March 07, 2019 12:47
Hyundai on Wednesday unveiled photos and specs of the new overhauled Sonata sedan and started taking orders before the car hits showrooms around March 20.
The Sonata was the best-selling car in Korea until 2015 but has since fallen to seventh place last year with sales of just 65,846 last year.
But the midsize sedan remains Hyundai's bread-and-butter model, even though it now only accounts for just four percent of global sales or 200,000 cars. Hyundai hopes the new version will claw back sales in the key U.S. market.
The Sonata has been one of its key models along with the midsize Santa Fe SUV and Grandeur sedan, all manufactured in its U.S. plant. In 2011, the Sonata was Hyundai's best-selling model there, but last year the best-selling models were the Avante compact and Tucson and Santa Fe SUVs.
Sales of the Sonata in the U.S. fell from 200,000 to 100,000 since 2011 and now account for 15 percent of sales in America, down from 35 percent.
But it hopes to turn things round with plenty of high-tech features, while the design, engine and chassis have all been overhauled. The car sits 30 mm lower than previous models, the wheel base has been lengthened by 35 mm and the entire length of the car by 45 mm to make it look sleeker and more sporty.
It comes with nine air bags compared to seven in previous models and boasts a fuel efficiency level of 13.3 km/l. The price tag is W23.46 million for the 2-liter gasoline model up to W32.89 million for the high-end version (US$1=W1,129).
New features include a "digital key" that allows drivers to open their car doors by smartphone app. Up to four people can share the key, which can restore each driver's setting options like mirror adjustments and other features.
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