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  • Drew Dowdell
    Drew Dowdell

    First Impressions: 2020 Hyundai Sonata

      ...the midsize sedan is not dead yet...

    The Hyundai Sonata broke cover a couple of weeks before the New York Auto Show, but I finally got to see it on Thursday.  While there are frequent reports that the midsize sedan segment is dying, it still is able to move about 153,000 units just in the month of March.  Hyundai sees an opportunity here as some of its competition, namely the Ford Fusion, will be going to the great used-car lot in the sky in the near future.  Still, the Sonata has only sold around 21,000 units year to date while Nissan can move that many Altimas in a month and Accord and Camry do even better.  So what is Hyundai going for here by introducing a new Sonata?  They're going for sexy.

    The midsize market is a conservative one, few models are ever called sexy. Hyundai has gone out of their way to give the Sonata a sexy look without looking odd (Accord) or overwrought (Camry). Up front, there is a huge.. HUGE...grille opening. It has the somewhat traditional six-sided shape but is pinched in a little at the bottom.  Above that are the lighting accents that most everyone will mention when talking about this car.  Along the hood, they are chrome strips that light up when the car is on.  Once this thing hits the streets it will be a very distinctive visual feature that will separate this car from the Accords and Camrys.  The character line flows from the headlights along the body in a very slight S-curve.  Multiple creases on the door panels help keep the car from looking slab-sided. The wheels are an attractive two-tone 10-spoke design.  Around back is a full-width U-shape taillamp setup that looks like the Honda Civic setup, but upside down. It integrates into a rather tall (for a family sedan) spoiler on the rear trunk like. The tops of the taillights have small fins that ostensibly direct airflow the way Hyundai intends.  The overall exterior is handsome and sensuous and does a good job of distinguishing itself from others in the class. 

     large.2020-hyundai-sonata-005.jpgInside is a mixed bag. The overall look is handsome and restrained, but areas of cost-cutting were visible. There is cheaper plastic on the door panels, lower dash, and parts of the center console.  Still, it is hard to argue with a full TFT screen for the gauge cluster and a large, wide infotainment system in the center.  The infotainment system sits high on the dash and looks like a tablet popping up from below. Controls are simple and easy to reach, and Hyundai has joined the ranks of the new decade by removing the shifter and replacing it with push-button controls. I like Hyundai's setup better than Honda's which I have to think about to use. The seats are a bit flat, but there is plenty of head and leg room. I do like Hyundai's use of two-tone interior, but that won't be on all cars. 

    At release, the Hyundai Sonata will come with two engines, a 2.5 direct injected 4-cylinder with 191 horsepower at 6,100 RPM and 181 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. An optional 1.6T will have 180 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 195 lb-ft of torque from 1,5000 - 4,500 rpm.  The 2.5 will get 33mpg combined and the 1.6T will get 31mpg combined.   Some have balked at the idea that the buy-up engine has less horsepower than the base engine, but in this case, it is the flat torque curve that will really make the 1.6T feel faster.  For those who are wanting more power, Hyundai is reportedly working on an N-Line version that will have over 275 horsepower.  For the greenies, a hybrid is coming soon as well, with a possibly plug-in version in the works. Driving impressions will have to wait until this fall.

    Overall, Hyundai has a very strong contender for the shrinking mid-size market. Not all of the Ford Fusion owners will go to crossovers, so Hyundai looks ready to scoop them up.

     

    2020 Hyundai Sonata-5.jpg

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    WOW, I like that, it is very sharp but also clearly says I am a copy of Mercedes-Benz. I do like the interior here and the exterior. Much better looking than the Honda or Toyota versions.

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    Interesting..I don't see any MB in the styling or proportions, the only things in common I see are it has 4 wheels and 4 doors.   The greenhouse reminds me of the Azera (which is no more?).

    Edited by Robert Hall

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    2 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

    Interesting..I don't see any MB in the styling or proportions, the only things in common I see are it has 4 wheels and 4 doors.   The greenhouse reminds me of the Azera (which is no more?).

    Front head lights said MB, rear lights say Honda.

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    1 hour ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    *squinting*  I'm still not seeing it... but okay. 

    @Robert Hall

    OK, looking at this more and why that orangy car seems to make me see MB and finally figured out what I am seeing.

    MB was the first to just abuse coupe on everything style, the overall shape of the car just brings that up to me, the Headlights I actually confused myself as not MB but Cadillac and the rear tail lights just scream to me Honda Civic.

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    This just seems like another mainstream fastback 4dr like the Malibu, Fusion, Accord, and countless others, rather than a 'coupe' style. 

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    32 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    ^ That's exactly what all the '4-door coupes' are; fastback sedans.

    The ‘coupe’ ones are usually different models from the regular 4dr sedan in a model range, though. CLS compared to E-class.  A7 compared to A6.  CLA compared to A class.  And the ‘4dr coupes’ often have frameless door glass like the CLS.  The Sonata is just a regular midsize sedan.  

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    Frameless door glass really is a very very minor distinction- especially in that the door pretty much needs to be open to make it noticeable. Unless it's accompanied by a missing B-Pillar; yawn.

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    I’m already bored with this thing. 

    I still prefer my clean looking Malibu visually to this mix up of corned beef hash and 3 bean salad. But since Chevy won’t make a 2.0 RS Malibu with heated cloth and dual zone with sunroof, I guess if I drove this Hyundai and liked it.... you knever know

    Edited by regfootball

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    10 hours ago, regfootball said:

    I’m already bored with this thing. 

    I still prefer my clean looking Malibu visually to this mix up of corned beef hash and 3 bean salad. But since Chevy won’t make a 2.0 RS Malibu with heated cloth and dual zone with sunroof, I guess if I drove this Hyundai and liked it.... you knever know

    Just drop in a GM crate motor of performance focus and give your Malibu a very custom RS experience. :D 

    • Haha 1

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    16 hours ago, Robert Hall said:

    The ‘coupe’ ones are usually different models from the regular 4dr sedan in a model range, though. CLS compared to E-class.  A7 compared to A6.  CLA compared to A class.  And the ‘4dr coupes’ often have frameless door glass like the CLS.  The Sonata is just a regular midsize sedan.  

     

    16 hours ago, balthazar said:

    Frameless door glass really is a very very minor distinction- especially in that the door pretty much needs to be open to make it noticeable. Unless it's accompanied by a missing B-Pillar; yawn.

    Just more evidence that the first gen Olds Aurora was the first "4-door coupe"! It has frameless glass too!

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    6 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

     

    Just more evidence that the first gen Olds Aurora was the first "4-door coupe"! It has frameless glass too!

    Yes, it definitely had that feel like the original CLS...a sleek 4dr, with a 2dr-ish roofline.  And an alternative to the similar sized, more sedate 88 and 98..the original Aurora, the last Toronado, and the last Riviera might be my favorite '90s GM designs...all interesting and distinctive designs.   I liked the angular and clean Seville/STS and Eldorado of the mid to late 90s also.   The odd thing is all of these cars were FWD w/ transverse engine, which is a contradiction to my preferences in cars.  A paradox I struggle with. 

    Edited by Robert Hall
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    8 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

     

    Just more evidence that the first gen Olds Aurora was the first "4-door coupe"! It has frameless glass too!

    i'll never have another frameless glass vehicle.  ear slicers.

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    I like the more jelly bean greenhouse.  Upon seeing the side view, I do not like the V shaped kink or indentation of the rear lights and I do not like the rear lights that climb over the top of the rear trunk lid.

    More so than not, it's nicer than the current version.  I only hope it's quieter when on the road.  In its defense, this brand is one of the easier line of cars (as rentals) to get into, drive off, and get accustomed to.

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    On 4/24/2019 at 7:41 PM, regfootball said:

    i'll never have another frameless glass vehicle.  ear slicers.

    What are you doing that your ears are getting caught in windows, but only ones with frameless glass?! :huh:

    • Haha 2

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    1 minute ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    What are you doing that your ears are getting caught in windows, but only ones with frameless glass?! :huh:

    Funny, speaking of doors, I've managed to poke myself in the chest with the pointed door upper window frame edges on many 4 door cars over the years...can hurt if I open the door fast enough...

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    5 hours ago, Robert Hall said:

    Funny, speaking of doors, I've managed to poke myself in the chest with the pointed door upper window frame edges on many 4 door cars over the years...can hurt if I open the door fast enough...

    Right, same thing with the crazy sloped windshields. Mazda Komodo dragon design seems to be a head bonker for us big guys. I have found most Asian auto's with their sloped windshield can really make it hard to get into the auto.

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    It would be more expensive to build, and the styling aspect might meet with some resistance, but using a vertical A-pillar with a sloped/wrap windshield would GREATLY increase roll-over protection, visibility and ease of entrance. They can talk about high strength steel all they want- but the severely sloped A-pillar is an insurmountably weak design.

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    You know that was the very first detail about that concept I noticed when I first saw it. 
    Think of the visibility improvement alone!
    What ever happened with volvo's 'invisible A-pillar'?

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    6 hours ago, balthazar said:

    What ever happened with volvo's 'invisible A-pillar'?

    It disappeared

    • Haha 3

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    On 5/7/2019 at 3:48 PM, Drew Dowdell said:

    What are you doing that your ears are getting caught in windows, but only ones with frameless glass?! :huh:

    poor coordination getting in and out of cars LOL.  2 Diamantes, almost lost an ear on each one.  Also I had my 77 Buick Cetury coupe.

    • Haha 1

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