Hyundai Sonata Does Its (2012) Civic Duty

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
hyundai sonata does its 2012 civic duty

We’ve seen this scenario play out before: an auto maker follows up a successful model with a next-generation version that is a stylistic dud. Hyundai is facing this problem with their new Sonata, which hasn’t followed up the success of the prior generation, known for the bold design statement it made upon its introduction in 2010.

While 2014 sales of the Sonata were up 6.5 percent over 2013, they were at their lowest level since the car’s wide release in 2011. In an interview with Ward’s Auto, Hyundai CEO Dave Zuchowski said that the car would be redesigned in 2017 for its mid-cycle refresh.

Our sources at Hyundai report that Hyundai Motor America pushed hard for a bolder design during the development of the next-gen Sonata, but Hyundai’s Korean HQ had already made up their minds about a more buttoned-down look for the new car. The Hyundai Sonata Sport was supposed to be a compromise between the two entities, but it looks as if Hyundai America will be getting their way – though at the cost of two years in the marketplace. According to Zuchowski, the tooling won’t be ready until then – perhaps because Hyundai doesn’t consider it to be as urgent a problem as Honda did with the Civic.

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  • Ryoku75 Ryoku75 on Jan 15, 2015

    I find it odd how users like the sport Sonatas more bland styling, even though whenever I squint I just see a mis-proportioned Honda Crosstour. This new bold design will hopefully look a bit less busy and give the Sonata a longer nose.

  • Iamwho2k Iamwho2k on Jan 15, 2015

    Funny how perceptions change over time. I was following a first (?) gen Sonata the other day and my late uncle had the squarish version prior to the 'swoopy' Sonata. If you compared the current car to those, you would have thought the 2015 car was more like a *2030* model year car. I like the current Sonata better. The swoopy one was *too* swoopy, to me. Also, given that the redesign is coming with the refresh, it doesn't sound quite like the emergency redesign the Civic received.

  • Kovakp Kovakp on Jan 15, 2015

    I can't find Unripe Tomato as a color option on their website.

  • Don1967 Don1967 on Jan 15, 2015

    "Unripe Tomato"... I love it. We've been a Hyundai family for several years, but when shopping for a sedan recently the 2015 Sonata underwhelmed me in every way: Tepid performance, unsettled suspension, bland styling, plasticky interior, and light-grey fabrics that come back from three months of rental fleet duty looking 15 years old. The Koreans are said to be impatient business people, and in this case it does appear that Hyundai was a little quick to rest on the laurels which it had just started to acquire.