Hyundai is planning on pushing its new Sonata upmarket - and into the hands of Johnny Law.
The South Korean company is currently working on plans to bring the new generation Sonata to the Australian market, with the departure of the out-going model leaving a mid-sized sedan hole in its product line-up. But with sales of traditional sedans in decline the police forces in New South Wales and Queensland hold the key to the Sonata’s return.
Hyundai Australia product planning chief, Andrew Tuitahi, told CarsGuide that the company is looking to push the car upmarket with an N Line variant, to give it a more premium appeal to private buyers and offer more performance to the police.
He said maintaining the relationship with the police departments was a priority for Hyundai and he revealed members of various forces have had a first-hand look at the new model with a small number of the 2.4-litre Sonata already in the country.
While Hyundai North America has confirmed it will offer a 1.6-litre turbocharged Sonata with 134kW, but Tuitahi has more power in mind. North American executives told CarsGuide at the car’s unveiling at the 2019 New York Motor Show that the 202kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder is a possible option for the Sonata, but Tuitahi admitted it could be even more potent, without going into more detail.
“An N Line would need to be substantially more than a 1.6(-litre) and probably more than a 2.0-litre to justify that badge on a car of that size,” Tuitahi said.
Offering a sporty N Line alongside the possible Hybrid model would give Hyundai a more sophisticated medium sedan, with Tuitahi admitting it was “impossible” to compete with Toyota’s entry-grade Camry on price. And he’s confident the police would be interested buyers of the more expensive N Line.
“We think so,” he said. “They have looked at Sonata as a prospect and they can afford it. They can afford it now, they’ve proved it. As a prospect they’ve looked at the current Sonata and it seems to tick all the boxes, we’ve just got to pick a time and pick a specification level for when we want to bring it in.”
Despite original projections that the new model would arrive by the end of 2019 that now seems unlikely. Instead a 2020 arrive of the new Sonata N Line looks on the cards and expect to see it with lights and sirens soon afterwards.