Long have we come from the days of the boring old Sonata.
Hyundai has been working hard in recent years to break out of its boring old shell. We’re way past the days where the Korean company produced cheap, practical, but rather flavorless sedans like the first-generation Sonata, Elantra or Accent. Now, we have this: the 2020 Hyundai Sonata which just debuted at the New York Auto Show. And it’s certainly striking.
Sedans are facing serious headwinds in the market, so it makes sense to spice up what you have to offer. That’s what Honda did with the most recent Accord, and Toyota also did with the Camry. The Sonata takes things one step further by eschewing the bucket of boring sedan tropes. You can see that right up front, with the so-called “Hidden Lighting” lamps. These strips running up the hood look like chrome when they’re turned off. But when you turn the headlights on, they give the 2020 Hyundai Sonata the most distinctive silhouette among today’s mainstream sedans.
Down the side, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata takes on more of a fastback appearance. That’s a common design element in most cars today, forsaking the boxy look in favor of four-door coupe styling. Around the back, you get more interesting light work as well as a distinctive integrated spoiler on the deck lid.
Inside, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata has a more refined, upscale interior than its predecessor. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster greets the driver as they enter the cabin. Atop the center stack, there’s also a 10.23-inch infotainment display. On higher trim levels that pairs with a 12-speaker Bose sound system and allows access to Hyundai’s Blue Link services.
On the surface, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata has all the technology you’d expect in a modern sedan. Things like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, wireless phone charging and a full head-up display are available. One of the major technological features of the new Sonata, however, is the digital key.
The new model supports Hyundai Digital Key, which is accessible using a bespoke smartphone app. Unlike using a normal key fob, this lets you take advantage of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to open the car. It also acts as your key fob, letting you (or people you allow) to drive the car as long as they have the smartphone in the vicinity.
While the 2020 Hyundai Sonata has more aggressive looks and more technology, one area with less than you may be expecting is under the hood. There are two available engines: a 2.5-liter naturally-aspirated unit, as well as a new “Smartstream G” 1.6-liter turbo engine. The 2.0-liter turbocharged mill from the old Sonata is not currently available for the new Sonata. Hyundai will expand the range from launch to the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and a high-performance N Line variant.
The 2.5-liter engine manages 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque, according to Hyundai’s estimates. That makes it slightly more powerful than the old model’s 2.4-liter unit, with 6 more horsepower and 3 more lb-ft of torque. The 1.6-liter engine, on the other hand, makes 180 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. Both mate up to an 8-speed automatic transmission.
That’s enough power for most, but it falls far short of the 245 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque you can get in the outgoing Sonata 2.0T model.
Update: Hyundai announced a new Sonata Hybrid is coming, as is a 275 horsepower Hyundai Sonata N Line. Power problem solved!
Pricing and availability
Hyundai has not announced pricing for the new model just yet. Production will start in Alabama this September, with sales starting on October 2019. Stay tuned to TFLcar.com for more updates!