2015 Hyundai Sonata

2015 Hyundai Sonata

Episode 3405
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

The 2011 Sonata was a watershed sedan for Hyundai. It lured buyers in with dynamic styling, and cheap prices, and kept them satisfied with great drivability and reliability. But, that was yesterday. The challenge today is to keep those buyers despite more intense mid-size competition, and to uphold their well-earned reputation. So let’s find out how an all-new 2015 Sonata measures up.

It’s difficult to fathom that the 2015 Hyundai Sonata marks the beginning of the 7th generation of the Korean middle-weight four-door. To say it has come a long way is an understatement. Evolving from a late 80’s boxy also ran, to today’s family sedan trend setter. 

And it’s easy to see those trend setting ways continuing when you climb inside the latest Sonata. You’re immediately treated to a great looking interior that is incredibly comfortable and very upscale in feel. Though this Limited model’s rich 2-tone black and brown theme surely has a lot to do with that. 

Not that it’s perfect. Some of our staff found the sparseness of control knobs annoying, and the few knobs that are present are either a long reach or look too similar to each other, and had some turning up the temperature when they we were trying to crank up the volume. Owners will likely figured it all out in no time, however. 

The folding rear seats offer plenty of head and leg room, and while seat cushions are a little on the hard side there is a very comfortable rake to the seat backs which makes things quite tolerable for long trips.

In fact, interior volume has risen enough that Sonata is now in the Large Car EPA size-class. Trunk space is certainly larger than most mid-size rivals at 16.3 cubic-ft.

An available Tech package gets you a panoramic sunroof, HID headlights, and very competent 8-inch navigation display with touchscreen. But the Ultimate package is where the tech really kicks in with smart cruise control with full stop and start capabilities, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, plus an electronic parking brake with hold feature.

As before all engines are four-cylinder and three are available. This standard, direct-injected 2.4-liter I4 rates 185-horsepower and 178 lb-ft. of torque. Peak power is actually down a little from last year in an attempt to make things more responsive. But, we found it a bit weak and noisy. A 1.6-liter turbo Eco model is new, but only recommended if fuel economy is your number-one priority. The 245-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo looks like the best choice for ample off-the line torque. 

We didn’t find that in the 2.4. Getting to 60 took us a lackluster 9.3-seconds. Well off the previous car. You do start to feel some hint of power mid-range, but slow shifts from the 6-speed automatic keep the fun factor just barely above zero. Running out the ¼-mile took 17.2-seconds at 83 miles-per-hour. 

Things improved somewhat through our handling course. Understeer is certainly there, but it doesn’t bombard you. Steering is quick, but the feel is artificially heavy and disconnected. Much, much better was braking performance, with solid stops from 60 that averaged just 117-feet. 

This is, first and foremost, a family sedan of course, so while it’s doubtful that track performance will be high on any family’s priority list, exterior design will certainly play a much larger roll.

The fluidic sculpture 2.0 styling theme tries just as hard as the previous generation to make a statement, but we’re not sure the results are nearly as successful. Though the look, complete with LED daytime running lights and dual exhaust is now undoubtedly classier, like its better rivals. The rear appears wider and taller, with high mounted LED tail lights pointing in towards the center.

So while exterior beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, from the driver’s seat we all agree that Hyundai has certainly come a long way in chassis and suspension refinement. Ride is both solid and smooth. We also appreciated the lack of CVT transmission and found the 6-speed manual-mode automatic to work very well in daily driving. 

It proved quite efficient for a larger sedan as well, with Government Fuel Economy Ratings of 25-City, 37-Highway, and 29-Combined, which we matched almost perfectly with a 29.2 miles-per-gallon loop on Regular. The Energy Impact Score is also respectable with 11.4-barrels of oil burned annually and 5.1-tons of CO2 emitted. 

One thing that has not changed is Hyundai value with Sonata’s base pricing of just $21,960. Limited trim will cost you a fair bit more, but is still a bargain at $27,335. And of course Hyundai’s America’s Best Warranty is still in effect.

There is nothing that feels cheap about the 2015 Hyundai Sonata, particularly in upscale Limited guise, as it fully showcases the brand in their growth from low price alternative to mainstream staple. 7-generations is certainly proof that this car is more contender than pretender, and carmakers will be trying to out-do this high value nameplate for a years to come.


  • Engine: 2.4-liter
  • Horsepower: 185
  • Torque: 178 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 9.3 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 17.2 seconds @ 83 mph
  • EPA: 25 mpg city/ 37 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 11.4 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 5.1 tons/yr
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35

Goldilocks Approved: It Does Everything Just Right

Episode 4332
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

These days, you don’t have to spend a ridiculous amount of money to get some real-deal AMG performance from Mercedes-Benz, as they’ve spread their high-performance love throughout their lineup. So, let’s go for some high-speed bargain hunting in the Mercedes-AMG CLA 35.

You may think of big cars and bigger horsepower when you hear AMG, but this updated 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 4-door Coupe is certainly not a big car, yet there’s no doubt it packs a serious performance punch. The CLA is not the least expensive Mercedes you can currently buy in the U.S., but it is their lowest priced car, and it feels more right-size than small-size behind the wheel.

It’s a fun, enjoyable ride that lets you know what you’re in for right away with a nice raspy exhaust note at start up. Standard engine in the base CLA 250 is of course a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo, but it is ‘Benz’s latest with mild-hybrid assistance and a rating of 221-horsepower.

This CLA 35 is one of two AMG versions which cranks the turbo up to boost output to 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque; the CLA 45 S, goes even further with a full rebuild to crank it up to 416 horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. The CLA is front-wheel-drive based but is sending power to all four wheels by the time it leaves the AMG shop with performance-tuned AMG 4MATIC.

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Grille
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Profile
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Wheel
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Rear
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Rear
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge 2
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Grille2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Profile2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Wheel2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dead Rear2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 3/4 Rear2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Badge 2

AMG has done serious suspension tuning as well, and the great feedback that it provides through the AMG Performance steering wheel is a big part of this car’s fun-factor. But our test car came equipped with winter tires, which did hold us back a little bit through the cones at our Mason Dixon test track. Still, it felt both agile and fun and body roll was minimal. Not until we pushed hard could we really feel the lack of dry pavement grip from those tires. On the other hand, a few days after track day, we actually did have some winter weather to drive through and then we were very appreciative of the grip those winter tires provided.

With some assistance from AMG’s sweet launch control, which not only allowed us to launch at 3500 RPM with no wheel slip at all, but made sure the turbos were feeding full power, as we felt no turbo lag whatsoever on our quick 4.5-second trip to 60. AMG’s Speedshift eight-speed DCT lived up to its name, delivering quick and hard hits throughout the 13.1-second, 104 mph quarter-mile.

It’s a fun, enjoyable ride that lets you know what you’re in for right away with a nice raspy exhaust note at start up.

When it came time to remove speed in a hurry in our panic runs from 60 mph, those winter tires again played a factor, as the brakes felt very strong and there was very little nosedive but stops took a longer than expected 125 feet.

Now this 2nd generation CLA arrived for 2020, and for ’24 gets a subtle restyling at both ends. At the front, the grille has been redesigned, AMGs getting their own unique version with big vertical slats, prominent Mercedes star and subtle AMG badge. LED headlights are new, now labeled as High-Performance headlights, joined by upgraded rear taillights and a very aggressive looking AMG diffuser with big exhaust outlets. The back-up camera is smoothly hidden in a flip-out Mercedes badge. Multiple new wheel designs are available with sizes up to 19-inches.

2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Passenger Side Front
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Center Display 2
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Seat
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine
2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Passenger Side Front2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Dashboard2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Center Display 22024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Rear Seat2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Trunk2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 Engine

Inside the CLA’s cabin, additional standard content includes a leather steering wheel and 10-inch media display. Both of which were already part of the AMG transformation, though AMG Line buyers can now add some heat elements to their sport steering wheel.

As we’ve seen with most Mercedes updates, both the virtual gauge cluster and the central touchscreen reside in a single housing mounted on top of the dash, upgraded with the latest MBUX software.

Pricing for the CLA 35 starts at $56,100, with the more powerful 45 S coming in at $66,550.

Bottom line, the folks in Stuttgart have given us a 2024 Mercedes-AMG CLA 35 that’s clearly better without messing it up. That’s certainly good news to us, as these days we seem to be getting less and paying more for just about everything. So, while you might not think the new CLA 35 sounds like a bargain, there is no better gateway into the amazing world of AMG performance.


  • Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo
  • Horsepower: 416
  • 0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 125 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 28.2 MPG (Premium)
  • Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Torque: 369 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.1 seconds at 104 mph
  • EPA: 22 City / 29 Highway / 25 Combined