Sonata exudes class |
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FILE - In this April 16, 2014 file photo, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata is introduced at the New York International Auto Show, in New York. Standard features on every Sonata now include light-emitting diode daytime running lights that were first popularized by luxury carmaker Audi, a driver?s knee air bag, a small rear spoiler and dressy, chrome-colored, exterior window surrounds. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

The Hyundai Sonata sedan, poised to set a U.S. sales record this year, feels like a more premium car for 2015 and adds interior room, improved ride, more standard equipment and luxury-car features.

Standard on every Sonata are light-emitting diode daytime running lights as popularized by luxury carmaker Audi, a driver’s knee air bag, a small rear spoiler and dressy, chrome-colored, exterior window surrounds.

This is on top of the standard six-speed automatic transmission, keyless entry with panic alarm, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and front seats that both have height adjustment. Many competitors only give height adjustment to the driver’s seat, not the front passenger seat, on their lower-priced sedans.

Too bad, though, that the base 2015 Sonata doesn’t include a standard rearview camera. A backup camera is standard on the Toyota Camry.

Hyundai’s industry-leading warranty and value pricing remain. The 2015 Sonata, like all Hyundais, comes with the automaker’s 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile limited vehicle warranty. Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, for the base, 2015 Sonata SE is $21,960, or $300 less than the base price on last year’s Sonata.

The base model comes with a 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter, naturally aspirated, four-cylinder engine.

It received an overall five out of five stars in federal government frontal and side crash testing. In addition, Hyundai rose to fourth place in the 2014 J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study, trailing only luxury carmakers Porsche, Jaguar and Lexus.

Only four-cylinder engines are available in the Sonata, and, for 2015, Hyundai retuned the engines for lower horsepower and better drivability.

The four-door, five-passenger Sonata grew about an inch longer and wider for 2015. Exterior styling was subtly improved, giving the sedan a rich, more sophisticated look. But what impressed immediately on the test drive was how quiet the Sonata is at idle and how smoothly it rode.

At the same time, the Sonata’s handling is improved for a solid, stable feel.

Ann M. Job is an Associated Press contributor.

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