The last revision to the Hyundai Sonata took place back in 2011 and to call its look "outdated" would be irresponsible. It still holds its own against any Japanese competitor and certainly outdoes the Toyota Camry and the Chevy Malibu , but it is not quite as classy as the 2014 Ford Fusion . And with Hyundai’s recent resurgence, the Korean automaker isn’t going to sit back and let anyone outdo it, so it has begun testing on the next generation of Sonata. We expect this revised model to arrive in time for the 2015 model year.
What’s more, our spy photographers managed to catch an updated Sonata testing near Nϋrburgring. So, they whipped out their cameras and started snapping all the shots we need to get an idea on what Hyundai will change in 2015.
The Sonata that our savvy camera carriers found in Germany features a greenhouse that is almost identical to the current model, but its front and rear fascias are definitely different. Even with the heavy camouflage on, it is evident that these areas will be the focal point in the Sonata’s upcoming revision.
In terms of power, we expect the Sonata to carry on with the 2.4- and 2.0—liter engines, with the latter making use of a turbocharger. The 2.4-liter should carry the same 200 horsepower (198 horsepower in the base setup) and the 2.0-liter will continue leading the pack with 274 horsepower, at least. Look for a new wrinkle in the Sonata lineup in the form of a 1.6-liter engine borrowed from the Veloster and tuned to deliver the same 200 ponies but with highway fuel economy in the 40 mpg range.
Updated 03/05/2014: Hyundai unveiled the first teaser image of the new Sonata before the car’s official debut at the 2014 New York Auto Show.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Sonata and to see an up-close look at the spy shots.
From a straight-on shot, it is pretty hard to see exactly what Hyundai is cooking up , but once you get into a front three-quarter shot, the changes become evident. Instead of having the sleek and laidback front fascia of the current model, Hyundai will opt for a more upright grille with the headlights positioned slightly rearward of the grille. Also, the grille louvers are 3D, as opposed to flat on the current model. The hood also looks like it is slightly revised and features a more predominant center section.
As you can see from the profile view, the Sonata will remain the same from the A-pillars to the rear. Its protruding shoulder line remains identical to the current model, as does its sleek glasshouse. We’re not complaining though, as these are two items that we are glad to see carried into the next generation.
Around the backside we can see that the arc in the trunk lid appears to be slightly less dramatic and that the taillights are obviously redesigned — the heavy camo is a dead giveaway. We also noticed that the plastic insert under the bumper is slightly smaller than the current generation and the tailpipes are trapezoidal instead of oval. Finally, the bumper lines appear to be straighter than the current model.
Our spy photographers also note that the headlights and taillights feature LED technology, which would be a new addition to the Sonata lineup.
By putting all of the changes together, it is easy to see that the new Sonata will take a lot of its styling cues from the 2013 HCD-14 Concept . Sure, it’s not nearly as extreme as the HCD-14, but things like the flattened nose, 3D grille, trapezoid tailpipes and LED lighting are all directly from the HCD-14.
Though there is no confirmation of the Malibu carrying over for 2015, we can only assume it will carry over untouched, given GM just redesigned it last year. Is the Malibu more exciting now than it has been in recent years? Absolutely, but it is in no way a stunner. It still carries itself as a rental-lot beater until you move into the 259-horsepower Malibu Turbo model. Then again, so does the Ford Taurus until you move into the SHO variant. The Malibu is, however, close to the Sonata’s price point and has plenty of options to spruce it up a bit.
Gallery Chevrolet Malibu
The Mazda6 is another new-for-2014 midsize sedan that should carry over into the 2015 model year untouched. The new Mazda6 is the anti-midsize sedan, as its Kodo styling sets it apart from everyone and its premium interior is just one notch down from a luxury sedan.
Where the Mazda6 falls flat is in its powertrain options. Sure, it is economical, but with a peak output of just 184 horsepower — so far — compared to the 270-plus horsepower we expect to see from the turbocharged Sonata in 2015, it fails to impress. Mazda may decide to add a more performance-oriented drivetrain in the future, but the only future engine we know of is the equally uninspiring 2.2-liter SKYACTIV-D diesel engine — yawn...
On Tuesday, Hyundai Motor Co. previewed the soon-to-be-launched all-new Sonata with the release of its first official exterior rendering. The Korean version of Sonata is scheduled to make its world-premiere later this month in Korea, while the U.S. Sonata will be shown for the first time in April during the New York International Auto Show.