** سوناٹا کا سناٹا **
Globally the automobile market trend is moving towards the Crossover Utility Vehicles/ SUV's, & conventional sedans sales are hit in negative. Every other manufacturer is bringing in their version of SUV or crossovers simply because there is a lot of demand and it seems like the the SEDAN segment is becoming an endangered species.
But beside all the statistical decline in sedan sales , there are certain established models which are known worldwide and their manufactures have still a lot of trust and faith in them and have no plan to discontinue these models.
While Civic and Corolla are renown C-Segment vehicles and we can add Hyundai Elantra, Kia Cerato to the same bracket ; Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are not less popular either. Both these models have global fan and customer following. Although these models are not sold as widely as Civic or Corolla but are very important and prestigious models to their respective brands.
Accord and Camry are midsize D-segment cars and joined by Korean brands with models like Kia Optima[ now known as K5 ] and Hyundai Sonata. The Sonata name came in the last BUT our today's article is exclusively for Hyundai Sonata.
Hyundai first generation Sonata came into being in 1985. The current 8th generation Sonata Chassis code "DN8" was revealed in early 2019. The 8th gen Sonata is well praised and it won numerous awards since its arrival.
𝗛𝗬𝗨𝗡𝗗𝗔𝗜 𝗦𝗢𝗡𝗔𝗧𝗔 & 𝗣𝗔𝗞𝗜𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗡 :
As we know that Hyundai-Nishat started its operation under the Auto Developmental Policy 2016-2021 . Earlier this year in March Hyundai launched a Pakistan Domestic Model/ PKDM Elantra while last year in August Hyundai Tucson was reveled for public and commercial sale.
Although both these models were on cards for the local consumer, last year in February 2020, Hyundai also displayed the new DN8/ 8th generation Sonata for public viewing. It was a showstopper and Hyundai display on the show was one of the most visited one because of the new Sonata.
It is pertinent and interesting to note that the Sonata on display was the first Right Hand Drive model of the DN8 Sonata , as it was not yet available in any RHD market back then in February 2020. Hyundai Nishat showcased the model for public attraction and obviously to judge the public feedback .
Pakwheels team was lucky enough to record a first impression review along with a representative from Hyundai-Nishat. Watch it here > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Z317I0mhes
It was never officially known or declared by the company publicly about the arrival of Hyundai Sonata until recently when our sources confirmed that Hyundai-Nishat did import some Knock-Down Kits . The data doesn't reveal if its the same DN8/ 8th generation Sonata as pictured here in the article or was on display in Lahore last year.
Hyundai-Nishat existing model line in shape of Tucson and Elantra were also on display in Lahore Auto show before official reveal and we did welcome the same model generation as seen in February 2020 before launch.
Applying same analogy and we can guess that the imported kits might be for the the newer current 8th generation Sonata. If we agree on this argument , then let's go ahead and learn about the 8th generation Sonata.
The current Sonata is based on Hyundai-KIA N platform in the third generation/ N3. This platform is used by various Hyundai and Kia models . This is the same platform which is used by the Hyundai Santa Fe, the new 4th generation of Hyundai Tucson [ Pakistan has third generation ] as well as the new Kia Grand Carnival [ as offered in PK as CBU ] , Kia K5 Sedan beside some other models.
In fact the 8th generation Sonata is actually the first model using the newer N3 modular platform which has an increased strength and rigidity, reduced weight which results in improved safety, fuel efficiency and overall driving dynamics and performance.
Dimension wise the Sonata has an overall length of 4900mm , it is 1860mm wide and 1445mm high and have a wheelbase of 2840mm. Although there is no other locally assembled D-Segment sedan in Pakistan, we can put this scale into perspective for comparison and understating with locally available C- Segment sedans.
Corolla is 4620mm long, 1775mm wide and 1475mm high and have a wheel base of 2700mm. Honda Civic on the other hand is 4630mm long,1799m wide and 1433mm high and have a wheels base of 270mm. For our readers , 1 inch is around 25 mm and this means that the Sonata is approximately [ rounded off ] 11 inches longer than Civic and Corolla.
Similarly Sonata is wider as well as have a longer wheelbase. Because, we have very less number of D-Segment sedans on our roads , Sonata will automatically be the largest locally available vehicle with greater road presence . Keep in mind Sonata don't compete with Corolla or Civic, I shared dimensions to visualize the footprint only.
Well, exterior of the newer 8th gen Sonata is something which made headlines since its launch. The production model took inspiration from " Le Fil Rouge concept" which Hyundai displayed in 2018 at Geneva Auto Show . The concept was a major attraction and also won a design award .
The new exterior is a complete departure from the previous generations and it adopted a radical new and revolutionary design which Hyundai calls "Sensuous Sportiness" . The Sonata adopted a 4 door coupe like silhouette on the side profile with slopping roofline while the most striking design element is the bold and low wide new front which carries Hyundai new and wide cascading grill.
Additionally the conventional hood-line across the bonnet we normally see is not there because of the long elongated bonnet which overlaps the front grill. LED headlights and LED DRL comes standard on all models.
Previous generations of Sonata both 6th and 7th had a chrome strips wrapping round the side door windows, running along the length of the car on the side profile starting from the rear door, then all the way over the front fender and connecting with the front headlights. The 8th generation carried over the same chrome strip but this time the chrome trim goes over the bonnet and connects to the inner corner of the newly designed headlights. This chrome strip not only a design feature but functional as well .
A portion of the chrome strip is actually a Daytime Running Light/ DRL . The chrome plated trim is backlit and has very small opening for light to pass through . According to the Hyundai this is the signature feature of the new Sonata and called it as the "Hidden lamp", its DRL when the vehicle is in motion while it becomes a chrome trim when the vehicle is switched off.
The side profile gets a very prominent character line from front and it goes all the way in rear where it bulges out to give the car a sports sedan with a sloppy C-pillar which extends all the wat to end of the trunk. This also results in a slopped truck with upward edge which gives impression of an integrated spoiler. As of the rear end, many Honda fan will not be happy as the it carries the inspiration of wrapped around C-shaped taillights of the 10th generation Civic .
Both taillights are connected via a light bar which runs over the Sonata badge along the width of the vehicle and its functional too as it lit up at night as running lights and this not a reflector. There are small fins on top of taillights and as per Hyundai these are functional vortex generators for improved aerodynamics.
The reverse lights with reflectors are on the bumper with license plate in the middle while a LED high mount stop lamp is on the top portion of the rear glass. Overall the low and wide stance of vehicle is evident on the rear end as well. Depending on variants, Sonata is available with 16" 17", 18" or even 19" alloy wheels in overseas market. Pakistan bound Sonata obviously will carry most of the exterior features as seen on international models.
Like the exterior, the interior is all new modern , sophisticated and Hyundai summed it up in two words “Beautifully Smart” . The new Sonata interior is miles ahead of previous generation. There is slim dashboard design with user friendly and intuitive interface for various control. The interior has been designed for maximum occupant comfort and space .
Slim air vents are nicely integrated on dashboard and premium quality satin chrome trim pieces adds the elegance. Two tone color combination is available for the interior like Beige -Black , Black-gray or Black on Black. Both leather and fabric seating surface are an option.
Depending on the variants, a 12.3" customizable digital LCD cluster is available with apple car play and android auto integration. Basic models get a conventional analogue gauges. There is newly designed multifunction steering wheel. Like most of new cars nowadays, there is a floating infotainment screen in landscape style , although here its matches the profile of the dashboard to give a look of continuity instead of tablet style systems we see standing standalone in the middle of dashboard.
The basic head-unit unit is 8" touch screen while a 10.25" color touchscreen infotainment system is available as well as a Bose premium 12 speaker audio system is also available on upper trim levels.
Basic models get a manual HVAC system while a dual zone fully automatic climate control is also available. 6 way driver and 4 way passenger front seat adjustment is standard while it goes to 8 way driver and 6 way passenger power adjustment with option of heated and ventilated seats on upper trims along with memory seat function.
To maximize the interior space, a drive by wire gear shift button type controller is standard across the model range along with electronic Parking Brake and Auto Brake Hold .
Convenience features like power folding heated side view mirrors, wireless charging, auto dimming rear view mirror, heads-up color display are also available depending on the trim level. Panoramic roof, tilt and telescopic heated steering wheels , ambient lighting Hyundai digital key which turns your compatible android phone into a physical key , is also available.
Hyundai also offer Blue Link services in North American market , which includes remote start with climate control, on demand diagnostic, lock unlock, remote designation push to the car navigation system as well as remotely monitoring car status.
Hyundai-Nishat displayed the vehicle with the digital cluster and a 8" infotainment system. The displayed vehicle was also with the two tone beige-black interior. We can hope that we see maximum options on the local assembled Sonata.
Globally, Sonata is available with various engine options. There are turbo charged versions like 1.6 T-GDI with 178 HP or 2.5L T-GDI with 290HP .
A 2L 192HP GDI Hybrid or 2L 202HP Plugin Hybrid is also available. Depending on engine type, there is either 6 or 8 speed automatic or 8 speed Dual clutch transmission.
There are two more engine options and these are the ones we can see on the import documents/ CKD kits for Pakistan and we know these already. A 2L 158HP/ 196NM MPI [ Multi Point Injection ] and a 2.5L 178HP/ 232NM MPI engine . The 2L MPI is actually the same engine we have seen in the locally assembled Hyundai Elantra while the 2.5L MPI is related to same engine currently in Pakistan assembled Kia Sorento.
Both these PK bound engine types are coupled with a 6 speed automatic transmission and we can expect same. I think that Hyundai Nishat will offer the 2L engine on the base variant of the Sonata while the other version and possibly the top varaint will carry the 2.5L.
As of suspension, McPherson Strut front while Multilink rear suspension is the standard. The ventilated on front while solid disc on the rear are also standard across the model lineup as far as brakes . Motor driven power steering as well as 4 drive modes (Smart, Comfort, Eco & Sport ) are also there along with steering mounted paddle shifters .
As of safety, globally Hyundai have improved their standard equipment across the model lineup. Sonata comes standard with Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC), Brake Assist System (BAS) , Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) and Tire pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) .
In overseas market Sonata comes with front side [ both front and rear passages ] and curtain airbags and a drive knee airbag is also standard feature.
Beside above Hyundai also offer, Forward collision warning , Lane Keep assist, Lane following Assist, Driver attention warning, Smart Cruise control, Blind Spot monitoring, Rear cross traffic alert, Safe Exit waring [it alerts occupants while opening the doors if there upcoming traffic behind ] , High Beam Assist, Auto headlights , Area Surround view monitor as well as rear view camera with dynamic guidelines.
Sonata also comes with Blind spot side view monitor which display the side view in the digital cluster. I am not sure if we will get all these listed active safety features but I can guess that we will see a Pakistan assembled Sonata with front and side airbags , as well as the Hill Start, Stability Control, Brake Assist .
We can expect the Blind-spot side view monitoring as well as the surround view monitor which we also known as the 360 camera. The base model might not get all the safe gear.
First we have to appreciate Hyundai-Nishat if they are really bringing the 8th generation Sonata. Hyundai was bashed and criticized a lot when the Tucson and Elantra were launched and reason being both these models are almost discontinued in the international market.
Bringing Hyundai Sonata can dissolve some of this anger and we should keep in mind that internationally this generation is produced at limited locations like USA, South Korea and China at this time . If a CKD Sonata 8th generation assembly starts here in Pakistan, it will be 4th assembly line in the world.
We can expect locally assembled Sonata sometime in next couple of months and possibly before July 2021 as the Auto policy expiration and cut of time is 30th June 2021 although there are rumors of extension .
Now the next big question is of pricing. In Pakistan the vehicle segments are dictated by the price point rather than the segment they fall in. Looking at KIA and Hyundai local model lineup and product planning and strategy, it seems like they are not competing directly with each-other in the same segment except in case of Sportage and Tucson. Again Sportage has already dominated that segment statistically against Tucson and others.
Hyundai launched Elantra while there are rumors that KIA will NOT launch Cerato sedan which goes against likes of Elantra, Civic and Corolla and instead will offer yet another small crossover in 4-Million +/- price point. KIA earlier this year also released 3 row 7 seat SUV in shape of Sorento in three variants with price falling between 7 million and 8.4 Million.
I personally think that Sonata will be offered with 2 versions at launch possibly and will start above the price of Tucson and probably around 6.5-7 Million for base model while it can touch 8+/- Million for the 2.5L top of the line loaded version.
This way Sonata price bracket will fall around the same figures as 7 seater Sorento from KIA. In simple words , Hyundai will compete and target the price point with a sedan instead of 7 seater SUV for which Hyundai have Santa FE as direct rival of Sorento [ although they are related technically ].
I know the price might be shocking to some readers if this becomes reality. But I think Hyundai will market the Sonata as a Premium Sedan offering and will cash on D- segment in which the other options are CBU and as a reminder the Accord cost above 11 Million from Honda Atlas, while the base model hybrid Camry is 16 Million from Toyota Indus.
This means that even at 9 Million, the Sonata will be a cheaper option although we still don’t know how well equipped and well built a local assembled Sonata would be. Hyundai-Nishat has always been calling their models a Premium/ luxury although nowhere in the world Hyundai models are like that .
Yes Hyundai has premium luxury sub brand but that is known as Genesis and those models don't come with Hyundai badge. It same like calling Camry a Premium but in reality the right model is Lexus ES.
Lastly, as discussed earlier and many times, I hope Nishat wins buyers hearts and soul with the pricing strategy as well as features and equipment in their upcoming locally produced Sonata. They don’t mess up the way they did with Tucson like average 8 months of delivery time which is also being experienced in case of recently released Hyundai Elantra.
It's extremely important , Hyundai Nishat make sure that unethical business practice of ” PREMIUM ” does not wake up like always and basically , the dealership mafia is also involved actively and real genuine customers are always on receiving end. Again we have seen that a large number of unregistered brand new Hyundai Elantra are available for sale with 400,000 to 600,000 over the sticker price in the local market through these so called investors while real genuine customers are waiting in line forever.
Nishat MUST improve their assembly line production numbers for minimum wait time and take all the necessary steps to curb the menace of Black-marketing.
[ f-w @PakWheels.com]
( images in the post are for reference only)
Pakwheels Sonata Thread > https://www.pakwheels.com/forums/t/pk-domestic-model-hyundai-sonata-discussion-thread/2173035?u=fazalwahab11375