By on October 28, 2010

TTAC’s own Israeli man of mystery, Tal Bronfer, has been busy with non-TTAC related work this summer, but he’s just checked in from the Alps with brand new images of the Hyundai Sonata Wagon (known in Europe as the Hyundai i40) brake testing on Austria’s Grossglockner High Alpine Road. Tal was blasting through the Grossglockner in some rapid Teutonic metal (let’s just say it has at least one “R,” and one “S” in its name, and a review is forthcoming) when he smelled brakes. Naturally, his first thought was to check his own, but the culprit was this lightly-camouflaged wagon “slowly, braking downhill all the way from the top of the mountain.” Another Sonata Wagon was tow-testing.

What these pictures reveal is that the Sonata Wagon is not a simple sheetmetal job, as the elongated roof falls away gracefully towards the rear of the car, and appears to offer integrated roof rails. It’s a Euro-style “sport-wagon” in the mold of the European Accord rather than a US-style “cross-wagon” like the Venza or Crosstour, which indicates that it won’t come to the US. After all, with the Mazda6 and Subaru Legacy wagons discontinued, the mass-market station wagon seems all but dead. On the other hand, the Sonata has been punching above its weight since it debuted, and with the Euro-Accord wagon coming stateside as the TSX Sportwagon, and a Buick Regal wagon rumored, the i40 may yet come to the states as a Sonata Wagon.

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27 Comments on “Braking Down The Hyundai Sonata Wagon...”

  • avatar

    Tal was blasting through the Grossglockner in some rapid Teutonic metal (let’s just say it has at least one “R,” and one “S” in its name, and a review is forthcoming)
    Audi RS
    Das Kleine Wunder
    That could be a lot of marques…

  • avatar

    Another great potential vehicle for Americans, killed by the combination of buyer ignorance, asinine CAFE vehicle type designations, and the existence of crossovers that would cannibalize most wagons.

    • 0 avatar

      Why would CAFE kill this?  If the load floor is flat, this counts as a truck and thusly would improve  Hyundai’s CAFE.
      Now, as far as crossovers and cannibalization go you’re probably right.  People like to sit up high (and even in Europe, MPVs are making inroads against low-roof wagons) and we might not get this as it’d be squeezed by the Rondo on one side and the various crossovers on the other.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s more than just the load floor, but I can’t find the rest of the rules. My wife’s wagon has a flat load floor, but is still considered a car.
      Here are the new rules for trucks, for MY2011. Sounds like they’re cracking down on the loopholes:

      have 4wd and meet 4 out of 5 ground clearance characteristics,
      have a GVWR over 6,000 lbs and meet 4 out of 5 ground clearance characteristics,
      have greater cargo-carrying than passenger-carrying volume, or
      have three rows of seats and the capability to expand cargo-carrying volume through folding or removing seats.

      Vehicles affected:

  • avatar

    Oh man- this car, with a turbo and preferably AWD, is just the sort of car I’ve been waiting for.  It’d be like an A4 Avant, but way cheaper to own, although with not quite as good of handling.  Or, it would be like the old Legacy GT, but with dramatically better fuel economy and purchase price (which I would’ve bought, had I been in the market for a car at the time). I hope it comes to the US.

  • avatar

    What the heck is attached to the hubs?  Temp sensor?

    • 0 avatar

      The way that the sensor is bolted to the lugs it very well may be a wheel force transducer, although I’ve never seen one that small.  It’s been years since I’ve seen one though so they might have found a way to make them smaller and replace only the hub flange rather than most of the center web of the wheel.
      To be brake testing I’m almost sure that it would be a WFT.  They can data log braking force (negative torque) and compare against brake hydraulic force and hydraulic temperature through sensors you wouldn’t see.  Measuring brake temps directly during road testing is quite difficult, and having done it before using thermocouples embedded in the steel backing plate of a pad it seems as if it would have an affect on the results and still not give you rotor temperatures.  A live on-board camera shot of the rotor with a FLIR might work if you can get the camera calibrated.

  • avatar

    Bring it, own the market.  Easy call, I hope.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Oh, my precious. Sméagol like mid-sized wagon. Sméagol want mid-sized wagon!

  • avatar


    It’s the fabled TTAC unicorn!  The legendary 6-speed manual diesel wagon for 20k!

  • avatar

    I would prefer a teaser pic of the “R and S” Review!

  • avatar

    I’ll tell you what – that flame surfacing thing has definitely jumped the shark now.

  • avatar

    Forgettaboutit. Not a chance of this coming stateside – there is probably a smaller market for mid-sized wagons across all 50 states than in a single German country village.
    In retrospect, it’s remarkable the class survived into this decade given our cheap gas, straight roads, and obesity rates (much easier for overweight and out of shape people to slide into a tall crossover or CUV than to get in and out of a standard ride height vehicle).
    The only niches remaining for wagons are compact hatches (young people care more about sporty handling and practicality) and premium Euro-lux wagons (which don’t need to sell as much volume to make it worth the trouble to import).
    – Happy owner of a 2008 VW Passat Wagon

  • avatar

    Yes a large wagon from a manufacturer with good reliability track record (sorry, VW) and economical engines would be my new car in a heartbeat. I hope they bring it, and hope a 4-cylinder will be available too.
    I did chose the 2007 Mazda 6 hatch over the wagon for the fact, that the wagon only came with 6-cylinder (if i wanted to waste money on gas, I’d buy an SUV to begin with). If Mazda had offered a 4-cyl. wagon I’d taken that.

  • avatar

    I like that Hyundai is going here, and, if they were smart, they would bring it to the states ASAP. I think they are that smart. However, I still can’t get over the squid face of the new Sonata, so the only affordable wagon I have in my dreams is the Jetta Sportwagen.
    I am considering a secondhand wagon to replace my GTI when the time comes, but if we’re talking secondhand, a whole lot more vehicles come into play (9-3, BMW 3 or 5, Merc E, A4, Mazda6).
    Chevy should have listened to me and created a Malibu wagon (I know about the Malibu Maxx; but it was ugly/dull. Current design would look MUCH better).

    • 0 avatar

      Nobody will buy a wagon!
      Maybe with the sudden change in the US with hatches, a wagon fad will begin.

      If my household is anything like the rest of the US, forget about it.
      The closest they will let me get is a hatch.

      But what I wouldn’t do for a great mid-sized, FAST wagon with stick!

  • avatar
    Rusted Source

    Tal was blasting through the Grossglockner in some rapid Teutonic metal (let’s just say it has at least one “R,” and one “S” in its name, and a review is forthcoming)

    The obvious guess would be Porsche 911 GT2 RS, but I have a feeling it will be either the Toyota Yaris RS Hatch or the Chevy Camaro RS V6.

    I sure hope it’s the Yaris – can’t wait.

  • avatar

    Here’s a nice ‘chop.

  • avatar
    Rusted Source

    If it ends up looking like that, that would be killer.

  • avatar

    Sold!  If they make it look remotely like that and offer it with the 6-speed manual transmission I’ll be a goner.  I was one of those people who rushed to the Mazda dealer when the 6 wagon came out… ooo, a manual transmission, decent 4-cylinder, and enough room for the stroller, I was done… until it became a six cylinder only affair… which would have been fine but the manual tranmission wagon was a unicorn… I think Mazda shipped perhaps 5 of them into the U.S.  We ended up buying a Mazda5 with a manual transmission instead and it’s been a terrific car. 

    I hope Hyundai brings this over and sells every single one they can supply.  I’m sick of manufacturers saying there’s “no market” for something that they’ve never had the cojones to offer. 

  • avatar

    I followed two different car haulers yesterday with new camoflaged Hyundai CUVs on them. From their exterior profiles I could make out the cars looked sharp.

  • avatar

    Bring It!  I’m 100% a wagon person. I ran my heavily modded 5 speed 00 Passat until it could literaly take no more at 380K, and my 03 Passat W8 6 speed is my baby, but I need a replacement to get her back in the garage. The Jetta is just too lacking in legroom, and I just can’t stomach the  soon to be departed Passat wagon. 

      I’ve been dying waiting for the Saturn, err,  now Buick, version of the Opel Insignia Wagon( PLEASE BUICK, in full twin-turbo six speed OPC glory as a Regal GS!), however this is a very tasty option. I’ve been a die hard VWAG customer but it’s time to move on. My wife’s audi has been the last straw. I love the new Sonata and have envisioned it as a wagon with little hope of one ever materializing. Maybe ther eis hope afterall!!!. I just can’t understand most customers that choose these monstrosities of CUV’s and SUV’s over a proper wagon when they have absolutely no need for them 99% of the time. it’s a little extreme but personally i feel  most  should be banned for non-commercial use. You have 6 kids, buy a minivan.

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