I’m a born and raised Ohio girl, but for several years my family lived in Huntsville. When I hear the song “Sweet Home Alabama”, my heart always beats just a little bit faster and I long for my southern friends, long drives through the countryside and hikes in the hills of the south. When I was invited to visit Montgomery for an opportunity to check out the new 2015 Hyundai Sonata, I was thrilled at the opportunity to return to a state I love. I was excited to learn that the media tour would also encompass a road trip. Be still my heart. Hyundai was talking my love language.
After meeting the Hyundai team at the airport, I was driven to my hotel, the Renaissance Montgomery, a beautiful hotel that offered a gorgeous river view. Rumors quickly circulated that Oprah was also a guest of the property so that made me feel pretty special.
I joined several other writer’s for a trolley ride to learn some of Montgomery’s history. The ride was air-conditioned and while I expected it to focus mainly on the Civil Rights movement, it offered more of an overview of the city.
The next day we kicked off our Hyundai Sonata events with a tour of the HMMA plant. The Hyundai manufacturing plant is the first in the US and employs about 3,000 people. Free public tours are offered and you’ll see the same thing I did, you just aren’t permitted to take photos.
The tour begins in the showroom where you’ll learn an overview of the plant and watch a short video that walks you through the manufacturing process so you’ll understand what you’ll see. After a briefing, you’ll board a tram and don safety glasses and a headset so you can hear your tour guide.
HMMA is one of the most technologically advanced manufacturing facilities in the world. In addition to Team Members, they also utilize over 250 robots in the plant that do the stamping and welding – which is fascinating to see. They work in perfect timed precision. The use of robots alleviates some of the more strenuous jobs and cut back on employee injuries. They also ensure quality control and consistency.
HMMA manufactures the Elantra and Sonata sedans. It was amazing to watch the vehicles take form as the tour progressed. At the end of our tour, I jumped off the tram with my driving partner, Beeb Ashcroft, and directly into a brand new 2015 Hyundai Sonata.
We were about to embark on a road trip through Alabama in a new Hyundai Sonata and who would ever have guessed it would kick off with a surprise like this? I was thrilled to find a USB plug-in inside the car to power up my dying phone and didn’t waste any time plugging in.
Inside the car we also found our directions, a printed map with turn by turn instructions directing us to our meeting place.
Our route took us through the Alabama countryside, allowing us to really get a feel for how the car handled and drove. On the back roads there really wasn’t much need for some of the advanced safety features that the car offered but in every day traffic around town or on interstate driving, it’s nice to have the lane departure warnings, forward collision alerts, blind-side protection, lane change assist, smart cruise control and automatic vehicle hold that when activated allows you to lift your foot off the brake when stopped and the vehicle will continue to hold it’s position. If we’d have been traveling at night, I would have loved to check out the automatic high-beam assist which automatically dims the lights as vehicles approach.
Adding to driver confidence, more than half of the Sonata is constructed of advanced, high-strength steel and features seven airbags which includes a drivers’ side knee airbag. Improved fuel economy allows this vehicle a range of 23 city mpg, up to 37 mpg on the highway.
As a mom with really tall kids, I took not of the ample headroom and leg room that added to the comfort of the vehicle.
Beeb and I took turns driving and navigating and though we did get distracted (as women do) and missed our turn once, it was easy to get back on track. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata offers plenty of get up and go – especially the Sport 2.0T, which as the name suggests is the sportier version of the Sonata, and the one I think my young adults would most enjoy driving.
Our road trip was the perfect test drive of the new 2015 Hyundai Sonata’s and a fun way to see some of the Alabama countryside. I could definitely envision myself in a Sonata for my next road trip. Special thanks to Hyundai for such a well-organized event and for reminding me of just how much I love Alabama!
© 2014, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.