Cruisin’ Alabama in the 2015 Hyundai Sonata

2015 Hyundai Sonata Profile
Image: Nicole Wakelin

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata is all new this year and the folks at Hyundai invited me down to Montgomery, Alabama to spend some time behind the wheel of their newest vehicle. Why Montgomery, Alabama? Well, it’s home to the plant that makes the #NewSonata so not only did we get to drive the car, we got to tour the factory, take pictures where it’s not normally allowed, and drive a car right off the line and onto the street.

It’s not every day that you get to see first-hand how cars come together, especially not at a place as incredible as the Hyundai plant in Montgomery. It is an expansive place that operates 24/7 without a break in production. It makes over 1000 cars a day during three shifts, and although that’s a lot, the people at Hyundai said they could make more, but choose a slower production rate.

Hyundai Assembly Line
Image: Nicole Wakelin

The reason is simple, and it’s one that, in an age of recalls that roll out daily and have everyone a little on edge about the safety of their car, should make you feel good about driving a Hyundai. Their goal is to have 97% of vehicles roll off the line in perfect, ready-to-ship form. That means that only 3% have to have adjustments made due to a problem.

Those problems might not be very big and could be as minor as paint with a finish that doesn’t pass muster, but Hyundai puts a focus on quality. Quality over quantity means you’re driving a car that was made with care.

Hyundai Plant
Image: Nicole Wakelin

We toured the factory on a tram straight out of a Disney ride and were permitted to take pictures in areas where it’s normally forbidden, and what we saw was wonderful. It’s spotlessly clean, much quieter than you’d expect, and a genuinely happy place. The employees waved and smiled, and even posed for the camera. The guys on the line making your car are a happy lot who take pride in their work and look to really enjoy their jobs.

I drove a shiny red 2015 Hyundai Sonata Turbo right off the line and into the humid Alabama weather for a tour through some beautiful countryside. I partnered up with the wonderful TerriAnn van Gosliga of CookiesAndClogs and DrivingMamas on a drive route that took us on highways and through winding country roads so we got a good feel for the car.

Hyundai Line
Image: TerriAnn van Gosliga of CookiesAndClogs.com

There are two different engines, one being a turbo with 245 horsepower that, if you love to drive, is going to put a nice wide grin on your face. Even the smaller 185 horsepower engine is powerful and makes merging onto highways and passing other cars easy.

It handles beautifully and feels like a much more expensive sedan than it is—something that Hyundai excels at in all their vehicles. You can get into a Sonata for a starting price of $21,150 or get a totally loaded model for $33,525. That’s a very reasonable price considering the huge number of features in the car.

2015 Hyundai Sonata
Image: Nicole Wakelin

There are seven standard airbags including one for the driver’s knees, a rearview camera, available Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and a Lane Departure Warning System to keep you and the family safe. Convenience features are there, too, with heated and ventilated front seats, and even heated seats in the back as well as beautiful leather seats and accents that really add to the luxury vibe.

Driving it for several hours through unfamiliar roads was really quite a test for me since I had back to back plane rides and was pretty tired. Amazingly, it wasn’t tiring at all driving the #NewSonata. It was relaxing, comfortable, and fun from beginning to end.

2015 Hyundai Sonata Front
Image: Nicole Wakelin

Hyundai has really stepped up their game over the last few years and they aren’t the brand they were ten years ago. Their cars are plush, well-equipped with safety and convenience features, and boast prices that are far less than competitors.

If you’re in the market for a mid-size sedan, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata is arriving at dealer showrooms now and is definitely worth taking for a test drive.

Hyundai covered all expenses to attend this drive experience.

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