Singing to the tune of the Sonata YF

Published on September 27th, 2010

Break it a few levels down, slap a few engineers on it, add some interesting flairs, a lot of caffeine and ciggies, and make sure you don’t run away from the original design. And make sure that it’s good enough to slap a few of ‘em Japanese makes around the dock. While at it, redo everything, but keep the originality.

So the Korean came out with the new Sonata YF.

Yes, you’re looking at a Hyundai.

Hyundai may have been on the rear end of some sick motoring jokes for some time, but the jokes are now on the jokers as the new Hyundai Sonata YF performs and look better than we originally expected.

First impression is the key, and the Sonata excels on both lower and higher grounds. The metal that’s wrapping the car seems to be liquid-like, with savvy lines and curvature movements that runs from fore to aft of the Sonata. It’s so easy to like the lines and appreciate its exclusivity, with ridiculously muscular and in-your-face wrinkle that spells out ‘delicate sensibility’. Although it did put some wrinkles on our foreheads when we thought about ‘highway mishaps’ and ‘dents’ considering the delicate mechanics it will need to get the car back into its original shape.

Driving the Sonata YF down windy roads towards Melaka was somewhat a pleasant experience. We did not quite understand why some people commented on the performance tyre being used and the rigidity of the drive because of these tyres, but that may be because of how much we are used to driving on stiff suspension settings, therefore the rigidity did not at all score any negativity in our book. In fact, we thought the suspension was very pleasant, if not a little on the soft side.

While being soft on our arses, the suspension managed to give us small chuckles as the Sonata wave through the roads with near zero effort, and we did take the car for some interesting session with the curves. But again, the setup installed for this car is not meant for any of the torments we took it through. Yes, it’s soft for the road and stiff enough for the curves, but it’s not meant to be used for Touges and track driving, so forgive us for being a little appreciative of its softness. It’s a family oriented vehicle after all.

And being a family-oriented vehicle, the gearbox is designed to be maintenance-free if the Sonata YF is driven under a ‘normal driving condition’.

But family-oriented vehicles shouldn’t be boring. Quite the contrary, and the Daddies and Mamas quite often went bored while cruising down the highway with another 300+km to go. Shift the gear lever downward to the right, and let the Theta II dual-CVVT DOHC do its work as the engine pulls the car at 163 horses’ power and 198Nm of torque. If numbers count for everything, then the Sonata came out as clear winner against 154hp of the Honda Accord and 148hp of Toyota Camry, and both the competitor’s 189Nm of torque.

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If you found yourself in one of those ‘OMG’ moments, the traction control (ESP) equipped for the high spec variant will definitely help to keep your arses on the road.

And the car does it in a comfortable way too.

Entertainment is provided by the MP3/Radio/CD player, complete with iPod connectivity and Auxiliary support. Everything is laid out in a very simple manner and fluidic arrangement. The dash is decorated with sophisticated lines that will make you feel exclusive driving the car and not with cheap plastic too. Air-condition vents is located throughout the car, including for the passengers at the back, which is quite welcomed.

Enjoy driving the Sonata while sitting on leather all the way and organ-type pedals that’s sensitive on your joints, with panoramic sunroof giving you a spacious feel while driving the car. The panoramic sunroof is only available to the 2-liter hi-spec and the 2.4-liter variant.

Spaciousness is not really a problem, as the handbrake lever is exchanged for the foot-brake, thus allocating more space for your tags and toys. Legroom for the back is aplenty, even for, err, huge people like me.

All in all, the Sonata YF is a perfect competitor for the Japs, especially towards the Accord and the Camry. Sonata YF is on sale for RM135,888 for the 2-liter Auto Standard, RM143,888 for the 2-liter hi-spec and RM163,888 for the 2.4 Auto hi-spec. All prices are for OTR with insurance.

Don’t just take our words for it! Give Hyundai-Sime Darby a call at 1-300-13-2000 and book a test drive to experience the Sonata YF for yourself. Visit Hyundai-Sime Darby website for more info.

words & pix: Al-mu Syahrisyawal Ahmad

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