2022 Hyundai Sonata N Line review (video)

Brett Davis

Just when you thought the everyday sports sedan was dead, Hyundai brings out this tempting number. The 2022 Sonata N Line. It proves you don’t need to follow the crowds and jump straight to an SUV without thinking.

The N Line is the only variant of the new Sonata available in Australia. It has been on sale for about 18 months now, and there has been a steady stream of sales rolling through since it arrived. During 2022 the local arm sold 536 examples, placing it in fifth position in the dwindling 10-car segment, according to VFACTS figures. Keep in mind the N Line is the only variant while most competitors are offered in a variety of trim levels.

Prices start from $52,065 (excluding on-roads). That figure has crept up since it hit the scene, originally starting from $50,990. But even so, that’s not bad considering we’ve seen some pretty significant price hikes across the industry in the wake of the global chip shortage and war in Ukraine. $52k is also decent value considering this is the top-spec model, equipped with everything.

2022 Hyundai Sonata N Line – THE SPECS

[column width=”47%” padding=”6%”]Engine: 2.5-litre turbo four-cylinder
Output: 213kW@5800rpm / 422Nm@1650-4000rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
Drive type: Front-wheel drive
Wheels: F & R: 19×8.0, 245/40
ANCAP: Not tested
Tare weight: 1623kg
Power-to-weight: 7.61:1 (kg:kW)
Official fuel economy: 8.1L/100km
Economy during test: 7.0L/100km (road trip)[/column] [column width=”47%” padding=”0″]Fuel capacity/Type: 60L/91 RON
Power efficiency: 26.29kW:L/100km
0-60km/h: 3.23 seconds*
0-100km/h: 5.93 seconds*
60-110km/h: 3.58 seconds*
1/4 mile: 14.12 seconds at 169.1km/h*
Max acceleration: 0.903g
100-0km/h braking: 2.90 seconds at 36.57 metres*
Max deceleration: -1.218g”
Decibel at idle: 45*
Peak decibel at 60-100km/h: 84*
Priced from: $52,065[/column][end_columns]

* Figures as tested by PerformanceDrive using a Racelogic Vbox Sport, based on our 2021 review. Factory claims may be different

2022 Hyundai Sonata N Line – THE PACKAGE

It’s so good to jump into a good-old sedan for once, as the world is seemingly being taken over by SUVs. For those swapping from an SUV you will need to re-adjust to bending down to get in, and leg-pressing your way back up and out. This is a pretty low and sporty vehicle, too. It feels really good once you’re inside. You sit low and cocooned, giving you a better feel for the road beneath compared with an SUV.

The Sonata N Line comes packed with features. In fact, the cabin layout and design is quite entertaining and interesting in itself. You’ve got a button-operated gear selector system which is very modern at the moment, often employed in electric vehicles, while the centre console houses a wireless phone charger and some storage for your nicknacks, as well as two cup holders and a convenient phone holder slot in between.

Up on the dash is a 10.25-inch touch-screen media interface running all of the latest apps and running Hyundai’s latest operating system. It includes digital radio, sat-nav, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. However, Bluelink remote connectivity functions are not here yet for this model. Tunes are played through a kicking 12-speaker Bose sound system, just in case the 2.5 turbo engine sound isn’t to your liking – it will be, though.

A fully digital 12.3-inch display is used for the instrument cluster, and it offers some configurable themes including a live turbo boost gauge. There’s also a head-up display system as standard to help keep your eyes on the road.

Passenger space is abundant. It’s all you really need for four adults, even five if nobody is fat. The front chairs are big and soft enough for a comfortable long-distance drive, while the rear bench is mildly sculpted to match the sporty front seats. We found it easy to find a natural driving position thanks to a wide range of adjustment from the steering column and seat.

Sometimes leather gets a bit boring and so it is refreshing to see suede-like sections in here. These sections provide breathability compared with leather, and they are strategically placed in the usual sweaty areas across the back and under-thighs. Rear headroom and legroom is ample for a mid-size sedan. A single USB port and a pair of climate vents add practicality and comfort in the back.

Boot space is measured in at 510 litres, which, again, is plenty enough for most situations. It’ll hold a pair of big luggage bags, with leftover space for random bits and pieces. A space-saver spare wheel sits under the boot floor.

Hyundai continues to offer a five-year warranty (unlimited kilometres) on its new vehicles, with servicing required every 10,000km or 12 months (whichever comes first) for the Sonata. The first service comes free of charge, at 1500km or one month after purchase.

2022 Hyundai Sonata N Line – THE DRIVE

This is an exciting car to drive. It fizzes and pops, and offers heaps of power. And despite being front-wheel drive, grand touring comfort and stability is outstanding. We drove this example from Sydney to Melbourne and it ate up the horizon like a train. It actually reminded me of being a kid, sitting in the back of mum and dad’s Ford Falcon in the 1990s. Just in the way it effortlessly cruises along.

Being an N Line means it showcases a sporty exterior pack with black skirting and a cool lip spoiler at the back. But for the Sonata the N Line badge is stretched further than some other model lines in the showroom. For example, this comes with a bespoke engine and transmission combo, as well as a sports exhaust system and performance suspension. As such, the ride is taut and ready to pounce but it’s never too harsh. It is the perfect balance for a car like this.

Through spirited corners the Sonata offers heaps of grip, partly thanks to the wide (245/40) Continental PremiumContact 6 performance tyres. And since the car is quite low and fat, the centre of gravity feels very low, resulting in minimal body lean and excellent precision. However, the steering feel is not exactly sublime. It can feel a bit numb, especially when you’re under full power and the front end is unweighted a bit.

Power comes from a lovely 2.5-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine. It generates more than enough power, at 213kW, and heaps of torque. In fact, peak torque, rated at 422Nm, is available from just 1650rpm. This is not usually achievable from a more typical 2.0L engine capacity in our experience. We think the extra 500cc really helps in this case. It does mean the front tyres can be overwhelmed quite easily, though.

Some critics might say it is wayward and erratic when full power is applied. You can feel some tug at the wheel as the tyres scramble for traction. And if you switch the traction control off, it loves baking. Not cakes, but tyres. In our view though this is exactly what we’d want from a sports sedan. Sure, rear-wheel drive would be the ultimate, but having playful and lively characteristics like this is what makes it a great driver’s car.

Matched up to the engine is the fantastic eight-speed dual-clutch (wet type) transmission. This was one of the first Hyundai-Kia vehicles to feature this unit. And it is a superb unit. Flatten the accelerator pedal off the mark and it instantly propels the front wheels into a spinning frenzy. There’s also a proper launch control system if you want to sprint off chasing its max potential. We timed 0-100km/h in a best of 5.93 seconds. But we reckon it would do 5.5 or thereabouts with some stickier tyres, perhaps some Michelin 4 S or Super Sports.

Galloping along the open road it fires the gears away with no delay whatsoever. It’ll spin the tyres into second gear if you upshift a bit early, and even chirp into third. Downshifts can be assisted with a rev-matching function for a really racy experience, too. For a brisk Sunday drive, the Sonata N line is a lot of fun and it’s properly fast.

In terms of economy, the official consumption rate is 8.1L/100km. During our interstate trip, with lots of highway driving, accumulating about 2100km in total, the computer showed a total average of 7.0L/100km. Around town you could expect an average of about 8-9L/100km, depending how regularly you like to enjoy the power.

2022 Hyundai Sonata N Line – THE VIDEO

2022 Hyundai Sonata N Line – THE VERDICT

This is one of our favourite sedans on the market right now. That’s a big statement, but we mean it. We love its humbleness and overall balance, with size and comfort but also plenty of modern tech inside. The 2.5L turbo and eight-speed dual-clutch powertrain is almost faultless, offering the precision shift of a German sports car, excellent low-end response, and heavy top-end power. We suppose it could sound a bit more serious from the tailpipe, but this is only an N Line after all and not a full N model.

We hope the Sonata sticks around for as long as possible and we hope buyers at least check it out before heading straight to the SUV section. It’s almost as practical but way more engaging and exciting. And are you really going to go off road?

[column width=”47%” padding=”6%”]PROS:
– Great to see a properly fun and interesting car in this class
– Superb interior in terms of design and features list
– Exciting 2.5 turbo and 8-speed dual-clutch combo
– Excellent value for money
[/column] [column width=”47%” padding=”0″]CONS:
– It’s a sedan and not an SUV, which will turn a lot of buyers away, depressingly
– Battles with front end traction (although lots of fun)
– A bi-modal exhaust would be even better[/column][end_columns]

As always, if you’re thinking about buying a new car don’t forget to click here to speak with our car buying specialists.

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