The Hyundai Sonata set to return to the Australian market later this year has been previewed before its global debut in Korea late this month.
The second model to adopt ‘Fluidic Sculpture 2.0’ its second iteration of Hyundai’s recent design philosophy, the design ‘keyword’ for the new Sonata is said to be ‘Inner Force’.
“Inner Force points to the top notch perfection of the all-new Sonata, reborn with an evolved aesthetic force that stems from purpose and sophistication,” the brand explained in a statement.
“A single-frame, premium hexagonal grille, refined sidelines and high-tech, futuristic rear design work to create an image of a dynamic, sophisticated premium midsize sedan. And the dynamic line from the hood to trunk bestows a sporty, confident image to the car while the longer wheelbase maximizes its cabin space.”
The next Hyundai Sonata does, however, prove extremely conservative compared with the last model (below). The wide and tall front grille with four horizontal chrome slats within a chrome trapezoidal outline replaces the aggressive 'waterfall' grille of the old car, while a wide foglight recess has another chrome outline, this time in the shape of a ‘C’ and backwards ‘C’.
Larger front headlights – with curvature bezel surrounds and boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lamps that hug the edge of the grille and bonnet –stretch into the front three-quarter panel. Chrome trim traces the leading edge of the bonnet, a design carry-over from the outgoing model.
Although the rear styling cannot be fully seen, the upper edge of the tail-lights draw around from the bootlid to a side character crease that leads just above the door handles to the front wheelarch.
The interior hasn’t yet been revealed, but Hyundai says it “aligns with the premium exterior, adopting consistent design details that fully reflect careful consideration of ergonomics and intuitive operation. The horizontally designed cabin gives off a stable feeling, and tailored design specifications for all materials and master craftsmanship-level finish strengthen the Sonata’s premium image.”
One of the interior aims with the new Hyundai Sonata was to improve the Human Machine Interface (HMI) systems.
“Switches are grouped by their function, facilitating easier control. In order to minimize distraction, the display screen has been moved up, while indicators on the dashboard have been standardized for intuitive recognition,” the South Korean company says.
“Also, icons on the display screen and dashboard are now consistent.”
Seven airbags and “new seatbelt technologies” are confirmed for the new Hyundai Sonata, while 51 per cent of the body is now made of advanced high strength steel, up from the previous model’s 21 per cent. Structure adhesive is claimed to be 10 times stronger than outgoing car, while hot-stamping components are used three times more than the old model.
Hyundai insiders have said the original styling proposal for the new-generation Sonata polarised US customer clinics, resulting in a more conservative and toned-down version. Still a US-based model, the Sonata is expected to sell around 250,000 units per year Stateside.
The headline engine will be a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder. It will be the first time the engine - already seen in Genesis and Santa Fe in the US - will be available locally when the all-new Hyundai Sonata arrives in Australian showrooms later this year.
Hyundai Australia will sell the Sonata as a larger, US-focused medium car offering alongside the smaller, Euro-influenced i40, as it did with the previous Sonata, badged i40 here but discontinued last year.
Hyundai has been testing and tuning the new Sonata in Australia over the past few weeks, along with the Hyundai Genesis sedan that was spied testing in Sydney last month, the large sedan following its mid-sizer sibling onto the local market in 2015.
The Hyundai Genesis sedan was also spied testing in Sydney last month, the large sedan following the mid-sized Sonata onto the local market in 2015.