Tuesday, May 12, 2020


A redesign for the 2020 model moves the Hyundai Sonata into its eighth generation as what the South Korean company heralds as its “longest standing and most successful model” globally.

With a svelte, coupe-like profile, classy interior, and lots of standard features, the 2020 Sonata makes for a compelling competitor in the affordable midsize sedan segment long dominated by entries from Toyota and Honda.

It comes in four trims with SE and SEL models powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and SEL Plus and Limited getting a new 1.6-liter turbo-4. The 2.5 enjoys a slight horsepower edge (191-180) while the turbo has the advantage in torque (195 pound-feet to 181)

All Sonatas come with an 8-speed automatic transmission with drive mode select, and the difference in mileage numbers is negligible (28 mpg city, 38 highway, 32 combined for the SE, 27/37/32 for SEL and 27/36/32 for SEL Plus and Limited).

The updated styling is what Hyundai trumpets as an example of the company’s “Sensuous Sportiness design language” with cues and touches that depart from the usual Hyundai look, starting up front with a new mesh grille. Overall, the Sonata has a sportier appearance than its predecessor.

The Limited version, which served for my test vehicle, has a long list of standard technological features that include Hyundai’s new remote parking assist. As you have likely seen in TV ads, it allows you do stand outside and maneuver the Sonata into particularly tight parking spaces so you don’t have to worry about door dings or squeezing into and out of the car.

The Limited also gets Hyundai’s advanced blind spot warning system that includes a camera that flashes an image in the instrument panel of what is trailing you to the side you are turning. When turning left, the image appears in the speedometer. When the right turn signal is activated, the image appears in the tachometer.

Also new and standard on the Limited is a Digital Key System that lets you start the Sonata via an app on your Smart phone (Android, not iPhone at this time) and an adaptive cruise control that will set your speed to the posted limit (which some, ahem, might consider annoying).

A very clear surround-view camera system, panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats and leather seating surfaces, push-button start, dual automatic climate control, and a Bose premium sound system also are standard on the Sonata Limited.

You can get some of those functions on other trims by adding Convenience and Technology Packages, but the only extra for my Sonata Limited were carpeted floor mats for $135, which with the $930 destination and delivery charge ran the final MSRP up to $34,365.

Sonata SE models start at $23,600, the SEL at $25,700, and SEL Plus at $27,650.

What I liked about the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Limited: It looks great, and the upgrades have given the interior a classy appeal. The ride is very smooth and quiet. Safety features like blind-spot warning and smart cruise control are standard on the Limited.

What I didn’t like about the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Limited: It’s a small thing, tiny really, but I don’t like the elimination of a knob to change radio stations and surf the dial. In itself it is not so bad, but it is a step in the wrong direction for a company known for user-friendly technology. A more powerful engine option also would be a nice addition for a sportier performance.

Would I buy the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Limited? Yes. It’s a good looking sedan with a long list of standard features and though it doesn’t rate high in performance, it is up to most daily challenges.

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