2020 Hyundai Sonata

BY ED KEMPER      

LONGER, LOWER, WIDER

For the 2020 model year, the full sized four-door sedan, the Hyundai Sonata, has received a major makeover, particularly in its styling. Unlike its predecessors, this new version has a very stylist roof line which sweeps back to the very end of the trunk. Up front the grille is large and wide-open more on the top than the bottom unlike its earlier editions. As a result of the grille layout, the headlights are pushed higher with a different design. The body sides have distinctive high and low sculpturing lines. On our test upgraded model, the 18-inch alloy wheels gave the sedan a sporty image. Overall, the new design is an attractive package.

Pricing starts at about $24,000, and there are two powertrain choices. The base engine is a new 1.6-liter turbocharged four cylinder which produces a reasonable 180 horsepower. Power goes to the front wheels thru a continuously variable transmission (essentially gearless). The other engine is bigger in the form of a 2.5 liter four cylinder powerplant with more horsepower (191) and more torque.

As part of the makeover, the interior has also received a redo. As with many new vehicles these days, large video screens are taking over from the old mechanical gauges. In the center is a 10.25-inch colorful touch oriented screen, which handles navigation, the radio, the car cameras, and other features. When going in reverse, the screen has a 360-degree camera and a rear view with several viewing options including a front view. In the dashpod is a 12.3-inch screen with a digital speedometer and tachometer on either side. In the center, with a push of a couple buttons on the steering wheel, data can be shown. A dual automatic climate system is easy to operate by simply spinning of some dials. A couple of USB ports are below that area.

The rear quarters provide a fair amount of room on all fronts particularly by the doors. A medium sized hump is on the floor and could make sitting more difficult for a full sized adult center passenger. Two air vents are on the back of the center console, and for additional comfort, an armrest with two cupholders is provided. Additional storage is available with a storage net on the back of the front passenger seat. The trunk can be opened remotely with the key or with a button on the dash. A large storage area is presented. Two handles are available to drop the 60/40 seat backs for carrying large items.

On the driving front, having the key on you permits easy entrance and starting the engine with a push of a button. Rather than a traditional gear lever, there are large buttons on the center console. In our upgraded model, leather with small pukas are on the seats. Rather surprisingly, the small powerplant is very quiet in operation even if truly pressed. With a CVT transmission, there is no sense of “gear” changes. But for those who insist on gear choices, there are paddles behind the steering wheel to shift eight “gears”. Added to the driving adjustments are four driving modes …normal, smart, custom, and sport. Cornering with the large 18-inch tires and relatively low body is stable and controlled. Even with the performance-oriented tires the ride handles poor pavement very well. Above the dashpod is a heads up display which shows the current speed and the legal speed limit. On our test model is a very interesting feature. When the turn signal is activated, in the dash pod a rear camera view shows what is on the left or right rear side of the car… the left view is in the tachometer and on the right it is in the speedometer. Numerous safety avoidance and warnings are standard equipment including a remote parking feature.

With the makeover, the Sonata presents a good-looking four-door sedan with lots of useful features. Added to that is it has a strong warranty with a 5 years/60,000 mile basic warranty and 10 years/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.

Tech Specs

Model: Full sized 5-passenger sedan.
Price: $23,600, as tested $34,550.
Powertrain: (Test car)1.6 liter, turbocharged four cylinder, 180 horsepower, CVT automatic transmission, FWD.
Fuel mileage: (Test car) 31 average mpg, 27 mpg city, 36 mpg highway.
Performance: (Test car) 0-60: 8.2 seconds

High Beams
Good-looking four door sedan.
Quiet interior almost all the time
Absorbing ride even over rough pavement.

Low Beam
A light tight for the middle passenger in the back seat.

CAR COURTESY OF TONY HYUNDAI

© COPYRIGHT 2019 | OAHU PUBLICATIONS, INC.
© COPYRIGHT 2019 | OAHU PUBLICATIONS, INC.