2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid 3

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review: Improved Fuel Mileage But Some Drawbacks

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid 8
2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
In Our Opinion:
The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is an impressive car overall with excellent fuel economy and helpful technology. There are a couple of drawbacks with the Hybrid, however. We wouldn't consider those drawbacks to be deal breakers, but rather things to think about if you are looking for a new hybrid sedan.
Exterior Styling
Interior Layout
Driving Dynamics
Safety & Tech Features
Everyday Functionality
Fuel Economy
Ride & Handling
Safety Technology
Wind Noise
Outward Visibility

Hyundai continues to impress with new SUVs and upgrades for its current models. The Sonata is one of the oldest nameplates in the South Korean automaker’s lineup, but it’s getting better with age. For the 2020 model year, Hyundai gave the Sonata a full redesign with a stylish new look outside and more technology on the inside. With the addition of the Hybrid trim, buyers have an even more fuel-efficient option.

Earlier this year, we drove the 2020 Hyundai Sonata. We were impressed by the fuel economy and the overall driving dynamics of the car. We wanted to see for ourselves how the Hybrid trim would drive in comparison. 

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: What’s New For 2020?

The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is fully redesigned for the 2020 model year. The big news is the sleeker exterior with a .24 coefficient of drag and the Solar Roof System to increase the driving range. Hyundai says it offers up to 700 “free” miles per year. The Sonata Hybrid also has a coupe-like silhouette reminding us of the Kia Stinger. 

Sonata now comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a blind spot monitor, and Blue Link Connected car services. Blue Link is complimentary on the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid for three years and includes remote start with climate control, remote door lock/unlock, stolen vehicle recovery, and destination search by voice. According to Consumer Reports, it’s one of the infotainment systems customers are the most satisfied with

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid MSRP

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid starts at $27,750. Total MSRP, including destination, for our Sonata Hybrid Limited tester: $36,430. If you are considering a new Sonata Hybrid, this free and easy search tool* will help you find the best price. Depending on local incentives and inventory in your area, you may be able to purchase well below MSRP. 

Features & Options

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited comes standard with LED headlights, keyless ignition and entry, and a hands-free trunk. Useful and convenient tech features include a 10.25-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, surround-view camera system, front and rear parking sensors, heads-up display, and a wireless charging pad.

The top-trim Limited also comes with leather, heated and cooled front seats, power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated steering wheel, navigation, and a 12-speaker Bose audio system. Every 2020 Sonata Hybrid is standard with the SmartSense driver safety package. These features include:

  • Lane Keeping Assist
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist
  • Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist
  • Advanced Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go

Highway Driving Assist is optional for the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

Interior Highlights: Convenient Features

Hyundai did as good a job on the inside of the Sonata as they did on the exterior restyling. The cabin is modern looking with a luxurious feel in the top-trim Limited. Soft-touch materials are plentiful, and the leather from the seats to the door panels to the steering wheel is of the highest quality. The 10.3-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system is nicely positioned in the center of the dash. It blends in well with the driver’s digital cluster.

The climate controls are located on a separate panel just above the gear shift and are easy to operate. A wireless charger and two USB ports are conveniently located below. Our Limited tester came with a color heads-up display, heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, and a 360-degree camera. We used and took advantage of every feature this week except for the heated steering wheel. However, we could see ourselves using that once the fall arrives and winter starts to set in.

Interior Highlights: Cramped At Times

Overall, the cabin is a comfortable place to spend time. We cranked up the Bose premium audio system and shut out the world on our commute to Denver. As we drove, we enjoyed watching the fuel economy in real-time via the driver information display.

Our only issue with the Sonata Hybrid’s interior is in the back. In order to really make room for taller passengers, the front seats will need to be pulled forward as far as possible. While we like the design of the new Sonata Hybrid, it does have its drawbacks on the inside.

For example, rear legroom in the Sonata Hybrid is 34.8 inches, which is less than the Camry Hybrid (38 inches) and the Accord Hybrid (40.4 inches). However, the Sonata’s trunk capacity increased by 2.5 cubic feet, so perhaps that explains some of the loss in rear legroom.

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Powertrain

The 2020 Sonata Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, producing 150 horsepower and 139 lb-ft. of torque. The electric motor adds 51 horsepower for a combined output of 192 horsepower. A six-speed hybrid automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels.

The transmission uses a unique shift control technology to monitor gear shifts at a rate of 500 times per second. Hyundai says the technology reduces gear shifts by 30 percent while also increasing fuel economy.

The Sonata Hybrid’s solar panel roof (one of the coolest new features) directly charges the 12-volt and hybrid batteries and outputs 205 watts of electricity. According to Hyundai, this helps the Sonata Hybrid’s range increase by about two miles a day.

Fuel Mileage Improvements

The previous-generation Sonata Hybrid managed 39/44 city/highway and 41 combined. When compared to the competition, it was one of the least efficient choices at the time. The Sonata Hybrid’s fuel economy improves for 2020 to 45/51 city/highway and 47 combined.

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

Driving Dynamics: Fun & Sporty

Living in the high country west of Denver, we are used to an all-wheel drive SUV, so getting in a sedan is much different. But behind the wheel, the Sonata Hybrid offers an engaging driving experience. You can dial up four different driving modes (Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Custom), depending on how you feel. We did experience all four, but we opted for Sport most of the week. It made for a more dynamic drive, especially in the mountains.

The hybrid system offers plenty of power for most driving situations. We pushed the sedan hard up I-70 leading into the mountains. The Sonata also does well in the corners as the MacPherson strut (front), and multi-link (rear) suspension keep body roll to a minimum.

Driving Dynamics: Noise & Visibility

Admittedly, we pushed the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid harder than most. Still, the wind, road, and highway noise will be apparent no matter what. To be fair, Hyundai did make improvements to the Sonata’s architecture (soundproof glass, for example) to reduce these types of unwanted noises. However, we still thought cabin noise was a bit high.

The coupe-like design also has drawbacks concerning outward visibility for the driver, and especially for rear passengers. The surround-view camera system is a must. It helped us see around the car with its top-down view, which helps for tight parking situations. This is the one drawback to driving the new Sonata Hybrid. It’s tough to see out of at times.

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid with the Solar Roof System.
2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid with the Solar Roof System.

Conclusion: A Good Pick

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is an attractive sedan, and you’ll get plenty of approving looks in the redesigned car. It now offers improved fuel mileage with plenty of new and helpful in-cabin technology. Hyundai also has an excellent warranty for the Sonata Hybrid as well.

Our only suggestion would be to check out the Accord Hybrid before making a decision. When you are ready to begin the process, we have helpful shopping tools that show you invoice pricing from dealers in your area. 

Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his firsthand reviews are archived on our test drives page. Follow Denis on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Gallery

Photos: Hyundai Motor America.

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