Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sonata Joins the Stylish Set

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Sonata Joins the Stylish Set

Article excerpt

Byline: By David Whinyates

If Korea's top car maker Hyundai is really serious about becoming a global force then it really needs to start thinking a little more globally.

There is little doubt that Hyundai is producing increasingly attractive, desirable and competent cars in all sectors of the market ( and selling them at the kind of prices which will attract increasing numbers of punters into the showrooms.

But in order to persuade those punters to part with their hard-earned, the cars need to offer the same kind of amenities, comfort and convenience features as their European counterparts.

No matter how competent the vehicle, it's the little things that count; the finishing touches which can make the difference between making a conquest and losing a potential sale.

Unfortunately the Koreans simply do not pay sufficient regard to the little things which matter to European motorists and the new Hyundai Sonata is a classic example.

The company's UK PR people insist that the Korean manufacturer has listened more carefully than ever to feedback from European drivers in designing and engineering this new competitor to the Citroen C5, Toyota Avensis and VW Passat.

But for years motoring writers in the UK and Europe have been pointing to two key problem areas in Hyundai models and once again the Korean maker has missed the opportunity to do something about it.

Like all other Hyundai models, the new Sonata comes with its indicator stalk on the right hand side of the steering column whereas European and Japanese manufacturers have adopted a left-hand indicator stalk as an industry standard ( and have done so for years.

"It's something you get used to" is the official line from Hyundai UK, but, frankly, that's simply not good enough.

This could, in fact, be a safety issue if a driver who has been used to driving a European model gets into a Hyundai for the first time and is sufficiently confused to lose concentration while driving.

Exactly the same applies to the after-market audio units which have to be retro-fitted by Hyundai in the UK because the cars do not come out of the factory with suitable audio equipment fitted as standard. …

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