HYUNDAI SONATA PRE­MIUM

They share com­po­nents but the Korean sib­lings are very dif­fer­ent. Richard Black­burn sep­a­rates them.

Herald Sun - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD -

VALUE

Cheaper than the Op­tima, it comes rel­a­tively well equipped with sat­nav, leather, front and rear park­ing sen­sors, auto fold­ing mir­rors, heated and ven­ti­lated front seats, sun­roof and dual-zone cli­mate con­trol. Hyundai is heav­ily dis­count­ing it this month — it’s as low as $38,990 drive-away, $7500 off the sticker price and roughly $10,000 less than the Op­tima. The deal is likely to con­tinue into the New Year. War­ranty is a gen­er­ous five years and ser­vic­ing a rea­son­able $777 for three years/45,000km.

DE­SIGN/TECH

The in­te­rior is con­ser­va­tive and lack­ing a lit­tle flair. In­fo­tain­ment and sat­nav menus are sim­ple and easy to op­er­ate and there are three 12-volt plugs. At­ten­tion to de­tail drops away in the back and be­low eye level, with plenty of hard grey plas­tic. Driver’s and pas­sen­ger’s seats are power ad­justable and there’s plenty of legroom in the rear. The boot (on both cars) is gen­er­ous at 510 L.

EN­GINE

The Sonata and Op­tima are pow­ered by the same 2.0-litre tur­bocharged four-cylin­der, which puts out a healthy 180kW/ 350Nm, line-ball with Ford’s four-cylin­der Fal­con. It punches above its weight, with good re­sponse off the mark. It is also pretty re­fined and will­ing to rev but the Sonata’s fuel consumption is on the high side at 9.2L/100km.

SAFETY

Ticks all the pas­sive safety boxes with six airbags and a five-star crash rat­ing but its score of 33.84/37 in the ANCAP test is solid rather than spec­tac­u­lar. Also lacks the driver aids in­creas­ingly found on cars of its price, with no blind spot or lane de­par­ture warn­ing and no au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing. Seat belt warn­ings for all five seats are a plus, though.

DRIV­ING

The sus­pen­sion has been spe­cially tuned for lo­cal roads and it shows, cop­ing bet­ter than most with our bumpy coun­try roads and pot­holed city streets. The steer­ing feels a lit­tle too light but re­acts ac­cu­rately to driver in­puts. The sus­pen­sion set-up is bi­ased more to­wards com­fort than cor­ner­ing but it feels se­cure and pre­dictable through the bends.

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