reset
Viewed : 13,175 times

Recommended Articles

The Volkswagen Passat may be better overall, especially in terms of presentation, but the refinement and maturity of the Hyundai Sonata is remarkable.

06 Jun 2018


Think of the Hyundai Sonata and most Singaporeans would immediately associate it with a ComfortDelGro cab, which isn't the most glamorous of ways to be remembered.

So when we decided to pit the latest Sonata against the Passat, a model that brought Volkswagen a step closer to brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes, we asked ourselves, "Are we completely off our meds?"

There are two reasons for doing so. One, the Passat during one of Volkswagen's weekend promos was almost the same price as the Sonata, and two, having previously already reviewed the Sonata, it's not as second-rate as you'd expect.

The Sonata (right) is larger in size and longer in wheelbase compared to the Passat, which translates into more space inside

Spacious Sonata, pretty Passat

The first impression of the cars, when parked side by side, is that the Sonata is obviously the bigger car here. It is longer, wider and taller than the Passat, although the latter is the more visually appealing one, with its sharper sheet metal architecture and more lavish use of chrome trims.

On the inside, the Sonata offers slightly more leg, shoulder and headroom all around compared to the Passat, as well as an overall cushier, cosier cabin. It's also richer in features, having stuff like wireless charging, ventilated seats and blind spot detection as standard.

The Passat, however, does have a larger 586-litre boot that's a whole 76 litres more than in the Sonata. At the same time, the materials employed within the Passat's cabin are of superior quality and finish.

A cosier, cushier affair at the back of the Sonata thanks to soft seats and a quiet cabin

That's not to say the Sonata isn't well built because it's anything but. Unfortunately the use of tackier plastics and a surprisingly outdated infotainment system is its Achilles' heel. The fidelity of the system, too, pales in comparison to the Passat's.

But don't judge a book by its cover, or badge

Past the Sonata's lesser presentation is a car that's highly refined and outstandingly accomplished. At idle, there's barely a whisper from its engine. While on the go, it's also just as, if not slightly quieter, than the Passat as long as you're not revving it hard.

More impressively, it's also able to soak up the road's imperfections a little more smoothly than the Passat, which rides a little firmer. This grace from the Sonata, alone, is a triumph for Hyundai.

But if you're one who likes a bit of spirited driving, the Passat is the one to have. For one, it's more powerful, with 178bhp and 250Nm of torque from a turbocharged 1.8-litre.

Thanks to that, it feels lighter on its feet and will smash the century sprint in just 7.9 seconds while the Sonata will take 11.1 seconds. And around twisties, the Passat's eagerness and ability to dance from corner to corner also makes it the livelier one.

In terms of overall presentation and build quality, the German-made Passat is still king of the ring

Power aside, the Passat's turbocharging also translates into better fuel economy. It manages 10.3km/L with a reasonable right foot whereas the Sonata averaged 9km/L.

So which would you pick?

In the past, it would almost be impossible to beat the package that is the Passat and we'd say it still is, given the car's precious few faults. Personally, we would still pick the Passat because we prefer turbocharged cars and we are extremely picky when it comes to a car's cabin's fit and finish.

With safety features such as blind spot detection, the Sonata is great value for money

But professionally, we'd say the Sonata has been the more memorable car. It may not be as fast or fashionable as the Passat but close your eyes, go for a ride and it's hard to tell you're in a Hyundai.

For buyers who aren't fussy about brand, the Sonata does fulfil most whims and fancies. It certainly won't be able to overtake the Passat's sales just yet, but give it a couple more years, and we won't be surprised if it does.
  • Email
Read more Car Reviews

Facelift articles

The facelifted Sonata is much bette...

09 May 2018

The facelifted Hyundai Sonata is much more refined than before, thanks to a sharper styling, a modernised interior and improved drive comfort.
Read more

Car Information

spacer

Price

: $121,999

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve DOHC CVVT

Engine Cap

:

1999cc

Horsepower

:

112kW (150 bhp) / 6200 rpm

Torque

:

192 Nm / 4000 rpm

Transmission

:

6-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

11.1sec

Top Speed

:

200km/h

Fuel consumption

:

12.6 km/L

spacer
Promotion
There's a promotion for Volkswagen Passat

Price

: $139,400

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve TSI Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1798cc

Horsepower

:

133kW (178 bhp) / 6200 rpm

Torque

:

250 Nm / 5000 rpm

Transmission

:

7-speed (A) DSG

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

7.9sec

Top Speed

:

232km/h

Fuel consumption

:

16.9 km/L

You may also like

1-10 of 20