Having recently driven the base model Sonata I was quite interested to see how stepping up to the top range Premium, for a start the Premium model comes with a 2.0L Turbo 4cyl pumping out 184Kw so I really wanted to see how it performed compared to the Active’s NA 2.4L 4cyl.
The big differences between the Active model I review earlier and the Premium model are under the bonnet and on the inside so I am going to concentrate on those you can read my review of the Sonata Active here .
While the Active model is powered by a naturally aspirated 4 cyl, Hyundai have taken a different approach with this model.
The Premium is powered by a 2.0L turbo charged 4 cyl pumping out 180Kw, As you would expect the Elite does get down and move a bit more rapidly then the Active.
The 2.0L engine is very tractable and not only will it easily keep up with traffic, it will actually surprise some people in more expensive cars should your right foot get a touch heavy. On the highway the Premium happily cruises at speed limit which means you have plenty in reserve for overtaking.
Fuel economy though it seemed to with struggle with a little bit compared to Active, now i am sure somebody could definitely get better economy out of it than I did. My normal compute see’s me drive through an 80km/h speed zone and there is a few sets of traffic lights so there is a lot of accelerating from 0-80km/h which can affect the economy.
On some trips where I managed to catch mostly green lights I saw economy in the 9L/100km, but getting caught at the lights and bumper to traffic I sometimes get saw the economy rise to the high 10’s but at the end of the week ti showed my fuel economy of 9.2L/100km.
Over all though i felt the turbo engines extra power and torque suited my commute better than the Active model I tested earlier and would be my choice of engines, beside the extra excitement you from the turbo mill can’t be ignored.
On the road I found the Sonata rode extremely well and it seemed to soak up most bumps and didn’t transmit a lot of vibration into the cabin.
Noise levels weren’t bad but there was a bit of noise transferred into the cabin over rougher b grade road surfaces you find it Sydney.
There is a touch of lean and push mid corner but that only reared its head when I was corner a bit faster than most drivers will.
The steering feel was ok and there was a decent amount of weigh to it, but I would have liked a little more sharpness especially on turn in but again that’s just a personal preference and most drivers won’t notice it at all.
But all in all the steering is really suited to what this car should be used for a decent cruiser to comfortably drive around in, I would of liked a bit more sharpness but really the car is not meant to take pole at Bathurst so the steering was ok.
The Sonata comes with switch able 3 driving modes which lets you tailor the car to suit your driving mood. Eco mood as it would suggest is the best mode to save fuel and it does make a difference on trips most of the sub 10L/100km figures I received were in eco mode. It did feel like you had to put your foot more off the mark in eco mood so I spent most of the driving in normal mode which offered a good mix of responsiveness and fuel economy.
Slipping behind the steering wheel and the first thing that caught my eye was that it was more spacious then I expected, I mean it does have quite the room of a large car but it seems very spacious for a mid sizer.
The steering wheel is comfortable to hold and has buttons for the cruise control, trip metre, audio and hands free for your phone which means you hardly have to take your hands off the wheel for anything.
The instruments are well set out and the white back lighting means it’s easy to read in any light, in between the dials is an TFT screen which display various info from the computer including distance to empty, average fuel consumption, average vehicle speed, elapsed time and instant fuel economy as well as a digital speedo.
The dash is not overly exciting but it seems to suit the interior perfect and everything is set out well and extremely functional all the controls are easily reached without stretching from the average driving position.
The leather seats are comfortable even on longer trips, Front and rear legroom is great even my kids commented on how much room they had for the size of the car, I sat in the back seat behind the drivers and my knees weren’t near the back of the seat something I couldn’t say about other cars I’ve driven, Boot space is very adequate and does increase to 510L thanks to the 60/40 split fold rear seat.
Safety wise the Sonata has received a 5 star ANCAP safety rating and features 6 airbags, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist System (BAS), Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), it gets bonus points for having front and rear parking sensors and gets even more bonus points for having a rear view camera.
After a week I really liked the Sonata Premium after my week in it in terms of a comfortable family car it really fits it’s brief perfectly, it has plenty of room, it’s comfortable to drive and ride in, can return reasonable economy and is chock full of safety features.
The interior fit and finish is top notch and the use of soft touch plastics on the dash, Carbon fibre effect dashboard / door inserts is a nice touch and lifts the appearance of the interior.
In a sea of brown which is the midsize car market the Sonata does offer a touch of something else is I think you would be a touch silly not to have it on your list if you were shopping for a new family car. The plus side to that is it’s backed by Hyundai’s excellent 5yrs unlimted km factory warranty and fixed price servicing.
Hyundai Sonata Premium
Engine: 2.0L Turbo Charged 4 cyl 180kW 350Nm
Transmission: 6 Speed Automatic
Rear parking assist system, Front parking assist system, Rear view camera, Automatic dusk sensing headlamps, LED Daytime Running Lamps (DRL),
High Intensity Discharge (HID) Bi-Xenon headlamps with washer, Static bending lamps, 8.0″ touch screen satellite navigation system with DVD player,
MP3 capability, 6 speakers and 3 years MapCare, AUX/USB audio input with digital iPod® compatibility, Bluetooth® connectivity (handsfree phone operation and
audio streaming), Steering wheel mounted audio and phone controls, Electrically adjusted driver’s seat (12 way including lumbar), Leather appointed seats, Electrically adjusted front passenger’s seat (8 way), Integrated Memory System (IMS) on driver’s seat and exterior mirrors, Air ventilated front seats, Heated front seats, Premium steering wheel and gear knob, Cruise control with steering wheel mounted controls, Rain sensing wipers, Panorama glass roof, Electric folding side mirrors, Heated external mirrors, Smart Boot (hands-free opening), Premium door centre trim, Premium dash cluster hood, Carbon fibre effect dashboard / door inserts.