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Long term test: Hyundai Sonata 2.4 automatic – on sale now



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A series of long journeys in the Sonata have really shown its strong-suit; comfortable and un-fussed cruising, eating up the miles with ease. The seats are supportive, the driving position good. Flick on the cruise control, sit back, and waft effortlessly along.

However, there are two things that spoil this image of executive bliss. Firstly, there is the four-speed automatic ’box. Its lack of gears mean the engine sounds strained all too often, either when kick-down is engaged, or when overtaking and the chosen gear is held. It’s hard to buy into the car offering a refined business-like experience, when the revs climb to such jarring levels.

But the real bugbear, perhaps the car’s biggest single fault as far as living with it day-to-day is concerned, has to be the stereo interface. At first glance, it looks like an impressive touch-screen display, promising easy navigation and intuitive menus. Sadly, however, the truth is somewhat different.

It’s not touch-screen and it’s certainly not easy to use. The only way to access the functions is by a fiddly remote control, which is easily as distracting to use on the move as any mobile phone. And once you’ve made contact with the on-screen controls via the remote, things don’t get any better. The menu options are too involved and un-intuitive, and the whole process is, frankly, ridiculous.

Clearly Hyundai has gone for style over substance with this faux touch-screen, but it would have spent its money far better on a traditional head-unit, complete with old fashioned buttons. It may sound trivial, but flaws like this severely impact on the ownership experience.

Price: £17,495
Engines: 2.4-litre petrol, 160bhp
Performance: 0-62mph: 10.4sec; top speed, 126mph
Transmission: Four-speed automatic
Test period: June-September
Start mileage: 120
Mileage now: 2,804
Efficiency: 32.1mpg, 210g/km CO2
CAP RV 3yr/30k: £5,775 (33%)
CAP RV 3yr/60k: £4,850 (28%)
Likes: Easy, comfortable motoring
Dislikes: Ludicrous stereo controls

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