Shown at the recent Detroit Motor Show, the fifth-generation Hyundai Sonata is bigger, more upmarket and notably better looking than the car currently on our market.

Shown at the recent Detroit Motor Show, the fifth-generation Hyundai Sonata is bigger, more upmarket and notably better looking than the car currently on our market.


Speaking at the car’s unveiling, Hyundai executives said the redesigned Sonata would be considerably more refined than the current model and claimed the car “was quieter than the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry at idle, 100 km/h and full throttle”.


South African consumers will be able to put these lofty claims to the test when the new Sonata reaches our shores by mid-year. Hyundai Automotive SA corporate communications manager Elisma Delport told CARtoday.com that the Edenvale-based company was “very excited” about introducing the Sonata to the local market by “the end of May or during June” at the earliest.


Hyundai’s newest executive family saloon is 55mm longer than the current model and its wheelbase has been extended by 30mm. Front legroom is claimed to be upped by 10 mm, and rear legroom by 30 mm. The front and rear tracks are also significantly wider, which together with a lower ride height gives the car a more athletic stance than the current model.


Its suspension comprises double A-arms at the front, a multi-link configuration at the rear and it is possible that the car will be equipped with Hyundai’s active geometry control system.


“Active geometry” is said to regulate the angle at which the car’s wheels are turned inward using electric actuators that vary the geometry of the control arms. At low speeds and in a straight line, wheel angle is reduced and at high speeds, it’s increased. The result, Hyundai claims, “is optimal geometry in all conditions and improved roadholding in high-speed cornering”.


Two models, one fitted with a 120 kW 2,4-litre d-o-h-c inline four and the other a 164 kW 3,3-liter d-o-h-c V6, were shown in Detroit, and an all-new 2,0 VGT common rail turbo diesel is in the pipeline. The V6 was mated with a five-speed H-matic gearbox (which allows the driver to switch between “tiptronic” manual and automatic modes) and the diesel is believed to come with a choice of six speed manual or four speed automatic transmission.


The exact South African model and specification lineup of the Sonata had not yet been confirmed, Delport said.


However, at the Detroit launch it was announced that all Sonatas would be equipped with front, side and rear curtain airbags, traction control, electronic skid control and ABS with electronic brake-force distribution.


Initial indications are that air conditioning, power windows, variable intermittent wipers, remote keyless entry, power heated mirrors, cruise control and a CD/MP3 stereo will be available - if not standard equipment – on the Sonata.