Sonata sets the pace in the C-segment

Published on June 25th, 2010

The sixth-generation Hyundai Sonata is all set to up the ante in the C-segment following its availability nationwide from 2 July onwards.

Together with the recently launched Tucson that has received rave-reviews, Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) is expecting the Sonata to be equally successful.

The current sixth-generation has arguably received the most cutting-edge upgrades and styling touches that will surely see it give the rest of its C-segment competitors a run for their money.

Adopting Hyundai’s new fluid sculpture design language, the Sonata blends a stylish exterior fascia with a functional yet sleek interior together with safety and fuel-efficiency to keep in at the fore-front of its segment, further elevating the Hyundai brand.

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Motivation reaches the front wheels from either the Theta 2-liter engine or the 2.4-liter power plant, both being aluminium DOHC four-pot petrol bangers with impressive fuel efficiency and emission digits.

The 2-liter engine pushes out 163hp and 198Nm of torque while the 2.4-liter lump provides more motivation at a 176hp and 228Nm of twisty force.

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Transferring all that force to front axle would be a six-speed auto box that is a perfect mate to the engine. Not only does it provide an extra ratio but the unit in itself is lighter than the previous five-speed slushbox and is maintenance free with transmission fluid that is good for the vehicle’s lifespan, reducing ownership cost and adding to the driving pleasure.

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The focus on safety in the Sonata is started from the ground up. The chassis itself is hot-stamped, thus giving it increased strength while an ESP, only available on the high-specced model, does its best to keep the car on the intended course. However, ABS and EBD is a standard feature on all models, making it a safe and stylish car. Dual front airbags are standard across the range with disc brakes on all four corners.

Another interesting feature would be the dual-panoramic sunroof, with an adjustable sunroof for the front and a moonroof for the rear. However, it’s only available on the highline 2-liter and 2.4-liter.

Again, the highline models benefit from a keyless push start system while cruise control and audio input jacks re standard across the range, making it iPod and AUX compatible. Rear passengers, apart from being able to enjoy the generous rear legroom, will also be pleased with the rear AC ducts.

Hyundai’s attention to safety is recognized in the Sonata’s NHTSA’s safety testing, courtesy of its shingle-style head restraints and front-seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters that gave it a maximum five-star rating.

Hopefully, we’ll be given an opportunity to put the Sonata through its paces more thoroughly but from the brief drive we had during the launch, we can say it seems like quite a decent drive.

From the ride aspect, we can’t say much due to the short drive distance but it did soak up the bumps with a solid bump. Front McPherson struts and a real multi-link setup ensured that. The interior deserves a special mention, it projected a very modern feel, being flowing and futuristic while maintaining that trademark Hyundai blue interior lighting.

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What stood out the most was the transmission. The six-speed slushbox with tiptronic had very well defined ratios and shifted quite quickly, giving it a somewhat nifty feel. Although the Sonata still had a very distinct Korean feel to it, it was obvious the quality had been bumped up by more than just a pinch, making it a very attractive option in its segment.

Undeniably, the pricing is the most attractive aspect of the Sonata. The standard 2-liter goes for RM135,888 while the high spec version will set you back RM143,888. If displacement is your game, the 2.4-liter costs RM163,888. All prices are OTR inclusive of insurance.

Following in the footsteps of its American counterparts, HSDM will be offering a five-year warranty or 300,000km extended warranty on the Sonata, whichever comes first.

To give the public a taste of the all-new Sonata, HSDM will be having a roadshow from 30 June to 4 July at High Street in One Utama. For more details, you can always contact the HSDM Customer Careline at 1-300-13-2000.

text: Dinesh Appavu  pix: Al-mu Syahrisyawal Ahmad

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