The 2019 Hyundai Sonata represents a terrific value in the midsize family sedan segment. Given a thorough make over last year, just two years after the seventh-generation’s debut, the Sonata continues to provide features and styling customers want, but with the added assurance that comes standard with its 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Once light years ahead of rivals like the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, the Sonata now simply maintains equilibrium with these cars, although it still has a few bonuses like a high-output turbocharged engine that may lure buyers its way.
What’s New for 2019?
After sweeping changes were made last year, the 2019 Sonata carries over with no major changes of note. See the 2019 Hyundai Sonata models for sale near you
What We Like
Solid fuel economy; up-level cabin; standard blind spot monitoring; quiet ride; user-friendly infotainment system; value price
What We Don’t
Full suite of driver-assist/safety systems not standard on all grades; not as fun to drive as some competitors
Beyond the Sonata Hybrid, a 3-engine lineup provides thrust within the seven normally aspirated Sonata grades. Reserved exclusively for the 2019 Sonata Eco trim is a 178-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission. A 185-hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to a 6-speed automatic tranny powers the SE, SEL, Sport and Limited trims. The Limited 2.0 use a 245-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with the new 8-speed automatic transmission.
Leading the pack in fuel economy will be the updated Eco, with a government-estimated 28 miles per gallon in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. Following is the 2.4-liter, with 26 mpg city/35 mpg hwy in the SE, and 25 mpg city/33 mpg hwy in all others. Bringing up the rear, but still quite decent, is the 2.0-liter turbo, at 23 mpg city/32 mpg hwy.
Standard Features & Options
The SE ($23,220) anchors the Sonata lineup. Standard features include 16-in alloy wheels, dual folding and heated power outboard mirrors, auto headlights, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist, seven airbags, air conditioning, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, a 7-in color touchscreen, a rearview camera and a 6-speaker audio system with a USB port, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Hyundai offers no factory options for the SE.
The Eco ($23,770) is basically the SE with a more fuel-efficient engine/tranny combination.
The SEL ($24,870) builds on the SE features with 17-in alloy wheels, outboard mirror-mounted turn indicators, proximity key entry, LED daytime running lights, a 10-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics system with a 3-year subscription, a second-row USB port and satellite radio capability. Options include an electronic parking brake and the Tech package, with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, smart cruise control and an electronic parking brake.
The Sport ($25,720) adds to the SEL’s list of standard goodies some exterior appearance enhancements and body cladding, a chrome-tipped dual exhaust, a power sunroof, seats with leather bolsters and cloth inserts, wireless charging, LED cabin lights, aluminum pedals, a leather-wrapped D-cut steering wheel with paddle shifters. There are no factory options.
The Limited ($28,420) adds to the SEL’s standard equipment a power sunroof, LED taillights, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 6-way power front passenger seat, memory for driver’s seat and outboard mirrors, ventilated front seats, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, Dynamic Bending headlights, auto high beams, leather seating, wood-grain interior accents and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. An Ultimate package includes options like rear parking sensors, a navigation system with an 8-in touchscreen, an upgraded Infinity audio system, panoramic sunroof and rear window sunshades.
The Limited 2.0 ($32,820) builds on the Limited’s standard features plus all of the gear in the Limited’s Ultimate package.
Huge news in the midsize sedan segment: Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist is standard in every 2019 Hyundai Sonata. In addition to the usual six airbags found in most vehicles, the Sonata provides a driver’s-knee airbag. Only the top-of-the-line Limited gets the full array of driver-assist/safety features (lane-keeping assist, smart cruise control and automatic emergency braking) as standard equipment. It also has, as standard, rear-parking sensors and automatic high beams. Both the Limited and Limited 2.0 also provide Hyundai’s Dynamic Bending Light, helping the driver see into a turn. The suite of driver-assist/safety features is available in an option package on the Sport and SEL.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2019 Sonata a Top Safety Pick Plus award, while in government crash tests it received the highest total of five stars for overall safety.
Behind the Wheel
In the end, the Sonata is a midsize sedan. A family car. It does everything it needs to do pretty well. It’s not the quickest in the segment, but the Limited 2.0 can be fairly engaging. At the bell, it gets moving with gusto and has plenty of lung capacity to pour it on when highway passing is required. Thanks to its abundance of torque, the 2.4-liter is equally enthusiastic at launch, but can leave you hanging when trying to get around slower traffic at speed. We think most drivers, however, will have no complaint about either powertrain. It is a family sedan!
Hyundai stiffened the rear suspension on some versions and recalibrated the steering across the board. We still wouldn’t call its handling sporty, but it steers and corners without drama.
Inside, it’s comfy and offers decent passenger space front and rear. Pleasingly quiet, it can make you forget you’re in a $25,000 car. Its infotainment system is amazingly simple to use.
Other Cars to Consider
This is a segment crowded with competitors. Here are a few of the others to compare.
2019 Toyota Camry — You simply can’t have a discussion of midsize sedans without including the Camry. Totally reimagined and redesigned in 2018, it is hands-down the best Camry yet.
2019 Honda Accord — Another must-consider challenger in the midsize sedan free-for-all, the Accord is always a top contender.
2019 Subaru Legacy — Standard all-wheel drive and outstanding fuel economy highlight this sedan’s many qualities. The exterior styling may be a little boring, but decent performance and affordability keep it in the hunt.
Opting for the $600 Tech package with the SEL will land you in Sonata’s sweet spot. You won’t get quite a kick out of driving it as you would one of the 2.0 versions, but all the basics are there, along with better-than-average fuel economy. Oh, and a grand is a bargain for the driver-assist/safety features in the Tech package. Find a Hyundai Sonata for sale