The 2015 Hyundai Sonata mid-sized sedan has returned to Australian shores with a starting price of $29,990 plus on-road costs and rivals such as the Mazda 6 and new Subaru Liberty firmly in its proverbial crosshairs.
The seventh-generation version of Hyundai’s longest-serving nameplate in Australia — though the previous iteration was sold as the i45 here, unlike markets such as the US where it remained a Sonata — comes in three specification levels and the choice of two petrol engines.
Kicking off the Sonata range is the Active 2.4 GDi priced with standard six-speed automatic transmission with torque converter at $29,990. Power for this version alone comes from a familiar 138kW/241Nm 2.4-litre naturally aspirate engine sending power to the front wheels.
Next is the mid-spec Elite, which is a sizeable jump up at $36,990, though as well as its longer list of standard equipment, it also comes with a more potent 2.0-litre direct-injected turbo engine pumping out 180kW/350Nm matched to the same six-speed auto, outdoing most rivals.
Rounding out the line-up is the $41,990 Premium, which uses the same engine as the Elite but gets yet more equipment.
Hyundai’s pricing for the new Sonata range largely mirrors the slashed pricing of the new Subaru Liberty announced late last year. As well as matching the Subaru at entry, it also undercuts the $33,460 starting gambit of the Mazda 6 range.
The company will no doubt hope the pricing structure and long list of equipment — see the full list of specification highlights for each model below — will give it some cut-through in a mid-sized market that is both dwindling (down about 15 per cent in 2014) and dominated by the locally made Toyota Camry, which owned 44.5 per cent market share last year.
This week’s relaunch of the Sonata range also once again gives Hyundai a two-pronged presence in the aforementioned mid-sized market, given it sits alongside the European-styled i40. But the differences between the two are marked, and it’s these differences that will be emphasised.
While not confirmed officially, expect Hyundai to focus on the i40’s unique selling points against the Sonata — the option of a wagon body style, and the option on both wagon and sedan of a diesel engine as well. Expect an announcement in the coming weeks.
The Sonata also rounds out the company’s sedan range which late last year received a new headline act in the form of the Genesis luxury car.
As part of Hyundai Motor Company Australia’s localisation program, the all-new Sonata’s dynamics are said to have been optimised for Australian driving conditions and drivers by Hyundai’s local suspension development team based in Sydney.
According the the brand’s local arm, new front and heavily revised multi-link rear suspension – both augmented by locally re-specified damper, spring and sway bar combinations — integrate with dual-mode 32-bit motor driven power steering.
The Sonata’s stiffer, lighter body structure than before (i45) uses high-strength steel for more than 50 percent of the total platform construction, resulting in 41 percent stiffer torsional rigidity than before. This improves refinement, the company claims.
See below for a full list of standard equipment across the Sonata range. Read our first drive review from the overseas here.
Sonata Active ($29,990):
Sonata Elite ($36,990) adds over Active:
Sonata Premium ($41,990) adds over Elite:
2015 Hyundai Sonata pricing (plus on-road costs):