Hyundai revealed evocative sketches of its 2011 Sonata earlier this month, but now official photos of the car are here, as well as some information.
Hyundai continues its abandonment of the rather conservative design theme its cars have followed and adopts what Hyundai calls its new “fluidic sculpture” design theme. Fluid describes the new Sonata well, as the whole car seems to flow together just like the car in the design sketches did. The actual car, however, eschews the design sketches’ rakish roofline in favor of a higher, more usable and passenger-friendly roofline.
The same shapely front and rear fascias seen in the design sketches are found on the Korean domestic market production car (U.S.-market cars may vary slightly). The same elegant body crease that carries all the way back into the taillamp bezel is there as well. Hyundai tastefully integrated the exhaust tipsinto the rear fascia a là Lexus LS 460.
Inside, the revolutionary design theme continues as Hyundai crafted a much more luxurious interior for the new Sonata. The Korean-market car features a two-tone dash with a sweeping center console. The navigation unit is new as well and looks similar to Nissan’s navigation unit, while the HVAC controls are similar to those found in Volvos.
Powering the new Sonata in the U.S. will be a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine.A 2.0-liter I-4 (standard in other markets) makes 162 hp and 146 lb-ft of torque. The engines are mated to six-speed automatic and manual transmissions. Fuel economy and power ratings are not yet available for the U.S.-spec 2.4-liter engine. We also expect a V-6 engine to remain an option in the U.S.
“The Sonata will set a new standard for world class mid-size sedans with state-of-the-art technology, superior build quality and emotional design,” said Hyundai’s vice chairman, Euisun Chung. “The new Sonata will raise Hyundai’s brand values.” With a manufacturer-estimated base price around $17,600 to $21,450 and available options such as rear heated seats, we have to agree.
The U.S.-spec 2011 Hyundai Sonata makes its debut at the 2010 Detroit auto show this January.