2012 Hyundai Sonata Facelift shows up

Article by Christian Andrei, on July 19, 2011

Hyundai has recently unveiled the facelifted version of the Sonata mid-size sedan. This actually comes as no surprise since the brand is known for being very quick to launch facelifted models.

Typically, Hyundai and its design teams offer a new generation to the market nearly a year earlier than its rivals. However, these recent changes on the Sonata are only intended for the domestic market. Another thing is that these modifications aren’t that remarkable.

The exterior got several light aesthetic tweaks but the overall lines are unchanged. The facelifted sedan’s front end features a new front grille that has less chrome and even less personality. At the back, changes were made to the LED taillights.

It has reshaped mirror casings. Hyundai also offers a new choice of alloy wheel designs that include a set of bigger 18-inch multispoke rims. From the catalogue, it appears that there will be new trim options, a rear view mirror with camera, Eco button, and LED spotlights on the door handle.

Standard equipment will be upgraded across the range. It even features a big retractable panoramic sunroof that covers the majority of the frontal portion of the roof.

The Sonata is powered by a second generation version of the 2.0-liter GDI engine that generates 165 horsepower and is mated to a manual gearbox or an automatic transmission. The facelifted version gets a more efficient 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 271hp. This is the replacement for the 2.4-liter naturally aspirated petrol engine.

Safety is a paramount element in the development and production of the new Hyundai Sonata. This was very evident in its ultra-high-strength steel body structure and an array of advanced safety technologies like its state-of-the-art airbags, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), and a reliable braking package. Passenger safety during crashes is guaranteed by airbags -- dual front, front seat-mounted side-impact, and front and rear side curtain airbags -- as well as active front-seat head restraints.

For 2011, all Sonata models feature ESC as standard. Interestingly, the older generation Sonata became the first midsize sedan to feature standard ESC when it was introduced in March 2005. To note, the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry only made ESC as standard equipment for the 2008 and 2010 model year, respectively. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), ESC has helped reduce single-vehicle crashes and single-vehicle fatalities by 35 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, the braking package for the new Hyundai Sonata includes four-wheel disc brakes and an Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with Brake Assist, and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD). ABS with Brake Assist helps deliver optimal braking force should it detect a panic stop. EBD, meanwhile, could automatically adjust the braking force on the front and rear axles according to the loading conditions.

The new 2011 Hyundai Sonata is also loaded with a number of passive safety features like front-seat seatbelt pretensioners and force limiters and three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, as well as a rear-seat Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system for child seats. The sedan also features shingle-style rear-seat head restraints that help improve visibility. With these safety features, the new Hyundai Sonata is expected to earn five-star ratings from the NHTSA for front and side impacts. For 2011, the new Sonata is specified with the Dimension audio system, as created by Hyundai Mobis.

A new brand for audio systems, Dimension, features a Variable Equalizer -- with normal, dynamic and concert settings – tuned by renowned audiophile Ken Pohlmann. This Variable Equalizer features a function that could control the sound qualities as sensed by listeners.

For those demanding a more enjoyable audio experience, they could avail of a AM/FM/XM/CD/MP3 sound system from Infinity that features touch-screen navigation, a 400-watt external amplifier, eight-channels, dedicated Dual Voice Coil (DVC) subwoofer, and nine Infinity speakers. Engineers from Infinity and Hyundai collaborated during the early phase of development of the Sonata in order to seamlessly integrate these speakers into the sedan’s interior.

Moreover, hundreds of hours were spent to tailor the audio system to the interior’s acoustic attributes. All Sonata models could be availed with a touch-screen navigation system that features a high-resolution screen and 8GB of flash memory as well as Bluetooth streaming audio capability. Control is done through voice using a headliner-mounted microphone or via a 6.5-inch WVGA touchscreen. This navigation system is complemented by an audio system that could play CD as well as access digital music files via Bluetooth streaming audio.

Likewise, the system allows occupants to access their listening devices via the iPod/USB/auxiliary inputs. Drivers could employ Bluetooth to wirelessly stream music to the head unit as well as search for a local restaurant and make reservations. Furthermore, the navigation system comes with an integrated XM Satellite Radio interface that features channel logos and real-time NavTraffic. The interface also features XM Data services like WX Satellite Weather, XM Sports Ticker and XM Stock Ticker.

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