18 February 2019

More than an old car #95: Hyundai Sonata EF

Mention the words "Hyundai Sonata" and one may immediately think of the taxis that continue to ply our roads. The general impression is that they are merely cars that bring you from point A to B, without any emotional attachment to them. Sure, they may be common cars, but how often do you come across this 1999 Hyundai Sonata EF?

Hyundai first started out as the Hyundai Engineering and Construction Company, founded by entrepreneur Chung Ju-Yung in 1947. Its name is derived from the Korean word 현대 (Hyeondae), which means "modernity". The Hyundai Motor Company was founded in 1967, in a joint venture with Ford. Later on, it worked with Mitsubishi to have its vehicles powered by Mitsubishi technology, such as engines and drivetrains. In 1998, it acquired a majority in its rival, Kia Motors and currently, it is the world's 4th largest automaker behind GM, VW and Toyota.

The Sonata was first produced in 1985 as a competitor to the Daewoo Royale and it was advertised as an executive car. The name comes from the musical term that we may be familiar with (also Winter Sonata, anyone?). This unit is the 4th generation of the Sonata, also known as the EF Sonata. Somehow, EF also stands for "Elegant Feeling" for marketing purposes. This is also a pre-facelift version, as the headlights and grille were significantly redesigned in 2001.
It was powered by a 1997 cc Hyundai Sirius G4CP i4 engine (based off the renowned Mitsubishi 4G63 engine), allowing it to reach a top speed of 190 km/h, with an acceleration of 10.5 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It was 4710 mm long and weighed 1340 kg.

Production of the EF Sonata ended in 2005 (inclusive of the facelifted model). There are still a small handful of facelifted EFs here, but it was my first time seeing such an old Korean car. It has been deregistered recently, and I believe the car is also gone from the road. Judging from the yellowed headlights and missing grille parts, it must have been well-traveled. Korean cars were not known for being reliable back then and it is very rare for one to survive until today. They may look boring, but after all they are a part of car culture in Singapore!


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