2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
Anyone who thinks that the Passat can only come from Wolfsburg is wrong. From Korea in particular, Hyundai is creating ever stronger headwinds with the Sonata.
By Stefan Grundhoff
The VW Passat has been a constant wind from Wolfsburg since the 1970s. Sierra, Vectra, Ascona, Accord or 407 - nobody has been able to wobble with the constant flow of air. Even if the current Passat generation is selling splendidly, for many the Wolfsburg-based company has gone too far up in terms of price. The Hyundai Sonata meets this gap. Because the current generation wants to shine in the European mid-range market.
Modern and inconspicuous
In terms of design, the 4.80 meter long Sonata is largely inconspicuous. A means to success, especially in this segment. Because customers from professional mileage guzzlers and solid medium-sized families rarely want a vehicle with which one stands out like a sore thumb at every corner.
The Hyundai Sonata looks modern and emphatically international. No wonder, it should score worldwide. Hyundai has touched on pseudo-baroque forms like those of Sonata or Santa Fe generations of past years. The vehicles have long been much more than cheap, but are considered dangerous competition, especially for the European volume manufacturers.
Success in the home market
In its home country Korea, the Sonata has been the best-selling vehicle in the mid-range since its market launch. Incidentally, it is not only built in Asia, but in a specially built production plant in the US state of Alabama. The exterior design is fully international and the engines have long since arrived in Europe.
Gasoline engines are still important, but without diesel nothing works in this class in this country. In view of the gasoline alternatives with 2.4 or 3.3 liter displacement, reaching for the diesel version Sonata 2.0 CRDi is extremely easy. The common rail diesel is carefully encapsulated and has an output of 103 kW / 140 PS. Even if many competing models have drilled up to 170 hp in the past few months, this power and the resulting 305 Nm torque from 1,800 rpm are well on the way despite an empty weight of 1.7 tons.
Small starting weakness
The Asian front-wheel drive can not cover up a small starting weakness and the long gradation of the manual six-speed gearbox will hardly impress driving dynamics. But who needs more than 0 to 100 km / h in 10.6 seconds and a top speed of 203 km / h? The shifting travels are long, but that's how you leave your right hand on the wheel. Even from the lower speed range, it goes lively up to the desired speed.
When the road surface is wet, the torque is annoying, as it tries to interfere too much with the steering work. According to the class standard, the Sonata 2.0 CRDi has Euro4 and a particle filter. However, it could be a little more economical. In the practical test, the factory delivery of 6.1 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers was a long way off. On average, at least seven liters ran through the high-pressure injection nozzles. With a tank volume of 70 liters, however, the next federal crossing is no problem.
Space in abundance
The complete standard equipment contributes to the quality of stay on longer journeys. Even if the Sonata tries hard - the difference to the European and especially German competition is still clear. The adjustment ranges of the seats, headrests, belts and steering wheel make compromises, especially for tall people. The fully electric leather seats are comfortable, a touch too soft and a little more lateral support is not only pleasing when cornering, which in this class does not play a role anyway.
Unfortunately, the feel of plastics and leather cannot convince. The instruments, on the other hand, can be read very well during the day and in the dark, but just like the other switches and controls, they seem careless. But there is plenty of space to enjoy. The wheelbase of 2.73 meters ensures that adults will also enjoy this rear seat - provided they can come to terms with the headrests that are much too short.
Large turning circle
The mighty trunk swallows an impressive 523 liters. In the past, people only used a Passat in these dimensions. Comfort is not just about leather seats, dimming mirrors and a sound system, but also automatic climate control, pollen filters and electric mirrors. In terms of safety, the Korean is equipped with ABS, ESP, fog lights, six airbags and Isofix brackets.
Vehicle safety and a feeling of comfort are directly dependent on the road holding. After a few kilometers it becomes clear that the Sonata puts travel comfort above everything else. The chassis ensures good road holding, the suspension smoothly irons unevenness and even the sponginess, which was often criticized in the past, is gone. The steering alone not only lacks a few control buttons for the on-board computer and radio control, but also does not provide enough contact with the road. In the city you would also want a little more maneuverability. In tests, the turning circle had a diameter of over twelve meters - this is not only felt in narrow streets.
Entry from 26,290 euros
The entry into the diesel world of the Hyundai Sonata 2.0 CRDi GLS is available from 26,290 euros. Also a sign that cheap Koreans are a thing of the past. For quality and equipment you have to pay your - albeit - fair price for a long time. A good choice is the comfort package, which combines electric leather seats, heated seats and parking aid for 2,050 euros.
At least two details are still missing that should not be missing in any surcharge list. Neither xenon light nor a navigation system are available ex works. If the dealer can compensate for the missing route guidance with a retrofit solution, the long-established xenon light is left out.