New 2020 Hyundai Sonata Sedan
Hyundai Sonata Sedan
The all-new 2020 Hyundai Sonata packs a host of tech and safety features to keep in step with (or ahead of) rivals like the Honda Accord.
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The Hyundai Sonata is all-new for 2020, marking the eighth generation of this midsize family sedan. Again in its sights are the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, formidable rivals to be sure. But as we’ve come to expect from Hyundai, it is playing to win. That mindset has manifested in the best Sonata yet, one that brings loads of safety equipment in even its least expensive form, and unexpected technology and amenities in its highest trim. Furthermore, the goods come at a price that still undercuts competitors.
Part of the 2020 Hyundai Sonata’s revamp is a sleek new exterior design that will surely bring differences of opinion. Let your eyes decide. Unlike the Camry and Accord, a hybrid version of the new Sonata isn’t available just yet, but is planned for next year. And if you’re among the few drivers seeking a manual-transmission family sedan, you’ll have to look to the Honda. Those factors aside, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata is a complete package and then some, and still boasts the best warranty in the business.
You'll Like This Car If...
- Standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
- Standard suite of safety & driver-assist features
- Class-leading warranty
- Class-exclusive tech features
- Lower starting price than some rivals
You May Not Like This Car If...
- Exterior design can be polarizing
- Hybrid & sporty N-Line models not yet available
- No all-wheel-drive or manual-transmission options
What's New for 2020
- 2020 Hyundai Sonata is all-new
- Marks eighth generation of Hyundai’s midsize sedan
- Debuts with choice of two engines
- Sonata Hybrid & performance-oriented N model still to come
After driving the Sonata in multiple locations and over hundreds of miles, we can assert that its manners are right up there with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. If we’re splitting hairs, we’d say its personality is in the middle of those two — slightly less sporty than an Accord and the slightest bit less comfortable than a Camry. We see this as more of an asset than a fault, similar to the way Audi splits the difference between BMW and Mercedes among luxury cars.
Our seat time was in Sonata models with the 1.6-liter 4-cylinder turbo engine, which comes in SEL Plus and Limited models. This engine has less horsepower than the standard 2.5-liter, but more torque. This leads to smooth and confident acceleration from a stop, and enough in reserve for good if not great passing power. All models use an 8-speed automatic transmission that is seamless. The cabin is acceptably quiet, though we did notice modest wind noise from the driver-side door at elevated highway speeds.
One of the Sonata’s best driving features is its ability to take on much of the task itself. The Highway Drive Assist — standard in Limited models and optional in the SEL Plus — is among the better semi-autonomous systems. Returning to California from Arizona, we basically let the Sonata do most of the driving while keeping our hands on the wheel. Its adaptive cruise control paced the vehicle in front, and its lane-centering system kept the new Sonata centered and sure. It also worked well in stop-and-go traffic, though initially activating the Smart Cruise Control took a couple of tries.
HYUNDAI DIGITAL KEY
No key? No problem. This feature — standard on all but base SE trims — turns your phone into a key, and also allows you to grant access to the Sonata for friends and family via their phone. At present it only works for the Android operating system, but also included is a hotel-like key card that also allows entry and activation.
This class-exclusive feature, standard on Limited models, takes blind-spot monitoring to a whole new level. When you activate the turn signal, a real-time image of the left or right lane is displayed directly in front of you in the all-digital instrument cluster.
The Sonata’s 5-passenger cabin has an open and contemporary design. The driver’s spot is a nice place to be, and we found the seat comfortable even after hours behind the wheel. Part of the Sonata’s airy feel can be attributed to its transmission selector, or lack thereof. Instead of a traditional lever, there are buttons. This setup takes some getting used to, but we did and think it is among the better executed of such layouts.
In the center of the dash is the infotainment screen — a commendable eight inches as standard or a large and crisp 10.25-inch version that’s optional on SEL Plus and standard on Limited models. Controls to adjust common functions like volume and climate are easy to see and use, though we wish there were also a dial for radio tuning and track selection.
On paper the Sonata’s rear-seat legroom pales to the Accord’s — 34.8 inches vs. 40.4 — but in reality still feels accommodating for adults. Furthermore, the Hyundai gives back that room up front, with 46.1 inches for driver and passenger vs. the Accord’s 42.3.
Well, what do you think? Just look at that sinister, sultry front end, those LED running lights that extend up the hood and meet at a chrome strip that runs the rest of the way up the sides. Hyundai’s design executive said the team aimed for “sensuous sportiness” with this all-new Sonata. In a way it’s also a return to form and daring design, similar to the 6th-gen version that made waves back in 2011.
The front end will certainly be loved or loathed, but we think other elements of the new Sonata will be generally liked. Its side profile, like so many other sedans these days, strives to be a coupe, while its rear is nice and tucked with an almost-fastback profile.
Pro tip for spotters: Base Sonatas have a single, hidden tailpipe and grille with brightwork, while all other models have a gloss-black grille and twin-tip exhaust outlets.
Notable Standard Equipment
The 2020 Hyundai Sonata lineup is refreshingly simple, spanning these four trims: SE, SEL, SEL Plus and Limited. At its most basic, a Sonata SE includes the standard tech you want such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system, plus 6-way manual-adjust driver’s seat and LED headlights and taillights.
Also standard is a full suite of active safety and driver-assist features, including lane-keeping assist, forward-collision alert with automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go. As with all new Hyundais, the Sonata has a class-leading warranty that includes 10 years/100,000 miles for the powertrain.
Notable Optional Equipment
While the SE is solid, we’d recommend stepping up to at least an SEL trim. For $2,100 more, it adds blind-spot monitoring with collision-avoidance assist, heated front seats, 8-way-power driver’s seat, heated side mirrors, rear-seat armrest with cup holders, enhanced infotainment system with satellite radio and Blue Link remote vehicle access, dual-zone climate control, and proximity key with push-button start.
From there, the SEL Plus trim includes the turbo engine, fully digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster, the Digital Key (see Favorite Features), suede/Leatherette upholstery, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, rear-seat air vents (optional on SEL trims), auto-dimming rearview mirror, wireless phone charger, and body-color/satin-chrome door handles.
At the top, Sonata Limited models include the Blind View Monitor, leather interior, panoramic sunroof, head-up display, power-adjust passenger seat, surround-view rearview camera, ventilated front seats and heated steering wheel, 10.25-inch touch screen with navigation, and 12-speaker Bose audio system. A seriously slick feature found in the Limited model is Remote Smart Parking Assist, which lets you drive the Sonata in and out of tight spaces while standing outside the vehicle. Using the key fob, it’s like the world’s biggest RC car.
Under the Hood
For its debut year, the 8th-generation Hyundai Sonata offers a choice of two engines. SE and SEL models use a new 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that makes 191 horsepower, while SEL Plus and Limited models come with a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 180 horsepower. While the higher-trim turbo engine has less horsepower, it offers more torque — 195 lb-ft compared to 181 lb-ft — which enables better off-the-line acceleration. All 2020 Sonatas are front-wheel drive and use an excellent 8-speed automatic transmission.
Coming later, likely next year as 2021 models, will be the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and performance-oriented N Line. The N Line Sonata will use a turbocharged version of the 2.5-liter engine that makes an estimated 290 horsepower.
191 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm
181 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/38 mpg (SE trim), 27/37 mpg (SEL trim)
1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4
180 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
195 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/36 mpg
The 2020 Hyundai Sonata has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $23,400, plus a destination fee of $930. The more recommendable SEL begins at $25,500. Sonatas with the turbo engine and more premium features start at $27,450 for the SEL Plus model, while the loaded Limited model begins — and pretty much ends — at $33,300.
This means the Sonata slightly undercuts the starting prices of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. It’s also lower than the Mazda6 and Nissan Altima. Beginning a bit lower are the Ford Fusion, Kia Optima, Chevrolet Malibu and all-wheel-drive Subaru Legacy. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new car. The Hyundai Sonata’s resale value has traditionally trailed that of the Subaru Legacy, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, but continues to improve.
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2020 Hyundai Sonata Specs
2020 Hyundai Sonata Safety Ratings
How does it compare?
|#1||2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid||5200|
|#2||2020 Toyota Camry||203|
|#3||2020 Kia Forte||201|
|#4||2020 Hyundai Elantra||201|
|#6||2020 Hyundai Sonata||191|
|#1||2020 Honda Insight||52|
|#2||2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid||52|
|#3||2020 Honda Civic||36|
|#4||2020 Hyundai Elantra||34|
|#8||2020 Hyundai Sonata||32|
|#1||2020 MAZDA MAZDA3||5 / 5|
|#2||2020 MAZDA MAZDA6||4.7 / 5|
|#3||2020 Kia Forte||4.6 / 5|
|#4||2020 Honda Insight||4.5 / 5|
|#5||2020 Kia Optima||4.5 / 5|
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