We were so impressed with how the 2015 Hyundai Sonata performed in our recent mid-sized sedan comparison test, we decided to get one.
Well, we’ve got a Hyundai Sonata as our latest long-term loan car in the CarAdvice Sydney office, anyway. We’ve opted for the top-of-the-pops Premium version.
This model is priced at $41,990 plus on-road costs, and it comes with lots of gear for the price.
The standard goodies list includes a set of 18-inch alloy wheels with 235/45R18 tyres, which, depending on your personal preferences, don’t look the most outgoing of all wheel designs. In the first week of our loan, there was more talk about whether the wheels are naff or not than anything else.
Other highlights include front and rear parking sensors, a huge 8.0-inch media screen with reverse-view camera relay, and satellite navigation.
First impressions are that the menus are simple to use, but we’ve seen displays with more crisp resolution in other cars that have come before – including from Hyundai. For example, the Santa Fe’s display looks more refined and tidy to our eye, where the Sonata’s is a bit dull at first glance.
There are other interior niceties that have been put through their paces by the various bodies who have driven the car in its opening few weeks in the office, including the heated and ventilated front seats. With winter approaching, we’re sure these’ll come in handy, especially for some of our staff who like to head to the cold country.
Until it gets to that point, though, the sunroof is likely to get some use, and so are the seat coolers for those up front.
Everyone in the Sonata Premium gets leather under their bums, and we’ve already stated the amazement registered by our testers at the amount of rear seat space on offer – this has been reinforced on city trips with a number of staff, and many have suggested the leg room on offer is better than business class on some (budget) airlines.
Another instant talking point for back seat passengers are the sun-blinds that roll up out of the door to offer those occupants some shade – we’ve got no doubt that parents would love this for their kids. On the negative side, some thought the Premium model probably didn’t warrant the use of fake carbonfibre inlays on the dashboard – a brushed aluminium texture or even woodgrain may fit the bill a little more convincingly for a car with obvious prestige aspirations.
On the previous occasions we’ve driven the Sonata we’ve been impressed by the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine’s power and torque, but likewise we a little put off by the fuel consumption.
It must be said that in our first few weeks we’ve not found any marked change as to what to expect in terms of fuel use. The claim, according to Hyundai, is 9.2 litres per 100km – which is more than some V6s – and we’ve rarely seen below 11.0L/100km on the display since we picked the car up, even with some stints of highway driving.
With 180kW/350Nm it’s not a slouch, and it’s not one of those low-blow turbocharged engines that is more designed to aid efficiency than anything else. Indeed, it’s a punchy thing, and a smooth revver, too.
Cold mornings do see the engine sound wheezy at start up, but it only takes a couple of minutes to warm up – and then you can exploit its performance, which many of the team has already found to be plentiful.
Those aforementioned 18-inch wheels don’t foul the experience as much as you might expect, and almost everyone in the office who has had a quick drive of the Sonata in the first term of our ownership has stated it was comfortable and stable on the road – a testament to the South Korean brand’s insistence on tuning its cars suspension for Australian conditions.
We’ve got plenty in store for our Hyundai Sonata long-term loan car over the coming months – so stay tuned to see how it stacks up as it gets shared around the office.
Hyundai Sonata Premium
Date acquired: March 2015
Odometer reading: 5720km
Travel this month: 849km
Consumption this month: 11.2L/100km