Last night at a media preview before the start of the New York International Auto Show, the Korean automaker introduced the seventh generation of the Hyundai Sonata to the American automotive media. It's a more mature looking sedan that is bound to attract more consideration in the crowded midsize sedan market.
Chris Chapman, chief designer of the Hyundai Design Center in Irvine, Calif., stood before the new Sonata at Manhattan's distinctive IAC building on the lower west side and said Hyundai's design philosophy is an evolution of the company's fluidic sculpture. He said Hyundai was hoping to achieve a design that suggests dignity, respect and confidence.
And damn if they didn't succeed. The new Sonata wisely incorporates successful elements of its predecessor such as the chrome trim that wraps from the C-pillar in the rear through to the headlights. It's a signature touch unique to the Sonata. As Chapman explained later over dinner, Hyundai didn't want to blow up the design of the previous car and start from scratch because the Sonata has acquired brand equity.
Hyundai is slated to reveal more in-depth details about the Sonata, especially features unique to the American market, at a news conference at 10:15 a.m. EDT but here are some head's ups about the design that can be reported. The thing that instantly wowed us was the color of the display model. It's called Phoenix orange and it's only available on the 2.0 turbo.
The turbo version is stunning with four chrome-tip exhaust ports. They are another element that is unique to the North American market. There are also subtle tweaks to the front fascia as well.
Call this a weird thing to observe but the Sonata also knocks it out of the ballpark with its rear design. Its trunk is substantial thanks to a high design and its curves give it a mature look suggesting a sedan worthy of its German counterparts a class above.