag, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management, traction control, ABS and a tyre pressure monitoring system. Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and a Lane Departure Warning System are all available for the car in the US market.