The eighth-generation Hyundai Sonata has finally been launched in Malaysia. Just one variant is on offer this time, that being the 2.5 Premium. It’s fully imported from South Korea and retails for RM206,888 (with full 100% SST). However, the first 50 units will be sold at an introductory price of RM189,888 (with 50% SST).

Design-wise, the new Sonata is the first car that is based on Hyundai’s Sensuous Purity design language. Features include a large Cascading Grille, integrated air curtains on the edges of the front bumper, automatic full LED headlights, as well as LED DRLs that “soften” along the chrome strip on the bonnet. When the DRLs are turned off, the strips appear as chrome, and this is achieved via laser-etched perforations.

At the back, it gets full LED tail lights with a continuous LED strip along the boot, integrated fins atop the LED lights, roof-mounted third brake light, an integrated ducktail spoiler, the Sonata script, plus an integrated diffuser. Also on are 18-inch multispoke dual-tone alloy wheels (wrapped with 235/45 Continental PremiumContact 6 tyres), a subtle front lip, and side skirts.

There are six available colours, which include White Cream, Shimmering Silver, Nocturne Grey (pictured here), Oxford Blue, Midnight Black and Flame Red. Hyundai Sime Darby Malaysia (HSDM) is also offering three interior colour schemes, but these depend on the exterior colour choice.

White Cream, Nocturne Grey and Midnight Black will get the Camel two-tone interior theme that you see in these pictures, whereas the Shimmering Silver comes with the Greige (a colour between beige and grey) two-tone cabin with white leather seat upholstery. For those who want the usual all-black affair, you’ll have to settle for Oxford Blue or Flame Red.

Inside, the Sonata gets a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, a head-up display projected onto the windscreen, an eight-inch Display Audio touchscreen head unit with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, automatic dual-zone climate control, electronic parking brake, and a four-button shift-by-wire gear selector. There’s also a Qi wireless charging pad with cooling function.

A drive mode switch is standard, letting you choose between Smart, Comfort, Eco and Sport modes. Other features include a large panoramic glass roof, electrochromic rear view mirror, eight-way powered driver’s seat with two-way lumbar adjustment and memory function, four-way powered front passenger seat, and rear air vents. There are two USB ports up front and one at the back.

In terms of dimensions, the Sonata is arguably the biggest car in its class, measuring 4,900 mm in length, 1,860 mm wide, 1,445 mm tall, and has a wheelbase of 2,840 mm. Boot space is 510 litres (no powered boot), and the rear bench folds in a 60:40 split configuration. There is also no spare tyre, just a tyre repair kit.

For powertrain, the Korean D-segment sedan is powered by a 2.5 litre Smartstream petrol engine. It’s a four-cylinder MPI unit making 180 PS and 232 Nm of torque, with drive sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission (with shift paddles). There is a GDI direct-injection version of this engine that’s sold in other markets, offering 193 PS and 245 Nm of torque, mated with an eight-speed auto. It’s not available in Malaysia due to fuel quality concerns, we’re told.

On the safety side of things, it gets six airbags as standard, ABS with EBD, ESC, hill-start assist, and vehicle stability management. Unfortunately, the Sonata doesn’t come with the Hyundai SmartSense suite of advanced driver assist systems, so it misses out on autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control (there’s passive cruise control, though), lane departure warning or lane keep assist.

There is, however, a 360-degree surround view camera, as well as a blind spot view monitor. The latter uses the two side cameras (each with a 50-degree wide-view lens) to project a video feed onto the instrument panel when using the turn signals. This is like Honda LaneWatch, except better.

Again, pricing for the first 50 units of the Sonata is RM190k. Each purchase comes with a five-year or 300,000 km warranty coverage. You may browse CarBase.my for a more detailed look at the new Sonata’s specifications. You can also compare it against the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Volkswagen Passat, and more. So, what do you think of the Sonata? Sound off, below.

GALLERY: Hyundai Sonata official press photos