Hyundai’s Sonata badge has returned to Australia this week, after having first been replaced by the now retired i45 back in 2010.
The new Sonata, which promises to be Hyundai’s most refined volume-selling offering yet, kicks off from $29,990 for the entry Active.
But, while the Active is powered by Hyundai’s 138kW/241Nm 2.4 litre petrol engine, it’s the new turbocharged models that are likely to attract the most attention.
While the Active’s outputs will satisfy fleets and the thrifty, buyers eager for more urge can instead look to the 180kW and 350Nm 2.0 litre turbo models in the middle and top of the range.
Both engines in the new Sonata are matched exclusively to a six-speed auto, with lock-up torque converter and sequential manual shift mode
Fuel consumption is listed at 8.3 l/100km for the 2.4 litre Active, while the turbo models return 9.2 l/100km.
Available in Elite and Premium trim, the turbo GDi engine could make the Sonata a more compelling option than Toyota’s 135kW Camry, while facing up to the challenge from Ford’s incoming 177kW 2.0 turbo Mondeo.
Nissan’s 183kW/312Nm 3.5 litre V6 Altima Ti-S and Volkswagen’s 220kW/350Nm 3.6 litre Passat V6 FSI are loosely comparable for power output and fuel efficiency (with consumption listed at 9.3 and 9.7 l/100km respectively).
All-new Sonata inside and out
On the styling front, the new Sonata takes its cues from the larger Genesis premium sedan, although its lines are softer and more focused on snagging buyers in the fleet market.
There's a broad new grille and long headlights that reach back into the front quarter panels, matched to a long flowing roofline and a short rear deck.
The new Sonata is also larger than its predecessor, measuring 35mm longer and 30mm wider, with a 20mm longer wheelbase.
Inside, Hyundai promises a more premium feel, with higher-grade materials and soft-touch surfaces, leather and metal accents, and advanced new technologies.
The company also promises dramatically improved Noise/Vibration/Harshness qualities, thanks to new construction materials, methods and significantly enhanced suspension.
There's a new front MacPherson strut setup at the front and a "heavily revised" multi-link arrangement at the rear, both matched to damper, spring and sway bar components specified and tuned directly by Hyundai Australia.
- 2.4-litre GDi engine - 138kW & 241Nm
- 6 airbags (driver & front passenger, driver & front passenger side (thorax), full length curtains)
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC) including:
Traction Control System (TCS)
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)
Brake Assist System (BAS)
Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)
Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)
- Automatic dusk sensing headlamps
- Emergency Stop Signal (ESS)
- LED Daytime Running Lamps (DRL)
- Rear view camera
- Rear parking assist system (4 sensors)
- 17-inch alloy wheels with 215/55R17 tyres
- Keyless entry with burglar alarm
- 4.3-inch touchscreen audio system with CD player, MP3 capability & 6 speakers
- AUX / USB audio input with digital iPod compatibility
- Bluetooth connectivity (hands free phone & audio streaming)
- Steering wheel mounted audio and phone controls
- Cruise control with steering wheel mounted controls
- Front & rear power windows
- Height adjustable driver’s & front passenger’s seats
- One touch turn signal operation (3, 5, or 7 flashes)
- One touch window up/down on driver’s window
- Rear seat centre-fold down armrest
- Tilt & telescopic steering column
- Trip computer
- Metallic painted centre fascia panels, textured dashboard / door inserts, and interior door handles
- Cloth interior
- Premium steering wheel & gear knob
- Premium door centre trim
- LED high mount stop lamp
- LED side repeater integrated into side mirrors
- LED front positioning lamps
- 3.5” OLED display in dash cluster
- Ambient lighting for front centre console
- 60:40 split folding rear seats
- Manual air conditioning with rear centre console cooling ducts
Elite (in addition to Active features)
- 2.0-litre Turbo GDi engine - 180kW & 350Nm (+42kW & 109Nm)
- Electric folding external mirrors
- Electrically adjusted driver’s seat (12 way incl. lumbar)
- 8-inch touchscreen satellite navigation with 3 yrs. HERE MapCare
- Proximity smart key with push button start
- Smart boot lid (hands-free boot opening)
- Leather and artificial leather appointed seats
- Alloy look interior door handles & chrome exterior door handles
- Carbon fibre effect dashboard/door inserts
- Stainless steel door scuff plates
- LED tail lamps with bulb turn signal & reverse lights
- Dual zone climate control air conditioning
Premium (in addition to Active and Elite equipment)
- 18-inch alloy wheels with 235/45R18 tyres
- Front parking assist system (4 sensors)
- High Intensity Discharge (HID) Bi-Xenon headlamps with washer system, auto-levelling, and static bending lamps
- Automatic windscreen defog function
- Electro-chromatic auto dimming interior mirror (ECM)
- Electrically adjusted front passenger’s seat (8 way)
- Electronic Park-Brake (EPB) with Auto Hold function
- Heated external mirrors
- Heated & air ventilated front seats
- Integrated Memory System (IMS) on driver’s seat & ext. mirrors
- One-touch window up/down function on front windows
- Panoramic glass sunroof
- Rain sensing wipers
- Rear door curtains (sunblinds)
- 4.2-inch TFT LCD colour display in Supervision cluster
What of the i40?
The new Sonata's Australian debut leaves a question mark over some models in the i40 range, particularly the entry-level $31,990 Active model, now more expensive than the all-new Sonata.
The i40 does boast its own advantages over the new Sonata range, however, as Hyundai Australia boss John Elsworth outlined to TMR last year.
“The whole model mix of i40/Sonata is still a work in progress, [but] Sonata doesn't come in a wagon. There's not too many midsize wagons so it'd be silly to walk away from [i40 Tourer]," Mr Elsworth said.
“We've just got to sit down and work out what is practical for the dealers to stock and for us to manage from a promotion point of view, trying to manage two brands in one segment.”
Today, Hyundai Australia spokesperson Guido Schenken confirmed that the i40 will stick around for sometime, but details on changes won't be revealed until the updated i40 range lands later this year.
PRICING (excludes on-road costs)
Sonata Active - 2.4 petrol - $29,990
Sonata Elite - 2.0 turbo petrol - $36,990
Sonata Premium - 2.0 turbo petrol - $41,990