Published on March 25th, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Hyundai Unveils New 2015 Sonata In Korea
Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s largest carmaker, launched its all-new Sonata in Seoul with a sharpened looking version of their Fluidic design language as part of efforts to expand its presence in the global mid-size sedan market, announcing its aim of selling 228,000 units in the first year.
The company said the car features “refined styling” thanks to its “Fluidic Sculpture 2.0” design philosophy, has better driving characteristics than the outgoing model and incorporates top-of-the-range safety features.
Hyundai’s president Kim Choong-ho said that the sedan, which should reach consumers within the month in its home market, emphasizes a “return to basics.”
“The car has been designed to drive, turn and stop well, and provides the kind of driving experience that can be appreciated by all drivers,” the executive said.
He added that practicality has also been a key criterion in theseventh generation Sonata. The first Sonata that debuted in 1985 has been one of Hyundai’s bread-and-butter models, having sold nearly 7 million models so far. The company said the new car, which took 450 billion won (USD416 million) and three years to develop, will take aim at rivals such as the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Volkswagen Passat, and invigorate Hyundai’s market presence at home and abroad.
Hyundai said it wants to sell 63,000 Sonatas in its home market and another 165,000 abroad this year. For 2015, the goal is to sell 338,000 Sonatas. It said a total of 15,000 pre-orders have been received since March 5. Production for the U.S. market is expected to start in May, with Chinese production to begin in the first half of 2015.
The new car, which has a 10 millimeter longer wheel-base compared to the current Sonata, has the same width but is 35 mm longer overall and has a roof line that sits 5 mm higher. Like the new Genesis premium sedan, the car has a single-piece hexagonal grille, swept-back headlamps, and swooping sports-like profile that starts above the greenhouse and runs all the way to the trunk. Externally, the car with eight color schemes looks similar to the new Genesis up front, although its grille is narrower and stops at the bumper. Its profile, however, retains the feel of the earlier Sonata.
On the inside, the carmaker said it overhauled the suspension and incorporated new advanced braking systems that will give drivers more confidence. Upper trim cars will come with eight-inch center stack color screens, high-intensity discharge head lamps, smart high-beams, adaptive cruise control that can stop the car completely, lane departure warning and a blind spot detection feature. The carmaker claimed features like the full-stop adaptive cruise control are not usually found in affordable midsize cars.
The company said it has used super high tensile steel for 51 percent of the vehicle, on par with the Genesis. Coupled with seven air bags, it will provide a degree of protection for occupants not seen in cars of this class, it added. The current generation Sonata uses high-strength steel for 21 percent of the vehicle. This type of steel is roughly 10 percent lighter than conventional steel plates but twice as strong.
Elaborating more on safety, Hyundai said it used three times more hot stamped steel to make parts that go into the new Sonata vis-a-vis the current model and used double-reinforced hot stamped steel in building the B-pillars that greatly enhance the integrity of the car’s greenhouse and protects passengers from sideway collisions.
The company, which is the flagship of the Hyundai Motor Group, the world’s 5th largest automotive conglomerate, said that such detail to safety has resulted in a car that is expected to receive the highest rating of “good” in the small overlap front crash test to be implemented by U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety later in the year.