Hyundai Sonata versus Skoda Superb!

Hyundai silently launched the all new Sonata with at a starting price of Rs. 18.52 lakh for the manual variant. The previous generation Sonata had outdated looks and lackluster performance. However, the sixth-generation Sonata is all-new with its fluidic design, powerful engine and contemporary features.

The Skoda Superb is one of the top picks in the premium sedan segment. The Sonata has just arrived and is threatening to be a game changer. Let’s see if the Sonata can rev past its chief rival, the Skoda Superb 1.8 TSI petrol version.

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Driving and handling

The Sonata is powered by the 2.4-litre GDI (Gasoline direct Injection) petrol motor with Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-VTVT).  The engine puts out 198 bhp of power and 250 Nm of torque. On the other hand, the Superb is powered by a 1.8-litre turbo charged, direct injection petrol motor that puts out 160 bhp of power 250 Nm of torque.  Clearly, the Sonata with its higher power specification, will offer better acceleration than the Superb.

With regard to handling, the Superb is a great handler despite its large dimensions. The steering feedback is ample even at high speeds. The suspension is a bit stiff and some undulations do filter into the cabin at low speeds. However, as the speed increases, the ride quality improves.

It is yet to be known if the Sonata if is a good handler with a responsive steering and controlled body-roll. The Sonata will have an edge in terms of drivability owing to the powerful engine; however, we will not pass a judgment on its handling before we drive it.

Space and comfort

Dimensionally, the Superb is longer than the Sonata by 18 mm while the Sonata is 18 mm wider, 8 mm taller and has 34 mm longer wheelbase than the Superb. This allows the Sonata to carve out slightly more shoulder room and legroom than the Superb. However, the Superb (565 litres), has more luggage space than the Sonata (464 litres).

Both the cars have acres of space on the inside making all the four passengers feel roomy. The Superb has supportive front seats. At the rear, it offers adequate legroom even for tall adults while the rear seats recline angle is perfect and together with adequate under thigh support and leather upholstery, they offer great comfort to the passengers. The flat rear seat makes life easy for the occasional middle passenger. Besides, the centre headrest also emphasizes that the Superb is a proper 5-seater luxury sedan.

The Sonata has well sculpted front seats that offer good overall support suited for both short and long drives. The rear seat is sculpted with a prominent hump in the middle of the floor, making it best suited only for two passengers.  The Sonata boasts of rear legroom which is phenomenal even for tall passengers. Besides, the sofa-like cushioning also increases the comfort level. Both cars are equally spacious and comfortable too.

Looks

The Sonata looks great wearing the fluidic design theme of Hyundai. The front grille with an overdose of chrome may not be liked by all but over all the tear drop headlamps coupled with wide fog lamps give the Sonata, a majestic stance. The smooth flowing roofline ends at the rear as it would in a coupe and at some angles resemble the Mercedes-Benz C-class sedan. The high beltline and Hyundai’s signature chrome accents emphasizes the length of the car. The Sonata’s rear has well sculpted tail lamps that extend sideward.

Coming to the Superb, it has an undeniable European looks and corporate styling. The front grill of the Superb is a typical Skoda and the HID headlamps with clear lens treatment give it a sharp look. The side profile accentuates the cars length. At the rear, the radically styled boot door and unique tail lamp cluster gives the Superb, a really superb look.

The interiors of both the cars have great quality, soft touch plastics and commendable fit and finish. The dashboard design of the Superb is bland and conventional while the dashboard in the Korean sedan looks livelier, especially at the centre console. We feel that the Sonata, with its proportionate curves and livelier interior has an edge over the Superb.

Features

The Sonata comes with six airbags which includes dual front airbags with passenger protection system, side and curtain airbags. However, the Superb gets eight airbags which includes dual front airbags, side airbags at front, side airbags in the rear and curtain airbags at front and rear.

The Sonata is equipped with ABS and EBD as standard while the cruise control and paddle shifters are offered in the automatic variant. The Superb not only has these features, but also comes with a host of driving aids such as Hill Hold Control, Hydraulic Brake Assist, Anti Slip Regulation, Traction Control System, Tyre Pressure Monitoring and Electronic Differentia Lock which are not offered in the Sonata.

With regard to comfort features, both the cars get automatic climate control, power windows, remote locking, central locking and power adjustable front driver and passenger seats. The Sonata has ventilated seats, engine start/stop button, auto headlamps, electrically retractable and heated outside mirrors which are not offered in the Superb. With regard to entertainment features, both the cars get 6-CD changer, CD/MP3 music system with USB, aux-in sockets, Bluetooth as well as steering mounted audio controls. Summing up, both the cars are well equipped but the Superb has slight edge in terms of drive assist features.

Price mileage and VFM

The Sonata manual variant is priced at Rs. 18.52 lakh which is nearly Rs. 1 lakh less than the Superb base petrol variant priced at Rs. 19.6 lakh. Similarly, the Sonata automatic variant priced at Rs. 20.6 lakh is again Rs. 80,000 cheaper than the Superb automatic variant (Rs. 21.20 lakh). Hence, price wise, the Sonata has an edge over the Superb.

With regard to mileage, both the cars can return about 10 kmpl on an average, so there is no clear winner here. Overall, the Sonata has many comfort and safety features and is cheaper than the Superb, making it a better ‘value for money’ proposition.

Pros and Cons

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Verdict

The Sonata has an edge over the Superb in terms of styling, interior space especially at the rear, creature comforts and low price. If you can ignore the small car image associated with Hyundai, the new Sonata is a good buy. Also read: New Hyundai Sonata Launched