If you paid attention to the automotive news, you’ve probably heard that sedans are dying in America.
The reality is that sedans are changing in America because of a changing demographic for sedan. Shoppers, a lot of active families have moved away from midsize, formerly known as family sedans. In America and move towards compact and midsize crossovers because of the large generous cargo area in the back, a more upright sitting position on the inside and a little bit more room in the back. Also, third rows.
The things like that, leaving sedans to folks that are interested in styling and handling very specifically, and those are two things that they’ve really focused on for this all-new 2020 Sonata. So Hyundai’s decided to make the new Sonata closer to the ground. They’ve lowered the overall ride. Height they’ve also lowered the center of gravity and they’ve, drastically lowered the hood in this vehicle they’ve, given it a shorter overhang and a wider profile.
Overall, that’s really accentuated by this somewhat controversial, grille up front now we’re driving the top-end model. This is not a definitely looks a lot more aggressive and a lot hungrier than the last generation model. It has some of the same styling cues that we see in the rest of the Hyundai lineup, but they’ve been morphed into this very broad front and design. All sonata trims get LED headlamps, we’re driving the very top end trim today.
So we have what they’re calling the matrix headlamps in the limited trim. The rest of the models get a slightly different look up front, but we have this very distinctive trim strip that runs from the hood there. All the way onto the back of the vehicle that wraps around the top and then comes back towards the rear view mirror. This is a chrome strip.
From this point on back and this point on forward, it’s a chrome strip and an accent, light strip which is really a novel concept. So we have the turn signal right there, this glows white, if the turn signal is not on giving it a distinctive look and then this strip is light there and then fades to Chrome right up there. So you’ll really see that when this is coming up in your rear view, mirror this Sonata rides on an entirely new platform than the last generation that allowed them to drop the engine closer to the ground, nor to help improve handling and help improve the look with That low slung hood right there they’ve also been able to redesign the front suspension to get the shock towers death closer to the ground, to allow the profile that we see here and it’s become a little bit longer than before at one hundred. Ninety two point: nine inches long.
That means this is only about two inches shorter than the Toyota Avalon, and I would say this is a very direct competitor to something like that. Avalon in the top-end trims that we’re looking at right here. This is about two inches longer than the new Subaru Legacy. The rear end design is as distinctive as the front, but it’s certainly a little bit less controversial.
We have this strong, LED strip that starts at the top. The trunk lid wraps around the side. All the way across to the other side, I really like this, particularly we also get full LED tail lamps. Although the turn signals are red not amber, which is my preference down here.
On the passenger side, we get twin exhaust tips in most trims. If you get the base model, then it’s a single exhaust tip and if you get the upcoming end line model, then we get twin exhaust tips on each side. All Sonata models get this fairly exaggerated ducktail, like spoiler integrated into the trunk lid. You can see.
It’s part of the tail lamp modules as well. We also have some aero fins on top of those tail lamp modules or to help smooth the airflow as it exits the vehicle. This is all part of the trunk lid itself. It’s one piece with this side and then there’s another piece to the trunk lid on top, so it’s not just added on later, like we see in other vehicles with the trunk spoiler.
This Hyundai logo is a little interesting because right here at the top of the H, it’s flexi, so this bottom part is not flexi. This top part is, and that’s where the trunk lid release is hidden. The base engine is an all-new two and a half liter four-cylinder engine, it’s direct injected and multi port injected. In case anybody is worried about just direct injected engines out there.
It produces 191 horsepower, which is a bit of a bump over the last engine and 181 pound-feet of torque Hyundai tells us that the two key differences between this new base engine and the previous base engine is overall fuel economy and the way the power is delivered. So it should have a sporty ER feel out in the road. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to drive that particular model just yet. Instead, we spent our entire time in this new 1.6 liter turbocharged model.
It produces 180 horsepower under here and 195 pound-feet of torque, and all that torque comes on just 1500 rpm, so you’ll really notice the difference between this and a naturally aspirated engine like what we find in the Toyota Camry in that this has a great deal more Torque and it doesn’t have to downshift quite as often to go up steeper inclines, because all that torque is available right away now. One thing you won’t find in this hood at all is a CVT and that’s because both engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Essentially, the same 8-speed that we find in the hyundai palisade coming later in 2020, we’re gon na get two extra engines under this hood. The first one is going to be the new end line engine.
It’s a two and a half liter turbocharged engine producing an estimated 290 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, and if you want to be greener, then there’s going to be a hybrid system available in the Sonata as well. We’re told to expect that it’s going to be basically the same hybrid system that we found in last generation, sonatas updated for this model, so probably a 2-liter engine, probably around 47 mpg, probably just under 200 horsepower a new feature for Hyundai. That’s debuting! On this 2020s nada is the ability to use your smartphone as a key for the vehicle.
Now, we’ve seen this in alternative cars out there before, namely Tesla’s, of course, but Tesla’s going about it a little bit differently and that’s a key thing that you need to know about. The 2020s Nauta tesla uses bluetooth only for their phone to vehicle interactions. Bluetooth is a little bit tricky because when we had our test the model three there were times where we could not open the door right away, because you had to wait for the phone to find the vehicle, the vehicle to find the phone etc. For the 2020s.
Nada they’re using NFC communications between the phone and the vehicle that’s considered more secure. It also connects more rapidly so that way, you can open the door right like that or you can press the button right there to lock the car with the phone. In your hand, the downside is that at the moment it will only work with an Android phone and that’s the reason that Tesla uses Bluetooth, because Apple’s phones support NFC, but only for Apple pay. At this point of time, we don’t know when or if Apple will start to support NFC for vehicle communications.
Like this, all the hardware is there on your iPhone, but the software support is not available from Apple yet, but keep in mind that you will be able to do it if, theoretically Apple decides to support that functionality in future iOS versions, you’ll also be able to Use an NFC card like this one to lock and unlock the vehicle. If you don’t want to carry around the entire key fob or, of course, your smartphone either. So you have a lot of options for you and will lock and unlock the 2020s, not a –. One of the benefits to these NFC cards is that Hyundai tells us that these are very inexpensive, they’re gon na be under $ 20.
If you want to go to the dealer and get a new card, you simply tap this on the door handle to unlock the vehicle right like that very similar. What we see in Tesla’s press the button right there too lock the vehicle as well and then to start the car. You place this card right on the wireless charging mat. That’s where the NFC receiver is in the vehicle and then you’ll be allowed to start the car.
You can then remove the card from the wireless charger. If you want to then put your smartphone down on it. Instead, the Sonata has long been a good option for taller drivers, and that does continue for 2020. The front seat track moves a great deal rearward it’s compared to some of the entries in the segment.
You can see really how far away from the steering column it gets, and you can push that quite far away from you. So you can see that taller people will definitely be more comfortable in here than in some of the other options in this segment now Hyundai tells us that the seating position has been made closer to the ground, but because of the way the interior has been designed, It honestly feels, like I’m sitting a little bit higher up than some of the other options in this segment. It’s really more of an optical illusion, because the dashboard and the window line have actually been dropped closer to the ground in terms of overall front seat comfort. I’m gon na give this about a 9 out of 10 points in this particular segment.
We don’t have a four-way adjustable lumbar support available in the Sonata. That’s something that I really wish this particular vehicle had popping into the back seat. You’ll definitely notice that legroom is very generous back here. We have just under 81 inches of combined legroom and that’s front row plus 2nd row, so you can see that I have probably about 6 or 7 inches between my knees and this front seat back comfortably adjusted for me.
There’s a lot of room back here for child seats. If that’s something that you’re interested in, you will definitely find more room back here for rear-facing child seats than your average compact crossover, so it’ll definitely be more accommodating than a rav4 or CRV. It’s one of the big reasons you might want to still look at a family sedan like this or midsize sedan, whatever you want to call it over the average compact crossover now, unfortunately, Headroom does drop a little bit over the outgoing Sonata mall, but it’s a little Bit smaller than I thought, two tenths of an inch. So if I sit back here very upright with my head back on that headrest, my head is not touching the ceiling about a quarter of an inch left.
This is definitely more accommodating than many mid-size sedans in America, so there’s still enough room back here for adults. If that’s something you’re interested in. If I move over here to the middle seat, however, then Headroom does get limited. I have to Crane my head to one side kind of strangely: that’s because we have this large panoramic moonroof.
It occupies a decent amount of space right there in that middle seat position and the middle seat is a little higher off the ground from the outboard seating positions. Scooting all the way over to the right side. I have moved this front seat all the way back. In its tracks – and you can see that I still have about two inches of legroom left – that may not sound very accommodating but again remember that the front seat tracks are very long.
They move an awful lot further rearward than in many of the competition, even though the Sonata got an awful lot swoopy ER in this generation trunk space is still pretty good. We have just over 16 cubic feet of storage space right behind this trunk lid. Putting this right around the top of this particular segment now the trunk is not as deep as some of the other options, so you cannot put a 22 inch roller bag in this position and still have the trunk lid closed. However, I suspect that this will probably be able to fit perhaps five of the 24-inch roller bags once we can get this back at home to give it that official test taking a quick look around the inside this particular model has the optional panoramic moonroof.
You can see that it extends to just over the rear passengers heads right there. Quality is definitely high for the mainstream segment. I would actually say this interior rivals what we see in the Buick Regal and bear in mind. The Buick Regal is being canceled after the 2020 model year.
The front seats are both heated and ventilated. So you can see that we have perforated leather sections right there in the middle and then interior parts quality does change as you step your way up the trim ladder so also keep that in mind. We are driving the very top end. Limited trim the front door panels definitely have a certain attention to detail that we don’t see in every entry in this particular segment.
A lot of soft touch materials going on there a stitch Center panel, and then we have this two-tone color arrangement. Moving from the doors on over to the dashboard, we have a very different overall design theme than we’ve seen in other Hyundai models. This is a new design theme that we are likely going to be seeing moving across the rest of the Hyundai lineup. We have the optional twelve point, three inch LCD cluster right here on the driver’s side and then a ten and a quarter inch infotainment system right here in the middle.
These are both optional. The base model gets an 8 inch. Color touch screen right there in the middle of the dashboard, but it does come with standard apple, carplay and android. Auto they’ve decided to make this interior look very minimalist and very sleek, so we have thin air vents right there and a very horizontal theme.
Taking a closer look at the infotainment screen, this 10 and a quarter inch screen is optional. The base model has an 8 inch screen, which is still pretty big, and it still offers apple, carplay and android. Auto integration. It just uses that different format screen there’s a physical power and volume knob over here on the left and there’s some touch buttons for direct access to various features on the right and on the left side of the screen.
I have to say that I, like this horizontal layout of the screen, a little bit better than the vertical or portrait orientation screens that we see in options like the Subaru Legacy or it’s something like the ram pickup line. Main reason for that is the camera view. If I press the camera view button down here or engage reverse, you can see that we get this larger view for the rear camera and then still a pretty decently sized to you for the 360 camera. It’s an awful lot more compressed in most of the vehicles out there that use portrait orientation screens and then we can cycle through the various different camera views with those buttons over there on the Left continuing down the dashboard, we again find those two air vents right.
There and then we find the optional two zone automatic climate control. This is a new layout for Hyundai, and this is where we have the heated and ventilated si controls there toggles you toggle up there for the various heating levels or down for the various ventilation levels. A nice touch here is that we have a three-stage fan setting for the auto mode, so we can cycle through those different settings. If you want a little bit more air you’ll find the engine start/stop button over there below the climate control.
You can see the single USB input that works with a smartphone integration or the media system, a single USB charge, only port and then a 12-volt power port left, there’s also a Qi wireless charging that right there under that smartphone. This is what the NFC card looks. Like to start the car you can see it has some instructions for card operation right there. If you were to use that card to start the vehicle, you would just place it right there in that area, then hit the engine start/stop button right over there to start the vehicle.
This will recognize four different cards or four different phone profiles. In addition to the two seat memory settings, it basically operates like seat memory in case you’re wondering this is what the remote looks like. It’s essentially the same remote that we see in the Hyundai Nexo. We have a push button shifter over here on the driver’s side.
Drive neutral, reverse and park right there continuing on back, we find two large cupholders, the drive mode. Selector switch a button to enable and disable that 360-degree camera system, the parking sensors, the autonomous parking system that will parallel park, the vehicle for you and auto brake hold, and then behind that we have a pretty standard sized center console. It opens to reveal a moderately sized storage area. You, the LCD instrument.
Cluster, is a little bit different than the ones that we see in other Hyundai models. It is slightly configurable, so we can change the display. The screen based on the drive mode. We have normal and smart there.
If we change to sport, you can see that we have some animation there and some slightly different screen colors and you can have a custom mode where you can adapt things to your own personal tastes. You can cycle through your trip. Computer information right there in the center or you can press a button and have that pop over to the right side of the display and then cycle through them there will you display your active safety information in the middle or your navigation, turn-by-turn directions, as we’ve seen In other Hyundai vehicles, if we engage the left or right turn signals in the top-end trims, it replaces that, with a camera view using essentially the same cameras that the 360-degree camera uses, this is definitely more useful than the Lane watch system that we see in Honda Vehicles because it works on both the left and the right side of the vehicle gives you a broader view than is possible from the mirrors you moving out from there. You can see that we have a very different steering wheel, design them we’ve seen in other Hyundai vehicles before we have this eccentric shape right here in the middle, it’s a metal effect trim.
So it’s not real metal right there. It’s a four spoke design with pretty aggressive sport grips up top, we have paddle shifters on the back, and you can see that we have a new turn signal stock design than we’ve seen before with knurled ends. It gives it slightly more premium, feel them have seen before you’ll find the infotainment controls over here on the left side of the steering wheel, dedicated phone buttons, mute right there, toggle up and down for the tracks and then over here on the right side. We have the controls for the adaptive cruise control and the highway driving assistant system continuing to the left of the driver.
We find another soft touch panel on the dashboard that matches what’s going on over here behind the infotainment screen. The soft touch upper section. The dashboard is one of the upgraded touch points that we see in the very top end trims. To keep in mind.
You won’t see that in all versions of the Sonata going back to the driver’s door, this is where we find the seat memory controls a tweeter for the Bose system. They’re also speakers up there in the dashboard and lower on the front doors as well, and we have this new door switch design very sleek look over here and instead of a dedicated little handle right there for the door. Both the driver and passenger doors have this large grip area, which is pretty comfortable. Hyundai tells us that they were really targeting a more premium and more dynamic experience with this generation of the Sonata, and I think that they’ve definitely hit the nail there.
And you can tell that not necessarily just out on the road, but also out on a rougher, gravel road like we’re on here. The previous generation Sonata suspensions, could get a little bit upset on rougher pavement and we don’t see that in this model we also don’t get some of those jarring actions back through the steering wheel that we did find in the last generations, not us so. Overall, the experience definitely comes across as a little bit more premium when it comes to overall steering feel I have to say that I really like the way the current generation Mazda 6 feels out on the road compared to the Accord the camry, the Altima, the sonata, Etc, that’s not to say that the Mazda 6 feels like a sports car necessarily out in the road, but we do get a little bit more feedback to the driver. Now the key thing to know about the Mazda 6 is that just because the steering has a great feel to it does not mean that it handles better than this Sonata or the Accord or the camry, and when it comes to overall lateral grip.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this either matched what we see in the top level, Camrys and Accords were actually beat it by a little bit, because the Sonata has gone on. A diet is one of the lightest entries in this group now, even though it’s also one of the longest. This is not also as pretty wide tires 235 width on this model, which is very comparable to the court and the Camry wider than what we find in the Mazda 6. And if you get the upcoming end line trim, then it goes up to 245 s, which are definitely wide for the mainstream segment.
Now, at this point in time, I haven’t been able to 0 to 60 test this. We are out here in Arizona. I don’t have any of my equipment, we’re not at home on our usual test drive course, so I don’t have any official 0 to 60 x or 60 to 0 braking distances for you, even though this engine is about 20 horsepower down on the tota Camry. It has a great feel to it out on the road, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up being faster than the base engine.
We have a very broad torque curve out of this engine. Torque happens to just 1500 rpm, it’s where it Peaks out, and it continues all the way up to over 4,000 rpm, so very broad torque curve compared to a naturally aspirated engine like we find in the Camry. I also like the way that this 8-speed automatic shifts better than the one that we see in the Camry and definitely better than what we see in the Mazda 6. As I said before, unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to drive the new two and a half liter, naturally aspirated engine, I’m really eager to see what that engine is like, because it’s probably going to be the most popular engine under this hood now, based on The weight figures and the overall horsepower and torque I do expect that engine to be a little bit slower than what we see in the Camry, but we’ll know more once I can get it home to test in terms of the overall ride quality.
I think Hyundai has done a pretty decent job tuning this for highway drives. It is not the softest entry in this segment, however, if you’re really looking for the cushiest highway, cruiser that’s going to be the Subaru Legacy. This has tuned an awful lot like the Honda Accord, and that really makes sense, because when Hyundai was talking about the competitive set and what they were targeting, it’s obvious that they really had the Honda Accord in mind when they were creating this model. In terms of its overall on-road tuning – and I think that’s really obvious – because this has a very sorted – almost Germanic feel to it – that we don’t see in all of the competition Hyundai’s engineers told me that they targeted this interior to be quieter than the Camry or The Accord at average highway speeds, but we were able to test this at around 75 miles now we’re out here on some of the rural highways in Arizona, and I did notice that road noise appeared to be very well controlled.
But I got a little bit more wind noise right around the driver and passenger windows than I remember in its closed competition. But again you have to wait until we can get this back at home to see for sure. One thing I can say for sure, however, is that fuel economy appears to be very impressive in the Sonata. I have been impressed by Hyundai’s 1.6 liter turbo engines in the past, but remember this is a new 1.6 liter turbo design and it’s also mated to a traditional 8-speed automatic.
Now, not an efficient dual clutch transmission anymore. We’ve been averaging over 30 miles per gallon in mix driving out here in Arizona, and we have been going up and over mountain passes, we drove about a hundred miles out of Phoenix and now we’re driving back in and we’ve been averaging again 32 miles per gallon High speeds, low speeds have been doing 0 to 60 runs, etc. Overall, I’m very impressed with this engine now Honda’s 1.5 liter, turbo and CVT combo is very, very efficient in the court. It’s probably still going to beat this in real world driving, but this combination is much more.
Engaging. Hyundai has deliberately programmed this 8-speed automatic transmission to engage the torque converter right around 1500 rpm in just about every year, and that makes us feel more direct. A little bit more like a dual clutch transmission out there and, of course we get very crisp shifts out of the shift paddles. We don’t get that kind of mushy shift that we feel in CVT vehicles that are imitating stepped automatics.
This is a true traditional automatic transmission overall out on the road. I have to say that I am very very impressed by the Sonata and for 2020. We have some absolutely excellent options. In America, we have the recently redesigned Accord and the camry, both of which have really strong focus on overall handling ability.
This generation of the camry is one of the first models. That really is a very direct competitor in terms of handling ability to the Honda Court, and this is now a third, very direct competitor, not just in the way that it feels out on the road. But in the way that it actually grips out on the road as well, the previous generation Sonata, interestingly enough matched the lateral acceleration in skidpad tests that we see in the Accord and the Camry the feel was a little bit behind. But the actual lateral grip was definitely there, and this vehicle seems to have improved both the lateral grip and the overall feel, with this generation Sonata, focusing more than ever before on driving dynamics, a high style, interior and exterior, and certainly more premium interior materials.
I had expected this generation to become much more expensive than the outgoing sonata, but Hyundai decided to really focus on value with this just like before. So this will start at 20 $ 3,400 for the 2020 calendar not including destination charge. That’s about a thousand dollars less than a Toyota Camry we get relatively similar equipment on that base. Camry we get their active safety systems in both vehicles, adaptive cruise control, lane, keeping assistance, autonomous, braking, etc.
The LED headlamps up front and a tension fo tainment system. This has apple carplay and android, auto on the base model, but I think this is definitely more attractive. Looking on the inside and more premium feeling on the inside, then we find in the Camry exterior styling. I would say that’s definitely up to your personal tastes, but I do like this look better than what we see in the Camry versus the Honda Accord.
We get more feature content for about the same kind of money. The base Accord won’t have aplicar play or Android auto, for instance, stepping up to the SEL trim is going to get you a slightly revised front end. That looks a little bit closer to this limited trim that we’ve been looking at today. It’s also going to get you upgraded interior materials, so keep in mind that, as you work your way on up from the base trim all the way up to the top and trim some of the Interior components do change.
We get softer, touch door panels in the SEL trim and then we get all the way up to this limited model. We get upgraded dash panels as well. That model will also give you a power driver seat to zone automatic climate control, blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic detection and XM satellite radio. All for twenty five thousand five hundred dollars.
The SEL trim is also the first trim where you can add options to your Sonata. The base model comes only one way. The SEL trim is probably the best value in the Sonata lineup because of the optional features that are available. You can get the twelve point.
Three inch LCD instrument cluster that we saw on this model in that SEL trim as an option. You can also get the digital key system in that model as well. That’s the one where you can use the phone or that NFC card. You also get the panoramic moonroof that we saw in this particular run and the Bose premium audio system that we saw in this model as well.
There’s also a leather heated steering wheel and the same ten and a half inch infotainment system in the dash. The SEL trim is also the first term where you can get Hyundai’s highway Drive assist system. You can think of that as the next level of lane-keeping. It’s definitely more aggressive in its lane centering behavior than the standard lane keeping system, but that is optional.
On the SEL, it’s not standard. If you want the 1.6 liter turbocharged engine and honestly, I think that’s the engine that I would select at the moment, then you’re going to want the SEL plus trim feature content is relatively similar to the SEL, but we get that one-point-six that are turbo. 420. 7450. In that particular trim, the value proposition does narrow a little bit versus a comparably equipped honda accord with their 1.5 liter turbo, but this top-end limited trim widens that gap back out to where we expect it to be with a hyundai versus a honda. This limited model was thirty, three thousand three hundred dollars, and it comes only one way: fully equipped: paddle shifters matrix LED headlamps, the heated and ventilated seats, the leatherette dashboard, the leather upholstery, the color heads-up display front and rear parking, sensors, 360-degree camera system, the remote parking System rain sense wipers.
All of that is standard on the limited model. At this point in time, we don’t have any pricing details on the upcoming end line performance model or the upcoming expected hybrid trim either. I expect the hybrid model is probably going to be priced. Very much like the hybrid Accord or the hybrid Camry, and I actually expect the endline to be perhaps a little bit more expensive than the v6 Camry or the 2-liter Accord, because you can think of the N line version of the Sonata as a grown-up, larger Volkswagen.
Gli, it definitely has more of a performance bent to it. Then we see in the Accord or the Camry. Is this not a right for you? Well, I would say, if you’re looking for a high style, sedan that doesn’t break the bank, has reasonable performance, good handling ability and a surprising amount of room in the back end in the trunk.
Then yes, this not is going to be a good option for you, but if you’re looking for the absolute best performing sedan in this segment at the moment, there’s no end line trim until later in 2020. So if you need something right now, you might want to get that 2-liter record or the v6 Camry, which are absolutely excellent options in this segment they’re, just not going to be quite as good of a value as the Sonata. I left my crystal ball at home, but if I had to predict, I would say that this is not a like. The previous generation is likely going to sell at a slightly larger discount over MSRP versus something like the Toyota or the Honda, and that’s really going to play into the value proposition of this Sonata.
Even more again, remember we have that long standard warranty and we have excellent performance out of the 1.6 liter turbo, so this should definitely be on your shopping list. I would also say that if you like this, look over the Mazda 6, I like driving this a little bit more than I liked driving the Mazda, Mazda stew and half liter turbo is definitely fun, but I think the Camry v6 and the Accord 2.0 T both Managed to beat it in the fun department, and I suspect that the N line version of this Sonata is gon na beat all three of them be sure to. I definitely think it’s hungry. It has grown on me a little bit, but again, I have to admit it’s not my favorite entry in this segment.
I have to say that if I were shopping just on looks alone, I would probably buy a Mazda 6 but the rest of the Sonata. I do like more than the Mazda I like the way that it handles. I like the way that feels I like the interior, better than the Mazda, 6, etc, and, of course there is that upcoming end line version as well.