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Roseville, Calif. – A year ago, the folks at Hyundai redesigned the Sonata, making improvements to the popular midsize family sedan that has been inching its way up the ladder for a while and now resides among the heavyweights in the class.

However, the redesign didn’t include the Sonata Hybrid, which remained basically the same. Making amends, the South Korean automaker included the redesign for the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. Priced roughly between $26,000 to $30,100, the hybrid received a stiffer platform, more refined driving experience, a roomier interior, and some styling modifications.

The Hyundai Sonata might not be on top of the class, but it’s not far from it. And that’s saying a lot considering its prime rivals are the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, Mazda 6, Chevrolet Malibu, Volkswagen Passat, and the Kia Optima, a cousin of the Sonata (Hyundai and Kia production is closely related).

The Sonata remains at an affordable price and still can be characterized as delivering a lot of bang for the buck. It’s a sedan that provides strong performance with a choice of four engines, delivers solid gas mileage, offers top-notch safety, rides with comfort, and features a sizable list of standard features.

2016 Hyundai Sonata

  • Performance: 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, 185 horsepower; turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 245 horsepower; 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder, 177 horsepower; 2.0-liter hybrid, 193 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 25-37 mpg; 23-32 mpg; 28-38 mpg; 39-44 mpg
  • Estimated price: $21,150 to $33,525
  • Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain: 10 years/100,000,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/unlimited; corrosion: 7 years/unlimited

Looking for improvements, the Sonata redesign was not focused on altering the already attractive exterior, it was more about adding interior refinements. Last year the conventional Sonata added a 1.6-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder that delivers good gas mileage (28-38 mpg) and surprisingly good performance.

There are two other engine choices for the regular Sonata. The standard model is a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder that produces 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. The Sport 2.0T is a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder with 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Even though it sounds impressive, some drivers might not like that the 2.0T only goes 0-60 mph in 8.3 seconds.

The front-wheel drive Sonata Hybrid has one engine, a 2.0-liter that is mated to an electric motor. It delivers 193 horsepower and features six-speed automatic transmission. The hybrid accelerates just fine in all driving conditions. There are better hybrids on gas mileage, but the Sonata doesn’t have to feel embarrassed by the 39-43 mpg it delivers.

A definite plus for the Sonata is its quiet ride. Several auto reviewers have written that the Sonata cruises along in “utter silence.” The Sonata also has other fine qualities like good braking, confident handling, and smooth ride.

The Sonata interior also receives high marks. It has good interior room and can easily accommodate four adults. Additional leg room is now available in the back seat, but head room can still be confining for taller individuals due to the sweeping roof line. The trunk space is 16.3 cubic feet, which is a little more space than the average midsize sedan. The hybrid is a bit smaller at 13.3 cubic feet.

There’s nothing complicated with the Sonata control layout. It’s straightforward, a good thing for people who find it annoying when an intuitive design is not part of the plan. Climate controls are clear-cut and so is the touchscreen interface.

Easing its way into the conversation these days, the attractive Hyundai Sonata is a smart choice in the midsize sedan class for folks who want to save money and love the Hyundai drivetrain warranty of 10 years or 100,000 miles.

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