“We had air conditioning in case it got really hot and directions via the navigation system in case we wanted to go to Hell and back and lost our way.”

Ann Arbor, Michigan.

If you’re driving to Hell, what kind of car would you want to be in?

An SUV? A sports car? One that if you never come back, at least your missing person’s report would list you last seen: “in something fast, flashy and awesome?”

When my driving partner and I stumbled upon Hell, Michigan, or at least the sign that directed us that way, we were in the all-new, 2015 Hyundai Sonata; a sedan that is now seven generations strong.

We had air conditioning in case it got really hot and directions via the navigation system in case we wanted to go to Hell and back and lost our way. And comfortable seats in case the crossing of the River Styx was long and arduous. Furthermore, we had the power to get us out of there if we needed to leave in a hurry.

Okay, enough about Hell and back to the car… for 2015, the Sonata gives you two engine options; both of which have been revised for the seventh generation.

The first is a peppy 2.4L, 4-cylinder with 185 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque.

Then there’s the spirited, optional, 2.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 245 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Both engine variants are linked with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

There’s a lot going on with Hyundai’s mid-size sedan. It’s built with an all-new chassis, which equates to a more comfortable ride, better handling and an overall improvement in NVH (Noise, Vibrations, Harshness.) To test that out, we took it to the streets of Ann Arbor in Michigan, as well as the backcountry roads that have sweeping corners and tight turns.

The first thing I noticed was how much better the handling was, especially when you have it in Sport mode. The 2015 Sonata gives the driver a choice of three drive modes. These modes work together with the sedan’s engine, transmission, and Motor-Driven Power Steering (MDPS) to suit different driver preferences.

In Sport, powertrain responsiveness and heavier steering weight are both increased. The steering weight definitely comes in handy on the twisty parts of the road. In Normal mode, steering isn’t as responsive but better suited for urban environments. And if you’re in a fuel saving mood, pop the car into Eco mode. This softens throttle response and recalibrates transmission response so you get the most out of your tank.

Speaking of steering, Hyundai mentions, “The 2015 Sonata’s steering wheel features an irregular shape with increased rim thickness and ergonomic grip rests. These subtle changes ensure more of the steering wheel surface remains in contact with the driver’s hands. In turn, the vehicle offers enhanced steering system feel, especially at high speed.”

I’d agree with this. My fingers were comfortably placed at 9 and 3 o’clock and felt pretty good there.

But it’s not just the driving modes and steering wheel that make the Sonata as popular as it is. The 2015 comes with all new styling inside and outside.

Let’s start with the cabin, since the driver will spend more time looking at a centre stack than they will the front, hexagonal grille.

Featuring even higher quality materials than before, it’s softer to the touch and the layout is optimized for the driver. ‪Placement of the buttons and switches in the Sonata ‪was paramount and was a major focus for designers and engineers.

On the outside, you’ll see a family resemblance to the Sonata’s big brother, the Genesis.

The character line is more pronounced, yet the cumulative look is more sophisticated and mature.

It’s a tough segment to be in. When you have frontrunners like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Mazda6 and more, it can get pretty heated. But the Sonata remains cool and collected and has the goods to keep up with the best of them.

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata has a starting MSRP of $23,999. The top of the line Sport 2.0T Ultimate has an MSRP of $34,799.

Visit www.hyundaicanada.com for more information.

Contact: alexandra [dot] straub [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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