The Hyundai Sonata has been on the US automotive scene since about 1989. As of this year, the sedan is on its seventh generation, here, on US soil. Eight if you count the first one exclusively sold in South Korea.
Sedans, like the Sonata, was the king of family vehicles for many of those years. However, times have changed, and sedans are no longer popular, and consumers favor SUVs. Hyundai, though, continues to fight to make its sedans more appealing to consumers. MotorTrend shares their feelings on what the Sonata is doing and how well it’s measuring up.
What is Hyundai trying to do with its sedan?
Since the automotive market shifted from cars to SUVs for prime family vehicles, many automakers have abandoned their sedan designs. Cars aren’t getting the sales they used to, so the more prominent corporations have opted to put more focus on their SUVs and trucks and let the cars go.
Hyundai is one automotive manufacturer that hasn’t given up on the sedan market. It continues to find ways to draw some consumers away from the SUV market and back into cars. One such attempt is with their 2020 Sonata, which received some upgrades to help this task.
The newer Sonata has updated styling, comfortable interior, and easy-to-use dash controls. They’re trying to appeal to your emotional side, which says that sedans are still optimal for families. You don’t have to spend tons more on a sport utility vehicle to accommodate your family’s needs.
What does Hyundai get right with the Sonata?
Looking at the exterior styling, you’ll see the sloped roof-line toward the rear of the vehicle. There are also sleek lines along the sides and a standout designed grille in the front. Then there’s the tail light that integrates into the trunk lid design as well.
The interior is far from dull in this space. Hyundai took a simplistic design and made it feel more like a luxury sedan. The seats are comfortable, and it’s spacious in the front and trunk area. The dash controls are user-friendly, and settings are easy to take care of, so you can focus more on your driving and less on fiddling with the controls.
Powering the Sonata is a 1.6-liter Smartstream turbocharged inline four-cylinder motor, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The higher trim levels will come standard with a 2.5-liter inline four engine.
The 1.6-liter motor gains you an acceleration time of 8.2 seconds for a 0-60 run, which isn’t all that bad for those who don’t need a lot of power. Its fuel economy is also excellent. This sedan manages 38 mpg on the highway and 32 mpg combined.
What could use some improvements?
One minor complaint MotorTrend had was with the back seat area. While the front seat is roomy, the back seat isn’t quite as spacious as it used to be in previous versions. But they admit that this is due to the design of the slope in the roof.
Hyundai designed the rear seat area to accommodate some of the space that you would otherwise have lost with the slope. So, you’re not losing all that much area in the first place. Adults of average height will probably still be comfortable, but taller passengers might find it cramped.
They also mentioned that the 1.6-liter engine isn’t quite as powerful as some of their rivals, but they feel you’ll hardly notice it when you’re driving down the road. For those who need more power, a higher trim level may be more your speed.
With a starting price of $24,330, you’re getting more than enough vehicle to handle a family of five. So, the next time you look for a family vehicle, turn away from the SUVs and feast your eyes on the 2020 Hyundai Sonata sedan.