As previously reported, the seventh-generation Hyundai Sonata has been under consideration for our market for some time, with the decision to reintroduce the mid-sized sedan and bring back the Sonata badge made internally last week.
The current Sonata, badged Hyundai i45 in Australia, was discontinued from the local line-up 12 months ago, though its replacement, the more expensive Euro-focused Hyundai i40, has failed to match the i45's sales success, prompting the Sonata's hastened return.
The all-new medium sedan will be badged Sonata in Australia and is likely to be slightly larger yet cheaper than the i40, and will be available exclusively with petrol engines. This year's introduction of the Sonata and the recently confirmed Hyundai Genesis will see the Korean brand expand its local showroom from one medium car to two and a large car.
As per previous Hyundai vehicles, those carrying the ‘i’ brand are primarily designed for European markets while those with an actual name, such as Santa Fe, Veloster, Accent, Elantra and so on, are made for North American markets. Australia’s unique market allows the brand to sell a mix of both types of vehicles.
The Hyundai Sonata name first went on sale internationally in 1985 (including in New Zealand, where it was powered by a Mitsubishi engine), and was introduced to Australia in 1989. It was last sold here in 2010 before being replaced by the i45.
On its last full year on sale, the Hyundai i45 sedan managed 3640 sales, 1373 units more than the i40 sedan and wagon managed in the same year and still 941 more than i40 in 2013 (compared with i45’s 2012 figures), even when it had no competition from the i45.
Production of the new Hyundai Sonata will begin in March ahead of its Korean launch in April. It will go on sale locally in the third quarter of this year after the introduction of the Genesis sedan.