|The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T.|
The trade netted us considerably more room for people and cargo (the Sonata's trunk easily accommodated what we had to fold down the rear seats in the Mazda 3 to hold), and without a horrendous penalty in fuel economy (an EPA estimated 23 city/32 highway compared to the Mazda 3's 26/35...and ultimately both wound up getting 29.5). But the biggest squiggly line of the trip lay ahead.
|Jenner Grade, CA Highway 1 (source: Google Maps satellite view)|
|Jenner Grade, CA Highway 1.|
|2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0 T.|
One button. It's marked "Drive Mode". Press it and you have three choices..."Normal", which is what the transmission usually does, "ECO", which gets you into higher gears faster in the interests of even greater fuel economy, and "Sport". Those of you of a certain age may be chuckling at the existence of a button in a Hyundai that makes a light reading "Sport" come on, but things have changed. There is some significant enthusiastic driving ability in the Sonata Sport Turbo, and the "Sport" setting, which holds a gear longer, is the perfect solution on roads where varying speeds caused by curves and other terrain would have a typical automatic frequently putting you in the wrong gear. It worked like a charm and greatly reduced what, even to this squiggle-loving TireKicker, can be a stressful stretch of a truly great road.
|2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T interior.|
Again, all standard. The only extra cost option on our tester was carpeted floor mats ($125). With inland freight and handling, the bottom line stayed just this side of $30,000 at $29,885. And you get Hyundai's legendary 10 year/100,000 mile warranty.
One week and 750 miles made me a big believer in Hyundai's ever-increasing competitiveness in classes of cars even the most optimistic of us would have doubted five years ago. The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T is a sport sedan for Everyman.