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2009 Hyundai Sonata CRDi First Steer



It will probably go down on record as the shortest First Steer we’ve ever done, but after little more than 50 kilometres at the wheel of the revised Hyundai Sonata, with an all-new 2.0-litre diesel engine, we can report that the car is worth consideration.

For a whole range of reasons the drive section of Hyundai’s launch of the revised Sonata, which introduces diesel power further up the model range for the Korean carmaker, was severely curtailed.

As a result we are reluctant to make any resounding pronouncements about the driveability of the Sonata, other than to say it seems to be an improvement over the outgoing model, and the diesel drive train is up to the job.

Like its larger sibling, the Grandeur, the Sonata is spreading diesel power through the Hyundai range.

2009 Hyundai Sonata CRDi

In the case of the Sonata the new diesel engine is from the same engine family as the one that’s being added to the Grandeur, but in this case it is a 2.0-litre common-rail diesel engine that produced 305Nm of torque from 1800rpm to 2500rpm and 110kW of power at 3800rpm.

The Sonata CRDi comes with either a six-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic, although we were only able to drive the manual version, which proved smooth and easy to use on our brief sojourn on the roads around Camden, near Sydney.

2009 Hyundai Sonata CRDi

The gearbox is a little notchy in action but smooth and light, with well spaced ratios that produced strong acceleration from the diesel engine.

The manual version returns an impressive 6.0L/100km fuel consumption and the automatic 7.0L/100km. The engine is Euro Four compliant and the CO2 emissions are a very commendable 159g/km for the manual transmission car.

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The engine has a distinctly diesel rattle at idle but once underway is smooth and quite, and with plenty of torque on hand it can power the Sonata up most hills.

2009 Hyundai Sonata CRDi

As with all Hyundai CRDi models, the Sonata will be supplied with a pack of latex free vinyl gloves to, as Hyundai puts it, make refuelling a clean and carefree experience.

Hyundai says the car has been considerably revised both inside and out. The exterior revisions are subtle, but effective and the interior looks a little cleaner and very neat, on the inside there is also new blue-hued instrument lighting, a revised centre console and like the smaller i30 the audio head unit now offers a myriad of connectivity for MP3 and iPod units.

2009 Hyundai Sonata CRDi

Connect your iPod through the centre console cable and you get the full functionality of the unit on the dashboard display. The SLX gets an audio unit with a single CD player and the Elite a six-CD unit.

The Sonata comes in two trim levels, the SLX with cloth and the Elite with full leather trim. The Elite also gets power operated driver and passenger seats.

Hyundai bills the Sonata as a five-seater but we would have to say that with two Australian sized adults in the back the third person would need to be extremely slim. Three children or teenagers would be okay.

Hyundai product planning manager Ben Hershman told us that considerable development work had been done on the Sonata’s suspension set up, something which has come in for some media criticism in the past, to adapt the car better to Australian conditions.

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Front suspension is an independent double wishbone system with coil springs and anti-roll bar. Rear suspension is an independent multi-link system with coil springs and anti-roll bar.

Once again we’d have to say that because of the brief nature of our drive we cannot pass final judgement, but the car did seem to ride and handle better than had been our past experience with the Sonata.

The steering on the car has also been sharpened with a reduction in the turns lock-to-lock and again we felt that the car was sharper on its turn in. The cars ride on 16-inch (SLX) and 17-inch alloys (Elite) with 215/60R16 and 225/50R17 tyres respectively.

2009 Hyundai Sonata CRDi

Safety is certainly to the forefront in all Sonata models with six-airbags, ESP, traction control and ‘anti-whiplash’ front headrests among the standard equipment.

Hyundai’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Kevin McCann, said at the launch “The 2009 Sonata underlines Hyundai’s commitment to bring latest generation technology within the reach of all Australian motorists.”

In addition to the new diesel power models Hyundai continues to offer the 2.4 litre petrol powered Sonata with either five-speed manual or five-speed Selectronic automatic transmission.

2009 Hyundai Sonata CRDi

The Sonata is available in a range of colours, which include: Noble White (solid), Black Diamond (pearl), Deep Blue Pearl (pearl), Sleek Silver (metallic), Silky Beige (metallic) and Iron Silver (metallic) with all exterior colors matched with a charcoal black based interior.

Pricing spans $27,990 to $36,990, with the Sonata SLX CRDi turbo-diesel starting at a class-leading $30,490 and the Elite CRDi costing $36,990.

In addition to the Hyundai five-year, unlimited kilometres warranty, Sonata is also backed with 12 months Hyundai Premium Assist roadside coverage with inclusions such as hotel / hire car coverage if required.


  • http://evo Frugal One


    Another [thats origonal!] where the DIEsel just does NOT make any $ense in fiscal terms to buy over ulp.

    Bit of a nowhere/orphan in the hyundai fleet, dont recall seeing one on the road.




  • http://evo Frugal One

    Have to admit though, its a lot of metal for the money.

    BUT………Its not far off in $$ to a Mazda6 which is like a generation ahead.

    Needs to be $24,990.



  • http://deleted Alex

    Im sure Im the ONLY one and I dont need everybody to tell me so but I would prefer one of these over a commodore.

  • PoisonEagle

    Exterior is respectable enough, Interior is nicer than Camry’s;Economy is outstanding. Whats the resale value like on Hyundais? Ive seen current gen Sonatas for extremely cheap.

  • Marketmaker

    Frugal One – you goose! – its the 2009 model, of course you haven’t seen any of these “orphans” on the road

    Never owned a Hyundai before myself but I have to say the interior materials on the i30 are as good as VW Golf’s (in my opinion) and miles ahead of Japs/Ford/Holden. Looks in the photos like the Sonata has now been given the same treatment.

    5 year warrantee, winning more quality & satisfaction awards around the globe all the time. I might actually consider a Hyundai now..

  • trackdaze

    Get out of your heads the purchase premium of diesels its irrelevant. Go have a look at second hand values on petrol versus diesel models pajero springs to mind. A diesel will put more than that premium back in your pocket when it comes time to sell. So stop dragging your collective knuckles on the ground and get onboard.

    This car makes sense. Its got a way better chassis that a CamrAurion. Its just as well built and it’ll use 6 litres per/100.

  • Reckless1

    Carmakers just can’t help themselves from pointin guns at their feet and letting them off.

    I’ll explain.

    Here’s a fine example of what middle Australia would buy, due to overall great value, and inexplicably they go and stuff a 4 speed auto into it. Buy the petrol and you get 5 speed, buy the diesel and you get a crappy 4 speed.

    The Grandeur diesel auto gets 5 speeds.

    Go figure…….

  • Jimbo

    An affordable family diesel sedan. Good work Hyundai.

  • http://www.geardiary.com Mitchell Oke

    Not a bad looking car, bit Epicaish (especially in that colour) but not too bad.

    Excellent warranty, Hyundai really have got that right.

  • Richo

    interior is a huge improvement in design over the previous one, warranty is good although still not mitsubishi good, but close. Pretty good car really, if you want a large enough! family car with a diesel donk it’s a pretty good option

  • Martin

    The interior is so much nicer than the 2008 model, but I prefer the 08’s front, it was cleaner cut, didn’t have the dated bugled line thing below of the headlights, and the blacked out grille was better too.

  • aubz

    That interior looks a lot better than the interior of a camry. It’s good to see Hyundai finally producing some all round good cars.

    I sat in an i30 the other day and in comparison to the mazda 3 and corolla, the interior just blew them out of the water. No hard tacky plastics and the build / fit was flush and sturdy too.

  • o

    WOW look at that new interior thats a huge improvement good wok hyundai

  • Fred

    With diesel continuously getting more famous (despite costing more), this car should do well especially when no Japanese maker offers a similar model yet (until a diesel 6 comes out). I’m just unsure about the auto version, which asks for one litre of petrol more than the manual to cover 100ks. Hyundai need to sort them quickly if they indeed want to be world-class.

  • http://realcars realcars

    How much is a mid spec 626 diesel F-o?

  • Duck

    Interior is alot nicer!

  • Duck

    Nice counrty side out near Camden way.

  • http://realcars realcars

    A car the size of a Commodore/Falcon/Aurion mid spec with a Turbo diesel 6l/100klms economy, a decent drive and good looking inside and out with a five year warranty for 30k.

    This has to be the bargain of the decade!

  • Silk

    i’m still not convinced by the diesel proposition… the cost advantage is not there with diesel fuel being ridiculously expensive compared to unleaded… think i much prefer the Mazda 6…

  • TP


    More Expensive to purchase the vehicle.

    More Expensive fuel.

    Weak engine as they always downgrade to ridiculous levels (305nm and 110kw?!?!)

    No future compared to electric/hydrogen.

  • Golfschwein

    Ultimately, TP, there’s no future for any fossil fuel past our life time.

    But diesel cars are what an increasing number of Australian consumers want right now. They don’t want hydrogen, not yet.

    305 Newton Metres are assured of getting the Sonata moving off briskly enough and in a stress-free manner that is always an appeal of diesel for people who drive them for the first time.

    Through week on week fuel hikes, diesel is keeping its 15-20% price premium over standard unleaded and the cars will travel 30-45% further on a tank. None of that’s going to change in the short term. So there is a future, after all.

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Lightbulb

    This is another example why Hyundai are worrying other car makers. With 6 litres/100km the car is very economical & should have a good range plus the interior does look a lot better than the old model it replaces.

    Cheers !

  • Golfschwein

    Silk (Silky?), people buying Priuses, Golf Tdis and these are buying the car, not the deal.

    If you’re shopping with the calculator, traditional choices with a petrol engine are what’s going to suit you best.

  • http://realcars realcars

    Yes lower MAX KW TP but more torque at lower RPM resulting in flatter power/torque curves i.e power always on tap.

    The majority of your 200killer wasps are produced at redline. That is where the difference lies.

    Given the price difference between Diesel and petrol and the superior diesel economy I think u would still be a long way in front with the diesel. Diesels often approach or exceed these factory figures whereas petrol engines the other way.

    Have a drive of a modern diesel as u may well be surprised!

  • http://. Naughtyius Maximus

    TP Says: June 3rd, 2008 at 6:59 pm
    Diesel…No future compared to electric/hydrogen.

    NM response,
    Agree TP but any regular on caradvice would clearly know you used to bag hydrogen on what Ford where doing with R&D and now you sorta convulted endorse it!

    Diesels are good short term only as buys more time til next level (in comparison to fossil fuels such as petrol)

  • trackdaze

    6litres at $1.80 = $11.20

    Take a camry to be the equivalent of

    9litres at $1.55 = $13.50something,something. sorry its late so i guestimated it.

    add to that the fact that it drives good. and you’ve got a winner.

    will anyone buy it? doubtfull.

  • Mmmmm

    Agree to Naughtyius Maximus facts about diesel. Definantly not for the long haul, but could be utilised untill the next level arrives. And good on Ford with there Hydrogen research etc….Really interested in Hydrogen as a fuel…

  • Ford Escape HYBRID – Wah Ha Boo Hoo

    Yep agree Market maker, Frugal your’e being a Goose mate.
    TP Why bother commenting if you incapable of adding any remotely sensible and intelligent.
    Yep I see a whole range of Toyota diesels on the horizon for their smaller ranges. They are losing a whole market sector in Australia at the moment, yep really good marketing. Good Eat your heart out dumbo.

  • Baji

    2009 Sonata is definitely an improvement over the outgoing model. The interior is heaps better. Probably the best interior in its class imo. To be honest though im not a fan of the black. The light interior looks a lot nicer. I’d take this over the camry any day. It looks so much more classy.

  • Sanjay

    what i wonder is, why did they make the front of the new one SO DAMNED UGLY?

    that elongated grille and droopy headlights (compared to the old model) make it look like its had a stroke.

  • Marketmaker

    TP, MMMM, N Maximus – Hydrogen powered cars? Your kidding right? Not in our lifetime me thinks.

    Not that its difficult to mass produce a car running on the stuff. Thats the easy part.

    Try working out how to produce the stuff cheaply enough. You reckon diesel is expensive?

    Then try to work out how to distibute it. It can’t be liquified easily like LPG. Storing it is a pain, energy density is pitifully low with all reasonable storage options. What – we build new pipelines everywhere?

    Oh and you fancy driving a car with a tank of Hydrogen on board? Bet you’ve heard of the Hindenburg? and the H-Bomb!

    If Ford are sinking big $ into Hydrogen cars I’m afraid they are sealing their fate. Hybrid diesels will be doing 3 lt/100km within 5 years – and they won’t be short of poke either. From there technology will jump straight to plug in electric/battery powered cars.

  • http://barina SteveV

    As a convert to a Hyundai diesel from a ford petrol, the greatest benefit I notice is filling up only half as often as before. It’s that benefit of driving past the servo until ‘next’ week that you really notice.

    And it’s true that the initial outlay on a diesel will be easily recouped on resale and as for resale, do some research on the Santa Fe diesel resale. Last time I checked, it was leading its segement. No reason why the Sonata can’t do the same.

  • Cameron

    Frugal One are you bi-polar?

    TP have you ever owned a turbo diesel? No future?
    Oil has no future, but until we have a viable alternative, Fact: diesels do more with less, meaning oil reserves will go further. A whole lot more sustainable than petrol. Period.

    These forums seem to offer therapy to people that no one would listen to in real life!

  • http://realcars realcars

    Good points on Hydrogen Marketmaker!

    Still got to use something to produce the electricity to produce the hydrogen though.

    Would also have to persuade oil companies to distribute the stuff for obvious reasons.

    I think there is a fuel cell under development that stores the Hydrogen in a chemically bound way with the fuel cell lattice or honeycomb. Lattice is made of a semi precious metal and hydrogen is liberated by applying an electric current.

    Cost due to the material used is currently prohibitively expensive I believe.

  • http://realcars realcars

    Would just like to congratulate Hyundai for doing what others haven’t bothered to do at a great price. Who would have thought the Koreans would have been the automotive innovators?

    Look at LG in the electronics sector have the lions share and have vanquished former greats such as Panasonic and Sony.

    Australian makes should study the Koreans rather than Kaizen!

  • Golfschwein

    If you read the market right, the rewards are all yours. If you read it wrong…well, just ask Mitsubishi, Holden and Ford.

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Lightbulb

    Seen one of these being unloaded at my local dealer today & will check it out in detail soon. Have to agree with Marketmaker with the comment of plug in battery/powered cars, because with the price of fuel only getting dearer, electric powered cars may be the answer.

    Cheers !

  • Garry

    I love Hyundai and wont drive anything else BUT a Four Speed Auto Come on Hyundai where is the 5/6 speed auto.

  • Duck

    ^But if you think about it Holden has the four speed auto still.

  • Glen

    It’s a pity Falcon and Commodore don’t sell diesels.
    The Sonata manual costs $2160 for diesel at $1.80/L to drive 20,000km. The Commodore manual costs $3520 for petrol at $1.60/L (20c less than diesel) and the Falcon manual $3532 for the same distance. The 5 year warranty on the Sonata is better too.

  • Andrew M

    i make the falcon to be cheaper than the commodore to fuel….but anyway……

    if the falcon and commy were to have the diesel option (or should i say when they do) i cant see the costs being that worth while.
    a diesel falcon and commy wont run at the diesel consumption rates that cars such as the sonata you are pinning it against.

    the next extreme would be to say the i30 runs at 4Lodd/100k, and assume a diesel falcon and commy would too.

    the aussie made cars are bigger and better to drive. surely a L or 2 can be excused when you consider that

  • Simon

    Frugal one where do you sell cars??? $24990 for a crdi family car?? Ill take 10! TP 305 nm not enough from a 2.0l?? Hyundai will be in the top 3 within 5 years.