Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Used Car Review - Hyundai Sonata (2010-2014)

This September, Myk Belmonte discovers a premium sedan for a bargain price.

2010-2014 Hyundai Sonata

You may not know this but the original Sonata started as a luxurious version of the Hyundai Stellar, Since there is no any distinguishing factor between the two, sales plummeted and got killed in 1987, with the original model lingering for 10 more years. The second generation model made its debut in 1988 and the vehicle line emphasized on value for money content while evolving on reliability later on.

The fifth generation model (NF) which was produced from 2005 until 2010 may have been loaded with effort to compete with the industry's best but it was the model it succeeded it (the vehicle subject of this review) that broke ground and brought Hyundai to international acclaim. Sales started in September 2009 in their home country, before the launch of its production model. In some countries, the vehicle is called the i45 but was latter dropped in Australia and Columbia.

Previous Sonatas sold in the Philippine market weren't market successes, either the Japanese are leaders or due to limited supplies brought in. The 2010 Sonata became a hit for Hyundai locally, thanks to its handsome exterior, being feature loaded, and an attractive price. Sales where decent at start but fell later on. Available models include a base GLS and a more upscale GLS Premium with a Limited model having a 2.0 engine and the amenities of its upper brother became available in mid-2012. Coincidentally, the related Kia Optima was brought in 2012.

Value and Costs
Mid-size sedans are known for their low resale values, regardless of brand. For those more space and presence, a second hand Sonata can be obtained between P630,000 to P900,000 for later models. Majority of those sport the 2.4 engine, which was the volume seller.

Hyundai has a five year warranty, so getting a 2011 model would be a prudent pick to utilize the remaining chunk. Maintaining one may be higher than an Elantra but thanks to an onslaught of Korean vehicle parts shop, it makes things easier. Just like any mid-sizers, pay attention to any electrical issues since they are loaded with them.

Exterior and Interior
Alongside the Tucson, it received Hyundai's Fluidic Sculpture which was noteworthy during its time. That alone makes the Sonata a standout in the sea of mid-sizers, despite its age which makes it fresh until now. Limited and GLS Premium are differentiated by its 18 inch wheels and a panoramic sunroof, as opposed to the 17 inch ones in the GLS.

Going inside, the interior is a step up but some nibbles persist like some low quality switchgear and the matte interior are scratch attractive. While these are small, be thankful that it has loads of amenities that can please both the driver and passenger that includes a cruise control, stability control, rear aircon vents, paddle shifters, push button start, and a panoramic sunroof (the last two items are only available in Limited and GLS Premium models).

Unlike the previous model, the diesel and V6 gasoline were chucked while the normally aspirated 2.4 remains. This Sonata gained options for a 2.0 turbo, a GDI engine, and a hybrid propulsion. Most units will have the Theta II 2.4 4-cylinder which produces 176hp at 6,000rpm and 228Nm at 4,000rpm while the Limited gains a 2.0 engine from the same family but plays with 163hp at 6,200rpm and 197Nm at 4,600rpm. Performance wise, both engines are sufficient enough on bringing the bulk of the vehicle.

Driving Impressions
It may not be a sports car (there's the Mazda 6 for this), especially that the suspension is a soft as a pillow and steering isn't geared towards sporty driving but what's important that body roll is more modulated and balanced. Visibility outside is decent, except for looking out the rear window which is small.

Though past models aren't that outstanding, the 2010 Sonata turns down that notion. It can compete squarely against established rivals by offering high levels of refinement and amenities. Far from perfect, it can get to their levels slowly.

The Good:
  • Feature loaded
  • Good looking
  • Balanced body roll
The Bad:
  • Some cheap touches
  • Soft suspension not for all
  • Good luck if the electronic gadgets fail
The Pick: GLS Premium, its now a bargain

Engine: 1,998cc and 2,359cc Theta II I4 gasoline
Power: 163hp @ 6,200rpm (2.0), 176hp @ 6,000rpm (2.4)
Torque: 197Nm @ 4,600rpm (2.0), 228Nm @ 4,000rpm (2.4)
Fuel Consumption: 4-7km/L (city), 7-9km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Suspension: Front McPherson strut with coil spring, rear multi-link

Price (New): P1,448,000-P1,608,000
Price (Now): P630,000-P900,000
Rivals: Honda Accord, Kia Optima, Mazda 6, Mitsubishi Galant, Nissan Teana, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Camry
On Sale: 2010-2014

Hyundai E. Rodriguez - (02) 416-5767

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