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Sonata fills boot with accolades

Sonata fills boot with accolades

The accolades continue to flow for the ground breaking Hyundai Sonata, almost a year after its release here in New Zealand.

The model that forms the vanguard of Hyundai’s assault on the world’s established motoring corporations has earned the Korean company a boot load of recognition with motoring awards in New Zealand and overseas in the last 10 months.

The latest comes from Chicago where Motorweek magazine this week awarded the mid sized car Best Family Sedan in its 2006 Drivers’ Choice Awards. The announcement came during the prestigious Chicago Auto Show.

A team of 15 judges appraised 150 cars and trucks based on their value, practicality, performance and technology.

The Sonata won its class hands down due to the combination of performance, comfort and safety presented in a package that was ergonomically and aesthetically pleasing, said the judges.

Hyundai New Zealand Managing Director Philip Eustace said the award reinforces what many in the motoring press and industry have already recognised here in New Zealand.

“This includes being awarded National Business Review’s Car of the Year for 2005. The Sonata’s blend of advanced safety features, ergonomic interior design and impressive performance deliver in combination and are appreciated by all.”

The fifth generation of South Korea’s most popular car is the end result of intensive engineering, design and consumer consultations, and the awards are justly deserved, said Mr Eustace.

Other awards earned by Sonata over the last 12 months include recognition for Hyundai’s safety emphasis. American magazine Popular Mechanics bestowed the car with an Excellence in Safety award.

On its release Sonata raised the bar for safety with six standard airbags (front, seat-mounted side-impact and side air curtain), standard active front headrests, standard ABS and standard Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), a rarity in a mid-size sedan.

The addition of ESP plus standard ABS with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BAS) have delivered a new level of driving assurance to the mid-size sedan segment buyer.

The 2006 Hyundai Sonata has achieved five-star ratings in all frontal and side-impact tests under NHTSA NCAP conditions, the vital US standard.

The car’s reputation for reliability is well established. The prestigious annual survey from J.D Powers ranked the previous Hyundai Sonata in the top three most reliable cars for 2005.

The previous Sonata was also awarded “Most Reliable Car” in the USA in the Annual Consumer Reports survey.

“The JD Power survey in particular reinforces the huge leaps Hyundai have made in elevating the brand on a quality and reliability level in recent time. The company has put huge pressure on itself to become the standard bearer for quality, and such results justify that investment,” said Mr. Eustace of Hyundai New Zealand.

Such awards for reliability place the car in the upper echelons of quality usually inhabited by considerably higher priced machines such as Lexus or BMW.

“With the Sonata we are demonstrating the ability to deliver an extremely high quality, reliable car to the market that is not priced out of the range of most New Zealanders, giving them the opportunity to enjoy features often only seen on those far higher priced cars,” said Mr. Eustace. The Sonata range in New Zealand starts from $32,990.

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