Grunty, comfortable and packed with features
Engine & Drivetrain
Gadgets & Technology
Ride & Comfort
Behind the Wheel
The Hyundai Sonata Premium is an unsuspecting sedan that will set you back $45,490 but with that comes a hugely underrated and powerful machine with enough kick to shock you and 4 comfortable passengers. This may be the last Sonata produced given the hugely minimised market thanks to the explosion of SUV sales.
The Sonata Premium is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine that makes a huge 180kW of power and 353Nm of torque. This is a major jump from the Sonata Active which makes only 138kW of power and 241Nm of torque through a 2.4-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine.
The Sonata Premium also gets an eight-speed torque converter transmission which makes highway driving breezy, quiet and comfortable.
The best thing about that power is how unsuspecting it is. When you see the Sonata, you don’t exactly think: SPEED.. Or do you? In Sport Mode, the Sonata Premium can seriously impress. Weighing in at 1645kg it isn’t the lightest of sedans, but it certainly isn’t the heaviest. That leaves the power to weight ratio at 112.5 w/kg which is incredibly respectable. We just wish the exhaust note was a bit punchier, or had some pops/bangs like the i30 N.
But seriously.. 180kW in a decently weighted sedan..
The Sonata has 3 drive modes:
1. Eco Mode: Boring, changes gears too early, not the mode you would use when buying a car with 180kW of power
2. Comfort Mode: This is what other cars would have as “normal” mode. It’s the standard mode without changing settings and provides a good balance between efficiency and punchiness when required.
3. Sport Mode: This mode is great! Chuck the gear into manual mode and you will have lots of fun for a big, boxy sedan. It holds the gears much higher and allows the engine to be much more free revving.
4. Smart Mode: This is only available on the Premium and it essentially just adapts more to your driving conditions.
As expected the winner is.. SPORT MODE.
Hyundai claims fuel economy to be around 8.5L/100km. This is an improvement of 0.7L/100km on the combined cycle versus its predecessor.
These don’t seem amazingly appealing, but remember that this is a large sedan that can comfortably fit 5 people, with 180kW of power and that can take 91RON fuel – saving you more there.
Our run of city and highway driving returned around the 9L/100km mark which is exceptionally close to the claimed figure (contrary to many many other claimed figures from manufacturers). Overall it is quite efficient for what it is.
Interior & Technology
The interior is seriously luxurious – what else would you expect from an almost $50,000 ‘premium’ sedan. Full leather interior comes as stock with seriously comfy seats. Both front seats are able to be heated and cooled, and controlled individually. The back seats, whilst lacking heating, are incredibly spacious and provide loads of room for all 3 passengers.
The panoramic glass roof is amazing. As the car is quite large, that roof is stunning. The head unit has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard and has the same Hyundai system embedded. The dash is also quite useful with all the lane keeping, speed, blind spot data avilalable right in front of you.
The Sonata Premium gets a 5 star ANCAP safety rating with the following features: driver fatigue alerts, blind-spot detection, lane guidance, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alerts and active cruise control.
We tested the lane guidance and active cruise control and it actually works.. The car drives itself for about 30 seconds before prompting you to put your hands back on the wheel. Cruise control works great as well as it slows down and speeds up by itself.
Ride & Comfort
The Sonata Premium is a smooth, comfortable and grunty ride when it wants to be. We were impressed with the 180kW engine, but were left wanting more from the steering response. I guess it is a front wheel drive sedan though, but it still did a very commendable job on windy roads.
Warranty & Servicing
Warranty is covered for 5 years by Hyundai.
The Sonata Premium (2.0 Turbo) requires a service yearly or every 10,000km and pricing is as follows:
12m – $275
24m – $275
36m – $275
48m – $355
60m – $275
Active 2.4L 6 SP AUTO $30,990
Premium 2.0L 8 SP AUTO $45,490
We thoroughly enjoyed the Sonata Premium because of the enjoyable shock at how zippy, comfortable and luxurious it was. The boxiness let it down in terms of cornering, and the price tag is a fair bit to handle – it’s entering Stinger GT territory. The jump between the Active and Premium is huge, leaving consumers potentially better off with a Stinger. But it’s a great ride nonetheless.
ALL our videos of the Sonata Premium:
Exhaust Sound Comparison:
All Settings Head Unit & Dashboard: