2020 Hyundai Sonata first drive review: More than just a pretty face

    Ever because the first images of the 2020 Hyundai Sonata dropped earlier this 12 months, I’ve discovered it unattainable to have a dialog about this automotive with out before everything discussing its design. I am going to minimize proper to the chase: The new Sonata is completely beautiful. You’ll be capable to see for your self when the 2020 Sonata makes its debut on the New York Auto Show in April. But after a day of testing Hyundai’s new midsizer in and round Seoul, South Korea, I am right here to let you know the Sonata is greater than only a fairly face. The form of issues to come back Despite being offered within the US since 1988, the Hyundai Sonata was lengthy a wallflower of the midsize sedan section. That all modified when the sixth-generation mannequin arrived in 2010, its “Fluidic Sculpture” styling and strong worth shortly escalating it towards the highest of the category. (Even if it was adopted up by a decidedly conservative face-lift in 2014.) As far as I am involved, this 2020 Sonata is a equally enormous step ahead. Hyundai calls its new design language “Sensuous Sportiness,” and components of this sculpting will steadily make their method to different fashions. The Sonata is a automotive that has critical visible curiosity — each time I have a look at it, I discover one thing new to love. Different components strike you relying on the place you stand. Walk across the automotive, and you will see how the completely different traces and intelligent sculpting appear to vary the design’s form earlier than your eyes. In profile, you may see how low the Sonata’s nostril is, in addition to the elegant rake of the roofline.
    The entrance finish stands out for a few causes. It’s arduous to inform in images, however the Sonata’s nostril is significantly low to the bottom. Drive up alongside a Honda Accord and you will discover an enormous distinction. The manner the hood steadily tapers off is sort of Aston Martin-like in its design. That the hood extends all the best way to the sting with none harsh cutline solely works to reinforce this little bit of magnificence. Then you might have the operating lights — or, what you suppose are operating lights. The LED strips within the headlamp clusters meet backlit chrome strips that reach up the size of the hood, reducing simply earlier than the wheel arch. When the automotive is off, they simply appear to be chrome strips. But when the lights are on, they supply an unimaginable LED signature in contrast to the rest on the street. This attractive gentle therapy is not simply reserved for upper-crust fashions, both. Every single US-spec Sonata will get this setup. Step round again and you will see one other sturdy LED component, with a full-width gentle strip that connects the small taillamp clusters on both aspect. But in your method to view that rump, cease and take a look at the Sonata’s profile, the place you may actually get a way of simply how raked that roofline is. Combined with the supershort rear deck and its sleek uptick, you would be forgiven for mistaking the Sonata for a hatchback. (Though contemplating how this design makes for a smaller-than-average trunk opening, I want Hyundai had simply gone all-in on precise hatchback performance.) Turbo fashions will get a barely reworked entrance fascia, which I do not like practically as a lot as the usual automotive. You can see it within the gallery we have included right here; Turbo automobiles have a blocky, gloss-black grille, and a equally darkish decrease valence. It’s not dangerous, essentially, but it surely kind of ruins the entrance finish’s class. Oh, and people vents in entrance of the wheels are pretend. Why?! Pretty as the usual Sonata is, there are some things I am not offered on. Namely, the black accent strip that goes up and over the license plate housing, which provides pointless busyness to the in any other case gracious rear finish. On high of that (actually), I am additionally not offered on the aero pins that protrude from the taillights. These are small nits to select, in fact. Premium touches, however quick on house By distinction, the Sonata’s cabin is sort of an train in restraint. The dashboard and doorways are devoid of significant sculpting, with probably the most fascinating visible components coming by means of the curved infotainment display housing, and fairly little particulars like the virtually Bentley-like knurling on the information of the flip sign and windshield wiper stalks. Even the local weather management panel appears like one thing out of Audi or BMW, with its digital temperature readouts housed in stylized metallic knobs. And like a number of of these high-end automakers, Hyundai gives the Sonata with myriad ambient lighting decisions — 64 colours, out there on all trims however the base SE. Big, high-res screens and high-quality supplies make the Sonata’s cabin really feel significantly luxurious.
    I do discover some issues a little bit off, just like the overly stylized push-button gear selector, and the bizarre, four-spoke design of the steering wheel appears a bit overwrought. The black-and-white coloration palette of the automotive pictured right here does not actually do the Sonata justice, both. Spec your automotive with the tan leather-based trim, and the cabin has a a lot hotter look. The headliner is supersoft, and all of the door and middle console panels are manufactured from actually high-quality supplies. Nappa leather-based traces the units of this Limited take a look at mannequin, with quilted stitching across the shoulders of the seats. Even on this early, preproduction tester, the Sonata reveals a stage of luxurious and match and end that bests many bona fide luxurious manufacturers. Buick, Cadillac and Infiniti ain’t obtained nothin’ on this Hyundai. The 2020 Sonata is lower than 2 inches longer than its predecessor, with most of that size discovered between the wheels. That means there’s barely extra legroom than earlier than, however the Sonata nonetheless is not probably the most spacious automotive in its class. Critically, as a lot as I really like that sloping roofline, it takes a toll on inside headroom — even at simply 5 ft, 8 inches tall, and with the entrance seats of their lowest positions, I sit too near the ceiling for consolation. My taller passengers positively observed this, too. Hyundai’s infotainment interface is not as fairly as a few of its rivals’ techniques, but it surely’s nonetheless straightforward to make use of.
    An spectacular tech roster The base Sonata SE comes with an 8-inch show audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto commonplace, however on SEL, SEL Plus and Limited grades, you may spec a pair of huge, high-resolution screens. In entrance of the motive force sits a 12.3-inch reconfigurable gauge cluster, in addition to a head-up show, and atop the sprint sits a 10.2-inch touchscreen, operating Hyundai’s newest infotainment system. (If you are questioning the place you have heard of this 12.3-and-10.2-inch display pairing earlier than, it is what Mercedes-Benz makes use of in its MBUX-equipped automobiles.) The infotainment system works properly sufficient — primarily a bigger, split-screen model of the interface we have seen in Hyundai and Genesis merchandise for a couple of years now. Touch response is speedy, which is nice, because the Sonata does not provide any kind of redundant controller on the middle console. The 12.3-inch gauge cluster gives completely different skins primarily based in your chosen drive mode (to not point out some rad animations while you change between them), and may present journey information, navigation instructions or media info between the 2 gauges. I notably like the best way Hyundai integrates the Sonata’s Blind View Monitor, a normal function on the Limited trim that is like a extra sturdy model of Honda’s LaneWatch tech. Cameras on both aspect of the automotive present you what is in your blind spot, and it is displayed in both the appropriate or left gauge, relying on which flip sign you have activated. For what it is price, Hyundai’s sister firm, Kia, already gives this on the brand new Ok900 sedan. More spectacular than the infotainment tech is the Sonata’s record of superior driver help techniques — or, particularly, what number of of them are commonplace. All Sonatas include adaptive cruise management, ahead collision warning, computerized emergency braking with pedestrian detection, high-beam help, lane-keeping help, lane-follow help and driver consideration warning. This LED gentle signature comes commonplace on all Sonata trims.
    The solely elective ADAS function is Hyundai’s Highway Driving Assistant, which mixes the usage of the adaptive cruise and lane-follow tech to supply partially autonomous driving, kind of like Nissan’s ProPilot system. On the highways round Seoul, the Highway Driving Assistant labored a deal with, easily steering the Sonata round curves and protecting the sedan centered in its lane. Hyundai can even introduce its new Digital Key tech with the 2020 Sonata, which is able to assist you to lock and unlock the automotive, in addition to flip it on and off, out of your smartphone. Digital Key may also be shared between a number of folks, permitting you to grant family and friends members entry to your Sonata. Go one step additional and hyperlink a buddy’s profile with the Sonata’s infotainment system, and the automotive will keep in mind issues like particular person seat positions, sound settings, navigation info, lighting preferences, even the start-up welcome chime. If you reside in a family the place you and a associate share a automotive, it is a method to keep away from having to make changes each time you turn drivers. Finally, the top-end Sonata Limited will get Hyundai’s first utility of its Remote Smart Parking Assistant. If you wish to park in a good house, you may line the Sonata up with the open spot, get out of the automotive and use your key fob to remotely transfer the automotive ahead or backward out and in of the house. It’s slick, and sure, this tech can be provided within the US. With a form like this, you would be forgiven for pondering the Sonata is a hatchback.
    Slow and regular Hyundai will introduce a brand new household of “Smartstream” engines with the 2020 Sonata; my Korean-spec tester had a 2.0-liter, naturally aspirated inline-four with 158 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. We will not get this engine within the US, and that is completely superb. For lack of a greater phrase, it is gutless, and easily not highly effective sufficient to satisfy the calls for of US drivers. In slow-moving Seoul visitors, it is OK, however the second I obtained out of town and head for the hills, the dearth of energy was nearly hilarious. In my expertise, Korean motorists are inclined to drive a bit extra gingerly than us American leadfoots, so I am certain this engine will show superb sufficient in Hyundai’s dwelling market. In the US, we’ll get a alternative of two four-cylinder engines, each of which fall on the decrease finish of the ability spectrum. Base SE and SEL fashions will use a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I4 with 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, whereas SEL Plus and Limited trims get a 1.6-liter turbo-4, with 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet. Both engines will pair with an eight-speed computerized transmission and front-wheel drive, although I am instructed all-wheel drive is being thought of. Both of those engines appear fairly anemic on paper, however I am going to reserve last judgment till I can spend actual time driving them on public roads. A really temporary stint (like, lower than 5 minutes) behind the wheel of a Sonata 1.6T reveals it has sufficient pep in its step, but it surely lacks the punchy acceleration of two.0-liter, turbocharged variations of rivals’ sedans, to not point out different V6-powered classmates. A extra highly effective 2.0-liter turbo-four engine is within the playing cards for different markets, together with China, and Hyundai is investigating bringing this powertrain to the US, as properly. On high of that, Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In fashions are anticipated in the end. The Sonata reveals strong dealing with and a snug trip.
    The 2020 Sonata rides on a brand-new platform, known as N3 internally, which is able to go on to underpin quite a few different Hyundai merchandise, together with crossovers and SUVs. On my Limited tester’s 18-inch wheels, the Sonata gives a very easy trip, with a properly damped suspension that filters out small-to-medium imperfections whereas nonetheless giving a way of plantedness on the street. The Sonata is fast to show in, with good heft to the steering’s motion, even when suggestions leaves a little bit to be desired. I do not suppose the Sonata will abruptly edge out the Honda Accord or Mazda6 for best-driving automotive within the midsize sedan section, but it surely’s clear the Hyundai’s dynamics have improved markedly. Coming out swinging In each regard, the 2020 Sonata makes nice strides towards being a extra premium providing than ever. And better of all, Hyundai is dedicated to providing this bundle with none actual worth hike. That means Sonata pricing ought to begin round $23,000 on the low finish, and high out within the low-$30,000 vary. Considering what Hyundai is bringing to the desk at these costs, this represents spectacular worth. But even earlier than you discover all of the goodness inside, it is apparent the 2020 Hyundai Sonata is punching properly above its weight. The 2020 Sonata will go on sale within the US in late 2019.
    Editors’ be aware: Travel prices associated to this function have been coated by the producer. This is widespread within the auto trade, as it is extra economical to ship journalists to automobiles than to ship automobiles to journalists. While Roadshow accepts multiday car loans from producers with a view to present scored editorial evaluations, all scored car evaluations are accomplished on our turf and on our phrases. The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial staff are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.

    Recent Articles

    How to stay as private as possible on the Mac

    Apple has lengthy positioned itself as an organization that believes in your proper to privateness. Here is the way to use the privateness instruments it...

    Why a Slack acquisition would make sense for Salesforce

    Salesforce is reportedly in “advanced talks” with Slack over a possible acquisition — a deal that will be match for each organizations, in...

    Related Stories

    Stay on op - Ge the daily news in your inbox