The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Is a Shockingly Quirky Midsize Sedan

published on July 20, 2020

This is the new 2020 Hyundai Sonata and it's the fully redesigned version of Hyundai's midsize sedan these days everybody is buying SUVs and crossovers but if you're in the market for a midsize today and this one has some rather interesting quirks and some

Impressive features and some not-so-great stuff too and today I'm going to review the 2020 Sonata and show you what I mean first a little background the Sonata first one on sale here in North America

For the 1989 model year which means it's been around for more than 30 years but it wasn't until the 2011 model that the Sonata really started to gain sales momentum it was finally a truly competitive car to take on established

Rivals like the Toyota Camry the Honda Accord and others and this model continues the trend the 2020 Sonata has been completely redesigned inside and out and it's the sixth generation of the Sonata to be sold here in North America

Pricing starts around 24,000 dollars but this is a fully loaded top-of-the-line Sonata Limited model with a sticker price of just under $35,000 the latest Sonata has a high performance version and a hybrid model coming in a few

Months but right now it offers two engine choices and pay attention because this is a weird one the base engine is a 25 liter four-cylinder that makes 191 horsepower or you can upgrade to a turbocharged 16 liter four-cylinder

That makes 180 horsepower yes you heard that right the upgrade engine has less power than the base engine which is a weird quirk of the Sonata another one is the styling which we'll get to in a minute and today I'm going to cover

Everything else about the new Sonata 2 first I'm gonna take you on a tour of it and I'm going to show you all of its interesting quirks and features then I'm gonna get it out on the road and drive it and then I'll give it a dug score

Alright I'm gonna start the quirks and features of the new Sonata with undoubtedly its quirkiest quirk and that would be the fact that I can move it while I'm standing here alright check this out to start this process you have

To first press this button on the key fob and that will remote start the car not too unusual a lot of newer cars have that and this Sonata does too now once you have it started you press this button on the key fob which has a top of

A car and then a P with an arrow and then the Sonata will begin moving forward now you might be wondering why exactly would anyone want this feature and it's a reasonably good question but there are situations

When you might use it for instance if you're in a tight parking space or a tight garage and there's not enough room to easily open the door and get into your car just use your key fob to move it forward and then you can have more

Room and of course you can also use your key fob to move it backwards just press the opposite button and the car will start reversing in case you want to move it in the other direction and you can completely control this from the key fob

I'm not in the car I'm not touching anything I'm just standing here now of course i know what you're thinking which is well what happens if the car is about to hit something will it actually hit something so let's take a look and give

It a try I'm now pressing the forward and it's going forward and I try to walk out in front of it and it stops it actually senses that I was there and it stops and it doesn't move anymore forward if I move out of the way of

Course the car will continue its path going forward once I hold the button down again now you may be wondering how do you stop it otherwise when there's not someone walking out in front of it the answer is just let off the P button

On the key fob and it comes to a complete stop pretty easy actually now I've shown you this feature in a few other cars the new BMW M 760 I luxury sedan and the Tesla Model 3 performance but they're both way more expensive than

The Sonata for only $35,000 this the cheapest car where you have this cool party trick and next up our next interesting quirk in the Sonata is that the sound system comes preloaded with sounds and I don't mean music I mean

Sounds move over to the sounds of nature icon in the infotainment system tap it and then you have several different options for nature sounds that you can listen to wanna start with lively forest which sounds like this

Next you have calm sea waves which sounds like this and next you have rainy day which sounds like this and next there's open-air cafe kind of an odd one but anyway it sounds like this and next warm fireplace which

Sounds like this but the weirdest one is definitely the last one that would be snowy village what exactly does a snowy village sound like apparently this ah yes a nice snowy village anyway the theory here I guess is if

You're driving along and you don't want to listen to the radio or to music or podcast you can instead listen to these soothing sounds of nature including my personal favorite nature sound an open-air cafe and next up another Sonata

Work would be the blind spot cameras you have your usual cameras and the infotainment system in the center screen I think too weird there but when you put on your turn signal a camera turns on in the gauge cluster showing your blind

Spot in whatever direction you've just signaled this is a brilliant idea that allows you to see if there are cars behind you without having to resort to a dangerous over-the-shoulder check where you take your eyes off the road it's a

Brilliant feature and of course signal the other direction and the other side of the gauge cluster puts on a camera showing the blind spot on the other side I've now shown you this feature in a few Kia and Hyundai models it is truly

Brilliant and I really hope every automaker adopts it it's a huge safety improvement one of the very best I've seen in recent years and whenever I get out of a car that has that feature and back into my car I'm always thinking I

Really wish I had those turn signal blind spot cameras and next up I'm gonna move on to another notable Sonata quirk and that would be the front-end styling but I'm gonna start with the headlights and specifically the running light the

Running light in front doesn't just go along the bottom of the headlight but rather it comes up on this line right here sort of going halfway up the hood and then it kind of fades out and stops but then after the light fades out you

Can see that this line is carried down the rest of the body which is something I really haven't seen before a very distinctive Sonata trait you know I actually like this idea you can see in the dark it gives the Sonata a very

Particular light signature that doesn't match any other cards kind of a cool look but it's certainly been talked about a lot as an unusual touch in the new Sonata but nothing is more unusual in terms of this cars styling than the

Front end this car has this giant wide front grille and it comes to these weird points at the end that kind of jut out it doesn't look as strange on a dark car like this one but on a lighter car it looks like it has a big wide fish

Mouth in front and it definitely seems like the latest Sonata is a little bit the victim of some over styling and next up we move under the hood in the new Sonata where you can see this one is equipped with a turbo engine with

SmartStream G what is SmartStream G you might ask nobody knows least of all but kind of people who buy a sonata won't care about that but this car has now Sonata owners may care about the weird engine choices for this vehicle

Like I mentioned the base engine is a 25 liter 4-cylinder with a hundred and ninety-one horsepower or you can upgrade to the top trim levels that have a 16 turbo 4-cylinder with a hundred and eighty horsepower less power in the

Better engine now it is worth noting that the optional engine has more torque than the base engine this power train has 195 pound-feet whereas the base engine has about 180 so the optional engine has 10 less horsepower but 15

More pound feet of torque and Hyundai says that will make people choose the optional engine personally I think acceleration is going to be pretty much identical with either engine now you might be thinking well maybe the

Upgraded engine gets better fuel economy than the base engine and the optional engine is smaller afterall 16 liter is versus 25 but that's not true either the base engine gets 32 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving the

Optional engine gets 31 miles per gallon so if you spend more money to get the optional engine you get less horsepower and less fuel economy which is definitely an interesting quirk of the Sonata and next up moving back inside

For some more interesting quirks and features starting with the fact that the Sonata always tells you the current weather it's in the gauge cluster next to the temperature that time your speedometer it has the current weather

You can see it's hazy right now and it says hazy the weird thing here is you don't really need the car to tell you the current weather because you know you're driving the car you can see what the weather is it would probably be more

Helpful if it showed you the future weather I will admit I do like the idea of whether in the gauge cluster next to your time and temperature it seems pretty logical with that said

One issue with the weather in the gauge cluster is that it's not always exactly right for example right now it says cloudy and well yeah so maybe it needs a little bit more fine-tuning before you're really

Ready to start looking at that instead of you know looking at the actual weather as you drive the car and next let's talk to sonata interior I have to say I'm kind of mixed about this interior generally it is a pretty nice

Place to be and there are some real bright spots for instance the turn signal stocks feel good and look good with these kind of beveled ends to them also the climate controls the buttons and switches look and feel really nice

But there are also some low points in this interior too for example there's a lot of plastic over on the dashboard this textured stuff that doesn't look that great same deal with the steering wheel Center so this interior is kind of

A mixed bag of good and bad I wouldn't call it the best in class but it's certainly far from the worst it's a pretty decent place to spend time mixed up a few interesting buttons and switches in here one is the gear lever

Which is no longer a lever but actually these four buttons in the center console you have park over on the left reversed neutral and drive and that's how you go between gears more and more cars are switching to these push button shifters

And the Sonata is another one and next up another unusual control in this car is the one for the heated and cooled seats because it's integrated into the climate controls this little switch over on the left and right of the climate

Controls will turn on or off your heated or cooled seats you push up to turn on your heated seat and keep pushing up for more and then you push down to turn on your cooled seat same deal just keep pushing down for higher levels of cooled

Seat this is by no means a problem and in fact I think it makes intuitive sense to integrate the heated and cooled seat controls into the climate controls I just haven't seen it before and thought it was worth mentioning and next up

Another notable control in the center console is the drive mode switch which is quite large it's like 2 inches wide strange considering not too many Sonata owners will ever use it one thing I like when you use that switch to move into

Sport mode there like an explosion in the gauge cluster an explosion to signify a sporty driving you'll be doing in your 180 horsepower so now I am next up speaking of the gauge cluster it's worth noting that it

Is a screen no more analog gauges in the Sonata you have a full screen in here and it's reasonably configurable although not as much as you might expect considering that it's a screen a few other automakers give you the ability to

Move things around and really configure the gauge cluster more depending on your preferences and next up here's another interesting gauge cluster item if you get out of the car with the engine running and you take

The key with you the car will shut off after 30 minutes and the moment you get out a timer appears in the gauge cluster to let you know how much longer you have until the car turns off I guess the theory here is that people may

Occasionally park the car and walk away from getting to turn it off and they don't want it to run out of gas or cause other problems so there's an auto shutoff feature after 30 minutes of idle in with no key and next up we move on to

The infotainment system which in this car is pretty good very responsive as you can see instantaneous among the very best of these I've seen just like a smartphone Tesla used to have a huge advantage with responsiveness to touch

But now basically every automaker also has a really responsive infotainment screen including this car and you can see the navigation system very easy to move it around has very simple pinch-to-zoom just like you'd expect in

A smart phone map you can also see that as you move the map away from your current position it shows with little line exactly how far your current map view is from where you're sitting in case you want to plan a trip and see how

Many miles it is that's a pretty cool little touch I haven't seen before and next up it's worth knowing that in addition to being responsive the infotainment screen is also very intuitive your home screen has these

Three panels you can configure them to be basically whatever you want right now it's showing the map the radio and the weather but you can change them if you want to but then from there you can slide over and see all of the other

Controls in sort of a smaller format for stuff you're less likely to use more frequently it's a pretty good way to do it makes things easy and next up let's talk about some of the interesting quirks and features of the infotainment

System including possibly the stranger configurable item I have ever seen all right you're driving along and you squirt your windshield with washer fluid in a normal car if you have the climate control set to send outside air into the

Cabin then you will smell this washer fluid but in the Sonata you can set the infotainment system to turn off the outside air temporarily after you wash your windshield so the odor of the

Washer fluid doesn't get into the car and then after a few seconds I guess it goes back to normal and can send outside air back in I've never seen that configurable before and I can't imagine what crazy letters Hyundai got in order

To make that a feature but it is one in case you really don't want to smell washer fluid for those five times a year when you're using it and next up another interesting stenotic work there's a blue light filter so when it's dark out you

Can limit the amount of blue light in the infotainment system to make it easier on your eyes and you can actually adjust how much you want to limit the blue light which is a pretty cool feature I haven't seen this in any other

Infotainment systems except in Hyundai models but it can be good if you're driving a lot at night and reduce the strain on your eye and next up we move on to the backseat in the new Sonata or the most notable item back here is the

Fact that it is surprisingly roomy I am the front seats where I would sit I'm pretty tall and I have more than enough space back here for my knees I got a lot of headroom this is a good back seat especially for a midsize sedan

Very much has room for most families other than the interior space back here though there is literally nothing interesting about the back seat of the Sonata the only thing you could say is even

Mildly interesting is the fact that there is only one storage net on the back of the passenger seat on the back of the driver's seat you don't get that I see that in some cars I find it to be a bizarre place to cut costs but some

Companies do it and next up we move on to the sonatas trunk which is actually kind of annoying because there's no trunk popper back here you have the car unlocked there's no place that you can go to open the trunk from the outside

Which is kind of annoying but there is a feature in the infotainment system called smart trunk if you turn it on you can set the trunk to open whenever you walk up to it with your key in your

Pocket and so I will do that now except that I've actually tried it for a few minutes here and it doesn't seem to be working so pretty much the only way to get into the trunk there's a button inside the car or you hold the button on

The key fob really not ideal but anyway once you do get the trunk open using the key fob you'll see that it is a fairly standard trunk roomier than I would expect actually for a midsize sedan but a relatively normal trunk nonetheless a

Few interesting items worth noting back here one you have little tabs you can pull that will release the rear seat so you can fold them down the problem is the tabs only release the seats they don't fold them you have to pull the tab

Then walk around to the back seat and fold the seat down it's kind of an annoying two-step process that could be solved with just one tab you pull it and the seat drops down the other interesting item with the trunk and the

Seats folding is that when the seats are down you can see the opening for the trunk is actually relatively small a lot of cars have several more inches of opening for this pass-through between the trunk and the seats for larger items

But in the Sonata for some reason it's kind of constricted a little bit on the sides and it's a lot narrower than the actual trunk itself seems odd now another annoying thing about this trunk is closing it and I don't mean there's

No power trunk closer I wouldn't expect that at this price point instead there's no like latch or handle you can use to close the trunk on the inside to make sure that your hands don't get dirty so you basically have to close the trunk by

Touching the paint if the car is dirty you'll get that dirt on your hands if the car is clean then you'll get fingerprints on your newly washed car it's a simple thing to get right and it's a shame that this car doesn't now

With that said with the trunk closed I really like the rear end styling of this car you have this light bar going across the back which is the new luxury vehicle trend and I like to see it on the Sonata too and it looks really good in the dark

You can see this light bar lit up very nice I think the rear end styling in this car is very distinctive in a good way especially compared to the front end and so those are the quirks and features of

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Limited now it's time to get it out on the road see how it drives alright driving the new Sonata now a couple things I want mentioned before I get into driving experience one I kind of made fun of the

Engine choices and it is kind of ridiculous that the upgrade engine has less power but there is a high-performance version of this car coming called the end line which is reported to have almost 300 horsepower

Should be pretty good and there will also be a hybrid version coming really soon actually in the next couple of months which is also going to be compelling for people all more fuel economy so there will be more engine

Choices another thing I want to mention I want to talk about self-driving for a little bit this car has quite a sophisticated self-driving system now at higher speeds you have to tap the wheel every so often like every other car that

Has a steering assist system but I was finding that at lower speeds in bumper-to-bumper traffic the car would do its thing for a long time it would slow down speed up with traffic if we came to a stop it would stop for 10 12

Seconds then restart it would steer really really really excellent system for bumper-to-bumper traffic steering driving braking starting stopping one of the best I've seen especially at this price point pretty strong finish for the

Driving experience itself I have to say to be honest there are pros and cons let's put it that way um but the biggest drawback to me is definitely a performance for $35,000 you pick out buy a Camry that does 0-60 in like 5 point

Something seconds this car is way off the mark in terms of acceleration and performance it feels slow it is slow especially at this price point and I get that the performance version is coming but I think it's gonna be almost like a

Year between the launch of the Sonata and the launch of the performance version whereas the camry launches with all of its engines pretty much right away and so it feels like for a while they're really holding back on this

Lineup and they shouldn't be what that said two really important things one it's very comfortable in here the ride is very comfortable very soft the seats are comfortable plush they feel great supportive good to sit on

Could use a little more thigh support but it's really that thing the problem this car is also unusually quiet for a midsize sedan especially this place might have been surprised and how quiet it is

Especially in terms of wind noise road noise you hear the tire about average for a midsize car but wind noise don't hear anything no loud music from cars around you no construction noise or airplanes overhead it's pretty good at

Keeping that stuff out as for handling pretty simple normal stuff like every other midsize car not very athletic he put it into sport mode it does tighten up the throttle response doesn't seem to do all that much else there's a lot of

Great benefits to this car a lot of great things about it it's just that not that many people care about mid-sized sedans anymore I've got two and a half million views and Counting on my review of the hyundai palisade which is the new

Hyundai midsize family SUV i strongly suspect this Sonata isn't gonna do as well as the market just isn't quite there like it used to be even just five or six years ago and so that's the 2020 Hyundai Sonata it's not beautiful it's

Not fast but it has some pretty compelling stuff there's a lot of Technology in this car for one and there's a nice comfortable driving experience pricing is pretty reasonable and you get Hyundai's famously long

Warranty and it has some rather interesting quirks and features I was shopping for a midsize sedan this would definitely make my shortlist and now it's time to give the new Sonata a Doug score starting with the weekend

Categories and styling it's fine could be better and it gets a 4 out of 10 acceleration does 0 to 60 in 82 seconds which gives it a 1 out of 10 handling is average for a midsize sedan make it's a 4 out of 10 fun factor is basically

Non-existent that's hardly the point of this car it gets a 1 out of 10 finally cool factor and once again there's not really any this car has some cool tricks but ultimately it's just a family sedan and it gets a 1 out of 10

For a total weekend score of 11 out of 50 next up are the daily categories and features this is shockingly well equipped and it gets a 9 out of 10 Comfort is normal for a car like this and it gets a 6 out of 10 quality is

Good the interior is only okay but Hyundai's excellent warranty is good peace of mind then it gets a 7 out of 10 practicality is average for a midsize sedan and it gets a 6 out of 10 finally value and this is a good

It has a lot of equipment and good interior room and a relatively affordable package it just needs more power it gets a seven out of ten for a total daily score of 35 out of 50 add it up in the Doug score is 46 out of 100

I've never reviewed a family sedan before but here's how it ranks against a bunch of other family cars the Sonata is excellent if you're interested in a midsize sedan but as taste shift – crossovers cars like this are becoming

Less relevant to most shoppers

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