2014 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T Exceptional Road Manners>

When you’re traveling in higher elevations, it’s always nice to have a little extra grunt under the hood to get pass the anti-destination league. Such was our luck while visiting Denver this summer for an NHRA drag race at the wonderful Bandimere Speedway went of Colorado’s largest city.

The vehicle is a 2014 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T, the “T” in that nomenclature standing for Turbo, for which we’re extremely grateful. While the Hyundai Sonata has become a ubiquitous four-door, front-wheel-drive sedan on the road (and in rental car fleets) over the past few years, owing to its good looks (which still don’t strain the eye) and exceptional road manners, the different permutations of Hyundai’s most popular vehicle beg an individual examination of each.
Simply put, the 2.0T Sonata is a personal favorite. It looks good, has sufficient power to get out of town (even in the Mile High city), offers quality suspension for good handling characteristics, has brakes that halt the car without histrionics and, while the steering has a soft feel on-center, it’s easy to compensate for that with sport mode activation.

The lush Indigo blue with gray leatherette interior Sonata SE 2.0T isn’t the richest Hyundai Sonata on the block. While it does feature the Turbo premium equipment package of a wonderful power tilt/slide sunroof, blind spot detection, 8-in navigation and premium speakers, along with floor mats, the entry fee of $29,555 inclusive is a rather doable decision – particularly in these high elevations – with this sedan you don’t need to give a lot to get a lot.
The 2014 Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T is richest in its running gear. Its inline, 2-liter, 4-cylinder, direct-injected and intercooled engine has 274 horsepower at 6000 rpm and a robust 269 lb-ft of torque at a truly useful 1750 rpm. A traditional six-speed easily-shiftable automatic transmission mates to this delightful engine, along with well developed MacPherson strut and multi-link front and rear suspensions. Driver-selectable steering modes are great for the enthusiast, with the sport-tuned steering just right for switchbacks in our visit area adjacent the Rocky Mountains.

This 3417-pound sedan stops with elegance and its uprated 225-45R 18-inch tires are mounted on elegant twinned five-spoke alloy rims. An 18.5-gallon tank ensures the fuel ratings of 21/32/25 mpg will give close to 500 miles range, provided one doesn’t get too happy working with this Sonata’s excellent driving characteristics. When the turbo engine is prodded, the double rear exhaust pipes respond with a lively note.

I loved the comfortable light gray cloth seats and their excellent support. There is power for the driver, none for the passenger. There is no rear air conditioning in this sedan but plenty of space for three. Hyundai’s use of blue accents throughout its vehicles is quite calming. The Sonata SE 2.0T sedan uses a proximity key and that means the fob stays in the pocket; there are under-dash releases for fuel and trunk near the driver’s door.
The steering wheel offers excellent command of cruise control, audio and telephone, along with trip computer and steering wheel heater (thankfully not necessary in July). The base of the central stack has two 12-volt plugs, along with auxiliary and USB; there’s space (with grippy floor) for a phone. The double-layer central storage can take the rest of what’s necessary for your long trip.

Need to take a bunch of stuff with you? Check out the 16.4-cubic-inch trunk space along with the 60/40 rear seat fold. Since we were in the Denver area for an extended weekend, we didn’t carry much but shopping trips enabled us pick up gifts for our hosts as we went. And stash them nicely in that trunk.

After all these years the Sonata still has appealing body lines that haven’t gotten old. Sure you see them at every car rental station, but owning a Hyundai Sonata with the 2.0 turbo engine is a grand experience. Don’t forget that wonderful Hyundai warranty (that hardly anyone needs to use anymore) and the company’s great build quality and this car is an easy pick.

Words and photos by Anne Proffit