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?
Under that beautifully sculpted hood sits a somewhat massive 2.4-litre inline-four mill mated to either a manual stick-shift or an auto’box with paddle shifters on the steering wheel as per your preference. The 4-valve per cylinder DOHC engine makes 201 PS and sends 250 Nm to the Sonata’s front wheels. But the best part about the Sonata’s engine isn’t really its size. Despite the 2359cc capacity, the Sonata is still rated for a fuel efficiency of 10 kmpl and 12.5 kmpl for the manual transmission version in the city and highway respectively. That may drop a tad lower on the automatic variants, but personally, we found the automatic to be the better of the two cars.
The engine pulls the Sonata’s near-1500kg frame effortlessly through the six gear ratios when in Drive mode and if you’re in the mood for a little more control over the shifting, you can plug the shift lever in Sport mode and make full use of the paddles on the steering wheel. The shifts are quick enough and make the task of going through the gears pretty pleasurable as well. The manual variant though isn’t as great though and despite the slightly better efficiency, its hard clutch and poor throttle response at lower revs tends to put you in a spot – especially in 1st and 2nd gears.
Give that fabulous GDi engine some space to stretch its legs though and it will leave you with your jaw dropped all the way to the floor. When we got the Sonata AT to shoot to 100 km/h from standstill it did it in under 10 seconds and considering that some other cars with bigger engines are beating it only by a few tenths of a second, this is definitely one fast car! All that performance coming from an inline four is the direct result of Hyundai’s Gasoline Direct Injection technology and it makes real world overtaking a breeze with the car accelerating from 60 km/h to the ton in 4.58 seconds.
We didn’t quite get the space to reach the Sonata’s terminal velocity but rest assured, that stonker of an engine coupled with the car’s aerodynamic shape will take it past the 200 km/h mark with ease.
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