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Future models - Hyundai - i40

First look: Hyundai unveils sleek all-new Sonata

Medium impact: A Sonata by any other name, Hyundai's new mid-sizer is expected to be called i40 in Australia when it arrives sometime in 2010.

Hyundai’s hi-tech and handsome ‘i40’ mid-sizer emerges, but Australia must wait

Hyundai logo18 Sep 2009

By TERRY MARTIN

HYUNDAI Motor Co (HMC) has unveiled the all-new Sonata in its South Korean domestic market, although it could be 12 months before the redesigned medium-sized sedan – expected to be renamed the i40 here – arrives in Australia.

Now one of the most-watched car companies after withstanding the economic downturn in markets across the world, including Australia, HMC claims the sixth-generation Sonata will continue the trend in further elevating the brand with its new “fluidic sculpture” design language, “outstanding” performance and “segment-leading” safety and fuel efficiency.

While Hyundai Motor Co Australia (HMCA) has confirmed that this YF-series will come to Australia, it will follow behind launches of the updated Santa Fe mid-size SUV and the all-new Tucson-replacing ix35 compact SUV, both of which had their world motor show debuts in Frankfurt this week.

As GoAuto reported earlier this month when the first sketches of the new-generation Sonata/i40 were issued, the new model is set to be launched here as a 2011 model in the second half of 2010.

1 center imageOnce launched in all major markets in 2011, including China, HMC expects to sell 450,000 units a year.

HMC’s biggest-selling car in South Korea, but one which struggles to make much of an impact in Australia against the Toyota Camry, Mazda6, Honda Accord Euro and a number of other rivals from Japan, Europe and South Korea, HMC believes the new Sonata will rise to become a benchmark in its class.

“The Sonata will set a new standard for world-class mid-size sedans with state-of-the-art technology, superior build quality and emotional design,” said HMC vice-chairman Euisun Chung, who launched the car in Seoul this week. “The new Sonata will raise Hyundai’s brand values.” Developed over four years at a cost of more than $A427 million, the YF Sonata has launched in South Korea with a 121kW/198Nm 2.0-litre Theta II four-cylinder petrol engine, which combines with a new six-speed automatic transmission and is claimed to deliver the lowest consumption in its segment – 12.8km per litre, which converts to 7.8L/100km.

A 2.4-litre Theta II engine, which is certain to feature in the Australian range, will be introduced overseas in the first quarter of 2010.

Safety improvements include the use of hot-stamped ultra-high-strength steel and the standard inclusion (in South Korea) of six airbags, electronic stability control (with hill-start assist) and ABS brakes with brake assist.

The YF Sonata has also been engineered with an electronic park brake and ‘Amplitude Selective Dampers’, while other notable features on the Korean model include heated rear seats, a three-piece panoramic sunroof and an eight-inch wide-screen dashboard display.

According to HMC, the ‘fluidic sculpture’ design aesthetic aims to impart a “younger and sensuous” image to both the exterior and interior profiles. Said to be inspired by nature, the design ethos attempts to “reflect sophistication and dynamism” and will serve as “the core of Hyundai’s future design identity”.

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