Hyundai SA has introduced a new Sonata range in South Africa, complete with eye-catching styling, higher spec and a more powerful V6 engine. Will this mid-fielder make the public sit up and take notice?

Hyundai SA has introduced a new Sonata range in South Africa, complete with eye-catching styling, higher spec and a more powerful V6 engine. Will this mid-fielder make the public sit up and take notice?

Following a warm reception to its Getz supermini earlier this year, Hyundai hopes that its wide-bodied, luxury medium saloon will be instrumental in changing perceptions about the Hyundai brand, build brand loyalty, and attract new buyers to Hyundai showrooms in South Africa.

“Following Hyundai Automotive SA’s acquisition of the brand’s franchise in 2000, we have recorded a steady growth in sales and the company will continue to expand its model range and facilities ahead of demand,” Alan Ross, managing director of Hyundai Automotive South Africa, said recently. But the Sonata will have tough competition from the Renault Laguna, Audi A4, Citroën C5, Toyota Camry, Peugeot 406 and Volvo S40.

The new range was reportedly the result of a R1,17 billion investment in design, engineering, testing and plant tooling. The Sonata is longer, wider and taller than its predecessor… Dramatic twin headlamps, elegant bonnet lines and bold grille contribute to a more sophisticated overall appearance.

The headlamps utilise high intensity discharge (HID) illumination technology. Charged with Xenon gas, the headlamps cast a longer, brighter beam than conventional units. Fog lamps with chromed rim housings are built into the front bumpers and incorporate projection lenses.

Grip-type door handles are body coloured and recessed for ergonomic comfort, while the outside door keyhole is illuminated for easier night-time access. The side sill, waistline moulding and electrically adjustable exterior mirrors are also colour-coded.

As for the interior, the dashboard is an all-new design featuring a revised centre stack. An enlarged centre floor console provides additional storage space and dual cup holders. A roller-type ticket holder is installed on the sunvisor access. Located in between the sun-visors is the day/night rear view mirror and sunglass holder.

The rear seats have height-adjustable head restraints and foldable centre armrest that includes a storage box and built-in cup holders. Inside the boot there is a DC power outlet in addition to the socket in the cabin. To prevent accidental discharge of the car battery, the Sonata comes with a battery saver circuit.

The range consists of two powerplants: a second-generation Sirius II two-litre 16-valve DOHC engine and all-new 2,7-litre 24-valve “Delta” V6 DOHC engine.

Hyundai SA claim that the two-litre has a peak output of 98 KW at 6 000 r/min and maximum torque of 181 N.m at 4 500 r/min. The all-aluminium V6 has a peak output of 130 KW at 6 000 r/min and maximum torque of 250 N.m at 4 000 r/min.

The car’s suspension is made up of an independent double wishbone front suspension and an independent multi link set-up in the rear. Both systems feature coil springs and an anti-roll stabiliser bar. Gas-filled shock absorbers at the front and the rear are now standard equipment.

The Sonata safety package comprises side-intrusion beams and dual front airbags fitted with a passenger presence detector system. Both models are also equipped with seat belt pre-tensioners and load limiters. Recently, the Sonata achieved a maximum (five star) safety rating for frontal impact in the Euro NCAP.

The Sonata will be available in two derivatives, a two-litre five-speed manual, retailing for R199 995, and a 2,7-litre V6 four-speed automatic transmission, which will sell for R259 995.

Standard specifications on both derivatives include: power and tilt-adjustable steering, ABS with EBD, front and passenger airbags, front-loading CD, central locking, electronic boot and fuel flap release, alloy wheels, folding rear seats, electric windows and three-year/60 000 km maintenance plan.

The 2,7-litre V6-engined Sonata flagship further includes automatic climate control, side airbags, cruise control, leather interior and steering wheels and heated side mirrors.

Original article from Car