2022 Hyundai Sonata N-Line New Car Review

For the SUV denier, there remains a feast of quality sedans on offer, including the truly distinctive $56,800 Hyundai Sonata N-Line. Here are five things you need to know.

It’s flashy, but is it pretty?

The Sonata N-Line brings back the sexy sedan. It’s low, wide, and awash with angular curves and folds. This is a four-door whitewood four-door: keep its coupe-like rear end, sculpted LED lights and fancy 19-inch alloys. It’s not for the traditional sedan dad looking for vanilla looks: the Sonata is daring and polarizing. As with any bold design, some find it sensational, others sickening. The interior is more predictable, with just some racy red stitching breaking up the otherwise very grey-and-black cabin that has become a pragmatic Hyundai trademark.

There’s only one note and it’s loaded

While Toyota sells four different grades of Camry sedan, Hyundai gives us a single sporty Sonata. Hence the ‘N-Line’ badge. Adult racers will enjoy a sporty body kit, high-performance Continental tires, a suede and nappa leather cabin, immersive Bose audio and widescreen infotainment and driver display. Superb quality front seats are heated and ventilated (two lucky rear passengers also get a bum warmer), while there’s a power panoramic sunroof, power trunk, dual-zone climate control and cell phone charging. A generation ago you were lucky enough to snag a cassette player in your Ford Falcon.

It wants you to ignore those pesky SUVs

Sedan’s rival Covid, energy bills and FIFA in popularity contest 2022. What the hell happened? Rewind two decades, and the Commodore and Falcon sat at the top of our bestseller list, while no SUV troubled the top ten. The big two are dead after a relentless SUV onslaught, but sedan quality prevails. The Sonata joins the Toyota Camry, Mazda6 and Skoda Octavia as standout four-door offerings, but Australians are buying 12 times as many mid-size SUVs as mid-size sedans: a sales bloodbath. But once you’re in the back of the Sonata, there’s a huge amount of legroom, blinds and a grown-up, laid-back ambience that’s hard to find in SUVs at this price point.

It drives better than comparable SUVs

It has guts. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbo petrol engine delivers 213 kW and 422 Nm of torque and accelerates to 100 km/h in 6.2 seconds. Select Sport+ from the four drive modes and the 8-speed dual-clutch transmission meets Party Mode, shifting gears quickly and encouraging red-line playtime. The exhaust note isn’t very soul-enriching, while sporty starts on wet roads return antisocial front-wheel spin – there’s no Hyundai i30N intelligent electronic locking differential here. Impressive handling, steering and braking make for a fun back-road partner, although the Sonata is too big to feel properly nimble. Comfort was prioritized – it’s a nice cruiser and absorbs most of the hard hits on city streets well. Radar cruise control, head-up display, cameras and comprehensive active safety bring family candy points.

Come on Hyundai, build a wagon version

Despite Hyundai’s best efforts, sedans are having an image crisis and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to sell them in our market. To boost survival hopes, how about a station wagon version to curb those SUV sales? Live with a BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mazda6, VW Passat or Skoda Octavia, and it’s puzzling why buyers shun station wagons in favor of an often less practical, harder-to-drive SUV. Google digital renditions of a Sonata station wagon and you’ll see the potential. Ideal for this Korean brand aiming high with their rebirth of cool.

Originally posted as 2022 Hyundai Sonata N-Line New Car Review

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