Getting punters to revisit the medium size sedan segment is problematic for carmakers in the face of an avalanche of similar-sized and priced SUVs.
But the sedan format does have merit especially if you don’t necessarily want to drive around in a practical box, preferring something a little sleeker.
Apart from being a good looker, Hyundai’s latest Sonata (aka i45) medium size sedan is representative of what’s on offer these days and is actually very, very good.
The model has been around for 30 years and its evolution shows in the latest version’s refinement, style, equipment and functionality.
It’s a good looker from all angles especially the front `family’ look and THAT cascading grille along with shiny brightwork to define Sonata’s coupe-like appearance.
The equal of anything else in the class, new Sonata is a revision of the previous car with slicker styling, more kit and better manners.
It has real presence on the road thanks in part to the low, arcing roofline and relatively large dimensions.
Only two variants are available; lower spec’ Active and Premium. The former, our test drive, sells for $31,000.
Interior upgrades with last year’s refresh enhance the look and function inside but the headrests on the front seat are set too far forward for my liking.
Rear seat legroom in the 2018 Hyundai Sonata must rate up with best in class as would boot space.
Plenty of room is provided for five and the interior has a light and airy ambiance with attractive multiple fascia to set it off but the colour palette is on the conservative side.
You sit fairly low in comfortably large seats and the window sills are high.
Features include hands free boot opening, reverse camera, rear park assist, dual zone climate control, button start and a large 8″ info screen with SUNA sat-nav.
The car’s Bluetooth is not intuitive and is annoying when you try hooking up your phone.
Buy Sonata Premium for a whole lot more money and you get the whole shooting match including advanced driver assist technology but it’s an additional $15,000.
Drive and Engine
Power comes from a 2.4-litre, petrol, four cylinder with direct fuel injection optimising efficiency. Power output is 138kW with 241Nm of torque on tap.
Hyundai says Sonata will return 8.4-litres/100km. I was running around at 7.2 in mixed driving and it uses cheaper regular 91 or E10 94 unleaded.
It’s a front wheel drive featuring a six speed auto with paddle shift.
The drive feel is sharpish with adequate get-go from the naturally aspirated engine.
Handling is tidy and the ride is comfortable due in part to the sophisticated suspension front and rear.
Even better is the full size spare you get in the boot. All cars sold here should have one.
Sonata scores a five star ANCAP rating with all that brings but the Active model driven has only a smattering of advanced driver assist technology - a reverse camera, rear park assist.
- Handsome appearance
- Plenty of luxury kit
- Competitively priced
- Australian engineering input
- Expansive rear seat legroom
- Large boot
- Excellent SUNA sat-nav hardwired
- Sporty feel
- Impressive warranty with low service costs
- Hands free boot operation
Not So Good Bits
- Average audio sound
- Few advanced driver assist features
- Annoying front headrests
- Annoying Bluetooth hook up
This is a good car make no mistake. It drives well, handles well, is safe, looks sleek and classy. It’s all you really need in a family sedan.
But as we know, buyers have deserted the category for SUVs which are much more practical and that’s pretty hard to argue with in an Aussie application.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Hyundai Sonata
- Engine: 2.4-litre petrol four-cylinder producing 138kW/241Nm
- Transmission: six-speed auto
- Safety: Five stars
- Warranty: Five years
- Origin: South Korea
- Price: from $30,990