2020 Hyundai Sonata Review: Appealing to Your Emotions
Do you remember the sedans? They’re not dead yet, though you’ll be forgiven for thinking of what’s parked on your street. With more and more people switching to SUVs every year, some automakers have ditched sedans altogether. Hyundai is not one of them, and he bet that making the 2020 Hyundai Sonata sexy, comfortable and effortless will convince you not to fail.
According to Hyundai, the last Sonata was great but dull. This is, Hyundai says, because they were looking for best-in-class interior space at the expense of design. Believe it if you will, but now they say it’s not enough. Equal footprint SUVs have more space by nature, so they need something else to get you in. The new strategy understands the fact that a car purchase is more often emotional than coldly logical playing to your heart. Ideally, they’ll hook your right brain with a sleek, striking design and a comfortable, easy driving experience, and then come back to your left brain with a long list of standard and optional features at an aggressive price point.
Sound strategy, but does the car hold up? You bet it does.
Design is purely subjective, but whether you like it or not, it’s hard to deny that the Sonata is more attractive than the Accord, Camry, or Altima. Even if it’s not your taste, you have to respect Hyundai for doing nothing. This car stands out, and that alone is attractive.
A key element of the design is the sloping roofline, which showcases the best attributes of a sedan by making the car look low and sleek. Luckily, careful packaging and the seat design lessened the impact on the rear headroom, cutting it off by just two-tenths of an inch. As such, Hyundai can no longer claim the best space in its class, but it is still very comfortable for a 5’9 ” adult with a long torso.
The avant-garde strategy plays out a little differently inside with an emphasis on simplicity and cleanliness, but not at the expense of ergonomics. All the controls and screens are easy to read and operate, so you can keep your eyes on the road and not worry about finding features buried in menus. Hyundai’s infotainment software continues to set the benchmark for ease of use, while the optional digital dashboard brings a bit of flair with crisp animations when you change screens and drive modes .
The funny thing is, the Sonata is so smooth and effortless to drive that you’ll have plenty of time to dig through a complicated system. Get out on the freeway and the car feels so planted and stable that you just want to set the cruise control at 90 mph for a few hours and see where you end up. Long, fast corners are treated like luxury sedans, leaning and shifting instead of slowing down and relaxing. Tight turns, too, are dispatched with ease and confidence, though they’re treated more as a trifle than an opportunity to squeal tires. If you want a sports sedan, there is a Sonata N-Line for it. This car aims to get the job done. Despite this, it also manages to ride smoothly and comfortably.
All other components also complete the player. The new 1.6-liter Smartstream turbocharged I-4 produces a little more peak horsepower and an extra mile per gallon both in the city and on the highway, but the story is in the delivery. At around 8.2 seconds to hit 60 mph, it’s not particularly fast in its segment, but the rich, linear power and the new intelligent eight-speed automatic transmission make the car faster and more powerful than it does. is not. Put your foot on the ground and the car accelerates and smoothes over the highway easily. This engine is available on mid to high trim levels, and a significantly upgraded 2.5-liter I-4 is standard, but we didn’t get a chance to drive one.
Likewise, the brake pedal and steering wheel responses seem perfectly weighted and matched to the personality of the car. Nothing is too sensitive or too loose; everything responds in the same measured way which makes each entry consistent. Nothing stands out because everything is equally good.
Then there are the party tips. The Sonata comes with standard safety features, as you’d expect these days, but it doubles up with luxury car features. A more sophisticated BlueLink smartphone app can now: preload your profile when you get in the car and change all your presets; remotely control certain vehicle systems; act as a digital car key or be delegated to someone else who should drive your car; and remotely start the engine and pull the car in or out of a tight parking space for easier access.
Whether it’s the tech, the styling, the $ 24,330 starting price, or the much more expensive way to drive, Hyundai has given you every possible reason to stick with the sedan instead of switching to an SUV. Whether this will suffice remains to be seen, but don’t bet against it.
|Hyundai Sonata 2020|
|STARTING PRICE||$ 24,330|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||4-door front-engine sedan, front-wheel drive, 5 passengers|
|MOTORS||2.5L / 191 hp / 181 lb-ft DOHC 16-valve inline-4; 1.6L turbo inline-four / 180 hp / 195 lb-ft 16-valve DOHC|
|TRANSMISSION||8 speed automatic|
|WEIGHT ON BOARD||3150 to 3350 lbs (manufacturer)|
|LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT||192.9 x 73.2 x 56.9 inches|
|0 to 60 mph||8.2 s (mfr est)|
|EPA CITY / HWY / COMB FUEL ECON||27-28 / 36-38 / 31-32 mpg|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY / ROAD||120-125 / 89-94 kW-h / 100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.61-0.64 lbs / mile|
|ON SALE IN THE UNITED STATES||Currently|
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