Features: 90 / 100
Look/Design: 80 / 100
Performance: 75 / 100
Safety: 90 / 100
The Sonata was one of the first models in Hyundai’s arsenal when they started their major push to gain ground in international markets. It’s been an important model for Hyundai and is now their bridging model between the mainstream and luxury brands. This refresh of the Sonata aims to not only make the Sonata a budget offering competing against the German trio, but to make it a legitimate contender in its segment.
The exterior got a few clever and subtle upgrades. It’s a cleaner take on the Fluidic Sculpture design language that been the trademark of recent Hyundai cars. The Sonata has also gotten bigger and chunkier rims, which gives the Sonata a sportier look. The LED day-time running lights and panoramic sunroof are nice touches that add to the overall appeal and luxury feel of the car.
The interior has gotten the biggest make-over and now exudes luxury. It’s a comfortable and luxurious space to be in, with finishes that very closely rival those of the luxury brands. All the creature comforts you’d expect is there, and then some. You’ve got electrically adjustable front seats with heating, automatic dual-zone climate control, audio system with amplifier, and subwoofer, and everything in-between.
As you’d also expect, safety is of the utmost importance and Hyundai has gone through great lengths to add all their best safety features to the Sonata.
Another big change is the engine. The Sonata now comes with Hyundai’s new GDi engine, which replaces the outgoing MPi engine. It still is a 2.4l engine, but both power and torque is up, while fuel consumption is down. Power is no up to 148kW and torque up to 250Nm. These figures make the Sonata a brisk performer, but by no means a sprinter. Coupled with the automatic 6-speed gearbox and cruise control, it makes the Sonata a great car for longer distances.
The Sonata is aimed at the Audi A4, BMW 3-series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The big problem for Hyundai has now shifted. It’s no longer a matter of quality and luxury, but rather a matter of choice. Whereas the German trio gives you a plethora of choices, the Sonata is a one engine, one gearbox, one model affair. You get one model, no choice. The current 2.4GDi is a decent mid-range engine for cars in this segment and the lack of a diesel is almost unforgivable.
The new Sonata is a solid step in the right direction. It’s much more refined than the outgoing model and new the new engine is much better. If Hyundai can add some choice to the Sonata line-up they can have a legitimate contender to the luxury brands.