Following inquiries into the Hyundai Sonata N-Line, Hyundai New Zealand has confirmed that the Sonata will no longer be sold on our shores. The news was announced in a brief statement to NZ Autocar. “We don’t currently have plans to bring the Sonata or Sonata N-Line into New Zealand,” said a local spokesperson.
It ends a run of over three decades being sold on Kiwi soil for the mid-size sedan. Although, it wasn’t always called a Sonata. It was offered here first badged as a Hyundai Stellar in the 1980s during the brand’s local infancy.
To say the Stellar was a curious car is very much an understatement. On the outside it wore a body designed by the illustrious Giorgetto Giugiaro, under the bonnet sat a Mitsubishi 4G four cylinder (some models getting the hallowed 2.0-litre ‘4G63’), and all of this was married to underpinnings from a Ford Cortina.
The Sonata nameplate arrived in the 1990s to replace the Stellar, and after a few shaky models it began to hit its strides in the mid-2000s — particularly with its fifth-gen iteration. For the curvy, crease-covered sixth generation the model became badged locally as an i45, before Hyundai New Zealand brought back the Sonata name for its seventh and (for the moment) final generation sold locally.
The Sonata is the latest in a rather long line of sedans to have been culled from the market in recent times. By NZ Autocar’s reckoning, the Sonata makes six sedans in the quite recent past that have been wiped from local showrooms, following on from the Mitsubishi Lancer, Holden Commodore (yes, a liftback, but you get what I mean), Honda Accord, Volkswagen Arteon, and most recently the Subaru Legacy. The Kia Optima may be on thin ice, too.
It’s not impossible that some of these models could return to the country if a thirst for sedans were to resurface. However, with SUVs and utes continuing to dominate local sales it’s an unlikely prospect.