Hyundai Sonata Premium a refined and tech-laden value for money package
The current generation Hyundai Sonata is offered in two trim levels: the base Active and the range-topping Premium. We tested the Active and was impressed by the refinement from the 2.4 litre naturally aspirated engine, the vast amounts of interior space and the car’s general passenger friendliness.
This time around we’ve been driving the kingpin of the Sonata range, the Hyundai Sonata Premium. Priced from $45,490 plus on road costs. The Sonata Premium takes the base Sonata package and crams it with as much luxury and technology as Hyundai possibly can this side of the Genesis limousine.
There’s heated and cooled leather seats with electric adjustment and memory for the driver, satellite navigation, a panoramic roof, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, xenon headlamps and push button start.
As per the Sonata Active, the Sonata Premium interior is no-nonsense and little fuss. Everything works well, the sound system is reasonable and the climate control system and cooled seats kept us at a comfortable temperature on an unseasonably warm Melbourne summer’s day.
Legroom is excellent all-around, with rear passengers enjoying almost limousine-like space. Where the Sonata loses points is for headroom. The roofline swoops aggressively towards the rear, and the panoramic roof is easy to use and almost adds an “open air” feeling to the cabin, but it chews into headroom so significantly that all five adult passengers had their hair brushing against the headlining.
Fit and finish is good, but some of the plastics on the lower portion of the dash felt cheap and harsh. And whilst the Sonata’s interior architecture is relatively ergonomic, it is a little bland, and is a far cry from the classier feeling and more exuberant cockpit of Hyundai’s other mid-sizer, the i40.
This comparison also highlights the two different target market for the cars: the i40 feels European (almost) and the Sonata feels like it was designed for American customers.
Special mention to Hyundai’s adaptive cruise control fitted to the Sonata Premium which maintained distances from surrounding traffic and it even has queue assist, a feature that is able to stop the car automatically if the car in front comes to a halt, and then resumes almost instantly when traffic proceeds once again.
There’s a more powerful 2.0 litre turbo engine under the bonnet that produces 180kW @ 6000rpm and 350Nm @ 1400-4000rpm and the engine is mated to a six-speed automatic.
Performance is strong with a broad power band and linear torque delivery, but it isn’t what you’d call athletic and it quickly gives you the impression that the Sonata Premium is a quasi-luxury tourer than a sports sedan.
This is asserted by the engine’s exhaust note, which is gravelly and uninspiring rather than rorty. Still, it’s a more favourable option in terms of performance than the naturally aspirated unit found in the Active.
Hyundai cites an average fuel consumption figure of 9.2 litres per 100 kilometres, and we averaged 9.9 litres during the test week.
In sum, the Sonata Premium is well made, comfortable, well-equipped and generously priced. However, there is another more alluring option from within the Hyundai Group family and that is the Kia Optima GT Turbo.
The Kia shares a number of components with the Sonata including that turbo engine, but wraps it in a more engaging, striking and more contemporary feeling package. Kia has worked hard to make the Optima GT feel like an Audi, whereas the Sonata Premium feels luxurious, if a little anonymous.
Name: Hyundai Sonata Premium
Engine: 1998cc turbo charged and intercooled four-cylinder engine with 180kW @ 6000rpm and 350Nm @ 1400-4000rpm, six-speed automatic
Price: $45,490 plus on road costs
Warranty: The Hyundai Sonata Premium is covered by Hyundai’s five year/unlimited kilometre warranty.
Country of origin: Korea