Published on November 25th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Hyundai Sonata Smartstream Test Drive Review
We test drive this latest premium sedan from Korea
Many Malaysians love Korean made smart phones. Many Malaysians love Korean food. Many Malaysians love Korean K-Pop music videos. Many Malaysians love watching Korean dramas on their smart devices. Many Malaysians will not buy a Korean made car, why? Well, this is somewhat of a phenomenon that we want to look at in this review of the all new Hyundai Sonata.
Launched to the global market in April 2019 at the New York International Auto Show, this all new premium Hyundai sedan made heads turn and got more camera clicks than expected at its unveiling. Hyundai had delivered their next design language and they were proud of it.
Used Car Market Intelligence
So, before you start knocking its resale value, which is the first thing everyone says to us when we mention Hyundai, lets look at the used car values of a 7-year old Sonata against its immediate Japanese rivals, the Mazda6, Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry. (please see pictures below). As you can clearly see, the used car dealers keep their prices relatively flat across this segment. So why are used values of Hyundai vehicles perceived to be much lower than its European rivals?
Used Car Values
The ‘Korean’ gets a healthy asking price of RM51,800, the Mazda6 comes in at RM58,800, the Toyota Camry pricing is RM59,888 and the Honda Accord is selling for RM48,800. All these sedans are 2013 registered cars. We are showing you this to make you better understand resale values and not be ‘tricked’ by used car dealers who ‘force’ you to sell your car to them a 20-22 percent lower in order for them to make very healthy profits.
If you driving a 2013 Hyundai Sonata, or just about any other Hyundai vehicle and you visit a used car dealer to do a trade-in or just outright sale you will be upset with the 35-40 percent lower asking price when compared to a very similar Japanese rival. It seems that used car dealers have for years been undervaluing the buy-in price of all Hyundai’s and then putting a high mark-up on par with Japanese rivals to make a better than average profit.
The simple excuses of ‘boss this one cold brand’, “taukeh not many people want to buy this car’ and ‘aiyo this car very hard to get loan la’ is commonly used to persuade Hyundai owners to sell their cars to used car dealers are low prices.
Then a day later you see your sold Hyundai advertised at a 35 percent higher margin online and a week later when you call up the dealer to buy the same Hyundai, it is sold. So, this is just a ‘game’ played by used car dealers to maximize their profits. It is time for Hyundai owners to avoid such dealers and make the sale themselves via online used car classifieds that allow for a fair price trade.
Used car dealers will also happily claim that Hyundai’s give very little after sales issues and spare parts are all easily available via their established extensive network.
Good news right now as Hyundai Sime Darby Motors is now offering an additional generous trade in value of up to RM5,000 for customers and this offer is NOT limited to just Hyundai owners, other brands are welcome.
The new design starts with the newly designed Digital Pulse Cascading Grille spans the front of the new Sonata, finishing at the innermost points of new combination headlamps that feature a distinctive and innovative new lighting architecture.
A chrome line flows from the wing mirror, right around the side passenger windows, and returns to the front of the car by running down the length of the hood and ending at a sharp right angle beneath each headlight. This chrome strip features graduated LED Daytime Running Lights embedded with Hidden Lighting Lamps.
The side sections of the Sonata are accentuated by the light architecture, which connects two chrome lines that seamlessly link the windows and daytime running lights. Through these two character lines, the Sonata effuses a flowing and refined charm.
The high-tech appearance of the rear is intentionally suggestive of the Sonata’s advanced safety systems and technology-packed interior.
Step inside and you are greeted with a new dashboard that features a first-in-class, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. At the center of the dashboard, a large, 10.25-inch HD screen enables occupants to interact easily with the audio-video and navigation (AVN) functions. The front seats are electric (10-way) and very well bolstered for great driving comfort. The rear passengers get very good legroom and there is enough space for three adults.
Must be noted is the Hyundai Blind Spot System uses a pair of cameras, one on the left and one on the right. Just flick the turn signal to the left and and the speedometer is replaced with a colour monitor showing a clear view of what is coming alongside your sleek Sonata and use the right signal and the tachometer is taken over showing moving traffic alongside. This is the only system of its kind in the world for now, for both left and right side viewing.
Luxury Car Features
This Sonata features a number of advanced comfort and convenience features typically found only in luxury cars, including a tilt and slide sunroof (with internal cover), heads-up-display, electric parking brake, Qi high-speed wireless smartphone charging pad with cooling fan, standard Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto® and split-folding rear seats.
The top-of-the-line audio and navigation display is a wide, high-definition, customizable, 10.25-inch touchscreen monitor provides four views: utility, driver assistance, navigation and parking assistance.
From ignition this new Sonata is quiet, cabin insulation is great, on par with German rivals and only when the engine is worked past 3,500rpm do you hear its murmur from the engine bay. The 180PS engine accelerates smoothly and progressively and only when you really push the throttle with haste do you hear the cylinders working to deliver its 232Nm of mid-range pulling power. Yes, the power delivery is progressively quick and linear and this is what luxury sedan drivers want. Not neck snapping sports car acceleration.
You get four driving modes where Eco mode is best when in heavy traffic, Comfort mode for highway cruising, Sport mode when you need to arrive early and Smart mode when you let the intelligent on board computer decide what is best for you.
Driver and passenger comfort is high, even when you drive across uneven tarmac (common on Petaling Jaya roads) and rear leg and hip room is good for 3 adults. This Sonata has grown in size and this is where the consumers need to take notice. It large size offers more value to buyers looking for that ‘big car’ feel when inside and also when arriving at a business destination.
Just like its immediate rivals from Japan, the Sonata competes in price with base local assembled German sedans that have moved down the value chain. Yes, the German brands with local assembled base specification cars have managed to bring their selling prices down to the same level as Japanese high specification models and this allows some Malaysians to get behind the wheel of a ‘brand’ they aspired to own. Take a test drive back to back with a European rival on the same morning and decide for yourself.
Hyundai Sonata Smartstream 2.5L Specifications
Engine: Smartstream G2.5
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Max Power: 180PS @ 6,100rpm
Max Torque: 232Nm @ 4,000rpm
0-100km/h: 9.0 seconds
Top Speed: 180km/h as tested