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The Sonata is all-new for 1999 with a new body, a choice of two new engines, three new transmissions, a new double-wishbone suspension and highly advanced safety technology, including a unique passenger presence detection system.
1999 Hyundai SonataEnlarge Photo
Safety technology includes standard equipment side airbags, a shoulder/lap seat belt for the middle rear-seat passenger and adjustable rear head restraints.
The Passenger Presence Detection system is like systems being introduced in some luxury cars. It assures that the front and side airbags on the passenger side won't deploy if the passenger seat is empty or if a baby or small child is in the passenger seat.
Hyundai engineers say the new Sonata has a stiffer, stronger body, with reductions in noise, vibration and harshness.
Standard equipment on the base Sonata is the 2.4-liter dual-overhead-cam (DOHC) Sirius II four-cylinder engine; it is rated at 149 horsepower (hp) and 156 pound-feet (lb-ft) of torque. The GLS model gets the all-new 2.5-liter DOHC Delta V-6 engine rated at 170 hp and 166 lb-ft of torque. Other changes include an all-new electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission and a new, smoother-shifting five-speed manual.
The new Sonata, which features an all-new exterior, is almost 2 inches wider and has almost an inch more headroom. The interior gets improved seats and a new dashboard.
Both the Elantra sedan and wagon get identical changes for 1999, which include a fresh new look and a more powerful engine. Replacing last year's 1.8-liter 130-hp engine is the same 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve 140-hp engine used in the Tiburon sporty coupe. It delivers 133 lb-ft of torque.
The Accent and the Tiburon coupe are unchanged for 1999