Sedans & Coupes

This Unnecessary 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Feature Put my Kids to Sleep

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited that I enjoyed a week worked well for my family on many fronts. It’s safe, spacious, and accommodating. I’d recommend a test drive to anyone in the market for a new family sedan like this popular Hyundai model. However, there was one unnecessary feature that put my kids to sleep quickly. In fact, if it weren’t for the on-point alertness monitor I might have dozed off myself.

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid driving through the mountain
2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid | Hyundai

Is the 2020 Sonata a good car?

Yes, it’s a great car. The hybrid version earned the top spot in its class from U.S. News and World Report. The cabin is far more plush and luxurious than the price tag would have you expect.

an image from the Hyundai Sonata manual showing how to use Nature Sounds
Hyundai Nature Sounds image from manual | Hyundai

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Overall, the driving experience in the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited is very good. It’s easy to drive, easy to learn the controls, and simple to settle into for long drives. But one of its accommodating features felt entirely unnecessary.

Hyundai Sonata features

In our tester, we were of course eager to see what the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited was capable of. Soon, we came across a feature that Hyundai calls “Sounds of Nature.” By playing around with the touchscreen commands a bit, you’ll come across these Sounds of Nature.

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There is a forest sounds setting, along with one that sounds like a rainstorm. Plus, there’s a crackling fire option and a snowy village options as well. There’s a whole list of options. While this feature might be nice if you are taking a break in your car, it’s a bit sleep inducing for passengers.

The boys took turns choosing which sound feature they wanted to listen to. Finally, we ended up on the one that sounds like rain falling. My three-year-old was asleep in literally seconds. Although his five-year-old brother took a bit longer, he also soon fell fast asleep. Parenting win! But then I started to worry a little.

Could this feature lead to drowsy driving?

While I can understand the thought behind this ambient sound feature, it also worries me a bit. With the boys asleep and the rainstorm sounds filling the cabin with peaceful rain audio, I almost felt a little drowsy myself. In fact, with the small snoozing passengers in the back and the storm trickling on I soon realized that I’d need to change it to something else.

a red redesigned Hyundai Sonata at speed on a road near the water
2020 Hyundai Sonata | Hyundai

Something less sleepy. I can imagine this soothing audio feature could make commutes more peaceful. It would be a great addition to a stretch of slow traffic. But tread carefully and be ready to switch it over if your eyelids grow heavy. Thankfully Hyundai also added a monitor for driver alertness.

So not only did this unnecessary feature put my kids to sleep–– it also soothed me. I definitely don’t mind some calming ambient noise. But I also wonder if this is actually a safe feature to use while driving. Combine the comfort of the seats with the Nature Sounds and you’ve got a recipe for drowsy driving–– maybe not just for the kids.