Dangerous Safety Issues in the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Could Come From Seat Cushions

While it might not be getting rave reviews from industry experts and the press, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata is considered by many to be a good midsize car. Redesigned in 2020, the Sonata has one of the poshest cabins in its class, plenty of room, and a long list of standard features. It’s got a good predicted reliability score too. 

While the 2020 Hyundai Sonata boasts a lot of good driver-assist systems and safety features, there’s one problem that poses a pretty significant safety concern. What’s the issue, and how could it put occupants at risk?

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata has lot of good safety features

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata has a lot to offer. The interior is swanky and quality materials were used in its composition. It has plenty of passenger space and an above-average-sized trunk for lots of cargo room. 

It also has both a good predicted reliability rating and good safety scores thanks to a lot of safety features centered around accident avoidance. The combination earned Sonata the distinction of being U.S. News’ 2020 Best New Car for Teens $30,000 to $35,000.  

While the previous generation of Sonata models has good safety features, it received more in the 2020 redesign. The 2020 Sonata has a full slate of airbags, adaptive cruise control, and forward-collision alerts. It also has automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, automatic high-beam headlights, and lane departure alerts. You get driver attention monitoring, lane keep assist, and a rearview camera also.

You can also get blind-spot monitoring as an option along with a blind spot camera, reverse automatic braking, a surround-view parking camera system, and a head-up display. Front and rear parking sensors are available too. You can also get remote parking assist which can park and unpark the car for you in tight or perpendicular spaces.

Does the Hyundai Sonata have an airbag issue?

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According to consumer site CarComplaints.com, there might be a problem with the 2020 Hyundai Sonata’s airbags.

One Illinois owner of a 2020 Sonata reported to both the NHTSA and CarComplaints.com their efforts to get the automaker to address a pretty important issue with the car’s airbags. According to this owner, who filed multiple complaints with the NHTSA, if you use a seat cushion in the passenger seat, you lose airbag protection.

The owner made the case that if you’re a shorter person, you might consider using a seat cushion for visibility, comfort, and safety. However, when the owner tried to use the seat cushion or a heavy coat, the airbags wouldn’t work. When they contacted the dealer about the problem in August 2020, they were told there was nothing that could be done. 

The owner went on to say that they went to Hyundai itself who referred them back to their local dealer. They were told that if they use a seat cushion, they would lose airbag protection in the 2020 Sonata, but they still had the seatbelt for protection.  

The next thing the owner tried was going to a body shop to see if the seat could be raised. The body shop refused the job explaining that if they raised the seat and an accident happened as a result, they would be liable.

The owner claimed that they took the matter all the way to the CEO of Hyundai, but the issue was never resolved.

Why it’s dangerous

It’s important to understand that while the seatbelt is the first line of defense, airbags are supplemental protection designed to protect occupants from the worst, life-threatening injuries. According to NHTSA, airbags are designed to deploy in most collisions, even the minor ones.

Airbags keep your head and upper body from hitting the interior of the vehicle during a collision. For this to work properly, the occupant must be seated properly. Someone old enough but not tall enough to sit in a seat with airbag protection is at risk. 

If you don’t weigh enough or aren’t tall enough, there will be no airbag protection. And in the passenger seat of the 2020 Hyundai Sonata according to one owner, you can’t correct this with a seat cushion.

It’s hoped that Hyundai will take a closer look at the issue and address the cause to prevent future injuries.