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The new Hyundai Sonata has just been officially launched in Malaysia. The seventh-generation LF made its world debut in South Korea in March this year, so Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) has wasted little time in bringing the D-segment sedan in to challenge the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Teana, Kia Optima K5, VW Passat and Peugeot 508.

The Sonata LF has a bigger footprint than the outgoing YF – at 4,855 mm long and 1,865 mm wide, the new model is 35 mm longer and 30 mm wider than the car it replaces. The wheelbase, at 2,805 mm, is 10 mm longer. The 510-litre (VDA) boot can take four golf bags and four Boston bags.

Hyundai points out that the increased use of high-tensile steel (51%, as opposed to 21% previously) and new underpinnings translates to the new Sonata having 41% greater torsional strength and 35% greater bending strength than the outgoing model.

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The “Fluidic Sculpture 2.0” body (with flat underbody) performs well aerodynamically with a Cd value of 0.27. The LF’s appears sharper and more sober than the adventurous YF, which replaced an inoffensive but dull NF and shocked the segment in the process.

Under the hood is a 2.0 litre Nu engine with 154 PS and 194 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. The MPI unit (as opposed to GDI in the i40) with Dual CVVT is mated to a six-speed torque converter automatic gearbox, designed in-house.

The steering is electric and suspension is made up of MacPherson struts up front and a multi-links at the back, which is par for the course. Hyundai says that the Sonata has been tested at the Nurburgring, and mentions “enhanced driving dynamics” as well as lower levels of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). A Drive Mode button changes steering, transmission and throttle response in three modes (Eco, Normal, Sport), similar to that in the latest Optima K5 facelift.

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Three variants will be available in Malaysia – Elegance B, Elegance and Executive. The base model gets dual-airbags, ABS, Hillstart Control, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), daytime running lights (DRLs), 17-inch alloys (with 215/55 tyres) leather seats and a 12-way powered driver’s seat.

Also standard on the Elegance B are dual-zone air-con, Smart Key (keyless entry) and push start, steering audio controls, cruise control, auto headlamps and the new Smart Trunk System, which opens the boot automatically when one stands near the rear end with the key fob for three seconds.

Moving up to the Elegance adds on side and curtain airbags to make it six in total, a Super Vision Cluster instrument panel with 4.2-inch colour screen (compared to a 3.5-inch OLED monochrome cluster on the Elegance B), touch-screen audio visual navigation system, Bluetooth, front parking sensors, reverse camera and a locally-fitted Safe Drive (video) Recorder. By the way, the AVN system is Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) based, and it can run Waze when tethered to your smartphone, on the move, we are told.

Android touch-screen audio visual navigation system is standard for the Elegance and Executive

The top Executive spec Sonata gets all the above, plus 18-inch wheels in a sportier design (235/45 tyres), bi-xenon HID headlamps (halogen projectors for the rest), active cornering lamps, panoramic roof, eight-way powered front passenger seat and auto wipers. Cabin trim wise, the Exec gets carbon-look trim while the Elegance gets wood trim.

The CBU from South Korea Sonata comes in six colours, and you can check out the available colours for each variant for yourself on CarBase.my. It is priced at RM 139,268 for the Elegance B, RM145,768 for the Elegance and RM153,768 for the Executive, all OTR without insurance.

Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors also announced an interesting warranty programme for the new Sonata LF. On top of the standard five-year or 300,000 km warranty, there will be an eight-year warranty for the powertrain (engine and gearbox). The eight-year warranty is applicable only for first hand owners.

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www.michelin.com.my

Hyundai Sonata 2.0 Executive

Hyundai Sonata 2.0 Elegance

Hyundai Sonata 2.0 Elegance B

Hyundai Sonata official pictures