New tyres and tech should give the 2017 Hyundai Sonata more traction in the highly competitive mid-size sedan segment.
The Sonata, as with all Australian Hyundais, is fitted with suspension specifically tuned for local roads. However, reviewers lamented the lack of adhesion — particularly in the wet — when the vehicle was launched last year.
Now Hyundai has rolled out Continental rubber on versions with 17-inch rims and is fitting Michelins on variants with 18-inch wheels.
Hyundai Australia spokesman Bill Thomas defends the launch tyres, noting the comparison testing — conducted with Hyundai's World Rally Championship driver Chris Atkinson — showed the Kumho and Nexen tyres had good grip in the dry.
"The grip started to fade as the tyres heated up and it's fair to say the European tyres outperformed them in comfort and quietness," Thomas says.
Local product engineering head Hee Loong Wong says the company was happy with the Sonata's suspension set-up — including the tyres — when it launched.
"However, earlier this year Hyundai head office in South Korea gave us the option of testing the Continentals and Michelins and we jumped at the opportunity," he says. As well as the new rubber, 2017 Sonatas get paddle-shifters for the six-speed automatic.
The mid-spec Elite has rain-sensing wipers, heated front seats and electric park brake.
The top-spec Premium picks up blind-spot and lane-departure alerts, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change assist and adaptive cruise control.
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