Yes, it can drive forward and backward without a driver, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg of this stylish sedan.
Sedans are dying a slow death. No, it’s not just me being negative, but a factual representation of the automotive industry, which in turn, is a direct reflection of customer’s buying habits. People want crossovers, so automakers give them crossovers. And with Ford and GM pulling out of the sedan segment, it’s up to players like Hyundai to pick up the slack and give folks the sedans they deserve—and kind of want. Right?
There’s no beating around the bush here; after spending a week with the 2020 Hyundai Sonata, I was left rather enthusiastic about Hyundai’s future, but somewhat sad about great sedans like this one living in the shadows of crossovers and SUVs.
All new for 2020, the Sonata is lightyears ahead of its predecessor, sporting a seductive exterior with a classy interior. My tester is the top of the line Limited trim with an out-the-door price pushing $36,000—but even less-equipped trims share that same beautiful interior that appears to belong in a much more expensive luxury car.
The sculpted exterior is elongated and appears sporty and aerodynamic without looking overly sporty. The headlights up front flank a large and stylish grille, while the LED taillights cover the rear of the sedan from side to side.
Inside, a 10.25-inch infotainment screen serves as the visual anchor of the cabin, with a streamlined dashboard that gives the impression of a single-piece dash from one end to the other. HVAC and music controls are kept to a minimum as everything is mostly accessible via the touchscreen, but most vital knobs or buttons for basic functions are in physical form, which is nice.
As it’s expected nowadays, the Sonata comes equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and also a accessory called Smart Key, which is essentially a metal credit card that acts as a key fob. Tap the side of the driver’s door and it unlocks it. Set it near the shifter and it’ll start the engine. It’s a bit gimmicky, but if you don’t carry house keys like I do (touchpad door lock), then you’ll welcome the idea of also not carrying car keys.
The shifter is also push-button operated, which will most likely take folks some getting used to, but once your muscle memory remembers to push buttons rather than operate a shifter, you won’t want it any other way.
As you might’ve seen in Hyundai’s Super Bowl commercial, the Sonata can be equipped with something called Smart Park, which essentially allows you to move the car forward and backward without you being in it. All you have to do is use your keyfob (not Smart Key) and let the car’s radar and camera safety system do the rest. The car will move in either direction a few feet if you need to squeeze into a tight spot or something along those lines. Again, sort of gimmicky, but maybe useful for some.
Like most sedans, the Sonata is family friendly, alright. The rear seat is spacious enough to fit three kids comfortably, including two car seats. The trunk is enormous, and can swallow four if not five carry-on sizes suitcases.
Overall, the Sonata is a stylish and tech-packed sedan that’s a good fit for single folks and families alike. It’s practical, fuel-efficient—delivering 27 mpg city, 36 highway, and 31 combined—and comfortable to drive during daily life and road trips alike.
At $35,000+ for the Limited trim, the price to pay for somewhat gimmicky gadgets is a bit high, but if you plan on keeping your ride for a while, it’s worth paying for the latest tech that’s bound to future-proof your ride.