Old Hyundai Sonata versus New Hyundai Sonata

  • Sep 28, 2012
Hyundai is one of the largest manufacturers of cars in India. It manufactures cars in multiple segments across various price ranges with a plethora of different features. Hyundai Sonata is their premium offering in the D2 segment and has been an average seller for the company over the years. It badly needed a push in the market and recently Hyundai decided to do just that and launched the Sonata in its new avatar. Let’s compare the old Sonata against the new one and see how much more improved is the new one over the older premium sedan from Hyundai.

Looks and design:

The old Hyundai Sonata was a well designed and sported a contemporary look but needed a styling update for a long time as many of its competitors where coming up with stylish new design. It sported stylish sleek headlamps and an aggressive looking front end with fog lamp integrated into the front bumpers. It had a long wheelbase and comes shod with 10 spoke alloy wheels which add to the sport looks of the sedan. Hyundai Sonata had a well designed rear with wrap around tail lights on the boot lid was proportionate with the design elements on the front. It had good build quality and fit finish and paint quality was excellent.

The new Hyundai Sonata takes the cake when it comes to the exterior looks. It has a classy and distinguished profile owing to the “Fluidic” design concept from Hyundai. The swept back huge headlamps and chromed front grille sporting the Hyundai logo combined with angular looking fog lamps integrated into the bumpers gives the new Sonata a very aggressive and stylish front end. The rear has a very upmarket and stylish design which gels extremely well with the rest of the car. The car has sleek lines and the door handles are beautifully integrated into the swooping cut on the doors. The new Hyundai Sonata gets 10 spoke 17 inch alloy shod with 215/55 tyres which add to the sportiness of the car. The new Sonata has been constructed extremely well while the fit, finish and paint quality is just top notch.

Looks overall – Old Hyundai Sonata – 7/10
Looks overall – New Hyundai Sonata – 8.5/10

Interiors – design, space and features:

The old Sonata had good interiors however the dashboard was quite plain looking in comparison with the new car. However the fit and finish of the interiors was very good and the titanium silver finish on the center console gave it a nice and sporty feel. The instrument panel with the dials had white illumination which was a nice touch. The seats were extremely comfortable and offered excellent support to the back and there was plenty of leg room owing to the spacious cabin. It had a MP3/CD player with good speakers for in-car entertainment. It had plenty of small storage areas inside and the boot space was quite good at 462 liters enough to swallow your travel luggage.

The new Sonata has a cavernous cabin area and will easily accommodate the tallest of passengers inside. It has large glass windows which gives you a fresh and airy feel inside. The seats are extremely comfortable and offer excellent support to the body and they are also ventilated as with a touch of a button you can cool or heat the seats. The driver seat is a 10 way adjustable seat which is best in class. The steering as the audio controls, cruise controls, trip meter, Bluetooth telephony and looks great clad in leather and rubber. The new Sonata has dual tone dashboard with a sporty looking center console full of features with shiny audio controls and faux wood finish panels. It also sports 2 12V sockets, AUX/USB connectors, reverse camera. There are plenty of storage areas inside and the boot space is excellent and slightly larger than its outgoing model. The new Sonata comes loaded to the brim in technology and modern features.

Interiors overall – Old Hyundai Sonata – 7.5/10
Interiors overall – New Hyundai Sonata – 8.5/10

Engine – performance, power, torque, fuel economy, smoothness:

The old Sonata came with two engine options. The first was a 2.4 liter petrol engine variant which developed 171 BHP at 6000 RPM and 234 NM of peak torque at 4000 RPM and gave decent fuel efficiency. It offered stellar performance across the rev range and made a fantastic drive on the highways. The second unit was a 2.0 liter diesel engine which produced a healthy 150 BHP of power at 3850 RPM and peak torque of 315NM at 2000 RPM. It had excellent drivability and will cruise whole day in 6th gear at 2000 RPM effortlessly with enough power to take you past 150kph with ease. This engine had strong bottom end torque and made it extremely easy to drive this car in the city and fun to drive sedan on the highways. The fuel efficiency was a bit of concern but with the diesel engine variant available the cost of running was cheaper than the petrol.

The new Sonata brings only one engine and does away with the diesel unit and is now available in a petrol engine variant only. The new engine is Hyundai’s first direct-injection 2.4 liter 4-cylinder GDI unit which produces 198 BHP at 6300 RPM and maximum torque of 250 NM at 4250 RPM. It is available in Manual Transmission and Automatic Transmission. The MT version has a good gearbox which shifts smoothly and is easy to drive in the city and the highway performance is excellent. The AT version offers a good drive but is not as spirited as the MT variant. There is plenty of torque and you can feel it as you run the car through the gears in either of the engine variants on the new Hyundai Sonata. ARAI has certified the Sonata to deliver a maximum fuel efficiency of 13.9 kmpl for the MT variant and 14.8 for the AT variant of the new Sonata.

Engine overall – Old Hyundai Sonata – 8.5/10
Engine overall – New Hyundai Sonata
– 8/10

Suspension – Ride, comfort and handling:

The older Hyundai Sonata was a comfortable car to drive. It offered a very good ride quality and the suspension was tuned for comfort over sporty driving. The ride and handling of the older Sonata was quite plush. At lower speeds in the city it was well composed but at higher speeds it didn’t feel too stable and the softer suspension revealed a bit of body roll. The steering was on the lighter side and gave little feedback which is good in heavy traffic but on the highway it wasn’t inspiring confidence. It was a comfortable car to travel in and came with ABS + EBD for effective stopping power.

The newer Hyundai Sonata brings a suspension setup which has been primarily tuned for comfort. Like its predecessor it doesn’t have a sporty package. It glides over bumps and potholes and manages to provide a very comfortable drive owing to its softer suspension tune. It is not a corner carver and doesn’t inspire confidence to push it on the twisties. Hyundai’s focus was on ensuring maximum rear passenger comfort as this car is most likely chauffeur driven hence they haven’t built the car to please the enthusiasts. The steering gives good feedback and ensures a comfortable driving experience. It comes with ABS + EBD and disc brake setup on all the wheels ensure that this car slows down from speed quickly.

Suspension overall – Old Hyundai Sonata – 7.5/10
Suspension overall – New Hyundai Sonata – 8/10

Value for money – sticker price, standard features:

The older Hyundai Sonata was priced reasonably and given the features in the competition it did well with the pricing and engine options. It was earlier priced upwards of 15 lakh but the sales performance remained poor despite the engine options and good performance and features of the car. The old Sonata came with a decent amount of tech and kit. Good trim level and for the price it offered a good value for money. However for a prospective buyer spending close to 20 lakhs brand value matters and it did not fare too well in this department but this still was one of the better cars from the segment to buy in its time.

The new Hyundai Sonata improves substantially over the outgoing version. It brings a nearly endless list of interior features and the exterior styling is one of the best in the segment. It had excellent build quality and overall it’s a fantastic car. The only downside is that at present Hyundai Sonata is available only in a petrol engine variant which might prove to hinder its sales. However it’s a good car and has a sticker price starting from ex-showroom Delhi price of 18.52 lakhs for the Hyundai Sonata 2.4 GDI MT (Manual Transmission) version and the Hyundai Sonata 2.4 GDI AT (Automatic Transmission) is priced at 20.61 lakhs.

Value for money overall – Old Hyundai Sonata – 8.5/10
Value for money overall – New Hyundai Sonata – 8/10


Hyundai’s efforts have certainly paid off with the launch of the new Sonata in India they are ready to fight the competition in the D2 segment. It is leaps ahead of the older Sonata brings plenty of new features and looks better than some of its competition. Hyundai’s after sales and service back up is quite sound and they have a good number of satisfied customers. The new Sonata, despite the fact that it is only available in a petrol engine variant it is still a fantastic sedan. So, if you are looking for a stylish premium chauffeur driven sedan in the 20 lakh rupee price bracket then you must consider the new Hyundai Sonata.

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