2015 Hyundai Sonata: Road Trip to the Rock, Part 1
January 13, 2015
I used our long-term 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport for a quick weekend trip to Morro Bay. This small California village is best known for Morro Rock, a nearly 600-foot-high volcanic plug. At least, that's what Wikipedia says it is.
To me, it's a giant rock with a small tourist trap disguised as a fishing village nearby. But it's a neat little town to visit, with some great restaurants and hotels and fun things to see and do. And this time of year it's not too crowded, and it was even blissfully chilly (into the 40s at night).
Our long-term Sonata Sport with its 185-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder did well on the trip. This naturally aspirated engine isn't brimming with power, but it does okay in most situations.
Only on a couple of occasions when I was trying to get around a slower car did I realize, "whoa, I'm nearly at full-throttle." I figured it was more like half.
Overall, though, the Sonata is a good highway traveler. The front seats are comfy, the leather steering wheel gives a good grip, wind and tire noise are well suppressed and the suspension is able to keep all but the biggest hits out of the cabin.
The only real problem I had with the Sonata was that the smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission can at times be too responsive. It has a wantonness to downshift a gear at speed on the highway pretty much anytime you even just gently add more throttle. I'd prefer the transmission let the engine tap into its 178 pound-feet of torque a bit, or at least wait until I give it a sturdier prod.
The result of this overly responsive behavior is more up-and-down shifting action than seems needed. But in pretty much all other areas, this new Hyundai Sonata is quite a good car.
Mike Monticello, Senior Road Test Editor @ 1,640 miles