The 2020 Hyundai Sonata is completely redesigned and in a big way. If midsize sedans were having a party, the room would turn and look once the 2020 Sonata came in. Although lacking a few things, it's not enough to justify skipping outright. We anticipate many buyers (especially loyal Hyundai ones) will be pleased with the 2020 Sonata.
Safety & Tech Features
Fun to Drive
No Heated Steering Wheel
Sunroof Reduces Headroom
There is a narrative that sometimes floats around about how sedans are a thing of the past. How that got started (or why), I don’t understand. While I do like trucks and SUVs, after driving the 2020 Hyundai Sonata for a week, I found myself wanting a car again. And if you are looking for an affordable and reliable sedan, you most certainly are not alone.
The 2020 Hyundai Sonata is not perfect – but it’s probably as close as any automaker could get given the price point. Here is what we discovered after a week on the road with the 2020 Sonata.
Hyundai Sonata: What’s New For 2020?
The short answer is everything! New from the ground up, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata is quite different than previous models in nearly every area. The 2020 Sonata rides on an entirely new platform and vehicle architecture, which is evident when behind the wheel. A new turbo Smartstream engine joins the party along with a hybrid variant.
Also new is the Sonata’s Digital Key, which allows it to be unlocked, started, and driven without a physical key, via a smartphone.
Our 2020 Hyundai Sonata Press Vehicle
We cruised around metro Detroit for the week in a 2020 Sonata Limited. Our press car was handsomely equipped.
The Advanced Safety Technology package included blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection. This package also includes a surround-view camera, parking collision assist with front and rear sensors, and the now famous Smaht Pahk feature.
The Comfort & Convenience package provided us with smart cruise control, 18-inch wheels, heated side mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink, and LED headlights, taillights, and daytime running lamps.
Inside, the Comfort & Convenience package adds heated and ventilated leather seats, dual-zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof, Bose stereo with a nine-inch subwoofer, USB and auxiliary input jacks, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.
Our press vehicle also came with Hyundai’s Blue Link services. Blue Link provides things like remote start with climate control, remote lock/unlock, stolen vehicle recovery, and destination search by voice. On the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Limited, Blue Link services are complimentary for three years.
What Does The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Cost?
The base price for our 2020 Sonata Limited was $33,300. Our press car included just one added feature in the carpeted floor mats ($135). Destination charges came to $930. Total MSRP: $34,365.
By comparison, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata starts at $23,600. The Sonata Hybrid begins at $25,750.
Interior Highlights: Initial Impressions
Hyundai’s designers compressed the height of the dashboard and vents, which gives the interior a sense of openness. That feeling extends down to the center console, where a push-button system replaces a traditional shifter. We think it makes the center console look sleek while also making that space more accessible for the wireless charging pad and cupholders.
When you sit down in the 2020 Sonata for the first time, you will find everything is easy to identify. Just below the vents are the dials and buttons for the climate settings and heated and ventilated seats. Move up slightly to see the button for the hazard lights and then the 10.25-inch HD touchscreen.
The touchscreen can split into three individual views, a feature we really like. On our drive, we could see the navigation, weather, and SiriusXM station all at the same time. I ran Watercolors (SiriusXM 66) through the Bose stereo, turned the ambient lights to a soft blue, and enjoyed the atmosphere as I cruised back to Detroit proper down I-75.
Interior Highlights: Two Possible Objections
Our Sonata press vehicle came with a panoramic sunroof, which is a great feature. However, taller drivers will feel cramped as the sunroof compromises headroom. I am not quite six feet tall, and I felt crowded at times, almost as if the A-pillar was “right there” in my line of sight.
I got used to it the more I drove the Sonata, but it might be a dealbreaker for taller drivers looking at the Limited trim. With the 2020 Sonata Limited, the panoramic sunroof is standard. Going down one trim level to the SEL Plus will take the sunroof from standard to optional.
Lastly, the Sonata Limited does not come with a heated steering wheel. We thought that was odd.
2020 Hyundai Sonata: Engine & Powertrain
The 2020 Sonata comes with two engine options (denoted as “Smartstream” powertrains by Hyundai). The first is a naturally-aspirated, 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft. of torque. The second is a 1.6-liter turbo with 180 horsepower and 195 lb-ft. of torque.
Both engines, regardless of trim level, are paired with an eight-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard on every 2020 Sonata. All-wheel drive is not available.
The blue italics in the above chart denote the engine and drivetrain of our press vehicle.
We put just shy of 170 miles on our Sonata press vehicle during our week-long drive. As we often do, we did a mix of highway and city driving. We hit roads like M-10 and I-75 around the Detroit metro, where we could drive at higher speeds. We then did more casual cruising through communities like Birmingham and Sterling Heights.
The average combined fuel economy at the end of the week for us was 32.2 mpg, ahead of the rating on the window sticker.
How Does The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Drive?
The Sonata Limited we drove was a $34,000 car (and some change). However, we believe – and dare we say it – the 2020 Sonata drives like a $50,000 car. On the one hand, the Sonata is composed on the open road; on the other, it’s easy to maneuver around a smaller, more packed street at lower speeds.
The Sonata’s new architecture takes much of the credit here (Hyundai calls it their “third-generation” vehicle platform). While the high-strength steel platform does have safety benefits (via multi-load pathways), there are benefits for ride quality. This new platform makes the 2020 Sonata feel solid and stable while on the open road.
A new front and rear suspension also help improve the Sonata’s ride quality and handling. The Sonata’s front and rear subframe benefit from extra reinforcements, while the brake booster is larger for 2020. I am not an aggressive driver by any means, but making tighter turns down an exit ramp is hardly an issue for the 2020 Sonata and the 1.6-liter turbo does a decent job getting you up to speed.
At one point on our drive, we hit the brakes rather suddenly as another car pulled in front of us. The larger brake booster did its job and our Sonata stopped on a dime.
The 2020 Sonata’s laundry list of new specs does provide real-world benefits, as we experienced during our week-long drive. The 2020 Hyundai Sonata feels well-connected if we had to sum up. That is to say, the car feels planted to the road, the steering wheel feels dialed in, and you, as a driver, feel confident.
Conclusion: A Compelling Choice
The 2020 Hyundai Sonata is one of the nicest sedans on the market. If you are shopping for an affordable car, but don’t want something basic, the Sonata Limited will deliver in flying colors. Our press vehicle was just a hair over $34,000, and we thought it offered a tremendous amount of bang for the buck.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Society of Automotive Historians. He serves on the board of directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, is a past president of Detroit Working Writers, and a loyal Detroit Lions fan.