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The 2016 Hyundai Sonata, now in its seventh generation, competes against a squadron of well-qualified family four-doors, including the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, and Chevy Malibu, as well as the VW Passat, Kia Optima, Chrysler 200, Subaru Legacy, and Mazda 6. That's some tough competition.
Compared to the bold last-generation Sonata, the 2016 model is arguably classier and more sophisticated but more conservative. Many have criticized the new design for being too bland, but we feel it might age more gracefully than the innovative 2011-2014 Sonata. It's less busy overall, with fewer surfaces crashing up against each other, and no more awkward cutlines.
The look is derived from Hyundai's latest design theme, which was first seen on the 2015 Genesis. It lacks a bit of the exuberance that the last Sonata had and the Genesis manages to achieve as well. The "sabre" line still gives the Sonata wide shoulders, but it doesn't dive for the front wheels anymore. Instead, it's a straight shot down the body. Horizontal lines everywhere calm down the shape, from the rear lip spoiler and its chrome surround, to the dual exhaust and its bright tips, to the bend at the bottom of the decklid that takes some heft out of the rear end. It's closer to the invisible ideal of the modern family sedan.
The Sonata is one of the lighter cars in the segment, and its 2015 redesign gave it a stiffer structure that helps it do a better job of damping bumps and taking direction. Hyundai enlisted Lotus Engineering to iron out the 2015 Genesis' handling, and those lessons have been applied to the Sonata. In our test drives, the Sonata has responded with a gentle, able feel. It's settled at any speed. Roll over a train track at 60 mph and it reacts with compliance, and little drama, even with the 18-inch tires on 2.0T trims.
The Sonata is 191.1 inches long, and it does more with its dimensions than even the Honda Accord, which is longer, but less spacious. The Sonata has the same wheelbase as the Passat, at 110.4 inches, but packages in more people and cargo space than the Volkswagen—barely. Inside, there's a total of 122.4 cubic feet of space, split between 106.1 cubic feet for the humans and 16.3 cubic feet for cargo.
Off the spec sheet, there's very good space for 6-footers in the front seats, and the seats are are well bolstered, especially in the 2.0T Sport model. A power passenger seat can be had, though it's only offered on upper trim levels, where you'll also find heated and ventilated seats and a serviceable grade of leather upholstery.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.