Hyundai has unveiled the re-engineered 2015 Sonata, which it says is more refined and premium-feeling than the current model. While the platform and US powertrain lineup for the new Sonata are expected to be carry overs from the current model, Hyundai said it concentrated on reducing noise, vibration and harshness and improving driving dynamics as well as refining its design.
According to Hyundai, it spent around KRW450 billion, ($416.3 million) over the past three years to develop the 2015 Sonata, which is expected to arrive in the United States late this year. Hyundai also unveiled partial specifications of the 2015 Sonata, which reflects the carmaker’s “fluidic sculpture 2.0” design language.
The rounded, swoopy lines found on the current-generation Sonata has been tightened on the 2015 model. Hyundai also increased the use of advanced high-strength steel in body-in-white to boost rigidity. The 2015 Sonata boasts of advanced safety features like adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and blind spot detection, Hyundai said in a statement.
For its seventh generation, Hyundai quipped that the Sonata has “evolved into a more refined premium vehicle” that “provides a luxury feel of a car from the segment above.” The 2015 Sonata gains less than an inch of wheelbase, width and height and an inch longer in overall length.
Sonata has been Hyundai’s top-selling car, with sales exceeding 200,000 units in 2011, 2012 and 2013. But the arrival of fresher models like the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry prompted a slowdown of sales, which dropped 12 percent in 2013 and 28 percent in the first two months of 2014.
The exterior of the 2015 Sonata is defined by the energetic and confident lines. These are complemented inside the cabin by having a premium interior which puts extra attention on ergonomics. Placed on the vehicle’s center stack are the controls and buttons that are clearly intuitive. These same buttons and controls are angled in the direction of the driver to make it easier to reach.
Hyundai revealed that with each part of the cabin being examined, the brand made sure to put serious consideration on each chance for improvement. Even the steering wheel for example had to undergo what can be described as extensive testing. The goal was to find the ideal shape, diameter, and even tactile feel. This steering wheel was intended to maximize the confidence of the driver.
Given that the steering wheel’s design involved modifications, it meant that the instrument cluster’s layout needed a change as well. In particular, it meant having a new steering column design. Without question, both the design team and the engineering team took great pains in each detail and ensure that the interior is truly safe. It is also an interior that is simple and intuitive while being able to offer convenient features that have attractive visuals.
Going back to the controls, they have not only been grouped in a logical manner but positioned in a most convenient way, especially for the driver. With the objective of having a cabin that offered a unified experience, the design team got together with different suppliers in order to ensure that each switchgear and button have that consistent feel. Take the audio display for example, the height of its display screen has been optimized for visibility.
The same can be said for the instrument cluster and the navigation system with the 8-inch display. By being on the same plane, the readability of these features is possible even with a quick look. All of the ergonomic improvements mean that the driver can keep being focused on the road and have the needed confidence behind the wheel. For Hyundai, its core interior design principles put emphasis on simplicity, safety, and intuitiveness. The 2015 Sonata is able to deliver all of those in spades.