Despite consistent decline of new auto sales in the nation’s domestic market, latest model of the 7th generation of Hyundai Sonata was on Thursday launched into the Nigerian automotive market.
Presented to the Nigerian motoring media on Thursday, the remodeled 2018 mid-size, family sedan, which comes with a long list of standard and accessible features, is said to have been assembled at the Hyundai Motors Nigeria Limited plant based in Lagos, Nigeria.
Since the 2018 Elantra belongs to the seventh-generation that was released in 2015, not much styling change would have been expected until it expires in 2019. But the Korean auto maker saw things differently.
The car, it claimed, had to be remodeled for 2018 to enhance the 7th generation package “with better value proposition to keep it fresh against increasing competent rivals.”
One obvious feature of the 7th generation of Sonata, rolled out since 2015 was its front end, which is not so different from Elantra. That has changed with 2018 model. Most glaring alteration made to the new generation Sonata is its nose, which obviously looks longer than it predecessor’s. Essential change to the car’s nose, analysts believe, is wise, because, looking at a human being, most noticeable feature of a human is the nose.
Also significant is the fact that its grill is made of seven layers, representing 7th generation. In another sense, the new Sonata’s nose reminds one of Hyundai Tucson and the Veloster, though in Sonata’s case, it is lower, thereby aligning perfectly with its long headlights.
Designer of Sonata also achieved noteworthy style change for the car by adding a recessed and sharp-looking corner vents with LED running lights.
Hyundai Motors Nigeria Head of Sales and Marketing Gaurav Vashisht acknowledged the automaker’s perspective, when he told local media at the launch of the new Sonata that almost every exterior element of the car has been reworked, beginning from the forward A-pillars.
“Unlike its predecessor, the front end of the car for instance, has become more muscular, blending with Hyundai’s new cascading grille design with an aggressive lower facia, new headlights and a reshaped hood,” Mr. Vashisht explained.
Standard features on both models include front wheel drive, a rear lip spoiler, cruise control, full power accessories, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, automatic control/rear air-conditioning vents, luxury leather seats and a 60/40 split-folding seatback.
Technology features however include Bluetooth connectivity, a CD player, radio, automatic headlights, rearview camera, a 5-inch LCD display, USB port and an auxiliary audio input and Hyundai Security System.
It comes with a five-inch standard touch screen, which is large enough to avoid undue distractions while in motion.
The new Sonata comes with proximity key with push-button start, power driver’s seat as well as shiftronic gear system with courtesy door lamps, rear parking sensors/back warning camera, engine immobilizer and perceptible front grill among others.
Although the 2018 Hyundai Sonata is available in six trim levels, the Nigeria’s sales and marketing helmsman said only the Elite SE 2.0L and Elite SE 2.4L variants, which are already in designated HMNL showrooms, will be marketed locally.
While both variants are powered by a four-cylinder engine; the 2.0-Liter variant is mated to a 157ps @ 6200rpm and the 2.4-Litreis fused to a 171ps @ 6000rpm.Both models are however paired to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The SE 2.0-Liter model is on the other hand, mounted on a17” Alloy wheels. While the SE 2.4-Liter seats on 18” Alloy wheels.
Remarkable are the Sonata’s vast backseat that can simultaneously ferry the kids, their play mates and adult friends. The remodeled Sonata sits five passengers over long distances with an adaptable room to stretch, especially when stuck in traffic.
And above all, the 16.3 cubic feet cavernous trunk is huge enough to add more cargo capacity should the need arise.
Standard safety features include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat airbags, central locking and keyless entry with Hyundai Security System.
Also reassuring is the fact that Sonata earned a perfect five-star overall rating, with five stars overall for its performance in frontal and side-impact crash tests. And in crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Sonata earned the top rating of “Good” in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact test and a second-best “Acceptable” in the small-overlap frontal-offset impact test. The Sonata however posted a “Good” rating for the remaining side-impact, roof-strength and whiplash protection (seats and head restraints) tests.
J.D. Power Associates similarly awarded the Sonata, Winner 2017 Best Midsize Car for the money and Finalist, 2017 Best Midsize car for families.
“The Hyundai Sonata is indeed a good car. It’s one of our highest-ranking midsize cars because it has many strengths and few, if any, substantial weaknesses. The Sonata has a smooth ride and two rows of roomy seats. There are plenty of standard and available features, and the infotainment system is easy to use. The Sonata has a large trunk as well, and it’s backed by one of the longest warranties on the market,” J.D. Power and Associates remarked
Despite the good points on the Sonata’s report card, the locally assembled version has the likes of Ford Fusion, Volkswagen Passat, Nissan Altima, Kia Optima and Toyota Camry to compete with.
Major differences between 2.0-liter and 2.4-litre engine-powered versions of 2018 Sonata on sale in Nigeria are number of exhaust as well as market price. While 2.4-litre comes with two exhaust and costs N14 million, 2.0 has only one exhaust and also costs N1 million less than 2.4-litre.