HYUNDAI’S mid-sized Sonata sedan has undergone a metamorphic update, with a host of visual enhancements and the addition of advanced safety systems.
In keeping with the Sonata’s understated image, the upgrade was quietly announced in Korea while the motoring world’s gaze was on Geneva. However the new look is anything but modest, with bold lines and styling cues that reflect Hyundai Motor’s latest design language, as we’ve seen in the all-new i30 hatch.
The front has been extensively remodelled with a larger, single ‘cascading’ grille that provides a sleeker nose-to-the-ground appearance and a much closer family resemblance to the Elantra small sedan.
The grill is flanked by narrower headlights with vertical daytime running lights (DRL) over deep triangular air intakes.
The hood had been reshaped to counterbalance the lower, wider front grille, making it appear longer and sleeker which also changes the side silhouette.
The side view is further enhanced by new wheel options including 17-inch directional spoked wheels and a choice of two new 18-inch alloy wheel designs.
Down the back there are narrower horizontal taillights and the license plate holder has been moved from the boot lid to the lower bumper which gives the rear an elegant look.
The 2.0L Turbo petrol model receives additional enhancements including a sporty mesh radiator grille that is augmented by black bezel headlamps, black DRL surrounds, black lower front bumper, black side mirror casings plus chrome rear diffuser and exhaust tips.
Inside, you’ll find a bigger centre console stack and a new fascia containing revised audio, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning controls. It comes with a 7-inch touchscreen as standard, with an optional 8-inch Audio Visual Navigation (AVN) system.
All variants have updated steering wheels with a sportier three-spoke design, with a flat bottomed version in the 2.0L Turbo.
The range-topping Premium Turbo also benefits from more aggressively bolstered front seats and sporty gear knob that allows the driver to select one of four drive modes – Comfort, Eco, Sport and Smart. Smart mode switches automatically between the first three options depending on the driver’s current style of driving.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard and there’s an extra USB port for connectivity.
Available advanced safety features include Lane Departure Warning system assisted by a Lane Keep Assist function, Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert and High Beam Assist and Dynamic Bending Lights that are designed to make driving at night easier and safer.
This will make the Sonata one of the more advanced vehicles in its segment, though it’s not clear yet what features will be standard or optional across the Australian lineup.
Powertrains, including the 2.4-litre petrol and 2.0-litre turbo petrol available in Australian models carry over, the only difference being an eight-speed automatic being coupled to the 2.0L Turbo model instead of the six-gear box.
Hopefully this will address the relatively high 9.2L/100km fuel consumption, which has been the major criticism of an otherwise good car.
The updated Sonata is currently planned to launch in Australia around the middle of this year, with pricing and specifications to be revealed closer to its arrival.