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2009 Hyundai Sonata Embera diesel review, road test

10th Dec 2009 8:00 am

If you want to be chauffeur-driven in the city and want a lot of space along with a comfy ride, the Sonata has it all

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  • Make : Hyundai
  • Model : Embera

Almost five metres long, the Hyundai is more the large American-targeted saloon. Long of beam, with flowing lines, Audi A6-like headlights and a rear like the earlier Accord’s, the Sonata takes clues from everywhere. But the design works reasonably well.

The Sonata features independently sprung wheels, discs brakes on all four wheels and ABS as standard. The Sonata’s diesel four-valve cylinder heads and Variable Geometry Turbo put out a considerable amount of boost allowing it to make a very healthy 142bhp. The Sonata has a six-speed manual gearbox. The difference in torque, however, is substantial too.

The Sonata’s dash feels distinctly downmarket. You do get a two-tone interior and the dash has a nice sweep to it, but things like the instruments, door handles, air con controls and gear lever knob are built of poor quality plastic. Also an odd-looking music system coupled with the small vents and cheap stalks mean it really feels out of its league for quality and build.

If space and comfort are what you seek, this is the car to be driven in. The Sonata easily has the most width, there’s acres of legroom here and the rear seat is comfy enough to give an Accord a complex. There is plenty of thigh support, the backrest is inclined perfectly and even a third passenger will be very comfortable here.

The cabin lacks that essential luxury feel and it is here that it really loses out to cars like the Honda Accord, with which the Sonata diesel is priced to go head-on. However, the Sonata rides far better than the Accord and feels more spacious inside too.

The Sonata rides is pretty absorbent at low speeds, it handles bumps with aplomb. With its long wheelbase and 60 profile rubber, the suspension is quite silent too. However at higher speeds, the suspension feels loose and though directional stability is decent even at speed, this is a car that almost shies away from corners. The steering may be hydraulic, but in a corner feels like soggy cardboard. The car rolls a lot on the soft suspension and generally is no fun to drive fast.

2009 Hyundai Sonata Embera diesel review, road test
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