Oh, and the Accent is being axed to make way for the Venue, too.
Korean marque Hyundai have likely been thinking of what eventuality would befall its two large saloons, the Sonata and the i40, which have traditionally been sold alongside each other to feed two sides of the argument: Those who drive mostly in town and need more room would buy a Sonata, while those in search of a diesel powertrain and a more European-ish driving experience would plonk for an i40.
This model worked until the world began to tilt in favour of the SUV. With shrinking passenger car sales something had to give, and even Hyundai themselves admitted that it was either the Sonata or the i40, not both. But with the Sonata confirmed then there’s no room left for the i40. The end.
This was further hammered home by the unveiling of the Sonata 1.6-turbo in Seoul, which is in keeping with Hyundai’s intent to offer sportier, more dynamic versions of its mainstream products in the future. The Sonata turbo notably looks like a lukewarm N model, though since the push for N has been confirmed for our shores (as Motoring reports), it’s within reason to expect a hotted-up Hyundai Sonata N or N-Line at some point or another.
“It’s unlikely that every single model line will have a full-blown N version, but a combination of N and N-Line models should cover the vast majority of the Hyundai range, including SUVs and possibly EVs.” – Bill Thomas, Marketing Director, Hyundai Australia
In addition to the i40, it seems that the Accent will also be making its exit very soon, pushed out by the recently-announced Hyundai Venue compact SUV. Slotting beneath the Kona, the Venue (which is its name, not where it will be launched) will serve as not only the car to bag new drivers and get them into the Hyundai family, but also as the buy-in point for the marque’s local lineup.
“It’s a very important model in a booming segment. [Venue] should offer outstanding value for money at a sub-$20,000 price point but as ever, value will be reflected in more than just the price point. It’s also the capability, equipment, practicality and tech you get for the price.” – Bill Thomas, Marketing Director, Hyundai Australia
The Sonata is set to arrive sometime later this year, while the Venue is said to arrive before the year ends. With SUV sales booming, we’re not entirely sure why Hyundai is exercising humility insofar as predicted reception for the Venue is concerned. But it’s the saloon that we’re rather excited to see as not only does it look… bold, but it promises a more engaging and dynamic drive than any Sonata before it. Could this perhaps be the niche-dominator in a shrinking scene, like how Kia's Picanto is thriving among dying microcars? We’ll have to wait and see.