The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Makes The Rest Of the Midsize Pack Look Boring

Well, that was unexpected.

2020 Hyundai Sonata

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata is a pretty radical change from its predecessor.

Hyundai has revealed some interesting styling with its new cars these past few years. To look at, the early 2000s Hyundai Sonata was about as interesting as plain white wallpaper. It was a less expensive alternative to European and Japanese sedans, but the cars objectively lacked character. Now, with this first look of the 2020 Hyundai Sonata, those days seem to be gone.

That’s not to say the rest of the midsize pack are ugly looking cars, mind you. The new Toyota Camry and Honda Accord also make an effort to stand out more than their predecessors. But in an age where sedan sales are sluggish, to say the least, automakers seem to be one-upping each other on the styling front. Dare I say, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata makes the rest of the current pack look a bit, well, ordinary. Hyundai definite has its Genesis arm to thank for the recent uptick in its styling efforts.

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata came about from the Le Fil Rouge concept, which debuted at last year’s Geneva Motor Show. The production model carries all sorts of concept-like styling elements, including rear taillights that, to my mind, do look pretty similar to the current Honda Civic and Accord. However, rather than just looking like a copy, there are distinct styling elements that set the Sonata apart. The taillights are connected by a strip across the trunk, and the trunk itself has an integrated spoiler that also carry part of the taillight assembly.

At the front though, it gets even more unusual. The daytime running lights actually extend partially up the hood, giving it quite a look when they’re running:

All these styling cues together may take some people by surprise — really, all these design elements on a common midsize sedan? Hyundai calls the eighth-generation Sonata’s design “Sensuous Sportiness”. Take that for what you will. Apart from just looking radically different, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata sits 1.2 inches (30 mm) lower to the ground. It’s also an inch wider (25 mm) and 1.7 inches (45 mm) longer, with a 1.4 inch (35 mm) longer wheelbase.

The interior

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata also has a distinctive interior from its predecessor. Gone are the dull grays and silver trim for something a lot more refined. The tan leather with more inviting gray, white and silver trim make the interior much more inviting. Hyundai also integrated the infotainment display on top of the dash, rather than setting it in the dashboard. Hyundai has not mentioned exact sizes on the infotainment screen, but it looks like an 8.0-inch unit. Top trim levels also look like they get a digital instrument cluster, as well as much more modern-looking HVAC controls. The old gear lever is gone in favor of a push-button controls. Again, take that for what you will.

Powertrains, pricing and availability still a mystery

Hyundai did not mention specific powertrains for the 2020 Hyundai Sonata just yet. However, it’s not a stretch to imagine at least one of the engines would carry over to the new model. The current Sonata has the option of either a 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated inline-four, or a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four on the Limited model.

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata will debut at the New York International Auto show next month. From there, we should know more about powertrains and availability. Pricing information should come closer to launch.