The Sonata, a medium-sized saloon introduced by Hyundai Motor in the mid-1980s, began life on a Ford Cortina chassis. The next generation in the early 1990s (which was also the first generation to come to Malaysia) used a Mitsubishi Galant platform before the Korean carmaker started to develop the model entirely on its own.

Seven generations have passed and this year will see the 8th generation going on sale. Although the Geneva International Motor Show is on this month, the company won’t unveil it there and will only give the model its world debut in New York next month.

8th generation has sportier looks compared to 7th generation (inset)

“A short overhang, sloping roofline and low deck lid create a balanced feel, and Hyundai’s signature chrome accent now goes all the way into the bonnet, making it look even longer. It also has LED lighting built in. These cues bring the Sensuous Sportiness design concept to life,” explained Sang Yup Lee, Senior Vice-President & Head of the Hyundai Design Centre.

Bigger with sportier looks
The all-new Sonata takes its inspiration from the Le Fil Rouge concept (pictured above) which was shown in Geneva last year. Its sportier bodystyle is 30 mm lower with overall width extended by 25 mm. The wheelbase has also been stretched by 35 mm while 45 mm has been added to the overall length.

A highlight of the frontal section is the Digital Pulse Cascading Grille. This resembles the grille of a sportscar with its rhythmic visuals and is sleekly connected to the bonnet. The Daytime Running Lights, embedded with Hidden Lighting Lamps, are a first for a Hyundai vehicle

The light architecture was initially revealed through Hyundai’s HDC-2 concept car at the Busan Motor Show in June last year. It was created by fleshing out the form of the lamp and making it into a powerful design element. Along with the Sensuous Sportiness concept, the light architecture defines the design identity of future Hyundai cars.

Stealth aircraft-inspired dashboard
The light architecture is also applied to the interior space with the ambient mood lamp illuminating the dashboard and doors. The instrument panel is rich and modern and the recognizable winged shape would bring to mind a Stealth aircraft – which Hyundai Motor says inspired its designers.

The designers compressed the height of the dashboard and climate control vents as much as possible to aid the lightweight feeling, while modern, light fabric colours and leathers provide a fresh and freeing ambience for the driver.

The clean and sleek design is carried through the centre-gauge cluster display. In an effort to avoid having the distracting large screens used in many luxury cars today, the designers have threaded the two displays together using a unique S curve. These displays are seamless, with no parting lines, and have capacitive touch buttons.

Additional features include a satin chrome accent on the steering wheel, which looks like an aircraft yoke, and shift-by-wire transmission controls to free up storage space.

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[Chips Yap]

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