In the land of plain-Jane automobiles, entry-level mid-size sedans – the bread-and-butter of family vehicles – have always held a top billing, but that all seemed to change with the introduction of the 2010 Hyundai Sonata.
With its sleek design that played on the trendy four-door-coupe design language, this sedan helped lead the charge that transformed a group of boring, vanilla-looking sedans into a segment of some of the more stylish vehicles priced under $30,000. Fast forward to 2016 where cars like the Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu and even the Toyota Camry show that affordable mid-size vehicles don’t have to look or feel cheap, and Hyundai was forced to come up with a new way to attract buyers in this mega-high volume segment. Enter the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T that attempts to strike all the right chords with buyers looking for a fun, affordable, roomy family car, and I spent a week with this sedan to see how it stacks up.
2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T Exterior:
Just a year after a major redesign, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T doesn’t get any drastic changes to its outward appearance. It’s not quite as unique as the Chevrolet Malibu and Mazda6 but it’s also not as conservative as the Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry, which looks to be part of the plan for Hyundai to distinguish its cars from the competition. The new Hyundai design language features a bolder front end that is more upright that has a certain upscale flair to it, but the rest of the body is more reserved… mature, even. The swept roofline is about the only part of the Sonata’s design that carried over from the previous model, and it fits perfectly with the attitude of the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T. Key distinctions to this model include LED daytime running lights, quad exhaust tips and Audi-esque split-spoke wheels, but my favorite part of this car’s design was the Phantom Black exterior paint with multi-colored metallic flakes that gave the sedan an eye-catching sparkling luster.
2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T Interior:
Inside, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T backs up its outward appearance with a surprisingly sporty cabin that includes a flat-bottomed steering wheel, paddle shifters and attractive metallic trim. The roominess that the current Sonata brings to the table is, by far, this car’s strong suit as a full load of five adult passengers will have no problems getting comfortable. Showing an appreciated attention to detail, every inch of the cabin was thoroughly designed to not only maximize passenger comfort but do so in an upscale manner. New for 2016, the Sonata has added technology goodies such as a seven-inch Display Audio touchscreen system that integrates Android Auto, but other than that, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata carries over almost untouched from the previous model year.
2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T Performance:
Easily deduced from its name, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, and this engine provides V6-like power with ratings of 245 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Compare that to the 185 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque to the Sonata’s base 2.4-liter inline-four engine. Both of these engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic manual shift mode capabilities. Official EPA fuel economy estimates are rated at 23 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway**, and this tester averaged 25.8 mpg in mixed driving over the span of a week – not bad for a sedan weighing in at almost 3,500 pounds.
For 2016, Hyundai has replaced some of the Sonata’s steel suspension components with lighter-weight aluminum pieces, which has resulted in improved handling feel across all models, but for the optimal effect, the Sport models get a beefed up suspension with thicker stabilizer bars to improve cornering. The standard Drive Mode Select can fine tune the feel of the steering and acceleration with Sport mode obviously fitting this car best. The Sonata Sport trim levels also get bigger front brakes (12.6-inch rotors up from the standard 12-inch rotors) to improve braking performance. Just as one might expect from a car that is expected to be practical first and fun second, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T does about as good as can be expected in providing a little enthusiasm for customers who aren’t looking for a corner-carving sport sedan.
2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T Safety:
Above style, sportiness and even fuel economy, one of the most important attributes of a modern mid-size sedan is the safety, and the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T shines bright in this regard, too. Equipped with optional features like Automatic Emergency Braking and Smart Cruise Control, which are only offered on the Sonata Limited, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata gets top safety marks including a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and a five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T Overall:
Hyundai definitely isn’t the first automaker to attempt a sport model in this class – there are others that include the Camry XSE, Mazda6, Fusion Sport and Accord Sport – but where the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T excels is that it offers everything it does in a package that costs less than $30,000. In base form, the new Sonata is priced starting at just $21,750*, but for buyers looking for a little more, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T is probably about as much car as most people will ever need and it costs $29,985 as you see it here.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Hyundai dealership and test drive the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2016 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.