Bold technology and even bolder styling.
With midsize sedan sales falling and competition stiffer than ever, Hyundai knew that it had to do something big to keep up with the pack. Taking inspiration from the bold, groundbreaking sixth-generation Sonata made between 2010 and 2015, Hyundai pulled out all the stops for the new eighth-generation Sonata in pursuit of midsize sedan dominance.
Styling of the 2020 Hyundai Sonata is best described as bold. Lighting plays a key part in the exterior styling, as evidenced by the dramatic daytime running lights that flow around the leading edge of the headlights before sweeping up the hood and melding with the chrome fender trim. Beneath the daytime running lights sits a huge Audi-esque eight-sided single-frame grille. From the side of the car, a swooping roofline is contrasted by an upswept windowline and crisp, organic bodyside character lines. Moving around back, the taillights have a reverse-halo look to them, a continuous design that opens up when it meets the integrated ducktail. Beneath these taillights sits a rather aggressive diffuser-like styling element where the license plate, reverse lights, reflectors and exhaust tips sit. The overall look is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but it definitely stands out in today’s field of midsize sedans.
On the inside, everything is a little more streamlined. The top-level infotainment screen is bigger, the climate controls are sleeker, the air vents are slimmer and the shifter is digital. A liberal use of available metal trim brightens up the interior and gives it a more premium feel while the optional fully-digital gauge cluster adds to the new Sonata’s classy high-tech feel. Speaking of tech, the new Sonata comes available with NFC digital key functionality, LED Matrix headlights, wireless device charging, ventilated front seats, a full-colour heads-up display, a panoramic sunroof and all the latest active safety features including rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist and remote smart parking assist. While it may seem like Hyundai included everything, one thing that is conspicuously absent is a physical tuning knob for the upgraded 10.25” infotainment system, although the absence of a tuning knob is becoming commonplace in new cars.
The 2020 Hyundai Sonata will be initially available with two engines. Powering lower-trim models is an all-new 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with direct injection and an amazingly high 13:1 compression ratio. This engine is expected to pump out 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. Higher trim levels come with a turbocharged direct-injected 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine making 180 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. That’s down eleven horsepower to the 2.5-litre naturally aspirated engine but up 14 lb-ft of torque, and that turbocharged plateau of torque is available from 1500 RPM to 4500 RPM. The only transmission option is an eight-speed automatic transmission powering the front wheels. Fully-independent suspension is standard in the form of MacPherson strut front suspension and multilink rear suspension and the turning circle is tight at just 17.9 feet.
With tons of tech and bold styling, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata looks like it could put a real dent in Camry and Accord sales. Pricing has not yet been announced for the new Sonata but expect more details closer to its on-sale date later this year.