Hyundai Sonata 2012: Road Test
A little bit of magic, and a lot of engineering; some science, and loads of art - the new Hyundai Sonata makes every other car in its segment look like they belong in a bygone era. But can this barge hold its tune on tarmac?
Interiors: MySpace meets Marriott
The best part of a completely new model is that you can probably do whatever you want with it and that’s the approach Hyundai seems to have taken with the new Sonata. Not only is everything a lot more fresh than the outgoing model, but it is also exactly where it should be. All controls are within reach and the best part is that nothing has been overdone – especially when it comes to the colours in the cabin. There’s this really neat and clever combination of beige with black such that neither shade seems overdone. The two-tone theme extends to the steering wheel as well, which, by the way is rather nice and chunky to hold.
The driver does get a whole lot of gadgets to play around with including electrically adjustable seats and steering mounted controls for the audio system and quite weirdly, the trip meter toggle and reset buttons as well. All else is fine, but the way the trip meter buttons are positioned they get pressed whenever you work the steering wheel into tight turns and the fact that the meters set back to zero with just a tap of the reset button can be very irritating. Considering that this was the only real flaw we found in the Sonata’s front half, it says quite a lot on how much the Koreans have worked on getting things right this time.
The fairy tale continues to the rear bench which is not only super comfortable, but also spacious enough for you to stretch out those legs and relax. Occupants also get full access to the audio system through a set of controls hidden in the fold-away centre arm rest along with lots of storage as well. Ingress and egress to the rear bench is quite easy as well with the seat-back starting right at the door sill.
But if you thought it was just the front-seat occupants that got all the gadgets to play with – the audio controls notwithstanding, then the heated and cooled seats all round the Sonata will come as quite the pleasant surprise. While all that is pretty awesome we would have loved to see our test car come equipped with the three piece sunroof that makes it to the options lists in foreign markets!
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