All New Hyundai Sonata Launched Locally, RM 207k

A thoroughly competent large sedan from Hyundai that will sadly be overlooked by many. 

Aside from the launch of the new Kona compact crossover, Hyundai Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) has also debuted the new Sonata locally today. Priced at RM 206,888, this latest fully imported Korean large sedan is set to be Hyundai’s flagship within its local lineup. 

Launched globally in the beginning of this year, the Sonata only offers a single trim level locally, with that being this fully-loaded Sonata G2.5 Smartstream. Thus leading to the eye-watering price of nearly RM 210 k. That said, HSDM is offering a special introductory price of RM 189,888 to the first 50 buyers of this new Sonata. 

To most, spending nearly RM 210 k on a Hyundai is something unthinkable. That said, to those who are willing to look past the badge, they’ll soon discover that this new Sonata is perhaps one of the best that the local D-segment has to offer. After all, this particular sedan has already been sweeping awards left, right and centre globally. So there must be some merit to this sedan. 

Starting with its looks, this new Sonata knocks the already strikingly-styled Toyota Camry out of the park with this sharp, sleek exterior aesthetics. Though it should come as no surprise seeing as it was designed under the watchful eye of Luc Donckerwolke, incidentally the man who designed the Lamborghini Murcielago. 

The front end is a mix of sharpness and elegance, while the rear end design, with its distinct rear light signature is like nothing else on Malaysian roads today. 18 inch alloys meanwhile add a bit of bling to the sleek side profile of this large sedan. 

Speaking of wheels, driving the front wheels of this sole Sonata variant is Hyundai’s new 2.5 litre naturally aspirated Smartstream four-cylinder mated to a six speed automatic transmission. Power figures for this engine is rated at a respectable 180 PS at 6,000 rpm and 232 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. Thus enabling the Sonata to achieve a century sprint time of 9 seconds. Four drive modes are also available to be selected, ranging from Eco, Smart, Sport and Comfort. 

Moving onto the inside of the Sonata, the cabin is suitably well-appointed as one might expect from this segment of car. Unsurprisingly too with a Hyundai, this large sedan is also bursting at the seams with standard equipment. Starting with the screens, a floating 8 inch central infotainment touchscreen with integrated Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality is complemented by the 12.3 inch fully digital instrument cluster. 

A heads up display is also standard on the Sonata, as is a panoramic sunroof, a Qi wireless charging pad and a Smart Trunk System. Other highlights include automatic climate control, keyless-go, an electronic parking brake with auto hold, a 360º surround view camera and an advanced tire pressure monitoring system. 

Continuing on the kit front, the safety suite standard on this Sonata is equally impressive too. Featuring the usual passive safety acronyms, as well as six airbags. Perhaps the most impressive however will be the blind-spot viewing monitor that feeds the blind spot footage onto one of the dials within the digital dash. Hyundai has also touted that the Sonata is built from proprietary Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS). Thus allegedly making it ‘one of the safest cars in the world’. 

Despite all these fantastic features on the Sonata however, most people will balk at the price and dismiss it out of hand almost instantly. Choosing instead to purchase one of its established rivals, or take the plunge on a slightly more expensive yet smaller BMW 320i. 

To those however who are able to overlook the Hyundai badge however and see this large sedan for the thoroughly competent car that it is, this new Sonata, despite its high price, could be the best bang-for-your-buck sedan out there. 

PRESS RELEASE: The new-generation Sonata is the first sedan designed with Hyundai’s Sensuous Sportiness design language. The word ‘sensuous’ integrates the value of more emotion in designs. ‘Sportiness’ implies dynamics, to be reactive of what’s happening around us. ‘Sensuous Sportiness’ is about a new concept in the creation of cars.

The 2020 Sonata represents Hyundai’s new focus on creating emotional value using proportion, styling and technology. It is a fully transformed vehicle showcasing a sporty four-door-coupe look. 

Smartstream G2.5 Powertrain

The new Smartstream G2.5 powertrain offers dynamic performance with a smoother and comfortable driving experience, reduced emissions and better fuel efficiency.  It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Gear selection is controlled by a new Electronic Shift Button (shift-by-wire) selector that makes for safer, more precise and fool-proof gear changes.

The new powertrain boasts a generous 180 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 232Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm.

Performance and Chassis

The all-new Sonata is the first model to utilize Hyundai Motor’s third-generation vehicle platform. Offering significant flexibility for vehicle development across multiple segments, the platform enables dramatic innovations in design, alongside improvements in safety, efficiency and driving performance.

The platform delivers an improvement in collision safety through the use of a multiload path structure, Hot Stamping, and super-high-tensile steel plate. The sophisticated multiload path structure increases the energy that the vehicle absorbs in collisions.

Exterior Design: Sensuous Sportiness Defined in a Four-Door-Coupe Silhouette

Inspired by the dramatic Le Fil Rouge four-door-coupe concept shown at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, the new-generation Sonata is a sporty four-door coupe with a spacious and technology-packed interior. The exterior exhibits performance-led proportions that reference the car’s step up in sportiness over that of its predecessor.

From the front, the 2020 Sonata is unlike any other Hyundai. The design is all-new, with cues that don’t immediately appear Hyundai-like. It features a newly designed Digital Pulse Cascading Grille that spans from the front of the new Sonata, finishing at the innermost points of new combination headlamps coupled with a distinctive and innovative new lighting architecture.

A chrome line flows from the wing mirror, right around the side passenger windows, and returns to the front of the car by running down the length of the hood and ending at a sharp right angle beneath each headlight. This chrome strip features graduated LED Daytime Running Lights embedded with Hidden Lighting Lamps.

Also a first for a Hyundai vehicle, Hidden Lighting Lamps are a design innovation that incorporates state-of-the-art lighting technology, forming the Sonata’s light architecture. The Hidden Lighting Lamps appear to be chrome when switched off and become dramatically lit when turned on.

The side sections of the Sonata are accentuated by the light architecture, which connects two chrome lines that seamlessly link the windows and daytime running lights. Through these two character lines, the Sonata effuses a flowing and refined charm.

From the side, sleek forms combine with sensual lines to accentuate the car’s sportiness and clear coupe-like silhouette. Eye-catching sporty details include a trunk spoiler and black side skirts along the lower flanks. The car’s overall height has been lowered an inch to enhance the sporty profile even further. It comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, each with a design that suggests forward motion even when stationary.

At the rear, a wide horizontal line extends across the centre of the trunk, stretching to the edges of the car. This line is actually a long LED strip that connects each brake light, creating a striking visual impression at night. The high-tech appearance of the rear is intentionally suggestive of the Sonata’s advanced safety systems and technology-packed interior.

The Sonata’s coefficient of drag (Cd) is just 0.27, with a flat underfloor covering and a range of body enhancements—including small fins across each taillight—that help keep the car fuel efficient, as well as stable.

Interior: “Beautifully Smart” Technology and Design

The cabin conforms to a “Beautifully Smart” theme, aligned with the expectations of Sonata customers seeking advanced technologies applied naturally and intuitively. The signature aesthetic of the exterior lighting is echoed inside in the form of ambient mood lighting featured across the dashboard and doors.

Spanning the full width of the cabin, the slim dashboard features a first-in-class, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, which is customizable to suit different driving modes and preferences. At the centre of the dashboard, a large, 8-inch HD screen enables occupants to interact easily with the audio-video and navigation (AVN) functions. This screen can also accommodate a split-screen function that allows audio and navigation to be displayed simultaneously. 

The instrument panel is rich and modern, in the shape of spread wings, inspired by a stealth aircraft. This shape presents a levitating effect, and this philosophy carries into the long armrests. The satin chrome accents enhance this effect even further. Designers compressed the height of the dashboard and aircon vents as much as possible to emphasize the lightweight feeling, while modern leather interior provide a fresh and unconstrained ambience for the driver.

Maximizing the sense of a spacious interior was a key focus for Hyundai’s designers and engineers. Alongside visual devices that create an impression of greater room, the new Sonata features an optional panoramic sunroof that amplifies the light and airy ambience.

Wherever possible, Hyundai took the opportunity to combine a technological development with visual or space benefit. The new shift-by-wire gear selector is a prime example, as the new interface not only is sleek and technologically advanced but also takes up significantly less space than a traditional gear selector.


The new Sonata maximizes occupant safety through a range of active and passive safety technologies. Passengers benefit from a comprehensive six-airbag set-up along with a suite of safety other features such as the Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), Brake Assist System (BAS) and the Vehicle Stability Management (VSM).

Convenient Technology

The 2020 Sonata features a number of advanced comfort and convenience features typically found only in luxury cars, including a sunroof, electric parking brake, smart trunk, wireless smartphone charging pad with cooling fan, standard Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto®, and split-folding rear seats.

Its top-of-the-line audio and navigation display is a wide, high-definition, customizable, 8-inch touchscreen monitor with split screens while the cluster supervision display is a full 12.3 inches. 

Making it convenient especially for long distance driving the HUD that offers improved visibility in different lighting conditions. The HUD can be adjusted in both angle and height to provide optimum visibility. The HUD supports driving safety by displaying information such as speed and navigation commands, as well as alerts from active safety and driving assistance features.

The Blind-Spot View Monitor is another convenient feature of the Sonata. The outside mirror-mounted cameras offers the driver an enhanced field of vision. The Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) system scans for vehicles entering your blind spot. If the driver activates a turn signal, an image of the view from the corresponding wing mirror is displayed in the 12.3-inch cluster display. If a vehicle is detected in the blind spot, audible and visual alerts are provided.

Parking and getting out of tight parking spaces is now more convenient than ever with the Surround View Monitor that offers a bird’s-eye view of the car’s exterior, giving the driver confidence when manoeuvring into or out of spaces.

Exterior and Interior Colours

The all-new Sonata comes in a choice 6 exterior colours namely, White Cream, Shimmering Silver, Nocturne Grey, Oxford Blue, Midnight Black and Flame Red. The Oxford Blue and Flame Red exterior colours are matched with the black leather interior; Shimmering Silver exterior colour with the Greige two-tone leather interior; while the White Cream, Nocturne Grey and Midnight Black exterior colours are matched with the Camel two-tone leather interior.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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