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New-gen Hyundai Sonata breaks cover

Hyundai sticks with mid-size sedan segment as new Sonata launches later this year

8 Mar 2019

HYUNDAI Motor Company Australia (HMCA) has committed to the stagnating mid-size-car segment as it readies a new-generation Sonata sedan due to hit local showrooms in the second half of this year with a sharper design and increased in-cabin technologies.

Despite the sub-$30,000 mid-size-car class falling 30 per cent in sales last year, and uncertainty around its rivals as Kia pulls its Optima and Subaru remains non-committal to its new Liberty, Hyundai’s Sonata was the only nameplate to grow its market share in 2018.

Sales hit 1024 for the Hyundai mid-sizer last year, a modest 5.8 per cent bump over 2017 but still well off the pace of the dominate Toyota Camry (15,269) and Mazda6 (3328).

The eighth generation of Sonata to come from Hyundai, but only the sixth iteration of mid-size sedan to wear the nameplate in Australia, as the original was not released locally and the sixth iteration was badged as the i45, the latest version draws aesthetic inspiration from the Le Fil Rouge concept that debuted at last year’s Geneva motor show.

Stretching its length by 45mm, as well as extending width and wheelbase by 25mm and 35mm respectively, the new Sonata measures 4900mm long, 1890mm wide and has 2840mm of space between the axles.

However, height is down 30mm to 1445mm, giving the new Sonata a sportier stance and increased road presence.

Adopting Hyundai’s Sensuous Sportiness design language, the long, sculpted bonnet blends into a large Digital Pulse Cascading front grille that is flanked by LED headlights and a chiselled lower chin.

Of note is the new daytime running lights (DRLS) that appear chrome when turned off, yet function as normal lighting elements when illuminated – a first for a production Hyundai model.

In profile, the chrome window surrounds are linked to the DRLs by a chrome stripe running along the front fenders, while a strong shoulder line and sloping roof tapers towards the line-hugging tail-lights and bootlid spoiler.

Inside, Hyundai has also brought lighting elements to the cabin, with ambient mood lighting on the dashboard and doors.

The instrument panel shape “is inspired by a stealth aircraft”, according to the South Korean brand, while satin chrome accents adorn the dash and transmission tunnel.

Front and centre is a dashboard integrated infotainment touchscreen and below are heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) controls that have been compressed “to aid the lightweight feeling”.

Engine details, however, are yet to be uncovered, but for comparison the current two-variant Sonata range employs a 138kW/241Nm 2.4-litre atmo petrol four in base Active grade and a turbocharged 180kW/353Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit in top-spec Premium guise.

Pricing is also an unknown at this point, but the existing Sonata Active kicks the range off at $30,990 before on-roads, while the Active is priced at $45,490.

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