Hyundai’s mid-size Sonata had arguably been automotive wallflower until the sleek YF generation burst onto the scene in 2010. But frustratingly, the 2014 redesign tamed back the looks, with only a recent facelift adding some visual interest.
Now, what if the Le Fil Rouge transformed into Hyundai’s eighth-generation Sonata, what could it look like? Let’s take an illustrative crystal ball-gaze.
Sensuous Sportiness Design DNA
So what on earth is Sensuous Sportiness? Luckily for us, it’s actually Hyundai’s catchphrase for their new styling DNA which will be infused into the brand’s future vehicle lineup. Weird naming aside, this means the next Sonata will embody youthful sheet metal attire with an emphasis on proportions, dash-to-axle ratio and short overhangs.
Frontal styling for this study is an aggressive evolution of the current car, with a Ferrari-like grille leaning forwards like a Shark ready to pounce. Whilst the Le Fil Rouge had an awkward character line along the side, this has been toned down with a much more elegant crease. Another aspect of the concept that needed resolving is the curved glasshouse – whilst looking nice, it didn’t quite gel with other angular design elements throughout the bodywork.
On the Inside
Step inside the 2018 Sonata and you’ll be treated to a dated and unspectacular atmosphere. Luckily this promises to change for the better, with attention-grabbing styling incorporating swathes of natural wood, contrasting premium materials and an air of open spaciousness.
Like current Mercedes-Benz vehicles, the cockpit will be dominated by large digital displays. Except in the Sonata, these displays will expand the full-width of the dashboard – allowing for a much more immersive occupant experience in terms of infotainment and connectivity access.
Under The Svelte Hood
Look for an enhanced version of Hyundai’s current 2.0-litre turbocharged four, paired to an 8-speed automatic powering the front wheels or via an optional AWD system. Whilst currently good for 245-hp, expect those figures to climb in the Sonata’s next iteration to keep competitive with the competition.
The eco-conscious can look forward to upgrades of the 2.0-litre Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) variants. Developing north of 210 combined powertrain horsepower, both units would have increased range and ideally use new solid-state battery technology to aid charging times for the plug-in model.
A Competitive, But Shrinking Segment
Arguably the biggest hindrance to any mid-size sedan entrant is stiff competition and sheer market lure that the SUV segment now holds. People just aren’t buying mid-sizers like they used to and conjecture has it that Ford may not do a next-generation Fusion – so why should Hyundai do another Sonata?
The answer is in appeal – the product needs to be desirable, yet practical. Whilst new Camry, Accord and Mazda6 have brought some visual appeal to the game, they don’t go far enough. Hyundai needs to think radical and arguably, the Le Fil Rouge concept is a good place to start.
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