Hyundai Motor Co. promises a new and improved Sonata for the 2015 model year, one that is more refined and more upscale than the current-generation model. The automaker recently unveiled the re-engineered Sonata in South Korea and will soon reveal it to the public at the New York Auto Show.
Hyundai claims that it invested 450 billion South Korean won (about $416.3 million) over the last three years in the development of the 2015 Sonata. The automaker said that the car was developed in such a way that noise, vibration and harshness were reduced and driving dynamics were improved.
Hyundai also worked on the design of their mid-size sedan and made it more refined. According to the carmaker, the seventh-generation Sonata “evolved into a more refined premium vehicle” with a “luxury feel.” The new sedan’s lines are tighter compared to those of the current model, particularly in the corners. It is more angular, resembling the Genesis which debuted at the Detroit auto show two months ago.
However, the Sonata’s platform and U.S. powertrain lineup are reported to be mostly carryover.
The dimensions of the 2015 Sonata is close to those of the model currently on sale. The new model is longer by about an inch in overall length, and has added less than an inch in height, width and wheelbase.
Prior to the unveiling, the South Korean carmaker issued an apology for overstating the Sonata’s fuel efficiency. On March 4, the company claimed that its latest mid-size sedan had an average mileage of 12.6 kilometers per liter. The claim was soon challenged by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, which said that its tests for the Sonata attested to a mileage of 12.1 kilometers per liter.
Hyundai hopes to sell 228,000 Sonatas worldwide this year and 338,000 units in 2015. The automaker has received 15,000 preorders so far.
The current Sonata model was a big hit in the United States when it first went on sale for the 2011 model year. With its unique design, it reinvigorated the mid-sized sedan segment and presented itself as competition for domestic and Japanese counterparts alike. It then became Hyundai’s best selling car, selling over 200,000 units per year for three consecutive years: 2011, 2012, 2013.
However, the Sonata did not remain the segment’s “It” car for long. When the latest iterations of its rivals (Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima) arrived in the market, Hyundai’s sedan went off the radar a bit and sales has been slow since then. Sales declined 12 percent in 2013 and it dropped 28 percent more through January and February this year.
Whether the new Sonata will again make a splash in the U.S. remains to be seen, but the automaker is hoping for the best.
“The Sonata has been playing a key role in Hyundai Motor’s rapid growth in the global market, as well as leading the development of the Korean auto industry. We are confident that the all-new Sonata will change the landscape of the global mid-size sedan market,” said Hyundai CEO Choong Ho Kim in a statement.
Photo credit: hyundaiusa.com