(Note: All specifications and details in this release are based on the model for Africa & Middle East)
Sonata has been the perennial best-seller in Korea since the first generation model was launched in 1985. The sixth-generation Sonata will continue this successful tradition with impeccable quality seen today in other Hyundai premium models, such as the Genesis and Equus.
Hyundai began developing the new Sonata in 2005 under the codename YF. The project took 4 years and 450 billion won (US$ 372 million*) to go from concept to customer. Although it is a completely new vehicle, Hyundai is retaining the Sonata brand name in most markets (the car may be badged under a different name in some markets).
Destined to shake up the world’s mid-size sedan market with a daring, emotionally-driven design, state-of-art technology and superior build quality, the new Sonata promises to be an exceptional driving experience.
Based on the visionary concept of combining nature’s inherent beauty with the ever-journeying soul, the end-product is vehicular innovation at its functional height and sophisticated, class-defying best. The all new Sonata’s unique design language evokes a sense of desire and strong appeal among virtually all generations of drivers.
FLUIDIC SCULPTURE DESIGN LANGUAGE
Beginning with the YF (Sonata) and LM (Tucson) projects, Hyundai designers set to work about three and half years ago on developing Fluidic Sculpture, an entirely new design direction. Fluidic Sculpture is a consistent, cohesive design language that will ripple through the entire Hyundai showroom. In developing the initial Sonata sketches, Hyundai designers considered the interplay of natural, fluid elements with more rigid surfaces and structures to create the illusion of constant motion. Inspired by nature, Fluidic Sculpture injects sophistication and dynamic angles into the shape of a vehicle and now serves as the core of Hyundai’s future design identity.
The exterior of the all-new Sonata is long, light and low. The high beltline allows for a long, sleek roofline accented by the third window. A mono-form side profile includes flowing lines highlighted by a Hyundai signature chrome accent that spans the length of the car. Normally, this type of trim is only found around the windows. On the new Sonata, this trim extends out from the headlamps, juts up along the hood and through the beltline. The face is bold with a large powerful chrome grille and headlamps that integrate precise details. Multi-spoke wheels (16-, 17- or 18-inch) complete the assertive stance.
The sophisticated look continues inside where Hyundai has created an upscale ambiance thanks to a flow-through center console and instrument panel. These flowing surfaces complement the exterior design and wrap around the driver and passengers.
The Sonata rides on a 2,795mm wheelbase which is just 65mm longer than the previous iteration. At 4,820mm and 1,835mm, it is also longer and wider than its predecessor (by 20mm and 5mm, respectively) greatly improving the interior cabin space but the overall height of 1,470mm has been lowered by 5mm without affecting headroom.
In Africa and Middle East, the Sonata will be equipped with two powerful and fuel efficient Theta II gasoline engines: Theta-II 2.4 and 2.0 engines.
The lighter weight Theta II engines with a straightened air intake system, that allows the engine to inhale a larger volume of air, put out more power and torque: the Theta-II 2.4 is rated at 178ps and 23.3kg.m of torque emits just 190g/km of CO2 while the Theta-II 2.0 delivers 165ps and 20.2kg.m of torque, further reducing CO2 to only 180g/km.
Hyundai’s commitment to making the Sonata extremely fuel efficient continues with a six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC manual control or a standard six-speed manual transaxle.
Developed and manufactured entirely in-house, Hyundai's all-new six-speed automatic A6MF1 transaxle helps the company meet its goals of improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions. Shifts are silky-smooth with an option of manual control through the SHIFTRONIC feature.
Drivers can access the SHIFTRONIC feature by moving the gear selector into a separate gate. Pushing the selector forward or pulling it rearward will shift the transmission up or down sequentially, further enhancing driver control. The steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters are also available in the new Sonata. A clear LCD readout on the instrument panel shows the gear being used.
Designed for transverse engine applications in passenger cars and SUVs, the new compact transmission puts Hyundai into an elite class of auto manufacturers who have designed their own proprietary six-speed automatic transmissions. The strength of the design is its unique layout which makes it smaller, more compact and lighter than any other six-speed transmission on the market today.
For the customer, the new six-speed delivers a performance edge. In this application, it helps brings a nine percent gain in fuel economy. The gearbox has no dipstick because it is filled with automatic transmission fluid that is good for the life of the vehicle under normal usage conditions, thereby reducing maintenance costs.
Developed over a four-year period, this new six-speed automatic is 12.0kg lighter than the five-speed it replaces. It also is 40.6mm shorter and considerably simpler, having 62 fewer parts, which is a key to increased durability, lighter weight and lower cost.
When it comes to transmissions, more gears are definitely better. The addition of a sixth gear enables closer spacing between gear ratios providing a better balance of performance and fuel economy while the wide overall gear ratio helps deliver strong acceleration.
The gearbox has three planetary gear sets and a unique flat torque converter that shortens the unit's overall length by 12.0mm. Four pinion differentials improve durability and further minimize size.
Another example of engineering ingenuity is found in the design of the hydraulic pressure control unit. Slight manufacturing deviations from one solenoid valve to the next often times cause fluctuation in the hydraulic pressure and affect shift precision and quality. The transmission featured in the Sonata cleverly integrates adjustment screws in the valves that enable each of the eight valves to be calibrated at the factory. This feature ensures stable hydraulic pressure at any shift point which facilitates a high degree of precision and control needed to deliver fast, smooth and precise shifts throughout the rpm range.
FUEL ECONOMY INNOVATIONS
In addition to the new fuel-efficient engines and transmissions, the Sonata features a number of other innovations which contribute to lower operational costs.
Nestled between the speedometer and tachometer, the "ECO" coach is a new feature designed to promote fuel-saving driving habits. In the manual transmission version, an icon on the LCD tripometer screen begins to flash when the optimum gear shift point is reached. The automatic uses an "ECO" icon backlit by LEDs with either the red, white or green LED lighting up in accordance with driving behavior. Fuel savings in the range of 15 to 17 percent are attainable with the automatic "ECO" coach and 7 to 9 percent with the manual.
Sonata features a state-of-the-art Alternator Management System (AMS) whose circuitry monitors electrical loads and the state of battery charge. During periods of low electrical loads and a full charge in the battery, a clutch automatically disengages the alternator thus reducing the load on the engine and lowering fuel consumption.
SUPPLE RIDE, AGILE HANDLING
An advanced four-wheel independent suspension system combines a supple ride with precise handling and steering response for the new Sonata. Sonata uses MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear suspension systems with increased travel for improved wheel control and a smoother ride. All four wheels are controlled by coil springs, fade-resistant gas-charged dampers and stabilizer bars. The suspension has been optimized to keep the vehicle flat during corning and provide quick turn-in response. The rear suspension uses aluminum components to reduce weight and improve suspension performance.
To meet the most stringent automotive safety and crash requirements, the Sonata is built with hot-stamped ultra high-strength steel while featuring six standard airbags. In addition, safety has been upgraded with Electronic Stability Program (optional) including Hill-start Assist Control and Brake Assist System functions—an industry first in this competitive segment.
In Korea, Hyundai started selling the new Sonata manufactured in Ulsan Plant last September. In overseas, Hyundai started production of the new Sonata at its Alabama plant last December. In early 2011, production and sales in China will also begin. Hence, Hyundai expects to sell 450,000 units annually in all markets (Korea and overseas combined) beginning from the year 2011.
Hyundai is confident that the new Sonata, with vastly improved features, will attract and satisfy new as well as current customers. The added specifications are as follows: ESP, Foot Parking Brake, Amplitude Selective Dampers, High Mounted Stop Lamp, Rear Heated Seats.