Competes with: Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry
Looks like: Hyundai is betting on dramatic styling to win over mid-size sedan shoppers
Drivetrain: 191-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder or 180-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder; eight-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: October
The mid-size sedan class may be contracting, but that doesn’t mean shoppers are stuck with a field of outdated cars. The Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Volkswagen Passat have all been redesigned or refreshed in the past few years. Now it’s Hyundai’s turn with the redesigned 2020 Sonata, making its U.S. debut at the 2019 New York International Auto Show.
Related: More New York Auto Show Coverage
The 2020 Sonata gets a dramatic styling makeover inside and out, a more efficient base drivetrain and newly available high-tech features like a digital key. The Sonata hits dealerships in the fall.
The 2020 Sonata features Hyundai’s new Sensuous Sportiness design language, and distinctive features include a gaping grille and a sloping, coupelike roofline that harks back to the 2011 Sonata, which ushered in a much sleeker, sportier look for Hyundai’s family sedan. The 2020 Sonata’s roofline is an inch lower, and wheel choices range from standard 16-inch rims to available 18-inch wheels.
New lighting elements also play a part in the design. Like previous Sonatas, the 2020 version has chrome trim strips running along the front fenders from the side mirrors to the headlights, but the trim now incorporates what Hyundai calls Hidden Lighting Lamps, which are LEDs that continue the chrome look when they’re off but are part of the car’s daytime running lights when on. Around back there’s a new strip of LEDs spanning the width of the trunk.
The cabin gets an equally dramatic makeover with an all-new dashboard and console. The new dashboard has a lower look and can be topped by an available 10.25-inch widescreen display (an 8-inch touchscreen is standard). Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity is standard, and dual Bluetooth pairing, which allows one phone to make calls while another one in the car streams music, is available.
With the large widescreen display, the dashboard has few physical buttons; there are touch-sensitive controls on either side of the screen and a small climate-control panel below the dash’s slender air vents. There’s also an available 12.3-inch digital instrument panel that has four different views, as well as a new push-button gear selector that replaces the previous conventional shifter.
Hyundai has also taken a cue from Tesla with the Sonata’s app-based Digital Key, which lets you drive the car with just your smartphone. Currently available only for Android phones, the app will also let you remote-start the sedan, and you can set usage timeframes and feature availability for different phones. You can also use your phone to remotely control the car when parking.
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Upscale available features include a panoramic moonroof, wireless device charging, heated and ventilated front seats, a head-up display and a Bose surround-sound system.
Under the Hood
Buyers have a choice of two engines: a 191-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 181 pounds-feet of torque, or a 180-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder making 195 pounds-feet of torque. Both engines drive the front wheels through a new eight-speed automatic transmission, and Hyundai expects the 2.5-liter engine to get combined fuel economy of 33 mpg. If that’s the case, it would be a 4-mpg improvement over the previous Sonata’s base 2.4-liter drivetrain.
Standard active-safety features include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability. A lane-centering system designed for highway driving is optional. Also available is blind spot warning with supplemental camera views in the digital instrument panel, reverse automatic braking and a 360-degree camera system.
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