Hyundai Sonata

Fine tuning is what the Sonata needed

"Pleasant, soft ride as well as a high end cabin that ranks near the top of the class"

"Hyundai has come a long way in appearance and quality, but still the overall ownership experience is below average for some customers"

When I first saw the new Sonata, I was pretty shocked that the Koreans made such a midsize sedan! The Hyundai Sonata's evolution from awkwardness to averageness to a rightly great vehicle has taken an amazingly little amount of time. Each generation significantly stepped up and over the previous one.

It's just one case of Hyundai's effort to give its midsize sedan a more upscale image in its ever-competitive segment. It is that bolder exterior design, which debuted on the Santa Fe, Genesis Sedan, and the Sonata wears it well. The improved 7th generation model is the result of three years of research and development conducted by Hyundai in the Middle East and around the globe, in order to maximize product competitiveness and satisfy the diverse needs of the Middle East market.

The all new Sonata is expected to continue the popularity of a model that has traditionally been one of Hyundai's bestselling models in the Middle East since it was first introduced. In 2013, the Sonata sold over 26,000 units across the Middle East - a region that is set to become Hyundai's biggest market after the US. Since its introduction in 1985, cumulative global sales of the Sonata have reached almost seven million units.

Exterior
The Sonata boasts a dramatic new exterior look, as well as a new and improved interior, and a design concept that focuses on 'Inner Force': a theme that points to evolved aesthetics and confident perfection.

Interior
The all new Sonata also benefits from improved interior ergonomics, resulting in a completely driver-focused cabin that incorporates Hyundai Motor's core interior design principles of safety, intuitiveness and simplicity.

The all new Sonata also offers a top-of-the-line multi-media sound system, with an option of an impressive 4.3" color TFT - LCD screen with rear camera viewing for high audio or a 3.8" Negative Mono LCD for basic audio, both of which are accompanied by MP3, Bluetooth hands-free and My Music Functions. The high quality sound system is linked to eight optimally tuned high performance speakers and subwoofers, offering live multi-dimensional sound. The all new Sonata also supports AUX & USB ports and iPod bundle cable connection.

Features
The new model aims to deliver maximum driver confidence through the inclusion of top safety features and a new suspension, which will provide the driver with a smoother overall ride. Pioneering safety technology such as vehicle stability management, hill assist control and electric parking brake are all included.

An impressive 51 percent of the all new Sonata's steel is advanced high strength steel (AHSS), increasing stiffness and protecting passengers more effectively with improved body structure rigidity. This has helped the vehicle to achieve a 2014 TOP SAFETY PICK+ award from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) in the United States - a prestigious international honor.

Multiple comforts include a panoramic sunroof, manual rear side window curtains, electrical backlite glass curtain, integrated driving mode system (normal, sports, eco) and an integrated memory system (IMS) for the driver seating position. The smart trunk feature also allows drivers to open the trunk remotely if their hands are full. Puddle lamps projected from outside mirrors and HID Xenon headlamps add to the premium feel of the vehicle.

Drivetrain
The all new Hyundai Sonata will initially be offered to Middle East customers with a choice of two different engines: a 2.0 L multi-port injection (MPI) or a 2.4 L MPI, both with 6 speed automatic gearbox. Prices are set to start from USD 20,500.

Verdict
The 2015 Hyundai Sonata further refines the midsize sedan formula with a new look, revised powertrain and plenty of tech and convenience features. But does the redesigned Hyundai Sonata have what it takes to continue climbing in sales versus the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and Honda Accord?

Rivals: Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu
Pros: lots of standard features for the money, quiet and roomy interior, smooth ride, solid build quality
Cons: acceleration is a bit slow with base engine, expected better fuel consumption
3 stars
One word: effort

Specs
2.4L MPI, 4-cylinders, 185 hp @ 6000 rpm, 240 Nm @ 4000 rpm
6 speed automatic, FWD
0-100 kph: 8 secs, top speed: 212 kph, fuel consumption: 8.71 L/ 100km
Weight: 1475-1522 kg

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