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Hyundai gives Sonata spec upgrade

Middle child: The Sonata gets new tyres for the Elite and Premium variants which have helped improve ride quality, according to Hyundai.

Prices rise with increase in standard spec for Hyundai’s Sonata mid-sizer

Hyundai logo21 Jul 2016

By TIM NICHOLSON

HYUNDAI has upped the standard gear of its Sonata mid-sizer while increasing the price across the all-petrol range by as much as $3500.

New comfort features and advanced safety equipment have been added to some variants, with the price of the base Active variant increasing by $600 to $30,590 plus on-road costs.

Additions for the Active include paddle shifters – now standard across the three-variant range – and new 215/55R17 Continental Conti Premium Contact 5 tyres for the 17-inch alloy wheels.

Pricing for the mid-spec Elite has risen by $1360 to $38,350, while the flagship Premium is $3500 dearer at $45,490.

Hyundai Motor Company Australia general manager of product engineering Hee Loong Wong said the change to the new tyres has had a positive impact on the Sonata’s ride quality and driveability.

“We were very happy with our Australian-focused suspension tune of the all-new Sonata, including the tyres, when we released it last year,” he said.

“However, earlier this year Hyundai head office, in South Korea, gave us the option of testing the Continentals and Michelins on the car, and we jumped at the opportunity.

“We engaged former Hyundai WRC driver Chris Atkinson to evaluate them at the limit of adhesion under controlled conditions. His feedback, along with that of HMCA chief test driver Andrew Tuitahi, was very pleasing. We have seen gains in outright grip level, ride comfort and quietness.” The base Sonata Active is powered by a naturally aspirated 2.4-litre 138kW/241Nm four-cylinder engine, while the Elite and Premium use a 180kW/320Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four-pot unit. All Sonatas are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels.

The Sonata is a petrol-only proposition in Australia, leaving the i40 sedan and wagon as the diesel-powered mid-size alternative within the Hyundai range.

New to the Elite are the paddle-shifters and new tyres, as well as comfort features including rain-sensing wipers, heated front seats, front parking assist and an electronic park brake with an auto-hold function, while a panoramic glass sunroof that was previously only available in the Premium is offered as an Elite option for $2000.

This is on top of the already standard 8.0-inch touchscreen sat-nav with three-years Here MapCare, smart key, push-button start, leather-appointed seats, dual-zone climate control air-conditioning, LED tail-lights, electric folding external mirrors, 12-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat and a hands-free boot opening among other features already offered in the Active.

Upgraded equipment for the Premium includes new 235/45R18 Michelin Pilot 3 tyres for the 18-inch alloy wheels, as well as a suite of active safety gear such as blind spot detection, lane departure warning, lane change assist, a rear cross-traffic alert and radar cruise control.

The Premium is already offered with bi-Xenon headlights with auto-levelling and static bending lights, and automatic window defog function, an eight-way electrically adjustable front passenger seat, panoramic glass sunroof, 4.2-inch TFT LCD colour display, heated exterior mirrors, ventilated front seats, rear door curtains and an auto-dimming interior mirror.

Further options include metallic paint for $495 and beige interior trim on Elite or Premium for an extra $295. There is one new colour in the palette – a metallic Shade Bronze.

The Sonata pricing keeps it in line with other mainstream mid-sizers including the Ford Mondeo hatch ($33,190-$47,490), Subaru Liberty sedan ($29,990-$42,490), Mazda6 sedan ($32,490-$48,240), Honda Accord ($32,990-$52,590) and the related Kia Optima ($34,490-$43,990).

It sits in the middle of the mid-size pack in terms of sales, with 939 units shifted so far this year, up by 35 per cent over the same period last year against 490 units for the i40 sedan and wagon range.

The dominant Camry leads the segment on 9905 sales, followed by the Mazda6 on 2342, Subaru Liberty with 1868, Volkswagen Passat on 1628 and Ford’s resurgent Mondeo on 1464.

The Sonata arrived in early 2015 and a mid-life facelift is expected at some point next year.

2016 Hyundai Sonata pricing*
Active $30,590
Elite $38,350
Premium $45,490
*Excludes on-road costs

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