Hyundai Sonata Active

Hyundai has given its Sonata medium-sized sedan a mild update for 2018.

Changes include enhanced standard equipment, styling and cosmetic changes inside and out, new exterior lamps, plus new alloy wheel designs.

With the intermediate specification Elite now discontinued, buyers must choose between two petrol engine models – the competitively priced, entry level Active 2.4-litre with six-speed auto as tested here, or the Premium with 2.0-litre turbo matched with a new eight-speed auto.

Additional new features on the Active include an 8” navigation system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, dual zone climate, smart key and push-button start, smart (hands-free) boot opening and chrome exterior door handles.

Six airbags, antilock brakes, traction and stability controls, brake assist, electronic brake distribution, rear park sensors and reversing camera will also be found. However, to get more advanced driver assistance safety technologies, you will have to look to the Premium.

Disappointingly, neither features autonomous emergency braking (AEB).

The Sonata’s exterior styling drew several compliments from observers. Inside, there’s a comfortable and – foot-operated park brake aside – user-friendly cabin. Interior space is impressive, with rear space to rival large sedans. The boot is similarly generous of proportion.

The carry-over Theta II 2.4-litre engine, developing 138kW and 241Nm, gets the Sonata off the line keenly enough and offers respectable performance.

Buyers after something more lively and responsive, however, should consider the turbo model. The Active’s six-speed auto with paddle shifters is smooth and timely with its ratio changes, too.

Our combination of city commuting and spirited driving through the hills and twists of some favourite country testing roads, returned fuel consumption of 10.9 litres/100km, higher than the official combined number of 8.3. It should be possible to get closer to the official number, though.

Sonata’s road manners are certainly agreeable. Its chassis copes in a comfortable and composed way with a variety of road surfaces, while still impressing with its adept and confident stance through corners, and there’s nicely weighted, consistent steering.

A neatly-finished interior, good exterior paint gloss and well-fitted body panels speak of a quality product. And Hyundai back it up with a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty.

Fast facts

  • ENGINE: 2.4-litre, direct-injection turbopetrol 4-cyl

  • ANCAP SAFETY RATING: ★★★★★

  • TAILPIPE CO2 (g/km): 194

  • FOR: Space, pleasing road manners, neatly finished, full-size spare.

AGAINST: No AEB, price jump to Premium model, foot-operated park brake.