Published on November 3rd, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
New Hyundai Sonata Delivers More than Just a Pretty Face
The D-segment sedan isn’t the most popular category for shoppers, especially now when a lot of emphasis is put into C-segment crossovers. That being said, D-segment sedans are still considered more ‘premium’ products, as they tend to get a longer wheelbase and slightly wider dimensions overall. Plus, these are the models that get the latest powertrain and chassis developments. No more is this more true than with the upcoming 8th generation Hyundai Sonata.
This all-new Sonata is set to revolutionize expectations for this class of product, and not just because it looks stunning. Here’s a look at the more technical improvements Hyundai Motors have made to their flagship sedan in its latest iteration.
I think the best place to start is with the design, because it immediately gives you an idea of how you feel about the car. We all want to drive good looking cars, because it makes us feel good about ourselves. I think Hyundai went above and beyond making a good-looking car – this thing is absolutely gorgeous and unlike anything else on the road today. The new Sonata employs Hyundai’s latest ‘Sensuous Sportiness’ design philosophy, ditching the ‘Fluidic Sculpture’ of the yesteryears.
There’s just so much to appreciate in the design. The first place we’d start are the new headlights. They’re fully LED, but you’ll notice a chrome strip running alongside them that continues along the bonnet. When the car is turned on, this chrome strip becomes the vehicle’s Daytime Running Light (DRL). The effect is unlike any other DRL we’ve seen before, as the light fades out as it transitions towards the windscreen and returns to its ‘chrome effect’.
But that’s just one small part of the new design. Another aspect is Hyundai’s new Parametric Jewels design concept, which you can observe in the little details of the car. Along the car’s flanks, on the caps of the car’s rims and throughout the knobs of the interior, you’ll find intricate ‘jeweled’ surfaces which elevate the feel of the vehicle in very subtle ways.
Finally, there’s the overall look of the car. Though a D-segment ‘sedan’, the Sonata now sports a premium 4-door coupé look. It’s still a very large and practical vehicle, with a wheelbase of 2840mm, a width of 1860mm, and overall length of 4900mm and 510 litres of usable boot space.
Equally important are the features you get, and even here the new Sonata is made to impress. If there’s one thing Hyundai is known for, it’s giving customers more features than they’re accustomed to. With the new Sonata, you get loads of equipment, including a 12.3” digital instrument cluster, an 8” infotainment unit with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, a Wireless Qi charging dock, a heads-up display, a panoramic sunroof, 10-way power adjustable driver seat with memory function, and so much more.
Two innovations on these features that we’ve never seen on any other cars are on the Wireless Qi Charger and Blindspot Monitor. The Wireless Qi Charger in the Sonata has ventilation ports. When it detects that the phone is getting too warm, cool air is passed through these ports to bring the phone’s temperature down. The Blindspot Monitor function displays a wide angle camera feed to the digital instrument cluster whenever the signals are engaged. It’s really quite cool, and it helps drivers get the information they need without much eye movement.
Next we have to talk about this all-new engine. On paper, some may dismiss it as being just another 2.5-litre 4-pot, but in truth, this is the first of Hyundai’s latest family of ‘Smartstream’ powertrains. These engines make extensive use of aluminium in their construction and also employ Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) technology – a world’s first. CVVD controls the length of time the valves stay open to reduce compression resistance when driving economically. When more power is required, the intake valve is closed at the beginning of the compression stroke to maximize the amount of air used for the explosion, enhancing torque to improve acceleration. In short, this allows the Smartstream G2.5 engine to have 4 percent better performance, 5 percent better fuel efficiency and 12 percent better emissions.
Although passive safety isn’t quite as big a selling point to many consumers today, it’s definitely worth thinking about, especially if you’re family-oriented. We covered this before in a separate article, but it’s such an important part of the car that it’s worth mentioning once again. This new platform increases the amount of high-strength steel used in its construction versus previous generations. This material is now deployed not just on the pillars, but along parts of the floor as well. The additional strength and additional load path structures allow the new Sonata to excel at the ‘small overlap front test crash test’ by IIHS and in real-world applications, where vehicles of different sizes and weight classes may be involved in accidents. The new chassis design also minimizes the tendency for the car to spin in the event of a collision, delivering best-in-class safety.