Published on October 3rd, 2020 | by Subhash Nair0
New Hyundai Sonata Previewed in Malaysia (ASEAN Debut)
Earlier this week, we got to test drive the Hyundai Kona (read about that here). After the test drive, Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors treated us to a look at the upcoming Hyundai Sonata. This 8th generation Sonata was first globally-debuted in March of 2019 and Malaysia is actually the first market in ASEAN to receive it, though a launch date has yet to be set. Bookings are also NOT OPEN yet. This is just a preview of the specifications that will be brought in for Malaysia. In fact, here’s the spec list:
So, while the Kona arrives to the market behind schedule, Hyundai-Sime Darby have made up for it with this model at least. It’s also worth noting that the outgoing 7th generation Sonata did not do quite as well as the 6th generation model, partly because it looked too conservative, but perhaps also because it didn’t have a larger capacity engine.
This new 8th generation model solves both those problems by looking completely out of this world and being fitted with a Smartstream G2.5 engine.
The Smartstream G2.5 engine produces 180PS and 232Nm of torque, giving the Sonata a 0-100km/h time of just 9 seconds. This new Smartstream engine family replaces the ‘Theta’ engine seen on previous large-displacement Hyundai engines.
Even the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe with its 2.4-litre petrol used the older ‘Theta’ engine. That being said, this 2.5-litre unit in the new Sonata still uses multi-port injection and it’s mated to a 6-speed conventional automatic that sends power to the front wheels. The 6-speed gear selector uses buttons instead of a lever and uses a shift-by-wire system.
The D-segment isn’t quite an exciting place as it used to be. It’s not just that many Malaysians settle for C-segment SUVs instead. We also have to deal with the fact that the price gap between premium compact executives and non-premium D-segment sedans has closed dramatically over the years. If a D-segment Japanese/Korean sedan costs RM200,000 and a BMW 320i costs RM240,000, those who can afford to jump to the BMW will most likely make that jump.
So, manufacturers have had to up their game in this segment to get the attention back. For the Toyota Camry, we got a really upmarket design. For the Honda Accord, we got a downsized turbocharged engine. And for the Hyundai Sonata, it looks like we’re getting premium looks and loads of equipment.