Hyundai is on a roll indeed. The Korean automaker is ready to unleash its best set of products and technologies in the Indian market, which will help it to boost sales amidst a brief slowdown. Hyundai recently launched its best seller in India, the sixth generation Sonata, with a starting price of Rs. 18.53 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi). The new Hyundai Sonata has been well received, with the car outselling the Honda Accord in the last two months. Hyundai however is not looking at competing with Honda, instead the company wants the Sonata to become the segment leader, thereby displacing the Skoda Superb and Volkswagen Passat.
Both the Superb and Passat benefit from a very good diesel powerplant, which is decently powerful and highly frugal. Hyundai needs a diesel heart in the Sonata to rival the Germans. At the launch of the fluidic Sonata, Hyundai said that there is no diesel engine available for the new Sonata. However the company has heard the voice of customers and auto experts and has decided to launch a diesel version of the Sonata by the end of this year, according to our sources. The company has also started testing the diesel-engined Sonata at its Chennai facility and a reliable source has spotted a CRDi badged Sonata in Chennai as well.
Hyundai will offer the new Sonata diesel with both manual and automatic transmissions. The diesel-engined Sonata will get additional features such as a sunroof and a new touch screen audio system. A cheaper, low cost variant of the Sonata will be offered later to entice a larger section of D-segment car buyers, including fleet operators. The Sonata diesel is expected to be offered at a starting price of Rs. 20 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi).
The company won’t find it difficult to plonk a diesel engine into the Sonata as all diesel engines are imported from the parent plant in Korea. Hyundai locally assembles the Sonata and thus plonking in a diesel engine into the car is not a tough task at all. However which diesel engine will they use is the question. Hyundai already sells the new Sonata with a 2.2-litre diesel engine in some markets. This 2.2-litre diesel engine produces 197 BHP of power and 436 Nm of torque. The said motor uses a 3rd generation common rail direct injection (CRDi) made by Bosch. The engine is Euro 5 compliant and has a diesel particulate filter and a lower balancer shaft for better NVH.
With Hyundai looking to launch the Elantra in July and the Sonata diesel by November, the company will finally repeat the massive success it has enjoyed in lower segments. The Elantra and Sonata will certainly shake their respective segments, just how the Verna did a few months back.