“We have to do one thing with the sedan.” These are the phrases of Hyundai’s worldwide head of design, Sang Yup Lee, who’s the person charged with doing that one thing. To save lots of the sedan, Hyundai goes all-in on design, maximizing the physique type’s benefit over crossovers inherent in its longer, decrease proportions. That is the motivation behind the brand new, eighth-era 2020 Hyundai Sonata.
The brand new car stands in distinction to the conservative present Sonata, as an alternative seeming to select up the place the flamboyant 2011–2014 mannequin left off. The standout seems to be start with improved proportions, afforded by a brand new platform. The car is longer (by 1.eight inches), decrease (by 1.2), and wider (1.zero). There is a 1.four-inch larger stretch between the axles, and the entrance overhang has been trimmed by zero.eight inches whereas the rear has grown by 1.2 inches. The cowl is decrease and moved rearward, and the hood is longer. The decrease roofline slowly tapers because it strikes rearward, ending at an extremely-brief rear deck.
Then come the clever particulars, lots of which have been impressed by the 2018 La Fil Rouge idea. Up entrance is a low and vast grille. Character strains alongside the aspect of the car get thicker and thinner because the underlying sheet metallic curves barely inward and outward, offering a distinction between sharp edges and gentle varieties. The higher crease wraps across the trunk to turn into the rear spoiler. On the rear, the full-width taillamps finish as dealing with C-shapes.
Probably the most dramatic design flourish is the thick chrome band that extends rearward from the headlights, over the hood, and encircling the aspect window glass. What’s neat is that the ahead half doubles to turn into the daytime operating lights, which fade out as they prolong up onto the hood. The one off-word, to those eyes, are fake air-inlets forward of the entrance wheels that mar the higher-trim variations. Lee says that the brand new Sonata marks the start of a brand new design id for Hyundai, though he describes it as one that permits for extra individuality amongst fashions than is seen within the present lineup.
Regardless of the brand new Sonata’s decrease roofline, interior area has not been severely compromised. Whereas rear-seat area trails the best in school, a 6-foot passenger sitting behind a equally sized driver has sufficient headroom and good knee room. Foot area, although, is a bit tight. Up entrance, the low cowl and slender A-pillars make for a great view out. The luxed-up examples we test-drove in Korea have been equal to our prime-spec Restricted of their trim and gear, and the sprint and door panels feature convincing fake-leather-based-wrapped parts, though there’s grained plastic on the edges of the console. Nappa leather-based-trimmed seats have been stitched in a squiggly zig-zag sample, which struck us as extra imaginative than diamond-sample stitching. Ambient lighting alongside the sting of the sprint and on the door panels provides a selection of sixty four colours. The gearshift lever has been changed with gimmicky pushbuttons, which is probably the one area the place it does not pay to mimic the Honda Accord.
Whereas the interior, fortunately, doesn’t banish all knobs and switches, that is to not say this newest Sonata lacks for tecno-wizardry. Removed from it. A pointy 10.25-inch touchscreen sits entrance and middle within the sprint, its edge curving round towards the driving force’s aspect. This newest Hyundai infotainment system is seen additionally within the simply-launched Palisade and Kia Telluride SUVs, and it will possibly show one, two, or three features directly. It is standard on the Restricted and elective on the SE and SEL (the bottom S makes do with an eight-inch unit).
In entrance of the driving force is an obtainable head-up show and a 12.three-inch digital instrument cluster (Restricted and SEL Plus, elective on SE). The digital cluster’s novel trick is that when the flip sign is activated, a digital camera feed displaying a view to the rear on that aspect of the car replaces one of many gauges — both the speedometer (left turns) or the tach (proper turns). Hyundai calls it Blind-Spot View Monitor (to not be confused with blind-spot warning). It is just like Honda’s Lane Watch however we think it is extra helpful as a result of it really works on each side relatively than simply the correct, and the picture seems in entrance of the driving force relatively than taking up nav/audio display. Blind-Spot View Monitor can be notably welcome in areas the place there are loads of cyclists on the street.
The splashiest little bit of tech, nevertheless, is Distant Sensible Parking Help, during which the car might be guided into or out of a parking area by way of the important thing fob. Previewed because the extra grandly named Automated Valet Parking System on the Le Fil Rouge idea, the system is not fairly as much as the extent of that present car — which might autonomously go discover a parking area and park itself — nevertheless it’s spectacular nonetheless. The Sonata’s Distant Sensible Parking Help have to be actively managed by the driving force, and it may solely pull straight in or out; it does not steer. The driving force stands outdoors the car and, utilizing the distant, begins the engine after which strikes the car out of the area by urgent the ahead or backward buttons on the important thing fob. Raise a thumb off the button, and the car instantly stops. Equally, one can direct the car into a decent area, after which shut off the engine. It is a feature that’s simply getting into the posh market, however is completely new to this phase.
The Sonata is also the primary Hyundai to supply Digital Key, through which a smartphone can lock and unlock the car utilizing close to-area communication, and in addition can begin the engine. An proprietor can use the system to share entry to the car with one other consumer, together with for a set time period — simply the factor for the car-sharing financial system.
All fashions include ahead collision warning with pedestrian detection and automated emergency braking, plus a driver-consideration monitor, and adaptive cruise management that may brake to a cease (the driving force should nudge the accelerator or faucet the Resume button to get the car shifting once more). Additionally standard is lane-comply with help, a extra strong model of lane-hold help that does not simply learn lane markers but in addition can comply with the car forward. We discovered it to be adept at steering the Sonata with out a whole lot of ping-ponging between the strains.
U.S. automobiles could have a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-4 (SE and SEL trims), providing 191 horsepower and 181 pound-ft of torque. The SEL Plus and Restricted fashions can be powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4, good for one hundred eighty horsepower and 195 pound-ft. Each mate to an eight-velocity automated. A extra highly effective turbo-four and a plug-in hybrid are more likely to be added to the roster. If Hyundai is critical about stanching the stream of sedan consumers pouring into crossovers, it ought to supply all-wheel drive within the Sonata, as Nissan has carried out with the Altima for 2019 and Subaru has had within the Legacy, however Hyundai will solely say that they are reviewing all-wheel drive for this mannequin.
Our on-street drive was in Korean-spec fashions powered by a one hundred sixty-horsepower, 2.zero-liter, naturally aspirated 4 and a six-velocity automated. It is a combo that is we cannot get, which is simply fantastic as a result of we discovered it underpowered for this car, with languid throttle response. The two.zero-liter’s engine observe is irrelevant, however the Sonata additionally exhibited a good bit of street noise on the Seoul-area freeways. We had a quick go in one of many U.S. powertrains, the 1.6-liter turbo. It felt stronger than its one hundred eighty horses in a fast blast round Hyundai’s dealing with monitor, and in addition provided surprisingly linear throttle response for a small boosted engine tasked with motivating such a big car. Hyundai’s inner testing has the 1.6T’s zero-60 acceleration in a lifeless warmth with its most blatant rival, the Honda Accord 1.5 turbo.
The Accord units the standard for the phase in its chassis tuning, and the Korean-market Sonata appeared far off the Honda’s tempo when it comes to cornering, steering response, and bump isolation. However our time on the dealing with monitor within the U.S.-spec 1.6 turbo gave us hope. That car felt much more buttoned down, and its steering had some reassuring heft and in addition felt extra responsive, maybe partially as a result of it rode on extra sporting rubber. These impressions, although, are preliminary. Remaining chassis tweaking of the U.S. automobiles continues — with our model getting particular damper and energy steering tuning. We’re additionally informed that the two.5-liter automobiles shall be tuned extra for consolation than the turbo mannequin. We will see when the 2020 Sonata arrives right here this fall.
We’ll additionally see whether or not the transfer to make midsize sedans into trendy and excessive-tech objects of want can succeed. Hyundai isn’t the one automaker making this play, however the 2020 Sonata unquestionably is additional down this street than its rivals.
Hyundai Sonata Info
– 2020 Hyundai Sonata First Drive Review –
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