2015 Hyundai Sonata: A Slightly Less Distinctive But Very Straightforward Control Layout
March 20, 2015
There's a reassuring simplicity to the control layout in our 2015 Hyundai Sonata in the daytime, and at night when the illumination is white for the main instrument dials and blue for everything else.
To my eyes, it's a very functional but less interesting design than what we had in our non-navigation 2011 Sonata GLS. That car had some strange shapes, individual gauge binnacles, a Volvo-inspired humanoid for the climate functions and unusually nice materials.
The materials in our 2015 Sonata Sport are just as high-quality, maybe even a touch better in some areas. Overall, the interior design feels more mainstream and reflects the Sonata's standing in the midsize sedan class.
Back in 2011, the Sonata was still a bit of an alternative choice, a car you'd feel good about buying if you got out the door for a rock-bottom price. Not that there's anything wrong with that. That 2011-'14 Sonata deserves most of the credit for elevating Hyundai's position in this class.
Now in 2015 we have a Sonata that should be considered right alongside the Accords, Altimas and Camrys of the world no matter how your priorities stack up. And maybe the consequence of that is that in certain small ways, the Sonata has given up a bit of personality. This is no bad thing if you like simple controls.
In fact, the only confusing thing I've encountered so far is the smartphone-inspired swipe selection process for certain touchscreen menus, including the one I had to visit to change the clock to daylight-saving time. It's surprising, I suppose, because the Sonata still has an old-school radio tuning knob plus two separate dials for dual temperature control. But just as with any new smartphone, I think I'll adjust quickly.
Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 5,423 miles