After a strong first quarter this year following a positive end to 2015, the Sonata has been declining in sales as prospective buyers clutch their purses in anticipation of the sedan’s 2017 update. Well, here it is.

Those who held out buying the 2016 would be glad to know that they would have to pay less for more, as the starting price of the new model has dropped by $150 to $21,600, making it the cheapest in its class.

And the best way to assess its value is to compare it to a vehicle that’s chock-full of features, the $22,500 Chevrolet Malibu. It had scooped up the 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year in its Hybrid guise earlier in January.

2016 Chevrolet Malibu

2016 Chevrolet Malibu

For its low price Sonata buyers will get vehicle stability, electronic stability, traction control, and tire pressure monitoring systems, a suite of active safety tech, steering-mounted controls, dynamic bending headlights, and a choice of three powertrains to choose from.

The first is a 185hp 2.4L four-cylinder unit, and going higher up is an efficiency-focused 1.6L turbo-four worth 178hp. The range-topper is a 2.0L turbo-four with 245hp.

Some of its optional goodies include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, besides an electronic parking brake, a hands-free trunk opening feature, and 8.0-inch sat-nav screen, among others.

Although the Malibu is a mid-size sedan, its latest iteration has been sized much closer to the Chevy Impala which takes it a little out of the Sonata’s class. It delivers an output of either 160hp from a 1.5L engine or 250hp from a 2.0L one.

2016 chevy malibu apple carplay

Nevertheless, it sets the standard for its peers in terms of in-car tech with the availability of features like keyless start, steering-mounted and smartphone controls, cruise control, and split-rear folding seats.

Optional add-ons include OnStar service using 4G LTE connectivity with Wi-Fi hotspot, heated steering, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, Bose premium sound system, a wireless charging pad, a sunroof, a universal garage door control, and loads more.

On the whole, the Malibu still wins hands-down when it comes to tech, but for those who want a cheaper deal with an impressive amount of standard in-cabin features, the new Sonata is a equally irresistible proposition.

Staff Reporter

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