A new redesign should be a boast for the 2020 Hyundai Sonata. However, don’t expect the solid midsize sedan to gain much, if any ground on the two perennial class heavyweights. It’s unlikely to happen.
For more than two decades, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord have been far-outdistancing the other top midsize sedans when it comes to sales. And most years the gap has not been close for the Sonata and other top models, which include the Mazda6, Kia Optima, Ford Fusion, and Nissan Altima.
In 2019, the Camry had the most sales in the class with a whopping 336,978. The Accord resided in second (267,567), yet its sales were a little more than 69,000 less than the Camry. The Altima had the third most sales (209,183), while the Sonata had an off year with 87,466 sold, far off its best sales year of 230,605 in 2012.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a logical bet that no vehicle, regardless of class, will match or exceed its 2019 numbers.
Now in its seventh generation, the 2020 Sonata arrives with lots of improvements. Among the upgrades are new technology features and a larger interior. The exterior styling, including a new grille, helps give the Sonata a sportier look because its lower and longer.
The Sonata already enjoyed a reputation for providing a well-designed cabin that uses quality materials. The comfortable seating is another Sonata trait. Up front, the leg and head room are good, while in the back seat passengers can sit comfortably, even behind a driver who is 6-foot tall or more.
Other than an odd push-button shifter, nearly all the control features are smartly placed, intuitive, and fairly easy to quickly master. There’s a standard 8-inch touchscreen and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay comes with every trim model: SE, SEL, SEL Plus, Limited. Trunk space (16 cubic feet) is average for the class.
A new tech feature for the 2020 Sonata is a digital key, an app that allows the driver to use their cell phone as a key. A drawback is the digital key is not compatible with iPhones; it’s Android friendly only.
At a Glance – 2020 Hyundai Sonata
- Performance: 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 191 horsepower; turbo 1.6-liter, four-cylinder, 180 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 27-37 mpg; 27-36 mpg
- Price estimate: $23,700 to $33,600
- Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain: 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/unlimited; corrosion: 6 years/unlimited
Performance is mediocre for the Sonata and comes up short when stacked against the more energetic Accord and Camry. The standard Sonata engine is a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder that generates 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. The turbo model driven here, a 1.6-liter with 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, goes 0-60 mph in a sluggish 8.2 seconds. Both models deliver great fuel economy.
There are no deficiencies in how the Sonata drives, but most of its traits – handling, steering, braking – are just average. A nice tech feature is the remote parking assist, allowing the driver to be outside the car and direct it to move forward or backward using the key fob. Note that the process is a bit tedious.
A redesign makes the 2020 Hyundai Sonata a little more appealing than previous years. We’re fans of its interior makeup and it remains solid overall in a midsize sedan class that’s loaded with good choices.
Weidel on Wheels is featured regularly on www.tahoeskiworld.com. Auto writer Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.