Hyundai has a very different spiel for justifying the lack of seat coolers for the driver in their new Sonata manual version. They say that most people who buy manuals use it as a chauffeur driven car and therefore, the chauffeur doesn’t need to be comfortable, but the fat cat in the rear seat does. Therefore you have to spend a princely Rs 2 lakh, ex-showroom more before you can cool your bum and enjoy the ride (read, an automatic).
Strange may be the ways of the sales and marketing men at India’s second-largest car maker. So what better than to put their car to the test where it matters most: the back seat. But, we at BSM are all about the joy of driving and so we decided, after spending just a few minutes in the back seat, to spend the rest of the day at the helm. Just as we were starting to enjoy the new Sonata, the rear view mirrors were filled by two equally large cars. The Skoda Superb on the portside is the current bestseller in its segment, while the Accord on the starboard is a global benchmark. Surely, the Sonata couldn’t have thought this to be a cakewalk now, could it?
Okay, so Nick Hall will tell you what those beauties look like (page 78) but honestly, none of these cars are bad lookers, speaking to the executive sensibilities of India’s corporate upper cut. The Accord and Superb have been around for what feels like eons now, so they have their own fair share of staunch supporters and detractors and you can choose your camps as you please. As for the Sonata, well, it will catch your attention, no doubt. Placed next to the two, it certainly does make the Accord feel a bit placid, though the unconventionality of the Superb’s design does hold its own strong points. The nose of the Sonata is quite distinctive, unlike the Embera that was, well, too non-descript. Large headlamps and a slightly ‘baleen whale’ like jaw does make it stand out. There are tubs of chrome all around, the rising waistline is now a ‘fluidic’ trademark and it’s at the rear three-quarters that the car looks its best. Attention grabber it surely is, pretty, er... maybe not.
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