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2020 Hyundai Sonata: First Look

  • The 2020 Hyundai Sonata is totally redesigned.

  • It features two new Smartstream engines.

  • First sedan styled using new Sensuous Sportiness design language.

  • Built on new Hyundai/Kia platform shared by cars and crossovers.

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata continues this midsize sedan’s legacy of value and solid family transportation. No sedan better embodies the term bread-and-butter vehicle than Sonata. It has been a cornerstone of Hyundai’s sales since its last major update in 2011. Sedans may be somewhat out of favor of the buying public, but a handful of carmakers aren’t giving up on them. In the reimagined Sonata, Hyundai isn’t just hanging in there, but doubling down. In fact, this redesign, which was recently shown at the New York Auto Show, is a rather radical departure in styling and attitude, signaling Hyundai is in it for the long haul.

The 2020 Sonata is packed with firsts, and all-new components and systems. If sedans as a segment are experiencing their twilight, someone apparently forgot to let Hyundai in on the news. The 2020 Hyundai Sonata is nothing short of a rebirth of this popular people mover.

What Can Be Seen

Somehow we can’t describe the lines of the new Sonata without the adjective “elegant.” That’s exactly what it is: elegant. Not only did Hyundai stylists reproportion this sedan by elongating the hood and wheelbase while shortening the rear decklid, they also gave the roofline a decidedly coupe like slope. Flowing all the way to the front edge of the car, the hood reminds us of a key styling cue of Aston Martin. Pondering the hood is the ideal moment to mention some design magic. The bottom portion of the chrome-accent strip along the borders of the hood are actually hidden light bars. They look like chrome when extinguished, but glow when the exterior lights are on.

The wheels are larger and the nose a tad rounder. The coupe like roofline and character lines that run along the flanks fore to aft provide a completely different profile from the current Sonata. The rear end is also totally changed with a wide horizontal LED line extending across the center of the trunk, stretching to the edges of the car.

Hyundai is building Sonata on a new platform shared with Kia capable of adapting to cars or crossovers.

Giddy Up

Although Hyundai obviously didn’t skimp on investing in the next-gen Sonata’s styling, the engine choices are somewhat a mystery. The two four-bangers motivating Sonata models based on trim level, are so close in performance, we wonder, what’s the point? Propelling SE and SEL grades is a 191-horsepower 2.5-liter Smartstream 4-cylinder engine, generating 181 lb-ft of peak torque. Upper grades (SEL Plus and Limited) drive the front wheels with a 180-hp 1.6-liter Smartstream turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. It delivers 195 lb-ft of torque. No doubt acceleration is a bit quicker with the turbo, otherwise, the numbers are pretty darn close. Both use an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Hyundai does predict the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter will provide better fuel economy. The carmaker expects the 2.5-liter to deliver 33 miles per gallon in combined city/highway driving. The results aren’t quite as positive for the turbo with Hyundai’s guesstimate at 31 mpg combined.

Digital Bric-A-Brac

Hyundai has packed the 2020 Sonata with all manner of convenience, connectivity and safety/driver-assist technology. Every Sonata comes with electric parking brake, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam assist, forward collision avoidance assist, lane-keeping assist, lane follow assist, driver attention warning, hill assist, remote keyless entry, Bluetooth connectivity, LED exterior lighting, an 8-in touchscreen and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

Options or standard equipment on higher grades includes Digital Key, which allows unlocking, starting and other system operations through a smartphone app; head-up display; blind spot monitoring; rear cross-traffic alert; hands-free smart trunklid release; 360-degree-view monitor; and remote smart parking assist.

When and How Much?

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata should show up in showrooms late this fall. Hyundai hasn’t announced pricing, but today’s Sonata SE’s base price with factory delivery charge is $23,420. We think the 2020 Sonata SE price will start in the $25,000 to $26,000 range. Find a Hyundai Sonata for sale

Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps is an author specializing in automotive, financial and travel news. For nearly 35 years he has covered the automotive industry for newspapers, magazines and internet websites. His resume includes The Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald, The Washington Times and numerous other daily newspapers through syndication. He edited Auto World magazine, and helped create and edit NOPI Street... Read More about Russ Heaps

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