Music to the ears
With the sixth-generation Sonata boldly competing on every level in a segment long dominated by European manufacturers, Hyundai’s onslaught of the premium sedan market is clearly continuing.
The Sonata has a “fluidic sculpture” design – echoing the elegance of flowing water that has become the inherent design element of the Hyundai family. The vehicle is also moving more towards European trends in that it has all the features one would want of a vehicle in this market segment.
A lowered overall height and minimum ground clearance enhances the car’s profile, provides improved aerodynamics and increases fuel efficiency. Hill-start assist control alleviates those sometimes tricky uphill starts, preventing slipping for up to two seconds after the handbrake is disengaged. The emergency brake assist (EBA) system also makes for greater safety in sudden braking situations, sensing the speed and automatically providing maximum braking power.
The rain-sensing wipers ensure that the driver’s sight isn’t obscured, while the push button start adds to the convenience list. The eight-way power adjustable seat eases the search for a comfortable driving position, and the six airbags protect the car’s occupants.
Hyundai developed its own six-speed automatic gearbox, entitled Shiftronic, with paddle shift for the Sonata 2.4 Executive Automatic, which has climate control and a sunroof as standard. Both the Executive and Premium Automatic deliver 131 kW at 6 000 r/min and 228 Nm at 4 000 r/min, with Hyundai claiming that the two derivatives deliver 8,2 l/ 100 km and have a CO2 emissions rating of 195 g/km.
Each corner of the Sonata enjoys fully independent suspension, with multi-link arrangements in the rear and McPherson struts up front. Combining this with gas-charged Amplitude Selective Dampers ensures that the Sonata delivers greater comfort.
The five-year/150 000 km warranty and roadside assistance, five-year/90 000 km service plan and 15 000 km service intervals make the Sonata all the more attractive. The R289 900 price tag for the Premium Automatic and R309 900 for the Executive show that Sonata customers are getting value for their money – and that European manufacturers will have to watch out for this well-positioned and attractively-priced Korean competitor.