2014 Hyundai Sonata
While it contains some of the most sensible vehicles extant, the mid-size-sedan segment is fiercely competitive. Somewhat surprisingly, Hyundai has managed to penetrate the lucrative market over the past few years, wedging the Sonata between the traditional favorites and buyer’s wallets. To keep sales booming, the Korean automaker brought the Sonata in for a tech overhaul and a few light cosmetic changes for the 2014 model year.
Fresh Tech and Minor Tweaks
Aiming to put a fresh face on the Sonata without alienating current fans, Hyundai has limited the exterior changes to a slightly bolder grille, a new rear fascia insert, and all new 17- and 18-inch wheel designs. The options lists swells to include HID headlamps and LED taillights.
Powertrains essentially are unchanged, although output from the 2.4-liter four-cylinder is down slightly, at 190 horsepower (192 horses in SE trim, thanks to a dual-exhaust system) and 179 lb-ft of torque; the 2013 model touted numbers of 198 and 184. This decrease can be attributed to Hyundai building all 2.4-liter–powered Sonatas to PZEV specification in order to meet the EPA’s cold-temperature non-methane hydrocarbon standards. The 274-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four carries over, although it gets a new sport-tuned exhaust for 2014. All 2014 Sonatas come equipped with a six-speed automatic.
It’s the interior and tech content where changes for 2014 pick up some steam. A Driver Selectable Steering Mode (DSSM), which allows users to select from three settings—comfort, normal, and sport—and is now standard on all trim levels. Standard equipment in SE and Limited models now includes a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 4.3-inch touch-screen—an eight-inch unit featuring nav is optional—a rearview camera, and a color LCD information screen that sits between the speedo and tach.
The rest of the changes arrive piecemeal among trim levels. The SE gets faux-carbon-fiber interior trim, a body-colored spoiler, and available blind-spot monitoring; that blind-spot system is standard on the Limited, as is a ventilated driver seat and a new fully automatic climate-control system.
Hyundai’s also making a run at reducing NVH by increasing the amount of sound-deadening foam in the A- and B-pillars, adding additional dynamic dampers, and using carpet with improved insulating properties.