Advanced, more powerful 2.4 GDI engine and fresh looks for Hyundai Sonata
Hyundai’s Sonata – which led the way for the brand’s “fluidic design” in its passenger range in South Africa – has received a more powerful and fuel-efficient engine and a fresh appearance, taking the refinement of the flagship sedan in the local Hyundai range to a higher level.
The new 2,4 litre Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) engine in the Hyundai Sonata 2.4 GDI Elite automatic not only raises the maximum power output substantially from 131 kW to 148 kW, but also forms a smooth and fuel-efficient drivetrain match with the automatic six-speed gearbox.
With a fresh new grille, front bumper, headlights and fog lights added on the front, new wheels and exterior side-mirrors and reworked rear lights, the Sonata proudly retains its place as the flagship sedan of Hyundai Automotive SA’s passenger car range in South Africa. Several product enhancements – among others a new sound system with a touch-screen display in the centre console – have been added in the interior of the new Sonata 2.4 GDI Elite.
“The Sonata was already a very elegant, well-designed sedan that was the choice of many buyers who were looking for a modern premium motoring package at a very competitive price. The new engine and subtle changes to its exterior looks, coupled with the changes on the extensive list of specifications, has enhanced this excellent offer of Hyundai in South Africa even more. It is important to note that this new Sonata is not a facelift – the designers has merely added some very sensible ‘product enhancements’ on the exterior as well as the interior,” says Stanley Anderson, marketing director of Hyundai Automotive South Africa.
Hyundai has tackled the premium sedan segment in South Africa in 2010 with the sixth generation Sonata – a product that is upmarket without straying from the company’s core focus on superb value. The trade mark “Fluidic Sculpture” design language created a sedan with graceful curves and lines, and aesthetically pleasing to the eye. The Sonata also delivers a spacious and open cabin environment for outstanding occupant comfort and enjoyment. Its finish in high-quality tactile materials and its ergonomical layout of instruments fits its modern premium status.
To this Hyundai has now added a powerful new 148 kW direct petrol injection engine with an advanced and efficient combustion process. It forms a very happy union with the smooth and responsive 6-speed transaxle automatic gearbox, developed in-house by the Hyundai Motor Company.
The gearshift pattern and layout in the centre console has been changed to fit the stylish nature of the Sonata. As in the previous model, gearshifts can still be done manually with the paddles mounted on the steering wheel, or with the gear lever.
The exterior treatment of the new Sonata includes new fog lights in the front bumper, a redesigned grille with more flowing lines, and the addition of front Park Distance Control detectors to supplement the rear bumper’s Park Distance Control.
The Xenon headlights, which is standard equipment, have been given more fluid lines, and redesigned front fog lights include LED running lights. The exterior rear-view mirrors are slightly larger, but they have been made more aerodynamic to reduce wind resistance and wind noise. Viewed from the side, the new Sonata also displays an even neater profile with its new 18-inch alloy wheels. And the spare wheel in the Sonata is still a full-size alloy.
The tail lights of the Sonata has LED illumination which shines brighter, and it has been redesigned to form a neater and more harmonious junction with the design lines of the car. A GDI name badge depicting the new engine status is all that appears on the boot lid of the new Sonata, together with the Hyundai logo.
An improved four speaker, twin tweeter and subwoofer sound system with a new centre console layout and touch-screen display adds another touch of luxury to the Sonata. Included in the sound system is a Bluetooth link for a telephone and for streaming music from your telephone or Bluetooth-enabled music device, such as an iPod. A USB port also allows a cable link to the sound system. Remote control buttons for the Bluetooth telephone link were added to the steering wheel.
The driver’s seat has full electric control and lumbar support is another luxury standard item on the specification list. The dual memory function of the driver’s seat allows the seat to move back when the engine is shut off for easy exit and easy entry for the driver. The front passenger has electric control to slide and recline the seat position.
A sunroof with glass extending to the second row of passengers is also on the list of specifications, and in wet road conditions a rain sensor will ensure good visibility when it automatically engages the windscreen wipers when drops are detected on the windscreen. An automatic defogger also assists with safe driving and immediately defogs the front windscreen automatically when it detects that it is misted up on the inside.
Seat warmers for the driver and front passenger have also been added to the list of interior comforts that come standard with the Sonata package, as well as Dual Climate Control for better air-conditioning. The Sonata is also fitted with Hill-Start Assist Control for a smooth, safe pull-away against an incline.
Advanced new direct petrol injection engine
With a capacity of 2,4 litres, the new Sonata four-cylinder GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) engine produces maximum power of 148 kW at 6 300 r/min. and 250 Nm maximum torque at 4 250 r/min., while emitting just 188 g/km of CO2 (vs. 195 g/km in the previous model). Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes 9 seconds.
The new GDI engine’s more efficient combustion process delivers an improvement of 13% in power and a 10% increase in torque compared to the previous 2.4 multi-point fuel-injection engine. Fuel economy has improved by 4% from 8,2 litres per 100 km to 7,9 litres per 100 km in the new Sonata 2.4 GDI Elite.
Further enhancing the economy of the Sonata is a smooth-working 6-speed automatic transmission featuring H-matic semi-automatic operation and several state-of-the-art developments exclusive to Hyundai. Changing ratios can be left up to gearbox software, or taken control of manually by the driver via the gear stick itself or shift paddles situated behind the steering wheel.
To further ensure that the new Sonata delivers exemplary fuel economy, the manufacturer has incorporated unique features designed to aid the driver in achieving the maximum range from a single tank of petrol. The Eco Coach provides drivers with suggestions of when to change up to the next ratio, with this information being delivered via LED information screen to aid drivers in achieving the ideal fuel-economy possible at all times. In automatic driving mode, it indicates with an “Eco” LED display whether the driver is treating the accelerator with a feather foot.
These high-tech fuel-economy solutions, linked with the new 2.4 GDI engine, perfectly underline the intelligence and very modern nature of the Hyundai Sonata, while saving customers operating costs by increasing the range per tank. They combine to deliver a EU combined test-cycle average of just 7,9 litres per 100 km – an excellent result for a vehicle of this size and luxurious specification.
The Sonata features fully independent suspension at all four corners, the front based on McPherson struts and the rear on a sophisticated multi-link arrangement. Gas-charged dampers absorb the impacts of road imperfections while coil-springs and stabiliser bars ensure precise control and agile steering responses with little body-roll during hard cornering.
Hyundai has also introduced with this new Sonata its Amplitude Selective Dampers – special shock absorbers which vary in stiffness or compliance depending on road conditions and dynamic requirements allowing the new Sonata to deliver both a cosseting ride and inspiring handling in the same appealing package. The multi-link rear suspension is constructed of aluminium to minimise weight and further improve overall suspension performance.
Safety in all conditions
The Hyundai Sonata features digital driver assistance for active safety in the form of an Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), as well as a Brake Assist System and Electronic Brake Distribution for maintaining control even in unexpected driving situations.
Occupant safety is assured by a full complement of six airbags – driver and front passenger airbags, curtain airbags and front side airbags – and the use of ultra high-strength steel in the crash structure for the most rigid safety cell possible in the event of a collision.
In the Australasian New Car Assessment Programme, which follows the same test protocol as the Euro NCAP, the Sonata (badged and tested as an i45 in Australia) earned a full rating of five stars with a score of 33,53 out of a possible 37.
The new Sonata 2.4 GDI Elite sells at R 379 900. The new Sonata comes standard with Hyundai’s 5 year Triple Care plan, which includes a 5 year/150 000 km manufacturer’s warranty; 5 years or 150 000 km Roadside Assistance and a service plan which covers service costs for the first 5 years or 90 000 km. Service intervals are every 15 000 km.