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Another Prairie Drive with a Sonata

You could not make this up, if you tried.

A few years ago we had an opportunity to go for an extended Prairie drive in Manitoba with a Hyundai Sonata, our story is

In the interim we had an opportunity to review a Sonata Sport 2.0T.

A few days ago in Saskatchewan on a very tight schedule we get another Sonata, a 2015 Sport to go for another prairie drive. If Manitoba is flat, northern Saskatchewan is flatter if there is such a thing.

First thing that captures our attention, another prairie drive, another Sonata.

Doing a review there is always time to leisurely inspect a vehicle, drive it under different circumstances, roads, reflect, and perhaps even mentally compare to other vehicles.

It starts at the rental counter "What car do you have for me?" the reply "A blue Sonata" and we are given the key fob.

This was a case of flying in, stopping at the counter to pick up a rental vehicle, and having to travel an additional few hundred kilometers.

Mentally "Another Prairie Drive, another Sonata, can't make this up if you tried."

This Sonata is a Sport, with push start, keyless entry, dark blue metallic, a cool car.

If you have ever driven in the Prairies, the total flatness, the road and scenery disappearing in the horizon, has a tendency to generate "velocity creep". From the perspective that you are never catching up to the road, scenery. Its an eerie feeling.

Its a stunning bright sunny day, late morning, and this Sonata starts to "rock and roll" down the road. Its a Sport the suspension is stiffer, this car is similar in handling to the 2.0T we reviewed without the power which in the Prairies is a good thing in light of velocity creep.

This car feels good, inspires confidence, is comfortable, and after travelling a few hundred kilometers you are still refreshed to hold a business meeting.

To our travel companion "You know this Sonata feels good, and is a cool car to drive in the Prairies"

As an aside if you have to travel in remote areas of Canada, ensure that your mobile phone carrier provides service. In our case when we travel we have 2 mobile phones, with different carriers, its always the same phone, that defaults to "no service" in remote areas. Check with your carrier.

One more thing, travel in good weather, daylight, and augment your level of caution. The roads are good, the markings for curves are non existent, the signs of wildlife possibly crossing the road are numerous, as well as "open range stock".

Hyundai Sonata and a Prairie Drive is a memorable experience.




2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport

2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T

2.0 L Turbo charged 4 Cylinder 245 HP with 6 Speed Automatic

Coast Blue Metallic with Black Leather

The photo gallery/slide show of the

Five years ago we had the then new Sonata for a few days. At the time we were impressed by the evocative styling, and mentioned that styling sells. In the ensuing years Sonata sales reinforced our thinking that styling sells. Subsequently we had an opportunity to do an extended road trip with a Sonata, again the car continued to impress.

Needless to say we were anxious to experience this restyled Sonata Sport with a turbo charged engine.

The Sonata was impressive five years ago, this new version is an appreciable improvement. Hyundai has made a diligent effort to reimagine the Sonata.

The grille is bolder, the headlamps and LED's reinforce the boldness of the grille, while the minimal rear spoiler complemented by the rear diffuser with the quad exhaust makes a statement. The side chrome moulding on the lower body is unique.

It upholds a solid street presence, even if there are a lot of Sonata's on the road.

The interior is truly a wow moment. How did such a sophisticated interior get into a Sonata? Its leather, contrast stitching, immense panorama roof, flat bottomed steering wheel its all good, and impressive. The layout of the dash is a quantum leap from the previous version. Although the dash cover comes across black, hard, and plastic.

Its well finished with a superior choice of materials for the price range. The front seats are comfortable, power, heated and ventilated. The controls are easy and intuitive, you expect a center screen, navigation, automatic climate control, satellite radio its all there. The sound system is impressive, and will capture your attention.

Rear leg room is ample for adults, the seat is heated, there are sunshades for the door glass, and vents is the console for the rear seat passengers. The seat backs fold down.

You can configure your own

How does it drive?

The turbo charged engine deliver a rush of torque from low revolutions. Its impressive, and reinforces the styling, interior finishing, and strong value of the car. Especially if you have an appreciation for a bit more power.

This generates discreet acceleration on surface streets, accompanied by effortless passing on the highway.

The 6 speed automatic is well calibrated to the engine with precise shift points, while the paddle shifter permits manual shifts.

The steering and brakes are good, the suspension is firm (its a sport version) while the overall handling is reassuring. On our favorite stretch of road with broken pavement and several turns, the Sonata is composed and inspires confidence.

The mid size sedan segment is filled with exceptional vehicles, and very competitive. If you are considering a mid size sedan, make it a point to experience the Sonata Sport 2.0T especially if you appreciate an increase in power and torque. You will be pleasantly surprised by a myriad of features that you would not expect. While starting at $30,990 its a compelling value proposition.

This car will certainly provoke your thought process towards making a decision.

Strada Talking Points:

  • Refreshed iconic styling
  • Superb interior for the class
  • Immense Panorama roof
  • Great center of dash layout
  • The rush of torque

The quick review




A Prairie Drive

When we review vehicles, its usually a leisurely experience, savoring the moment, and the vehicle at hand. Ever wonder what its like to rent a car for a few days, and travel with a tight agenda, and deadlines.

A few days ago we had an opportunity to exprience a Hyundai Sonata in such circumstances. If you remember we reviewed a Sonata last year...the review is here. At the time we mentioned "In a competitive mid size sedan segment this new Sonata stands out with its evocative styling, comprehensive standard features, new engine with direct injection. Its a robust and enticing value proposition!"  

Our recent 3 day experience...

We need a vehicle to cover approximately 700 kilometers in a scheduled amount of time, with acceptable comfort, hopefully a vehicle that is resonably pleasant to drive. 

After turning down a few alternatives, for some reason short term leasing companies always mention the vehicles nobody really wants as being available. Finally this Sonata is made available, having experienced one, first thought "it will work...."

The second thought is covering over 500 kms on single lane roads which will involve passing, great opportunity to see how the 4 cylinder with the 6 speed will behave. 

Once in the car, its quickly all familiar, the manual HVAC, the controls, its all easy to find, and yes...its has satellite radio which is essential for where we will be driving. This Sonata is almost new with less than 3,000 kilometer on the odometer. 

"If your dog runs away you can watch it run for 3 days"Until its a divided highway similar to the 400 series in Ontario, its all cool and easy, set the cruise, the flatness of the land is a new experience, the road literally blending into the horizon for kilometers at a time is also a new experience. 

Massive amounts of bugs splattering on the windshield and the front of the car is a trademark of driving on these highways at this time of year. 

The cruise control is set at a reasonable speed, traffic is light, its totally flat....instinctively we still do not like to linger in the opposite lane when passing. Our passing strategy is "expedient" spending the least amount of time possible in the opposing lane. 

Yes...the 4 cylinder puts out 201 HP, the 6 speed downshifts 2 gears, and passing is an easy task, especially when gaining momentum prior to changing lanes. The engine transmission combination works very well, and our concern that passing might become a task are quickly alleviated. 

The more this Sonata stretches its performance envelope on these flat roads, the nicer it feels. Delivering acceptable passing performance from the 4 cylinder, responsive transmission, good steering feel, good brakes when you need to scrub off momentum.The seats are comfortable, the controls are easy, the HVAC works well, the sound system is good alternating between our favorite XM channels.

Yes...the suspension is a little stiff, and perhaps unrefined on rougher surfaces, at this time we need this car to go straight, on mostly smooth roads, and pass other vehicles with ease...the Sonata is working well in this application.

We reach our destination slightly ahead of schedule, the Sonata performed flawlessly....

A major portion of the return was on an even tighter schedule, again the Sonata performed well, accumulating additional bugs. 

Fuel economy....this was not a fuel economy ride, especially when 4 cylinders are used for expedient passing situations...we expected slightly worse than what was achieved we covered a bit over 700 kilometers with approximately 66 liters of gas.

Our quick photo gallery of the drive





2010 Genesis - Value that Wows

2010 Genesis with Premium Package

3.8L V6 290 HP with 6 Speed Automatic Transmission

Cabernet Red Pearl with Beige leather

Photo Gallery / Slide Show of the Genesis

By now you have heard of the Genesis, you know that it was nominated the Canadian luxury car of the year in its segment, you know that its aimed directly at some serious mid size luxury car competition, and you know that its from Hyundai. 

The Genesis is a bold, provocative statement from Hyundai that elicits bold comments. We think its totally cool that Hyundai makes such a statement and injects excitement in a market segment that was ripe for increased competitive action. 

Hyundai tells us that the Genesis is a luxury car that can compete with established players in the segment, its a game changer, its exciting, and one has the impression that the Genesis with time, and additional refinements will increasingly win hearts, and minds.

From our perspective the Genesis is a good middle of the road luxury sedan, that raises the expectations, and value proposition for the entire segment. The folks at Genesis have done their due diligence, this sedan on a spreadsheet comes out ahead of the established competitors. 

One thing even the harshest commenters agree, the exterior styling is clean, crisp, and appealing. The interior is meticulously well finished with a good materials, even the doors have a sound of quality when closed. 

The Genesis has all the features you expect from a mid size rear wheel drive luxury car, from power seats, to xenon headlamps, to a multi link front suspension, are all the specs.

The technology interface for the navigation, XM satellite, and radio is straightforward and intuitive, the Lexicon Logic 7.0 sound system with 14 speakers is impressive. In addition there is Bluetooth, MP3 connectivity, and the usual steering controls.

All the safety features are present, notable the rear door air bags are not an option contrary to some offerings in the segment, ABS brakes, Traction and electronic stability, plus front active headrests.

Its an appealing car with discreet street presence, a well finished and roomy interior, good middle of the road performance, and competitive specifications for the segment. 

How does it drive?

It feels like a rear wheel drive sedan which is one of the most prominent indicator of a luxury mid size sedan. Think about this for a moment...its a Korean rear wheel drive sedan!

It drives well, with acceptable performance from the V6, a good on centre feel in the steering, the brakes are impressive, keeps its composure on broken pavement, its a comfortable drive with a sporting edge that instills confidence; the car has a sporting nature which is discreet but emerges when you need it. 

Its a superlative highway cruiser, yes we were impressed with the Genesis on the highway, it enjoys and urges elevated speeds. Using the cruise control is almost a pre requisite to avert getting in situations.

One minor irritant the shift lever has a tendency of going into the manumatic slot when shifting from Drive to Park, for some reason there is no folding seat back which is a standard feature in the majority of mid size sedan. 

The fuel economy rating is 7.2L highway and 11.4L city per 100 kms. 

The Genesis has a 5 Year / 100,000 kms Comprehensive Warranty, sadly the warranty covers the entertainment system for only 36 months.

Its refreshing to see the Genesis awaken the mid size luxury sedan segment. Will the customers of established players in the segment migrate to a Genesis? Probably not! Will the Genesis tempt, and realign the value proposition of potential customers considering a mid size luxury sedan. Absolutely!

The Wow factor of the Genesis is the value, its a lot of rear wheel drive sedan for the money. Yes, the Genesis recalibrates in its favor the value proposition for the entire segment.

If you are considering a mid size luxury sedan, in your decision process make it a point to experience the Genesis. You will discover a new value proposition!