Con­duct a new Sonata

Hyundai hones its top notes in Top End

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - STU­ART MARTIN stu­art.martin@cars­

Cov­ered in car bras and dust it’s no work of art, but cross­ref­er­ence it with ren­der­ings from Hyundai and the next Sonata will turn a few heads in the medium car mar­ket.

The Korean car maker boasts of test­ing the new sedan at the Nur­bur­gring in Ger­many and the deserts of Cal­i­for­nia, but any­one who’s been in Cen­tral Aus­tralia re­cently might have seen it un­der­go­ing dust and hot weather test­ing in the NT.

The re­cently-un­re­stricted sec­tion of the Stu­art High­way might also have had some at­trac­tion to the Hyundai en­gi­neers look­ing to put the car through some rig­or­ous high­speed work in the heat as well.

HMCA’s Bill Thomas says the par­ent com­pany’s en­gi­neer­ing team is cov­er­ing more than 20,000km of out­back “roads.”

“They’re do­ing fi­nal cer­ti­fi­ca­tion runs, for hot weather and dura­bil­ity test­ing, it’s mostly dirt road stuff but also com­bined with hot weather test­ing atv this time of year, all over the NT for about 20,000km so they’re busy,” he says.

While the brand has been un­der­tak­ing in­creas­ing amounts of lo­cal tun­ing for the chas­sis, Mr Thomas says the work in the NT is not re­lated to lo­cal tun­ing.

“This Korean HMC work, we’re not due to tune that car lo­cally for some months yet, we haven’t got our hands on a pre­pro­duc­tion pro­to­type yet,” he says.

“I don’t think that they’re mea­sur­ing sus­pen­sion re­sponse, it’s main dura­bil­ity and hot weather test­ing,” he says.

The Aus­tralian arm of the Korean brand will tune the sus­pen­sion more to­ward lo­cal tastes later in the year prior to the third quar­ter launch, when it will slot back into the line-up along­side the i40 — co­ex­is­tence is the plan for the medium-sized Korean cars.

“It de­pends on the breadth of spec that we choose for Sonata as to how we pos­si­bly mod­ify the rest of the range, i40 is a sim­i­lar sizes and tar­get mar­ket ... Sonata is more of a global car, it’s a bit of horses for cour­ses for us, mak­ing sure we get the best mix of mod­els,” he says.

The brand is also work­ing to­wards the launch of the Gen­e­sis sedan halo car — “We’re try­ing to get through fi­nal­is­ing pric­ing and fi­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tion and some re­search, that’s third quar­ter for us,” Thomas says — but it’s headed into a tough large-car mar­ket seg­ment.

Aus­tralians can ex­pect V6 en­gines in the big RHD sedan, as the V8 has not been en­gi­neered for RHD, and any­one wait­ing for a pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the HND-9 con­cept coupe from the 2013 Seoul mo­tor show- mi­nus the but­ter­fly doors — will be wait­ing for at least two years.

Hyundai head of­fice in South Korea has re­leased more de­tails on the in­com­ing all-new Sonata, prior to the world­premiere in Korea later this month.

Im­prove­ments in safety and per­for­mance are high on the com­pany’s list of tar­gets, prompt­ing the South Korean au­to­mo­tive gi­ant to test the all­new medium sedan in a num­ber of lo­ca­tions around the world — in­clud­ing the North­ern Ter­ri­tory, ap­par­ently.

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