With the new Sonata, Hyundai has returned to form.
The 2020 Hyundai Sonata steps out of the current mid-size sedan’s anodyne shape and emerges this year with a racier spin to (possibly) recapture interest.
The new sedan goes on sale this spring and will make its debut in North America at the 2019 New York International Auto Show.
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Hyundai hasn’t yet said how much the new Sonata will cost, nor what trim levels will be offered, but we expect Hyundai to keep close to the current SE, SEL, Limited, and Sport trim levels from last year. The new sedan’s price tag should keep close to the current entry price for the Sonata, about $23,500 for base trims.
Style and performance
The new Sonata pretends like the old one doesn’t exist. Its new shape is every bit as revolutionary as older iterations that upended mid-size sedans.
The 2020 Sonata’s shape is daring and dramatic; a low nose is punctuated by a slinky grille with a horizontal element that reaches toward the daytime running lights that boomerang around its headlights. The running lights’ tricks don’t stop there. On top trims, the running lights trace the hood lines up toward the windshield in a daring strip of LEDs that measure 18 inches or so. A chrome strip finishes what the LEDs start and frame a power-domed hood that we’d expect from a luxury automaker—not necessarily Hyundai.
It makes sense. The Sonata was penned by a former Lamborghini, Audi, and Bentley design chief with help from other German luxury designer expats, too.
In profile, the 2020 Sonata reads like a fastback from other Germans you may know (see: A5 Sportback, Audi) and the fast roof descends toward a trunk—not a hatch—that in sporty trims, gets a kammback kickup with a concave contour.
Hyundai’s keeping most of the Sonata’s performance close to the vest, but the automaker’s confirmed a 1.6-liter turbo-4 that makes 180 horsepower and a 2.5-liter inline-4 that makes 191 hp. We expect both to be hooked to an 8-speed automatic driving the front wheels only. All-wheel drive may be in the mix, although it’s unclear if that’ll arrive stateside when the car goes on sale this year.
The new Sonata rides atop a new platform for the automaker with more high-strength steel that should make the body stiffer. We expect a four-wheel independent suspension with MacPherson struts in front and a rear multi-link setup with dual-flow shocks. Adaptive dampers may be offered in sporty and top trims.
Comfort, features and safety
As a four-door with a racy roofline, the Sonata’s interior is the anti-crossover. The low-slung sedan looks the part of a “four-door coupe,” although others have sacrificed interior comfort for fashion before.
We expect the 2020 Sonata to feature seating for five, with a mix of materials ranging from cloth to leather in some trims.
Unlike other fastback sedans, the Sonata sports a conventional trunk with a wide cutout.
Interior mockups of the dashboard reveal a broad, horizontal interior with upper and lower dash materials that likely change depending on trim level.
Hyundai hasn’t yet specified how long or wide the new Sonata will be, but it’s likely to be longer, lower, and wider than outgoing models that were spacious up front with reasonable accommodations in the rear.
The new Sonata likely will feature automatic emergency braking on every model. Additional safety features such as blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and a surround-view camera system undoubtedly will make an appearance, although they could cost more or be walled into upper trims.
Blind-spot cameras embedded in the side-view mirrors and projected in the driver’s instrument cluster are among the tricks Hyundai may have rolled up the Sonata’s sleeve. Driver-assistance features are possible, although not guaranteed.
Want more? The new Sonata will be the first Hyundai to offer a smartphone-based digital key that can be shared, and a range of touchscreens for infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. A digital instrument cluster is in the cards, although Hyundai hasn’t yet specified its size.
The new 2020 Hyundai Sonata will go on sale in the spring.