Hyundai Sonata Turbo

A star in the making

"The previous update of the Hyundai Sonata showed attempts to ramp up the game, but it ended up being all flashy and chrome-obsessed."

"The new grille makes the design feel a lot classier and gels better with the car."

"The numbers are down a bit compared to the previous model, but this translates into slightly better fuel economy which is bound to catch the attention of a prospective buyer," said Ershad.

A four-door family sedan roomy enough for two adults and two children, provides comfortable seating with good interior features, a generous boot, has decent power for the occasional long hauls and looks good as well. This would be the ideal combination of features any working guy would be looking for when considering a new car for the family. The car we have today fits the bill perfectly - and they call it the Hyundai Sonata Sport Turbo. The previous update of the Hyundai Sonata showed attempts to ramp up the game, but it ended up being all flashy and chrome-obsessed. The car buyer was definitely not impressed, even though the previous Sonata featured decent interiors and was quite a looker.

Hyundai has been coming up with quite the interesting design changes throughout its model range. We were treated with the Fluidic and Fluidic 2.0 shapes, improved interiors, better drivability and reliability. It has been a progressive journey all the way for Hyundai and the updated Sonata has a lot more character to it; which in turn makes the car look more mature than its predecessor.

The Sonata Sport Turbo is powered by a 2.0 liter four-cylinder petrol engine which is armed with a turbocharger and pumps out 242 horsepower. The numbers are down a bit compared to the previous model, but this translates into slightly better fuel economy, which is bound to catch the attention of a prospective buyer. The latest flagship model from Hyundai reaches 0 to 100 km/h in 7.5 seconds and goes all the way to a top speed of 235 km/h. The engine feels refined as it is put through its paces with a linear power delivery. Something that is worth mentioning is the exceptional smoothness and cabin NVH levels which give you the feeling of being in a very expensive set of wheels. The front-wheel driven Sonata Sport Turbo enjoys spirited driving although sudden direction changes can be upsetting. Steering feels soft and nice all through the speed range, with ample feedback. The new model features a sport-tuned suspension as well. This essentially stiffens up the car for more confident high-speed handling and keeps the car in its grips. The 18 inch alloy wheels on the Sonata Sport Turbo look great with the overall car design, as well as provide a good footprint.

More visible changes on the new Sonata Sport Turbo are a completely redesigned grille and LED daytime running lights. The new grille makes the design feel a lot classier and gels better with the car. Hyundai could have taken off the 'H' emblem from the grille and placed it on the hood for a cleaner look. The headlights have undergone cosmetic changes and are now sleeker in appearance. Dual exhaust pipes on the rear give the new Sonata an aggressive stance. The car seems to have lost its bulky look for a slightly toned and clean shape.

The interior features more drastic changes. All the excellent comforts and spaciousness are maintained. The center console and dashboard have been updated with a wider stack compared to the slim and cheaper looking one that was on the previous model. There has been good use of upscale materials that provide a soft and silky touch around the cabin. One of the cons regarding the dashboard was that it felt incredibly hot when taken from a long term parking in the sun. Maybe a different material would help? But the air conditioner worked superbly to cool down the cabin quite quickly. Another new feature in the car interior is an eight inch touchscreen which offers a satellite radio system. Hyundai's Blue Link system has undergone enhancements, including the ability to start the car remotely from a smartphone app. The rear seats are now heated, the rear windows have sunshades on them and there is a new feature called Smart Trunk, which helps a driver with their hands full of shopping goods open the trunk without reaching for the key. A panoramic sunroof completes the package of cabin luxury, and the interior of the new Sonata is definitely a place to spend quality family time.

The new Sonata Sport Turbo features an updated list of safety systems, including: Blind Spot Detection system, Lane Change Assist, Forward Collision Warning and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. Adaptive cruise control finds its way into the new Sonata, along with High Beam Assist, which dims the high beams of the car when opposite traffic is detected.

Verdict
To sum it up, the new Sonata Sport Turbo is an excellent update to the Hyundai flagship. What it provides is simple, on-the-face balance of looks, performance and practicality. It can slug around in city traffic happily, as well as give you company when you want to stretch your legs. The Hyundai Sonata Sport Turbo thus bags the Arab Wheels "Best Midsize Sedan" Award, because we feel that no other competitor provides a better package. Good going Hyundai!

Pros: Fuel economy, big improvement on exterior styling, quiet and spacious cabin
Cons: Not very quick
Rivals: Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Kia Optima, Mazda 6
Engine: 2.0 L turbocharged inline 4 cylinders, 242 hp @ 6000 rpm, 350 Nm @ 1350 rpm
Transmission: 6 speed auto with manual shifting mode, FWD
Performance: 0-100 km/h: 7.5 sec, 9.5 L /100 km, top speed: 235 km/h
Weight: 1,633 kg
One word: Remodeled

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