The redesigned 2020 Hyundai Sonata is part of a shrinking crowd of mid-size family sedans, as the Chrysler 200 is history and other familiar models, like the Ford Fusion, soon will be. The sedans that remain, however, aren’t slouches; recent redesigns of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord improved both models. On the floor of the 2019 New York International Auto Show, however, the 2020 Sonata seems poised to offer a strong challenge to those two top-selling models.
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The Sonata has a shorter, wider version of the current car’s grille, but the car’s exterior introduces a lot of different, interesting design elements. A few have to do with lighting; the daytime running lights fade into the chrome trim strips running along the front fenders, and a strip of LEDs stretch across the trunk lid. The doors also get some interesting creases on the lower sections that add visual interest to the car’s flanks.
Interior quality is impressive and consistent, with high-grade soft-touch surfaces where your hands rest. It’s good to see Hyundai has retained actual buttons on the steering wheel rather than succumbing to the movement toward touch-sensitive controls, but it has added them around the widescreen dashboard display. It gives the upper portion of the dash a sleek appearance, but we’ve found these controls can sometimes be hard to use. We’ll have to see how the Sonata’s perform in the wild.
The Sonata’s switch to a push-button gear selector opens the center console some, but it doesn’t dramatically improve storage space; the button layout roughly uses the same space a conventional gear selector would.
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There’s good backseat space for adult passengers — especially headroom when you consider the car’s sloping roofline. The backseat cushions, however, are a bit low. This design increases backseat headroom, but I’d prefer if the seat were a little higher for better thigh support.
The first time Hyundai made a coupelike Sonata was when it launched the 2011 version, which was a big hit for the brand. The 2020 Sonata marks a return to those roots with its new design, and it seems poised to appeal to consumers in the same way.
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