2020 Hyundai Sonata
Hyundai has changed the whole game with the 2020 Sonataby Sidd Dhimaan, on LISTEN 12:34
The 2019 New York Auto Show was not a very exciting event this year, perhaps because it clashed with the Shanghai Auto Show. But out of the few positives from the show, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata managed to hog a lot of limelight. Hyundai has taken a big stride in terms of the design and technology of the Sonata, and the results are evident. There is nary a thing that goes wrong with this car. So, will Hyundai be able to tip over the rivals with this new sensation?
2020 Hyundai Sonata
Horsepower @ RPM:191
Torque @ RPM:181
0-60 time:8.1 sec. (Est.)
Top Speed:130 mph (Est.)
2020 Hyundai Sonata Exterior
- New Design Philosophy
- Hidden Lights in the Chrome Strips
- LED Headlights
- Civic-esque Taillights
- More Planted Than The Outgoing Model
Hyundai has taken a rather aggressive approach in terms of aesthetics for the Sonata.
The South Korean automaker calls it the ’Sensuous Sportiness’ design language. The car looks much bolder and more beautiful than the outgoing generation. The 2020 Sonata bears a coupe-like design this time around. Hyundai engineers have taken inspiration from the Le Fil Rouge four-door-coupe concept shown at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. Overall, the 2020 Sonata looks great and it doesn’t come as a surprise because Hyundai has enough experience in designing good looking sedans. Check out the underestimated Genesis range. Compared to the 2019 Sonata, this sedan has the charm, persona, and the charisma to make heads turn.
The front fascia looks as though it is trying hard to pout.
The nose seems to be diving low to the ground, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It extends all the way to the grille, which Hyundai calls the Digital Pulse Cascading Grille. The bumper wears air dams in a way that’s not only purposeful but also looks aesthetically pleasing. In fact, Hyundai has managed to sculpt the 2020 Sonata’s hood without giving it any harsh, untidy cut lines until the edge. What I like the most about the face is that the automaker has used chrome tastefully; enough to make it look premium, but not so much to make it gaudy and garish. Other automakers should learn a lesson or two from Hyundai in this department cough... Lexus... cough.
Now, let's talk about the most interesting aspect - the new, distinctive lighting architecture.
The swept-back design of the headlamp clusters are new and have chrome strips that naturally flow from the LED headlights to the length of the hood. When the car is switched off, these appear to be chrome strips. But once you fire up the engine, the chrome strips turn on along with the Daytime Running Lights in the headlamp cluster. It’s dubbed the Hidden Lighting Lamps and we have not seen anything like this on the roads before. Subtlety? Definitely not the Sonata’s suit.
The profile of the 2020 Sonata is embedded with cuts and creases all the way till the boot. Given that the side would look quite plain otherwise, these accents add a lot of character to the Sonata. A chrome line, starting from the wing mirror, flows right around the window sill and returns to the front by running down the length of the hood and ending at a sharp right angle beneath each headlight. The B- and C-pillars are blackened out to add to the sportiness of the 2020 Sonata.
The roofline slopes down till the very end, evoking the coupe silhouette that seems to be the latest trend in premium sedans.
Automakers are smitten by this idea these days to make the three-box cars look interesting before they finally succumb to SUVs and trucks. The bottom of the doors come with black side skirts, which further enhance the sporty profile of the car. The 2020 Sonata is a little more ’down to earth’ than the preceding model. This one-inch difference keeps the car planted at high speeds and reduces body roll at high speeds. The Sonata is offered with 16-, 17-, or 18-inch alloy wheels that look stunning when the car is stationary.
Step to the back and you will wonder if you’re standing behind a 2020 Sonata or a Honda Civic! Hyundai hit the sweet spot in terms of styling in the front and sides, but wonder why they adopted a design that’s similar to an iconic car. Taking a dig at the Japanese? I’m not sure how that will fare for the South Korean. Coming to the design, a wide horizontal LED strip extends across the center of the boot, stretching to the edges of the car and creating one long line of brake lights that looks striking at night. All-in-all, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata’s rear complements the company’s futuristic approach, and the advanced safety systems and tech-savvy cabin.
2020 Hyundai Sonata Interior
- Slim HVAC Vents Look Sweet
- 12.3-inch Digital Instrument Cluster
- 10.25-inch Touchscreen System
- 12-speaker Bose Sound System
- Supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
- Rear Headroom Is a Luxury
- Phone Works As The Digital Key
As expected, the cabin also exudes luxury and quality.
The ’Beautiful Smart’ theme justifies its name and the interior echoes the exterior lighting in the form of ambient mood lighting featured across the dashboard and doors. The steering wheel, if observed closely, mimics the design of the 2020 Sonata’s face. The dashboard, otherwise, wears a slim design. What caught my attention here is not the fit and finesse, but the slim HVAC vents. We’ll know their capability once the car is tested in real-world conditions. The AC controls are tilted upwards and make things easier for the driver when on the move. Hyundai has also installed a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster which is customizable to suit different driving modes and preferences. One critique in here would be the cabin space. While the front seems all comfy, it’s the rear that is the 2020 Sonata’s Achilles’ Heel. The coupe-like roofline slants sharply in the back, thus impacting the rear headroom to a large extent.
Coming to the infotainment system, Hyundai has not cut any corners here. A large, 10.25-inch touchscreen dominates the center console. The automaker has collaborated with Bose to create a premium sound system with 12 speakers. This is a big selling point for Hyundai because Bose majorly works with premium brands like Audi.
As for the touchscreen, it supports Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and also accommodates a split-screen function that allows audio and navigation to be displayed simultaneously.
Adding to the feature list is the Digital Key that allows the vehicle to be unlocked, started, and driven via a smartphone. There is no need for a physical key here. I am not sure whether the customers will like this setup because Tesla came up with the same technology for its cars last year, but due to safety concerns, the Musk-run company had to launch key fobs as an accessory for people who did not prefer the smartphone accessibility. It must be noted that the key fobs were sold like hot buns. Will we see the same happening with the 2020 Sonata?
As for the safety features, the 2020 Sonata is loaded with features like:
- Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist
- Lane Keeping Assist
- Advanced Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go
- Highway Driving Assist
- Lane Following Assist
- Safe Exit Assist
- Blind-Spot View Monitor and Blind-Spot Collision Warning
- Surround-View Monitor
- Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist
- Remote Smart Parking Assist
|Head room (front (w/sunroof)/ 2nd row (w/sunroof)||40.0 (38.4) / 37.8 (37.4)|
|Leg room (front / 2nd row)||46.1 /34.8|
|Shoulder room (front / 2nd row)||57.9 / 56.1|
|Hip room (front / 2nd row)||54.6 / 54.4|
2020 Hyundai Sonata Drivetrain
- 2.5-liter, Four-Cylinder Engine
- 191 Horsepower
- 181 Pound-feet of Torque
- 1.6-liter, Turbocharged Mill
- 180 Horsepower
- 195 Pound-feet of Torque
- Eight-speed Automatic Transmission
The 2020 Hyundai Sonata is the first model to utilize Hyundai Motor’s third-generation vehicle platform.
The Sonata has managed to garner a lot of accolades for its exterior and interior features, but it comes with underwhelming engine options under the hood. A 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine that churns out 191 ponies at 6,100 rpm and 181 pound-feet of twist at 4,000 rpm. The second option is a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder, turbocharged gasoline mill that creams 180 horses at 5,500 rpm and 195 pound-feet of torque between 1,500 and 4,500 rpm.
While the engines are torquey enough for a car built on a lightweight platform, the Sonata is undoubtedly underpowered.
Even though there is a turbocharged engine on option, a 1.6-liter engine in such a premium car is a slap in the face. Enthusiasts who live by the ’no replacement for displacement’ rule will outright reject this puny engine without any remorse. Both the engines mate to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with power sent to the front wheels. Some rumors suggest that Hyundai is considering all-wheel drive options for the Sonata. Hyundai should have launched plug-in hybrid engine option right from the word go but it looks like it will take some time to arrive.
|ype||GDI DOHC 16-valve Inline 4-cylinder||Turbo-GDI DOHC 16-valve Inline 4-cylinder|
|Materials||Aluminum block and head||Aluminum block and head|
|Bore & stroke (mm)||88.5 x 101.5||75.6 X 89|
|Compression ratio||13.0 : 1||10.5 : 1|
|Displacement||2.5 liters / 2,497||1.6 liters / 1,598 cc|
|Horsepower||191 @ 6100 rpm (est.)||180 @ 5500 rpm (est.)|
|Torque (lb-ft.)||181 @ 4000 rpm(est.)||195 @ 1500-4500 rpm (est.)|
|Transmission||8-speed Automatic||8-speed Automatic|
There is no word on the pricing yet, but we except the 2020 Hyundai Sonata to be priced at a premium of at least $2,000 to $3,000 over the model it replaces. This means we are speculating a starting price of $25,000.
2020 Hyundai Sonata Competition
The Accord has been one of Honda’s most consistent sellers over the last four decades. The car is currently in its 10th generation, and still features sharp, proportionate aesthetics and low-slung body that could give complex to the latest crop of sedans. There is no dearth of space on the inside and the seats are supremely comfortable as well. The Accord benefits from features like a seven-inch touchscreen display, rear camera, dual-zone climate control, etc. The car scores full marks for safety and every model comes with Honda Sensing safety suite as standard. The car comes with an array of engines that get the job done, but do not expect the Accord to be a driver’s car. The Honda Accord currently starts from $23,700.
|0-60 mph||7.6 seconds|
|Top Speed||121 mph|
|MPG (Combined)||33 mpg|
|Cargo Space||16.7 cu-ft|
Read our full review on the 2018 Honda Accord.
The second Honda that rivals the Sonata, the Civic, is arguably one of the best cars in the market today. The latest generation looks a little too overboard for everyone’s liking, but all of that is forgotten once you step inside the cabin. There is no space scarcity in the front, although the rear passengers will not feel the same. Honda has offered the car with features like seven-inch touchscreen system that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, moonroof, heated front seats, etc. The Civic also delivers decent mileage and boasts excellent safety features. Although the low-displacement engines don’t carry the oomph factor on paper, they are quite thrilling when put to test. The CVT is the sole fly in the ointment, but it works well for sedate urban driving. Our pick, however, would be the six-speed manual gearbox! The Honda Civic comes with a starting sticker price of $19,500.
|0-60 mph||8.2 seconds|
|Top Speed||125 mph|
|MPG (Combined)||33 mpg|
|Cargo Space||11.9 cu-ft|
Read our full review on the 2018 Honda Civic.
The Optima is a fairly new kid on the block when compared to the competition and also happens to the Sonata’s cousin. We could not help but pit it against the 2020 Sonata. The car boasts a handsome face and clean rear and profile. It looks very proportionate from all the angles and is one of the smartest-looking cars on the market today. The cabin is roomy, seats are extremely comfortable, and there is plenty of space all around. The feature-list is the highlight of the Optima. Right from the base trim, the car is offered with a 7.0-inch touchscreen system, keyless ignition, climate control, and cruise control, to name a few. It is offered with an array of engines; six, to be specific. The base engine is not performance-oriented in any way and just about does the job. It comes with a starting price of $23,000.
|0-60 mph||8.5 seconds|
|Top Speed||152 mph|
|MPG (Combined)||27 mpg|
|Cargo Space||15.9 cu-ft|
Read our full review on the 2018 Kia Optima.
It's not easy for sedans to create such a strong impression at a time when SUVs and crossovers are taking over the world rapidly.
First the Venue, then roping in the former Ford RS chief engineer, and now the Sonata - Hyundai is on a roll right now and it just can’t go wrong. The 2020 Sonata has a lot of oomph factors and adds a lot of pizzazz as well, but all that disappears once you pop the hood. The real world results are yet to be ascertained, but on paper, Hyundai has certainly missed the bullseye. The missing plug-in hybrid engine is adding insult to injury. However, Hyundai will soon be coming up with a hybrid engine and the N-Line versions that could have the 2020 Sonata run on 275 horses. Once that engine and trim make its debut, the Sonata will be unstoppable.
Read our full review on the 2018 Hyundai Sonata.