The thought of Honda and Toyota slugging it out for midsize sedan supremacy, with each different contender — from the superb to the mediocre to the also-rans — combating it out for gross sales scraps, is just about an auto-journalism cliché at this level.
Different contenders dance out and in of the ring, however by no means fairly keep a part of the dialog. Hyundai’s Sonata has lengthy been a type of. Sure generations of the Sonata had been very a lot part of the combo on the high of the category. Others had been forgettable, hanging out within the muddled center.
A part of it, as I wrote final fall, was that Hyundai appeared unable to strike a stability between driving dynamics and styling. When the automotive seemed good, it wasn’t nice to drive, and vice versa. And whereas solely a proportion of midsize consumers would possibly care about both attribute, that doesn’t imply both one needs to be ignored. Even essentially the most car-ignorant commuter would doubtless choose a automotive that appears good and doesn’t drop them right into a deep snooze on the interstate.
Enter the most recent Sonata. That is the primary entrant from Hyundai shortly that may make of us at Honda HQ and Toyota’s company places of work sweat a bit. Positive, each the Accord and Camry are fairly good themselves proper now, however ought to both stumble, effectively, Hyundai sellers would possibly need a phrase.
[Get price quote on a Hyundai Sonata here
2020 Hyundai Sonata Limited Fast Facts
1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (180 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 195 lb-ft @ 1,500-4,500 rpm)
Eight-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
27 city / 36 highway / 31 combined (EPA Estimated Rating, MPG)
8.6 city, 6.6 highway, 7.7 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price: $33,300 (U.S) / $38,599 (Canada)
As Tested: $34,365 (U.S.) / $40,736.20 (Canada)
Prices include $930 destination charge in the United States and $1,910 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.
Let’s begin with the powertrain. The 1.6-liter turbo-four beneath hood makes 180 horsepower and 195 lb-ft, which is nice sufficient for easy, comparatively swift acceleration.
Hyundai continues to enhance its automobiles’ steering incrementally. The Sonata’s unit feels appropriately weighted, however even the computer-controlled magic summoned by deciding on Sport mode doesn’t fairly put this automotive in league with the section’s sportiest choices. If you happen to’re an fanatic shopping for a household sedan for sensible causes, the Sonata gained’t be as satisfying because the Accord or maybe the Mazda 6. However for everybody else, the dynamics are partaking sufficient.
My first drive in Arizona left me complimentary of the Sonata’s easy experience, and it wasn’t a letdown on pock-marked Chicago streets. It’s a quiet machine, too.
The styling could be a bit divisive, no less than in photographs. Nevertheless it’s not a foul look in particular person. The squeezed snout is, as a minimum, an indication that Hyundai is prepared to take probabilities after being panned for being too conservative with earlier generations. There are cool touches, just like the operating lights that streak again in the direction of the A-pillar, or the C-shaped taillights related through a lightweight bar that dissects the Hyundai and Sonata badging.
Inside, it’s equally combined – the four-spoke steering wheel appears odd, and the push-button shifter will divide opinions. However the infotainment display screen sweeping throughout the sprint integrates higher than most that form of “pop up”, and the HVAC controls are cleanly combined in.
Restricted is the highest trim, and my check automotive had just one choice: Carpeted ground mats for $135. Customary options included blind-spot help, rear cross-traffic help, forward-collision-avoidance help with pedestrian detection, parking-collision-avoidance help (rear), entrance and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise management, 18-inch wheels, panoramic sunroof, LED lighting, keyless entry and beginning, automatic-open/hands-free trunk, digital key, leather-based seats, heated and cooled entrance seats, energy entrance seats, Bose audio, dual-zone local weather management, 12.3-inch infotainment display screen, navigation, USB, auxiliary enter, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite tv for pc radio, and Hyundai’s BlueLink connected-car app.
Oh, and it included the remote-control parking app, which when you bear in mind pre-pandemic life, was memorably featured in a Super Bowl commercial. The one with the Boston accents: “Smaht Pahk.” I’d like to let you know how effectively this function works, however I stupidly forgot to present it a whirl. I assume I’m nonetheless an analog participant in a digital world (Web factors to the commenter who will get that film reference).
I can also’t let you know if the digital key or its near-field communication works, as a result of that’s an Android function and I don’t have an Android telephone.
Inside, the Sonata isn’t simply quiet, it’s additionally cozy and spacious. It’s a well-balanced machine.
The most effective driver’s automobiles within the midsize section are offered by different manufacturers. However when you’re in search of a balanced, well-rounded mid-sizer that’s priced competitively (a tad over $34Ok as proven right here), you could possibly do worse.
Welcome Sonata again to the highest of sophistication midsize combine. Perhaps this time, it would stick round awhile.
[Images © 2020 Tim Healey/TTAC]