Story: Fifth Generation Hyundai Sonata (2004-2009)

by Mar 19, 2014All News, Hyundai0 comments

With a few weeks to Hyundai Sonata Launch Event, scheduled for March 18, 2014 here in The Korean Car Blog we want to a review through 6 generation Sonata models. Take a seat and join us in this journey through time.

[ads id=”0″ style=”float:left;padding:9px;”]The Hyundai Sonata (Korean: 현대 쏘나타) was manufactured for the first time in 1985 and through many years it has changed its looks and technology to become one of the most popular models in the world. The first generation Sonata through the concept of “Art of Technology” showed a much different concept with simplistic straight lines. 

A new Sonata model was launched in South Korea in August 2004, codenamed as NF, the fifth generation model came with company’s first four-cylinder all-aluminum engine, the “Theta”. Engine choices at launch were a 2.4-liter with total output of 164 hp and a more powerful V6 engine, with 3.3-liter and 237 horspower. A 2.0-liter gasoline engine with 136 hp was sold only in South Korea and proved more popular there due to added gas, tax and insurance savings. The diesel version was used a 2.0 CRDi engine delivering 140 hp and better fuel economy. This engine was very popular in Singapore, as a taxicab. This engine was available also in Europe and New Zealand markets.

Hyundai Sonata CRDi Diesel as a taxi cab in Singapore 

During May 2005 the new Sonata was launched in the U.S-market coinciding with the production commencement at the company’s first U.S. assembly plant, in Montgomery, Alabama. Standard features in U.S. models included anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC), traction control system (TCS), as well as six airbags (driver/front passenger front and side, and side curtain).

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2006 Hyundai Sonata tested by the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP):

Adult Occupant: 4/5 stars, score 27

Child Occupant: 4/5 stars, score 37

Pedestrian: 2/4 stars, score 12

2006 Hyundai Sonata tested by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests the Sonata received a “Good” overall in the frontal impact crash test, an “Acceptable” overall score in the side impact crash test, and a “Good” rating for rear crash protection. In the roof strength evaluation 09 and 10 models were rated “Marginal”.

Frontal Rating (Driver): 5/5 stars

Frontal Rating (Passenger): 5/5 stars

Side Rating (Driver): 5/5 stars

Side Rating (Passenger): 5/5 stars

Rollover: 4/5 stars

Facelift (2008-2010)

The redesigned Sonata was unveiled at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, the medium class sedan from Hyundai suffered multiple changes in terms of design and technical specs. At the exterior, we can notice a new face mask that amplifies the sensation of “quality”, offered by the Korean model. The interior of the refreshed Sonata was implemented with a multi-zone climate system and new infotainment systems under new dashboad design.

[ads id=”0″ style=”float:left;padding:9px;”]At the engine level, the diesel version has slightly increased power, up to 150HP, as for the petrol version, the 2.0-liter engine up to 165 hp, being an actual replacement for the 2.4 engine, and the 3.3 engine’s power was raised up to 250 hp. Hyundai sold the facelift in South Korea as Sonata “Transform”. The refreshed Sonata debut in many markets early 2009. The styling was done primarily at Hyundai-Kia America Technical Center, Inc. (HATCI) in Michigan.

The redesign features revised engines, front fascia and chrome 3 bar grille, taillights (turn signals became red), jewel-projector headlights, new 10-spoke alloy wheel design for the Limited models (as opposed to sharing the 5-spoke design from the SE model), and an extensively revised IP (Instrument Panel).Hyundai adopted “slush molding,” a production technique that enables a much higher grade of texturing and shaping of the IP surface.

Redesigned gauges feature a blue backlight, and a touch-screen navigation system, optional on the Limited trim level only, includes satellite radio capability. Bluetooth capability is available as an optional unit, separate from the audio or navigation system, and all models include both a USB port along with an auxiliary input jack. An optional USB adaptor cord allows integration of an iPod, and chrome interior door handles are standard on the Limited trim.

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Interior comparison between Hyundai Sonata NF (left) and refreshed Hyundai Sonata (right).

For the US-market, it was available with three different engines. The 2.0 and 2.4-liter Theta I engine with 142 and 175 hp and the 3.3-liter Lambda V6 delivering 250 hp at 6000 rpm and 229 lb·ft (310 N·m). Fuel efficiency rated by EPA was 26.7 mpg-US (8.8 L/100 km; 32.1 mpg-imp) for the I4 2.4,while for I4 2.0 at 24 mpg-US (9.8 L/100 km; 29 mpg-imp) and 19 mpg-US (12 L/100 km; 23 mpg-imp)/29 mpg-US (8.1 L/100 km; 35 mpg-imp) for the V6. The base model GLS is available with a manual five-speed transmission. GLS, SE and Limited models feature a newly available, manually shiftable 5-speed automatic transmission marketed as “Shiftronic.”

There are minimal changes for the 2010 model, which includes the optional navigation system on the SE as opposed to being a Limited-exclusive option, and the V6 engine is no longer offered on the GLS model.

Sonata Ling Xiang

Beijing Hyundai launched a redesigned Sonata called the Ling Xiang, also known as NF Sonata, for the Chinese market for 2009, with an updated exterior and revised rear seating. Following Hyundai’s success with their Hyundai Elantra Yue Dong, Ling Xiang was created specifically to target the Chinese market. Hyundai introduced this car to the market at The 6th China Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition in 2008.Engine choices include 2.0 or 2.4-liter engines.

Fifth generation (NF)
Also called Beijing-Hyundai NF Yu Xiang
Beijing-Hyundai Sonata Yu Xiang
Beijing-Hyundai Sonata Ling Xiang
Hyundai NF Sonata (Russia)
Hyundai Sonata CVVT-i (Malaysia)
Hyundai Sonata Transform (Facelift)
Hyundai Sonata Embera (India)
Hyundai Sonica (Italy)
Production 2004–2010
2010–present (export)
Model years 2006-2010
Assembly Asan, Korea
Montgomery, Alabama, United States
Chennai, India
Beijing, China
İzmit, Turkey (Hyundai Assan)
Cairo, Egypt (Ghabbour Group)
Thonburi, Thailand (TAAP)
Al Jazirah state, Sudan (Giad)
Designer Choi Jong Min (2002)
Body and chassis
Class Large (EPA)
Related Kia Optima
Engine 2.4 L 163-175 hp I4
3.3 L 237-249 hp V6
2.0 L (G4KA) 145hp I4
2.0 L CRDi 140 hp
Transmission 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
6-speed manual (2.0 CRDI)
5-speed automatic
Wheelbase 2,730 mm (107.5 in)
Length 4,800 mm (189.0 in)
Sonata Ling Xiang:4,815 mm (189.6 in)
Width 1,830 mm (72.0 in)
Height 1,475 mm (58.1 in)

Written by Jose Antonio Lopez

Passionated about Korean cars from Hyundai, Kia & Genesis. Photographer. I love being in nature, hiking. Tech lover.

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