All Grown Up – The New Hyundai Sonata

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 10.18.16 PMHyundai is well aware that in the United States the current generation Hyundai Sonata has made waves. Literally, look at the body work. This is a car with such a radical design that it prompted Nissan to go back to the drawing board before releasing its updated Altima. Such is the fierceness of the battle for midsize sedans in the U.S. Given that, if you’re going to release an all new version of the Sonata it will have to be very, very good to continue this amount of success as one Hyundai’s bread and butter models. Which is why at first glance the all new and unveiled model in the photo shown doesn’t seem to make a massive splash until you look closer.

The bodywork is more subdued than the outgoing model, which may make you wonder what Hyundai is thinking. After all, the fluidic design concept that Hyundai’s current lineup wears is certainly a strong talking point, and perhaps one of the most crucial factors for buyers. In the Sonata’s case, it is quite literally the looks that seal the value deal the model is. The sharp sheet metal is a major factor that may offset thoughts about the mostly plastic interior, road noise, along with comfortable ergonomics and plenty of gadgets for an inexpensive, reliable commuter sedan.

Fortunately, Hyundai knows what they’re doing. Subdued body work here is still very relevant because it’s what’s underneath that make the new Sonata a serious and very much relevant contender in its segment. Hyundai calls the design on the new car “Fluidic Sculpture 2.0”, and it brings in the brands new corporate face, first seen on the recently unveiled premium Genesis sedan. The new model might be longer and wider, but rigidity and chassis strength have been increased, which was a major sore point on the outgoing model. This is achieved by the use of high-strength steel for more than half of the body structure.

Even better is the fact that Hyundai has made the most of its push to become more involved in testing at the revered Nurburgring in Germany. As a result, the new Sonata should have a vastly refined ride. Testing at the Mojave Proving Ground in California should also give some reassurance that all the value for money creature comforts will work without a hiccup for years under your most pressing demands. One area this writer and anyone else with a long commute certainly appreciates is the additional attention to detail given to reducing noise, vibration, and harshness.

2015-hyundai-sonata-o-1The Korean version pictured will be available with a choice of three engines ranging from 2.0 to 2.4 litres with either a 6 speed manual or automatic gearbox. We don’t know what the U.S. will get, but it’s likely it will look largely identical to what Korea and the world will have, although most likely (and unfortunately for those who want to row their own gears) there will be no manual option. In essence, the new Sonata represents another step forward for Hyundai. While the current model made consumers sit up and pay attention, the new model is a statement that Hyundai is now a regular contender among the best of the segment.


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