The seventh-generation Hyundai Sonata was quite a hit in many markets overseas, but in Malaysia it struggled to put up a fight against rivalling D-segment models. Hyundai responded by giving the Sonata a huge makeover which was just unveiled in its native country, Korea.
This refresh exercise is quite substantial, and it’s exactly as per the sketches leaked online some days ago. The front fascia shares similar traits with the current Elantra and i30 models, whereas the headlights are slimmer than before. Also new are the fog lamps’ design. Behind, it gets a striking new pair of LED tail lamps, and the Sonata lettering is now between the lamps.
The blue Sonata you see here is of the 2.0-litre turbo variant, and will get a sportier mesh grille, black-bezelled headlamps, darkened LED DRL surrounds and a host of black-contrasted trimmings. At the back, there’s a new diffuser with dual exhaust tips. A choice of 17- or 18-inch wheels can be had depending on variants. Changes on the inside are minimal at best, with the most evident difference being the sportier three-spoke steering wheel.
Two forced-induced powertrains are offered in South Korea: a 178 hp 1.6-litre and 242 hp 2.0-litre. Both are paired to an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission – two cogs up than before. The range-topping 2.0-litre turbo sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.5 seconds with a top speed of 240 km/h. All Sonatas are offered with active safety kit comprised of lane keep assist, high beam assist, dynamic bending lights and blind spot detection.
Sales of the 2017 Hyundai Sonata facelift will begin by mid-2017. It will be making its Malaysian debut in the near future, but whether or not we get the turbocharged engines remains to be see. If Hyundai Malaysia is serious about the D-segment pie, then we can surely look forward to getting the Sonata Turbo. This will take place after the new Elantra and Tucson turbo make their debut.