This is the 2020 Hyundai Sonata, a brand new sedan in the sea of new SUVs.
First, some background, this is the eighth generation of the series. Hyundai made huge headway back in 2010 with its 6th gen Sonata incorporating fluid styling and the then-new 2L turbocharged engine. For 2020 the brand new Sonata has received huge updates to make it very competitive.
Let’s take a look at it first. The front end is very sporty and aggressive, but it’s designed this way for a reason. Aerodynamically the new Sonata can cut through the wind better than its predecessor, which should aid better fuel efficiency. Better yet, take a look at these headlights the day time running lights flow from the base of the headlight up on the hood. This line flows from the front around the side and around the window. If you’re not a big fan of the front end, the base or hybrid variant gets a different front bumper, which in my personal opinion, looks a bit better.
While you may not like the front end, the sides and rear of the new Sonata are quite eye-catching. The sharp creases on the beltline and the multi-spoke wheels add character to this rather bland segment. On the rear deck just above the taillights, there are little fins to smooth out the airflow. Those who are interested in a more efficient Sonata would be please to know they are releasing a Hybrid version with cuts through the air like a Prius while getting 52 mpg combined.
Pop open the trunk, and the sonata can hold up to 16.3 cu feet big enough for a few suitcases and more. Fold down the rear seats, and you can hold even more.
Jump into the rear seats, and we’ll be surprised by the amount of room available. Even with the panoramic sunroof, the rear seats are more than accommodating. There are also built-in seat heaters that can be activated by a switch located on the door. No, it’s no limo, but this space is plentiful for anyone. The lower anchors are easily reachable for child seats, and the windows are nice and big, allowing for plenty of light into the cabin.
As for the front seats, they are very supportive. While it may not be as comfortable as Nissan’s zero-gravity seats, but these aren’t far off, on this upper-end trim, the seats are heated as well as ventilated to ensure both front occupants are as comfortable as they possibly can be.
The rest of the cabin is freshly updated. From the doors to the dash, the cabin looks great. There are some cheaper materials lower down, but how it’s styled and shaped is simply elegant. At night, there’s even ambient lighting Across to brighten up the interior. Like some late-model BMW and Mercedes, you can even change to different colours to suit your mood.
In front of the driver, we have a brand new instrument cluster, which is all digital. Hyundai has put some work in to make it stand out. Something you may notice the tachometer rotates counter-clockwise, kind of like an Aston Martin. There are some real benefits to this digital cluster as well. First, when you use the turn signals, the left or right pod will show a video feed of the blindspot for safer lane merging. It can even show map information and much more. While we’re here, take a look at these stocks, they’re much more than just some plastics stock. Hyundai has paid attention when crafting these. As for the steering wheel, it’s brand new as well. The touch points and buttons all feel high quality.
Mounted high in the centre of the dash is the new widescreen 10.25” touch screen display. Hyundai has made great infotainment systems in the past, and this does not disappoint. It has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and even some ambient sounds like the rain forest, warm fireplace, or even sea waves. This may be just what you’re looking for to get the kids to fall asleep. While the interface is the same as previous Hyundai products, this wider aspect ratio allows for more to fit on to the display. So you can potentially see up to 3 items at once. It also has a physical volume knob, which is always appreciated, but it lacks a physical knob for seek or track selection. Off to the right of the display, there are a few touch buttons that can adjust track, but it’s just too much of a reach. You’re much better off using the steering wheel controls.
As for the climate control, the new sonata does not disappoint. It’s easy to use and simple like a doorknob. Two rotary controls to control driver and passenger temps, and there are three auto settings. For those of you who’s used auto climate control before, I’m sure you felt at any given time the car just believes you need the highest fan speed where low would do. This 3-stage auto climate control is our remedy.
Unlike most cars, the new Sonata opted for a push-button shifter, while it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and it certainly takes some getting used to. It saves a lot of space within the cabin. So much that Hyundai has a large cubby next to it, housing a wireless qi charger to charge your mobile devices.
That’s enough about the interior; let dive into the drivetrain. Under the hood of the new sonata, we have two engine choices. Either a 2.5L 4 Cylinder or the engine we have in this tester, the brand new 1.6L turbocharged 4, this engine is unique and contains a lot of technology. It has something called continuous variable valve duration, and it’s the first of its kind. What this means is it’s able to cut emissions, increase efficiency and performance. Best yet, it’s quiet during coasting and has a pretty nice engine note during hard acceleration. Paired to the engine is a smooth and sleek 8-speed automatic. The combination, while good maybe not be the best option for those who are looking for outright speed or performance. There are other vehicles out there that offer more power and refinement, but Hyundai will address this soon with an N-line variant.
On the road, the Sonata feels quite good. The ride is plush enough for a family sedan, but it doesn’t offer the same feel like some of the top performers like the Mazda 6 or Accord. That said, that shouldn’t be a problem. Most buyers in this segment are looking for something comfortable, and this will surpass your expectation.
As for safety, the Sonata has all the bells and whistles. There’s lane departure warning, radar-guided cruise control, lane follow assist, high beam assist, rear cross-traffic alert. Best yet, all of these features are all standard equipment even on the base trim. Higher-end trim even gets an excellent surround-view camera and the smart park feature. Press a button on the remote and the car can move forward or back in or out of tighter parking spots.
Overall, the Sonata is everything you want in a sedan and more. The amount of tech that’s in here is surprising. With a starting price of $27,000 Canadian, and this tester with all the options, it comes to $38,600. It’s a bit less than it’s a competition, but unlike the rest, the Sonata comes with plenty of toys which makes it a really good buy.