Conduct a new Sonata
Hyundai hones its top notes in Top End
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.