Luxurious, up-scale and more refined. These are three adjectives that best describe the all-new Hyundai Sonata. We recently got our hands behind the wheel of this seventh-generation sedan and we were definitely impressed.
Much like wine; which gets better with age, the new Sonata, which has dropped the distinctive swooping lines from the previous generation, has evolved into a more mature design that fits people with more discerning taste. The all-new Sonata’s traditional styling and features exudes elegance that previously, could only be found in much expensive marques.
With the designers being able to delicately balance the comfort, efficiency, innovation, passenger comfort, performance, styling, and safety, in the all-new Sonata, Hyundai was able to come up with a better alternative for car buyers targeting entry-level models from luxury brands.
Powering the all-new Sonata is the Theta II 2.4-liter MPI double overhead cam D-CVVT engine that produces a maximum power output of 178 ps and 23.3 kg-m of torque. Giving it more flexibility and fuel efficiency is a 6-speed automatic transmission that provides precise and smooth shifts.
Adding a bit of enjoyment in driving the Sonata is its three drive modes; Eco, Normal and Sport. The modes are selected through a pushbutton switch just adjacent to the shift lever. Each mode electronically adjusts the engine response, transmission shift points as well as steering wheel weight to match the driving mode.
Hyundai has been boasting about its Fluidic Sculpture 2.0, the design cues used in the all-new Sonata. Its new shape—lowered hood tip and flat underbody—is said to reduce wind drag and keep a firm grip on the road, further improving fuel efficiency, stability, and smoother handling. I have to admit, the all-new Sonata lost its striking looks, it still exudes sophistication from all angles.
Inside, the Sonata received quite a few improvements. Notwithstanding the materials, as well as fit and finish that were impressive, the center console is now much wider giving passengers a new sense of personal space. The designers did away with the “wrap-around” design and made the dash flat, giving the occupants an impression of openness. The switches, controls and screen were all ergonomically designed giving me no problems at all in locating the control buttons.
Drivers are in for a treat with the new electronic seat installed in the Sonata. The new seat comes with different components that provide a snug feel when seated. The leaning area is made from soft material, while the side supports were given more depth, for a more confident feel. The base of the seat also got a denser pad, and the back rest is kept firm to support proper posture.
Complementing the Sonata’s expansive cabin is a panoramic sunroof. Even the passengers at the rear get to enjoy the great sense of freedom with the view of the sky as they relish the wide cabin space.
Passengers also get to enjoy the Sonata’s luxurious cabin through Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) enhancements. The all-new Sonata gets improved interior acoustics that even loud car horns from the busy streets are muted when it reaches the cabin. With the Sonata, drivers get a powerful car without sacrificing a smooth and quiet ride.
Another well thought-of feature of the Sonata are the side mirrors with Puddle Lamps–which light the way for passengers when getting in and out of the car. Passengers can also connect to the Sonata’s entertainment system via Bluetooth to enjoy hand-free calls or enjoy music from mobile devices.
The Sonata’s Smart Key and Smart Trunk complete the premium feel. Just in case you have your hands full and need to open the trunk, just stand near the trunk for three seconds and the lid opens automatically.
The Sonata also comes with a generous level of standard equipment. Aside from the all-power accessories, the Sonata comes with 60/40 split-fold rear seats, Xenon headlights, radar-based cruise control, 18-inch alloy wheels, the Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC) which engages the brakes to prevent car rollback while you’re inclined, and the Electric Parking Brake (EPB) that allows drivers the ease of enabling or disabling the parking brakes with just a flick of a switch.
The Sonata is also packed with advanced safety features including the Blind Spot Detection System (BSD) and Lane Departure Warning, systems that uses advanced sonar sensors to alert drivers on vehicles that are approaching from spots that are hard to see. It is also equipped with Front and Rear Parking Sensors and a 4.3-inch LED Display with Rear View Camera to help make parking a breeze, especially in extremely tight places. The Sonata also comes with a generous serving of airbags. Aside from front airbags for the driver and front seat passenger, there are also front side airbags that help protect the chest and pelvis. Rear passengers are also protected with the front and rear curtain Airbags which boosts protection in case of a side collision.
Fuel consumption is reasonable. In heavy traffic, the Sonata managed to post a consumption of 7.7 kilometers per liter of gasoline. The numbers go up considerably in highway driving as I was able to get a consumption of 12.8 kpl while traveling at an average speed of 100 kph.
Driving the Sonata gives a great feeling of control. The car can sprint from naught to 100 in decent amount of time with the gearbox giving precise and smooth shifts.
With all the advance features the Sonata comes with and putting into consideration that it is only priced at PhP 1.898 million, I can honestly say that Hyundai has now equaled, if not bettered its Japanese competitors.