2014 Hyundai Sonata Review

Sonata’s been scooping up Camry/Altima/Accord buyers for ages now, but is value and style still enough to win drivers over?

By Shahzad Sheikh

2014 Hyundai Sonata review

The Sonata has done well for Hyundai, taking the fight to the saloon specialists, Toyota, Nissan and Honda. Since it was introduced in 1985 over 7 million Sonatas have been sold around the world, and just last year in the Middle East alone 26,000 found buyers.

This new 7th generation should do just as well we suspect. Starting at around AED70,000 for a spacious saloon with a 2.4-litre 175bhp engine, that’s a lot of meat for your money.  Prices go up to 99,900 for a fully-specced car like the one we tested, and that’s still a bit of a bargain.

The question is whether just being affordable is enough for the Koreans now? We’ll come back to that, but first…

2014 Hyundai Sonata review

Styling

Hyundai says this is the second model to feature its Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 styling. Whilst I personally wasn’t a huge fan of the previous Sonata, it was a stand-out design with sweeping curves starting right from the front bumper and not giving in till the rear. It was bold and distinctive, and you could appreciate the confident statement of non-conformity.

And for me that’s the problem with design 2.0 – it seems to be going back to conformity. The grille is more upright and conventional now. Whilst still a smooth and stylish car, it doesn’t really stand out as much as it did, it is now just another Korean saloon (and I thought Hyundai/Kia had gotten away from that).

2014 Hyundai Sonata review

Interior

Lots of room inside, and it’s comfortable front and back. There’s good ergonomics, and it’s fantastically well equipped with jingles welcoming you and sending you off, and nice fit and finish with barely any squeaks or rattles. It’s well thought out and the central infotainment screen works perfectly, with an excellent navigation system. Stereo’s not too bad either. No real complaints really.

On the move

The engine pulls along just fine, performance is adequate (although for some reason we get a lower tuned version of the 2.4 than other markets, losing out on about 10bhp), even the exhaust note isn’t bad and the ride is smooth enough (this was on 18-inch wheels although the trim below is offered with 16-inch steel, alloy and 17-inch alloy wheels.

2014 Hyundai Sonata review

The six-speed automatic just about manages to keep up to the task. And that sort of sums up the drive really, it’s up to the task at hand. The steering is lifeless, the front-wheel drive handling is typically safe and uninspiring and there’s simply no thrill factor here at all. You drive this car to go somewhere, not for the drive itself.

Verdict

If all you want is a comfortable, reliable car, that gives you a lot of toys for the money and a smooth unfussed ride to wherever you’re going and, by the way, is once again rather anonymous, than go for the Sonata, it represents great value.

2014 Hyundai Sonata review

However it seems to me that we’ve been giving the Koreans a free pass for quite some time now, simply because they were the underdogs, and offered a lot of simple honest car for the money. But then they upped their investment, improved styling and desirability and sold by the bucket loads.

Let’s be honest, they’re no longer the underdogs, and they’ve done rather well for themselves. So I believe it’s now time to raise the standards by which their cars are judged. Hyundai and Kia are no longer the up and coming rivals to the Japanese, they are the new standard by which even some of the Japanese cars are being judged.

2014 Hyundai Sonata review

But scratch beneath the surface of your typical good-looking Hyundai and Kia, and I still remain to be convinced by the integrity of engineering, the quality of R&D investment and the sheer driveability of the car.

Judged on that level, the new Sonata is an uninspiring, undesirable, underachieving car that I’ll forget all about the moment I’ve finished typing this sentence.

2014 Hyundai Sonata Review – The Specs

Price:
2.4 GL 16” steel wheels, 1 airbag, keyless entry, fog lamps, Bluetooth, reversing camera, cruise control, 6-speaker stereo, remote controls on steering:
AED69,900 ($19k)
2.4 GL adds 16” alloys, parking sensors, 2 airbags:
AED71,900 ($19.6k)
2.4 GL add 17” alloys, leather trimmed steering, panoramic sunroof, electric folding mirrors
AED75,900 ($20.7k)
2.4 GLS adds 18” alloys, 6 airbags, climate control, front parking sensors, Infinity sound system with woofer, push button start, selective ride, navigation, rear curtains, electric parking brake with auto hold, stability control, HID Xenon lamps with auto levelling, front electric seats, leather upholstery, front seat heating and cooling
AED99,900 ($27.2k)
Engine: 2.4-litre four-cylinder, 175bhp @ 6000rpm, 169lb ft @ 4000rpm
Transmission: Six speed auto, front-wheel drive
Fuel Economy: 8.0 L/100km (est)
Performance: 0-100kph 9.5 seconds, Top speed 190kph (est)
Gross Weight: 1475kg

Tell us what you think of the new Sonata below

One response to “2014 Hyundai Sonata Review”

  1. Thanks for this honest review! 🙂 I was looking forward to seeing something about this car in particular 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *