This car is fighting the SUV wave, is it doing a good job of it?

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A heavily updated Hyundai Sonata N Line combines chassis improvements with a gutsy turbo four to inject some life into an increasingly staid medium sedan segment.

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What we love
  • Chassis improvements pay dividends
  • Plenty of poke from the 2.5-litre turbo four
  • Redesign inside and out looks to the future
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What we don’t
  • Extra body stiffness comes at expense of ride comfort
  • Speed sign recognition system is abominable
  • Thirsty on fuel against manufacturer’s claim

2024 Hyundai Sonata N Line

It flies in the face of convention – a mid-size sedan in a market where buyers are deserting them in favour of SUVs of every persuasion.

Just six models from six manufacturers make up the medium car segment today, with Toyota’s venerable Camry hogging the bulk of sales with almost 70 per cent market share. That leaves cars like the Hyundai Sonata fighting for scraps, and scraps it is, the mid-sizer claiming just 2.2 per cent of the market in 2023.

But Hyundai is persisting with the medium sedan segment, a dogged refusal to bow to the prevailing SUV-shaped winds. Perhaps that’s why the Hyundai Sonata has undergone a heavy midlife refresh.

It’s an arresting update; a visually striking update that sets the Sonata apart from its small field of rivals in the medium passenger car segment.

The Sonata’s design language mirrors that of today’s Hyundais, with full-width LED lights front and back, headlights located down low on the bumper, while inside twin 12.3-inch screens speak to a tech-hungry crowd.

Keeping it simple, Hyundai is offering just a single, highly specified variant, the 2024 Hyundai Sonata N Line. It’s a bells-and-whistles assault on a segment with limited choices and even more limited customers. Kudos then, to Hyundai, for persisting in a field others have long abandoned.

Buyers might be feeling the medium sedan segment, but for those who steadfastly refuse to bow to today’s SUV convention, the updated Hyundai Sonata adds some life to what could otherwise be called a staid segment.

How much does the Hyundai Sonata cost in Australia?

Hyundai Australia has kept it simple with just a single highly specified variant. It’s priced at $55,500 plus on-road costs, which in NSW translates to around $61,00 drive-away, depending on your location. The take-home price can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with your local dealer for an indicative drive-away price in your state or territory.

Buyers are rewarded with not only a sleek and stylish sedan, but one that is brimming with standard equipment that goes a long way to justifying its price.

Exterior highlights include 19-inch alloy wheels, LED lighting front and back, dusk-sensing headlights, those futuristic-looking full-width daytime running lights, laminated front and side glass, a hands-free opening boot lid and rain-sensing wipers.

Inside, it’s all Hyundai premium with nappa leather and suede-look seats, electrically-adjustable heated front and rear seats, as well as ventilated (cooled) front seats, and a heated steering wheel.

There are also dual 12.3-inch colour screens, one for infotainment, the other a digital driver display, as well as a head-up display, a 12-speaker premium Bose sound system, dual-zone climate control, a 360-degree camera, manual side window shades and an electric sunshade on the rear windscreen.

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An updated and comprehensive suite of active safety systems is also included, which we’ll detail later in this review.

As well as keeping things simple with just a single variant, Hyundai, as it has done for a long time, eschews the modern affliction of added-cost options. There are none to be had in the Sonata N Line, other than four shades of $595 paint and a lone $1000 hue of matte Aero Silver. What you see is what you get.

The Sonata’s $55,500 pricing plonks it in a small but well-resourced fight in the segment where buyers might also consider the Mazda 6, which in highly specified Atenza trim starts from $52,400 plus on-roads, or the potent Skoda Octavia RS from $56,990 drive-away. Medium sedan buyers might also consider going electric, with the all-new BYD Seal sedan now available and where $58,798 plus ORCs lands you a mid-spec Premium rear-wheel-drive variant.

Key details 2024 Hyundai Sonata N Line
Price $55,500 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Ultimate Red
Options Metallic paint – $595
Price as tested $56,095 plus on-road costs
Drive-away price $61,114 (Sydney)
Rivals Mazda 6 | Skoda Octavia | BYD Seal

How much space does the Hyundai Sonata have inside?

While it’s the Sonata’s exterior styling that grabs your attention, with its space-age light bar and sweeping good looks, Hyundai’s designers have ensured the cabin hasn’t been left wanting.

From the moment you approach the Sonata, the proximity key kicks into action, unlocking the Sonata with a light show that wouldn’t look out of place in Sydney’s Vivid festival.

Once inside, the Sonata presents like a car worthy of its price tag. There are acres of dark grey nappa leather and suede-look trim, contrasted beautifully by red stitching throughout.

The overall interior design is sleek, emphasised by the twin 12.3-inch screens, the centrepiece of the front row and housed inside one, long gently curved plane.

The front seats, electrically adjustable for both driver (12-way) and passenger (four-way), are comfortable with decent bolsters and support. One minor gripe comes at the expense of height adjustment. The Sonata is a reasonably low-slung sedan, one that invites its driver to hunker down low in the cabin. But the seat is simply too high, even in its lowest setting.

While that didn’t obviously impact my 173cm stature, several of my taller colleagues here at Drive were left frustrated by the tops of their heads brushing against the Sonata’s headlining and with no facility to lower the seat further.

Ergonomically, the cabin is beautifully laid out with everything falling easily to hand. The new gear selector, mounted on the steering column behind the newly designed steering wheel, falls easily to hand. The wheel itself is devoid of the traditional Hyundai logo. In its place, four dots – Morse code for the letter ‘H’ – adorn the central hub. It’s a small thing, but it looks sharp. Modern.

Storage runs to the usual cupholders in the centre console, a serviceable central bin with a nicely padded lid, and a handy slot for the Sonata’s key fob. There are decent door pockets as well as the obligatory glovebox.

The second row is roomy, with plenty of space in all key areas. The outboard seats are heated, something of a rarity at this end of the market, the comfort tech usually reserved for high-end premium cars from Europe. It’s a nice touch.

There are manual window blinds for the rear windows, which are great for protecting little ones from the sun, while the rear windscreen is fitted with an electric shade that can be raised or lowered from the centre console. If in the raised position, it helpfully lowers automatically when reverse gear is selected. 

Second-row passengers also score cupholders, located in a fold-down armrest, while there are map pockets in the seatbacks and bottle holders in the door. Passengers also benefit from rear air vents, although there are no separate climate controls.

It’s worth noting that the middle seat position in row two sits higher than the outboard seats and is also noticeably firmer, both in the base and the backrest. And a small transmission tunnel does impact foot room for middle-pew occupants. It’s not ideal for long-distance travel, and best saved for short trips.

The outboard seats are fitted with ISOFIX child seat mounts, while all three pews are equipped with top-tether anchors.

The Sonata’s boot measures in at 480 litres with the second row in use. That’s substantially more than the 400L of the BYD Seal, on par with the Mazda 6’s 474L, but noticeably down on the 600L found under the rear deck of the Skoda Octavia.

The Sonata’s second row does fold away, and handily via a couple of levers located in the boot, but Hyundai doesn’t quote a total figure. A space-saver spare wheel and tyre live under the boot floor.

2024 Hyundai Sonata N Line
Seats Five
Boot volume 480L seats up
Length 4910mm
Width 1860mm
Height 1445mm
Wheelbase 2840mm

Does the Hyundai Sonata have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto?

The Sonata’s twin 12.3-inch screens look a million bucks housed inside a single, gently curved panel. One screen hosts Hyundai’s new infotainment operating system and straight away it’s an obvious step-change for the brand.

With crisp, high-resolution graphics and an easy-to-follow menu structure, Hyundai’s new infotainment set-up is easy to read, easier to use, and fitted with all the latest tech buyers have come to expect from modern vehicles.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring are standard, although you’ll need to connect via a USB cable as wireless connectivity is not offered. It’s not an issue, though, the cable providing a stable connection in a way that wireless – sometimes – cannot.

Using smartphone tech often mitigates the need for in-built satellite navigation, but it is present in the Sonata, although we’d argue its integration and graphic interface aren’t on a par with Google or Apple maps. Digital radio is standard too, as is Bluetooth phone connectivity.

Hyundai’s system is also fitted with the brand’s new Bluelink connected services, which offers the usual array of features accessed via an app on your smartphone – remote start and climate controls, locking and unlocking, as well as location tracking (in case your car is stolen or you’ve just plain old forgot where you parked it), while the ability to view the surround-view monitors from your phone is a step up over similar technologies found in some other manufacturers’ cars.

Like the infotainment screen, the digital instrument cluster impresses with its razor-sharp graphics and decent driving information on offer.

Digital dials (speedo and tachometer) flank an information panel that can be toggled through a host of different screens providing things like trip data, fuel consumption, a direction compass, route guidance, and new for this update is tyre pressure monitoring.

The look of the instrument panel can be tailored to taste, swapping out traditional-looking dials for digital speed and engine rev read-outs, if that is your preference.

There’s also an excellent head-up display that projects critical driving data onto the windscreen. Like the rest of the Sonata’s set-up, it’s clear and concise, making for an easy time digesting crucial information.

One feature we’ve come to love in some Hyundai models, including this refreshed Sonata N Line, are the blind-spot view monitor cameras that project an image of your blind spot directly into the driver display when the indicators are activated. It’s an effective and simple use of technology.

Is the Hyundai Sonata a safe car?

The 2024 Hyundai Sonata N Line remains untested by Australia’s independent safety assessor, ANCAP, and thus remains unrated. With small volumes and an increasingly niche market segment (medium passenger cars), this is unlikely to change.

2024 Hyundai Sonata N Line
ANCAP rating Untested

What safety technology does the Hyundai Sonata have?

Untested does not mean the Sonata is lacking in safety technologies, the mid-sizer brimming with the types of modern, advanced driver assist systems we’ve come to expect from today’s cars.

The comprehensive array includes autonomous emergency braking, updated to now include pedestrian, motorcycle, junction, and cyclist detection. New technologies for this model refresh include low-speed rear autonomous emergency braking, tyre pressure monitoring and speed-sign recognition with speed limiter (more on this in a moment).

Standard too are adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, blind-spot monitoring with braking function, rear cross-traffic alert with braking function, the previously mentioned blind-spot view monitor cameras, lane-keeping and lane-following assist, driver attention warning, automatic high beams, rear occupant alert, door exit warning, a 360-degree camera with 3D view as well as a standard rear-view camera, and front and rear parking sensors.

While we didn’t encounter any overeagerness on the part of the majority of the Sonata’s safety systems, one major area of frustration was the speed sign recognition system.

The system, while great in theory, has a tendency to pick up the wrong sign (off-ramp speeds, busses, school zones) and then bombard you with a veritable cacophony of bings and beeps and reminders that you’re going over the speed limit even when you’re not. Hyundai is not alone in this among the world’s car makers, the technology still not advanced enough to distinguish the variety of speed signs we encounter on our daily drives.

But, where Hyundai differs is in its obtrusive, noisy and distracting implementation. Of course, the feature can be switched off, but it takes six distinct inputs on the touchscreen to deactivate speed sign recognition. And its default on starting the car is on, so you need to do this every single time. It’s a frustrating pandemic of bad user experience.

The Sonata’s airbag count runs to six, covering both rows, although it misses out on airbags for knees and the increasingly common and standard centre airbag that deploys between the front seats and mitigates head clashes between occupants in the event of an accident.

How much does the Hyundai Sonata cost to maintain?

Hyundai covers the Sonata N Line with its standard five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty. That’s par for the course in today’s automotive landscape.

Servicing intervals are on the skinny side, however, at 12 months or 10,000km, whichever comes first. While Hyundai is not alone in mandating 10,000km service intervals, it is in the minority with the bulk of manufacturers suggesting 15,000km intervals.

Servicing costs are pretty competitive on a per-visit basis with Hyundai’s prepaid schedule running to $1125 over three years, $1580 over four and $1955 over five, or an average of $391 per year. That compares favourably against one of its main rivals, the Mazda 6 Atenza that asks for $2505 over five years.

The caveat here is that Mazda’s five-year plan covers a distance of 75,000km against the Sonata’s 50,000 clicks. That’s fine if you travel less than 10,000 per annum, but the Australian average hovers around 14,500km per year (according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics), meaning your Sonata may need more than an annual visit to the service centre.

Comprehensive insurance runs to $1702 annually based on a comparative quote for a 35-year-old male driver living in Chatswood, NSW. Insurance estimates may vary based on your location, driving history, and personal circumstances. That’s a bit more than the same coverage for a Mazda 6 Atenza will set you back $1402.

At a glance 2024 Hyundai Sonata N Line
Warranty Five years, unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months or 10,000km
Servicing costs $1125 (3 years)
$1955 (5 years)

Is the Hyundai Sonata fuel-efficient?

Hyundai claims the Sonata N Line will get by on 8.1 litres per 100 kilometres of 91-octane regular unleaded. Our week with the sedan, covering a variety of conditions – from traffic, to urban, and motorway running – saw an indicated 11.3L/100km. That’s a fair bit over Hyundai’s claim but, somewhat surprisingly, stacks up against one of its main competitors, the Mazda 6 Atenza where we saw an indicated 10.9L (against a claim of 7.6L) in a recent week-long test.

The Toyota Camry Hybrid, of course, pretty much halves that fuel consumption number, but with Toyota Australia no longer taking orders as it awaits the arrival of a new Camry sometime in 2025, comparisons at this stage are a little meaningless.

The Sonata’s fuel tank measures in at 60L, and regular unleaded petrol, rather than premium, can be used.

Fuel Useage Fuel Stats
Fuel cons. (claimed) 8.1L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 11.3L/100km
Fuel type 91-octane regular unleaded
Fuel tank size 60L

What is the Hyundai Sonata like to drive?

Hyundai has gone to some lengths to improve the Sonata N Line’s driving experience. While the same turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine makes the same 213kW and 422Nm as the previous model, it’s the chassis that has received the biggest upgrades.

Hyundai has gone to town with stiffening, adding some strength to the sills, B-pillars, and front subframe that hosts the suspension and engine mounts. A front strut brace has been added, while out back there are redesigned rear control arms and firmer subframe bushings.

It’s a stiffer car for it; a stiffening that pays some dividends on the road where the Sonata N Line feels taut and with impressive body control.

But, it can also feel firm and a little uncomfortable around town where that more rigid chassis design results in some loss of ride comfort, especially in the city where the Sonata can feel a little fussy over scrappy roads.

That changes on our freeway network where the road surfaces are typically better and smoother, and a better canvas overall to showcase the Sonata’s ride comfort.

The 2.5-litre turbo four is an impressive engine – a tractable and responsive unit that never really leaves you wanting for more. It’s mated to Hyundai’s in-house eight-speed dual-clutch (DCT) automatic transmission sending drive to the front wheels.

With peak torque available from just 1650rpm and all the way through to 4000rpm, the Sonata moves away briskly from standstill. The DCT plays along nicely too, swapping cogs with little fuss and without any of the hesitation these types of transmissions can be known for. The eight-speed in the Sonata also does service in the brand’s high-performance i30 N hatchback and sedan range; a lure for buyers who simply won’t countenance a recalcitrant DCT. And it shows, the DCT in the Sonata behaving artfully during our time with the car.

Hyundai claims the Sonata N Line is capable of completing the dash from standstill to 100km/h in just 6.5 seconds, which places it in warm territory. While not as quick as, say, its smaller i30 N sibling (0–100km/h in 5.3–5.8 according to Hyundai), the Sonata still has plenty of poke.

Merging into traffic or onto freeways and effecting overtakes are completed easily and without stress, the sedan simply surging forward at a controllably rapid pace.

There are four drive modes to choose from – Eco, Normal, Sport and My (Hyundai-speak for individual) – each with their own characteristics. In Eco, engine and transmission response are dulled down a fraction in the hunt for fuel economy, while Normal is the default setting for everyday driving. This marks a change in attitude from the pre-update Sonata, which had no Eco Setting, but two Sport modes instead.

Sport sharpens throttle response and adds some meat to steering feel, and possibly a little too much, while My allows drivers to select individual modes for each of the Sonata’s driving parameters. Our preferred settings were Sport for engine and transmission while leaving steering in Normal.

As for engine sound, don’t bother with the ‘Enhanced’ setting that pipes synthetic exhaust noise through the cabin. You can leave it switched off.

Road noise is a mix of good and bad. Sitting on 19-inch alloys and on passive dampers that err on the side of firm do the mid-sizer no favours when it comes to noise suppression. The addition in this update of acoustic laminated glass up front is a welcome measure, but particularly over rougher surfaces, the level of road noise permeating the cabin remains a bugbear.

Key details 2024 Hyundai Sonata N Line
Engine 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol
Power 213kW @ 5800rpm
Torque 422Nm @ 1650–4000rpm
Drive type Front-wheel drive
Transmission 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
Power-to-weight ratio 127.2kW/t
Weight (kerb) 1675kg
Spare tyre type Space-saver
Tow rating 1400kg braked
700kg unbraked
Turning circle 11.0m

Should I buy a Hyundai Sonata?

If you fancy a mildly warmed-up medium sedan that defies the SUV convention, then the 2024 Hyundai Sonata N Line could be the car for you.

With enough punch from the engine and transmission combination to earn it the ‘warm sedan’ tag, the Sonata offers a blend of driving enjoyment and practicality in a stylish package. Yes, the ride can be a little firm, but the balance comes when enjoying some quality time behind the wheel where the Sonata remains taut and composed.

Of course, the lack of an ANCAP safety rating is one concern, while the over-intrusive speed-sign recognition system borders on the ridiculous.

But as a driver’s car, one that rewards with a willing engine and a slick transmission married to a taut chassis, there are benefits to be had. It’s certainly worth considering if you’re in the market for something that can handle the family while also providing some fun behind the wheel.

How do I buy a Hyundai Sonata – next steps?

The refreshed Hyundai Sonata N Line landed locally towards the end of 2023. In January this year, a Hyundai Australia representative told Drive they have “steady supply”, adding that wait times for existing orders is “less than three months” while new orders can expect a wait of “three to six months”.

We’d recommend checking in with your local Hyundai dealer online to gauge existing stock levels and maybe arrange a test drive.

We’d strongly recommend checking out some of the Sonata’s rivals too, like the Mazda 6 and Skoda Octavia or even the BYD Seal electric car. All ask for similar money but bring different characteristics to the medium sedan table.

Ratings Breakdown

2024 Hyundai Sonata N Line Sedan

7.5/ 10

Infotainment & Connectivity

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Rob Margeit is an award-winning Australian motoring journalist and editor who has been writing about cars and motorsport for over 25 years. A former editor of Australian Auto Action, Rob’s work has also appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Wheels, Motor Magazine, Street Machine and Top Gear Australia. Rob’s current rides include a 1996 Mercedes-Benz E-Class and a 2000 Honda HR-V Sport.

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