If you haven’t been watching what the South Koreans are doing, you might be surprised. Hyundai and Kia are moving up and competing with Toyota, Honda and Ford in the sedan market. This week we’re test driving the 2014 Hyundai Sonata with the SE 2.0T trim and its a good choice for anyone looking for a little more power and sport in a commuter four-door. This SE 2.0T gets a more powerful turbo engine with sport suspension. What’s not to like about faster and sportier?
The 2014 Hyundai Sonata features lots of updates this year. These include standard driver-selectable steering effort, a sport-tuned exhaust (on the SE 2.0T we’re testing), available xenon headlights and LED taillights and ventilated driver seat on Limited trim, an optional blind-spot monitoring system, an improved stability control system and two new touchscreens. Outside, it gets refreshed styling, and additional sound-deadening materials for a quieter ride.
Inside the Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T ($25,750)
This is where Hyundai is making big strides. The materials, build quality and fit and finish are among the best in the mid-size sedan class. The cabin feels ultra modern with its unique angles, different textures and modern designs throughout. Sonata SE 2.0T comes with standard items like heated front seats, keyless ignition, 6-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, heated outside mirrors and steering wheel paddle shifters.
The cabin is a comfortable place to spend time, and legroom is best-in-class. But the rear passengers pay a price and have reduced rear-seat legroom compared to others. Sonata is a great sedan for drivers with long legs. As long as you don’t haul any 6 footers or taller in the back for more than short trips, you’ll be fine.
The Sonata SE 2.0T can be upgraded with a Navigation and Sunroof Package which includes touch screen GPS navigation, a rearview camera, power tilt and slide sunroof and an audio upgrade with eight speakers, subwoofer and 360 watts of power.
Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T on the road
The Sonata SE is designed for those who want a more sporty driving experience. The Sonata SE 2.0T cranks it up the sporty meter another level to fun and exciting. This model is equipped with a 2-liter 4-cylinder engine that pumps out a very impressive 274 horsepower and 269 lb. ft of torque. The average midsize sedan has 185 hp and 181 lb. ft of torque for model year 2014.
Hyundai cranked up the performance in this SE and when combined with the six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, it provides very sporty driving dynamics. This turbocharged engine that is one of the most powerful in this class but still delivers excellent fuel mileage. It runs on regular unleaded gas and gets an EPA estimated 32 mpg highway. Now we didn’t get anywhere near that this week, but we also had our foot buried in the gas.
If you want a driver’s car that will satisfy the families needs for a sedan, the SE 2.0T is the ticket. It also features a firmer suspension and sharper steering response. It offers excellent acceleration and the turbo will satisfy anyone’s need for speed. We pushed it hard all week and it never left us wanting for more performance. We took the car into the mountains and it chewed up the road like more expensive sport sedans.
We had to be careful this week because this car can be deceiving. Just when you think it’s a standard sedan, the extra 74 additional horses and 85 pound-feet of torque over the base four-cylinder saw us pushing the speed limit beyond what the Colorado State Patrol allows.
Ride quality is firmer in the SE 2.0T and contributes to its sporty attitude in the corners. It comes with a thicker rear stabilizer bar that keeps the car on a more even keel when it’s pushed hard along twisty two lane mountain roads. This car won’t compete with the German sedans like Audi, BMW and Mercedes, but it will tear up the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord for sportiness.
Hyundai has made big strides in materials, build quality and fit and finish in the Sonata cabin. This 2014 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0 T is a great alternative to more expensive sport sedans but still provides a great driving experience for sports enthusiasts. And it still gets decent fuel mileage if you keep your foot out of the gas. The 274 horsepower is the best out there in this class and delivers a lot of fun for under $30,000. Hyundai is giving Toyota and Honda a run for their money with the Sonata’s styling, fuel mileage, expansive standard equipment lists and competitive prices.