Hyundai’s Sonata badge has returned to Australia this week, after having first been replaced by the now retired i45 back in 2010.
The new Sonata, which promises to be Hyundai’s most refined volume-selling offering yet, kicks off from $29,990 for the entry Active.
But, while the Active is powered by Hyundai’s 138kW/241Nm 2.4 litre petrol engine, it’s the new turbocharged models that are likely to attract the most attention.
While the Active’s outputs will satisfy fleets and the thrifty, buyers eager for more urge can instead look to the 180kW and 350Nm 2.0 litre turbo models in the middle and top of the range.
Both engines in the new Sonata are matched exclusively to a six-speed auto, with lock-up torque converter and sequential manual shift mode
Fuel consumption is listed at 8.3 l/100km for the 2.4 litre Active, while the turbo models return 9.2 l/100km.
Available in Elite and Premium trim, the turbo GDi engine could make the Sonata a more compelling option than Toyota’s 135kW Camry, while facing up to the challenge from Ford’s incoming 177kW 2.0 turbo Mondeo.
Nissan’s 183kW/312Nm 3.5 litre V6 Altima Ti-S and Volkswagen’s 220kW/350Nm 3.6 litre Passat V6 FSI are loosely comparable for power output and fuel efficiency (with consumption listed at 9.3 and 9.7 l/100km respectively).
Other key rivals in the volume-selling midsized market include the Mazda6, Subaru Liberty, Honda Accord and Holden Malibu.
All-new Sonata inside and out
On the styling front, the new Sonata takes its cues from the larger Genesis premium sedan, although its lines are softer and more focused on snagging buyers in the fleet market.
There's a broad new grille and long headlights that reach back into the front quarter panels, matched to a long flowing roofline and a short rear deck.
The new Sonata is also larger than its predecessor, measuring 35mm longer and 30mm wider, with a 20mm longer wheelbase.
Inside, Hyundai promises a more premium feel, with higher-grade materials and soft-touch surfaces, leather and metal accents, and advanced new technologies.
The company also promises dramatically improved Noise/Vibration/Harshness qualities, thanks to new construction materials, methods and significantly enhanced suspension.
There's a new front MacPherson strut setup at the front and a "heavily revised" multi-link arrangement at the rear, both matched to damper, spring and sway bar components specified and tuned directly by Hyundai Australia.