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Hyundai Sonata

Broadcast date : 18th June 2006

Restraint. Thatís the word that comes to mind when thinking "New Sonata", although this particular car was launched over six months ago. Itís the kind of car that goes with unit trusts, a hospital plan and a grey suit. And with the latest styling package, quite a stylish suit at that.

If you play it Sonata-safe youíll get near-perfect fit and finish, and a list of standard features that will give you a sense of security, the kind that comes with making the right choice.

You can almost hear your mom saying: "Take the Sonata. Itís the Right Thing to Do".

From the outside, compared to the previous shape, itís less stolid, more solid.

The large no-nonsense sedan is about to make a comeback. If that statement flies in the face of current SUV wisdom, think about the advantages Ė ease of parking, greater agility, fuel economy Ė and in the Sonataís case, more than just perfect panel fit.
Nice solid-spoked alloys, gracefully flared wheel-arches, no more funny-looking taillights.

And while the boot carpeting is not exactly Aston Martin level, the Hyundai does come with other features that impart a feeling of quality, like a hydraulic strut to raise the bonnet.

A set of well-styled engine covers indicates the quality is more than just skin-deep. DaimlerChrysler had a hand in developing the new 2,4 litre four-cylinder motor, which provided reasonable fuel economy in the mid 10 litres per hundred range.

To paraphrase Henry Ford, you can have a Sonata with any engine you like, provided itís a 2,4 litre four-cylinder. Hyundai says the motor falls perfectly between the 2,4 and 2,7 V6 previously available, and we agree with that statement.

The only downer regarding the mechanicals is that the engine is clattery, particularly at idle speed.

Still, it has more than enough torque to make the family sedan experience unremarkable Ė and thatís a plus in this type of car.

"Viva la Difference!" we can imagine the Sonataís designers exclaiming, or the Korean equivalent. The ride quality, though, had us impressed in its unobtrusiveness, which again is spot-on for a large sedan.

You can get a five-speed manual Sonata instead of this four-speed auto model. Weíd go for the easy auto option, because it suits the nature of theÖ. well, not exactly a beast, is it?

Hyundai Sonata 2,4
  • Engine: Four-cylinder petrol, 2 359 cc
  • Power: 118 kW @ 5 800 rpm
  • Torque: 219 Nm @ 4 250 rpm
  • Transmission: Four-speed automatic, front-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 10,64 seconds (Car Magazine)
  • Top speed: 195 km/h (Car Magazine)
  • Fuel consumption: 10,95 litres/100 km (Car Magazine)
  • Price: R209 900
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