DETROIT, 06/04/2008 The 2009 Hyundai Sonata was named an “Interior of the Year” award winner in the category of “Best Redesign” at the annual “Automotive Interior of the Year Awards” conducted by Ward’s Auto World magazine.
“This award is particularly gratifying for our team, who started with a world-class car, listened to customer feedback telling us they wanted an improved interior, and went to work to make the 2009 Hyundai Sonata stand up and stand out against every other car in its class,” said Dan Vivian, Hyundai Motor America’s director of Design Engineering.
The 2009 Hyundai Sonata redesign was led by the team at Hyundai’s America Technical Center Inc. (HATCI) in Superior Township, Mich. HATCI’s role is to design, develop and test Hyundai products sold in North America. The 2009 Sonata was the first Hyundai product program led by the team in North America. The Sonata is built at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, near Montgomery.
NEW, WELL-CRAFTED INTERIOR STILL A “CLASS ABOVE”
The focus of the redesign of the 2009 Sonata was on the interior where Hyundai’s designers re-crafted the cabin area to create an upscale ambiance for the driver and passengers. Eyes are drawn to clean and sophisticated flow-through center console and instrument panel design, which borrows design cues and rich materials from the premium Hyundai Veracruz.
“We were inspired by the beautiful forms of the interior in the Veracruz and challenged to deliver comparable design execution in the mainstream Sonata,” said Chris Zarlenga, who heads Hyundai’s design studio in Michigan. “Great design does not have to cost a great deal of money to the company or the customer. This new Sonata proves that point.”
Sonata is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a Large Car, truly a “class above” its competitors, including Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu (all are categorized as mid-size cars). Even in trunk room, Sonata shines. Sonata’s 16.3 cubic feet of trunk space give it an 8 percent advantage over the Toyota Camry, and a 16 percent advantage over Honda Accord.
Music lovers will welcome the 2009 Sonata’s inclusion of standard auxiliary input jacks (3.5 mm mini-jack and USB input) to accommodate and charge audio devices such as iPods®. When an iPod or flash drive is connected through the USB port, which is located in the center storage compartment, not only does it play music through the vehicle’s six-speaker audio system, but it charges the device and allows the driver to access tracks with the steering wheel audio controls. This system also allows both driver and passengers to easily view song/artist/title information and control the music from the audio head unit rather than only the iPod itself.
Among the other refinements are the addition of dual-zone climate controls for the driver and front-seat passenger, and two-stage front seat warmers. A new factory-installed touch screen navigation system with a state-of-the-art voice recognition interface is now available as well. This interface allows the driver to select a destination, and change audio selections, by voice command without taking hands off the wheel or eyes off the road.
Hyundai engineers also listened to customer feedback on seat comfort and were able to redesign the front seat angles and cushion length to improve comfort.
More contrast has been added to the Camel and Gray interiors, and for the first time ever, Cocoa Brown is available. The front cupholders are also upgraded for more capacity and holding power. Hyundai’s signature blue backlighting for interior gauges, switches and buttons highlights the vehicle’s modern interior design.
HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA
Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 750 dealerships nationwide.