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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Interactive Review: 2020 Hyundai Sonata Limited 1.6T

      A jaw-dropping midsize sedan arrives in C&G's garage for a weeklong evaluation

    Taking the place of the Toyota 86 this week at the Cheers & Gears' Detroit bureau is the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Limited. A car which I have been wanting to drive since it made its North American debut last spring at the New York Auto Show. The new model solves one of the biggest criticisms I had with the last-generation model, a very boring and plain design. Taking it out last night, I was noticing people glancing at this midsize sedan.

    Power comes from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder producing 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic. The as-tested price is a surprising $34,465 considering what you get on this including Smart Park, 10.25-inch touchscreen, heads-up display, heated/cooled seats, and more.

    Some first impressions,

    • Hyundai has provided an Android smartphone (Samsung Galaxy Note 8) so various writers can try the digital key, which allows a smartphone to take the place of the actual key. I haven't tried it in place of the key yet, but I'm having some confidence issues with it. Whenever I try to connect the phone with car from inside the house, it cannot find the vehicle. I know I'm within range - 10 meters or 32 feet. So far, I have been able to connect with the vehicle once.
    • The interior in my Limited tester is very impressive. Handsome design, quality materials, and roomy.
    • Fuel economy is one area I wasn't expecting to be this good - currently seeing around 33 mpg.

    I'll have more updates throughout the Sonata's stay, including Smart Park and Digital Key. In the meantime, drop your questions below.

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    I do not like the exterior styling at all, but it stands out and that will appeal to many.  The interior styling I think is a home run (except for that steering wheel, which wouldn't make me walk away).  Hyundai went above and beyond with this.

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    I agree, I really dislike the exterior.  I thought maybe in person it looks better, but I recently saw one on the road and it doesn't.  The interior looks very good.

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    Meh to the exterior, Love the interior, Shocked by a Note 8 smartphone to show off when they are on the Note 20 now, not 1 but 4 generations behind. If the Android system is current in the auto, then the Note 8 is flaky as this specific phone which my wife had stopped getting updates at the start of 2019. My wife is now on a Note 20 which is awesome. 

    Bill if you have a newer Android phone, I would install the Hyundai software from the play store and try it, bet it works better.

    Questions:

    1. How is it off the line from a stop?
    2. How is it for passing at freeway speed?
    3. Rear seat head room and leg room for larger people?
    4. Blind spots?
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    3 hours ago, Paolino said:

    I do not like the exterior styling at all, but it stands out and that will appeal to many.  The interior styling I think is a home run (except for that steering wheel, which wouldn't make me walk away).  Hyundai went above and beyond with this.

    Agree, interior looks great and a lot of features on this car.  I am not too crazy about the outside though, the 2011 Sonata nailed it and this looks a bit odd.

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    23 hours ago, David said:

    Meh to the exterior, Love the interior, Shocked by a Note 8 smartphone to show off when they are on the Note 20 now, not 1 but 4 generations behind. If the Android system is current in the auto, then the Note 8 is flaky as this specific phone which my wife had stopped getting updates at the start of 2019. My wife is now on a Note 20 which is awesome. 

    Bill if you have a newer Android phone, I would install the Hyundai software from the play store and try it, bet it works better.

    Questions:

    1. How is it off the line from a stop?
    2. How is it for passing at freeway speed?
    3. Rear seat head room and leg room for larger people?
    4. Blind spots?

    My guess is to why they're using an older Android phone comes down to cost. If they were to supply all of the Sonatas in the press fleet for the U.S., that would be quite expensive. I guess they had a stockpile from another thing or something. I did get it to work, but I found that I had to be a bit closer to the vehicle, like on the front porch to get a good connection.

    Also, I am an iPhone user, not Android. This is one of those times where I wished I had one.

    1 & 2: Excellent performance for both of these situations. Engine perks right up and moves the sedan at a quick rate. Also, doesn't hesitate to downshift when needing to make a pass.
    3. Might be a bit tight in headroom due to the sloping roofline and panoramic sunroof on my tester. I fit in there fine but I'm 5'8"
    4. There is some in the rear pillars.

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    exterior doesn't do much for me.  It has a faux look / trying too hard and it ends up looking like it will have been forgotten 5 years from now.

    interior has a few nice things going on I suppose but the console / shifter / lower part of the dash starts to lose the nicer look and presentation that the upper part has.

    We may have hit peak sedan a few years ago and this feels like it is trying to keep milking something that hasn't been there for a few years now.  I do actually think the 2011-2019 will mark as a classic (the early of those years at least) but Hyundai did make effort to keep it fresh all the time and even the 2019 had a decent desirable look.

    I think someone is going to have to do something absolutely extraordinary and game changing to get sedan designs out of the 2010's decade look that they continue to be in, but i guess i can't offer up what that exactly is.  It sort of makes me wish the Escala concept's exterior had survived to be produced some way.

    A meticulously clean glossy black Jaguar XJ L parked near me at the liquor store the other day.  It stood out and was gorgeous but left me with a though, are sedans too low, too wide, and this long low wide aero design guidlines have taken us to the end of the road on sedan distinctiveness.

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    2 hours ago, balthazar said:

    Noticed one of these a couple days ago out on the road. Really unfortunate styling all around. Would not want to be seen in.

    While we don't always agree, you are not far off of the mark here. Hard pass from the Horse. 

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    23 hours ago, regfootball said:

    A meticulously clean glossy black Jaguar XJ L parked near me at the liquor store the other day.  It stood out and was gorgeous but left me with a though, are sedans too low, too wide, and this long low wide aero design guidlines have taken us to the end of the road on sedan distinctiveness.

    Couple reflections : sedans actually reached their lowest point many yrs ago. They've ballooned upward a few inches since then.
    'Too wide' : no way; that's one of the major shortfalls of modern sedans; too narrow.

    As for 'end of road aero design', dude; I've been preaching that here a good 10 years now.

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    A couple of final thoughts before the Sonata goes back today.

    • I'm wondering if a number of people who don't like the design of the Sonata would prefer the new Kia K5 (previously known as the Optima) as they are similar in terms of most mechanicals. But the K5 is a bit more conventional. (Yes, I'm hoping to get one in the future, once I figure out who has Kia's press fleet here in the Detroit)
    • Fuel economy landed around 32 mpg over 230 miles of mixed driving.
    • Let's dive quickly into Smart Park. You need to about 10 feet or so within the vehicle and remote start it. From there, you press either the forward or reverse buttons on the keyfob to move the Sonata. It takes a few seconds before it moves, and then travels at a slow speed in and out of parking spot. It is a nice idea, but I find this to be more a party trick then actual useable feature. 
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    I am not into this self-driving/self-help features on cars such as self parking and Tesla's valet thing.  

    Maybe when Im old enough to NOT be able to drive properly and need a walker will I probably appreciate this kind of technology.

    About smaht pahk.  Ill be a smahtty pants about it.  About the only thing I was impressed by it, it was a great Superbowl commercial.  

     

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    When you're old / doddering / can't drive properly, you'll be in a EV that goes 0-60 in 2.5 secs & 0-100 in 8.  I'm sure insurance rates won't budge at all once everyone is driving a 'muscle car'. LOLOL

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    2 hours ago, William Maley said:

    A couple of final thoughts before the Sonata goes back today.

    • I'm wondering if a number of people who don't like the design of the Sonata would prefer the new Kia K5 (previously known as the Optima) as they are similar in terms of most mechanicals. But the K5 is a bit more conventional. (Yes, I'm hoping to get one in the future, once I figure out who has Kia's press fleet here in the Detroit)
    • Fuel economy landed around 32 mpg over 230 miles of mixed driving.
    • Let's dive quickly into Smart Park. You need to about 10 feet or so within the vehicle and remote start it. From there, you press either the forward or reverse buttons on the keyfob to move the Sonata. It takes a few seconds before it moves, and then travels at a slow speed in and out of parking spot. It is a nice idea, but I find this to be more a party trick then actual useable feature. 

    Appreciate all the input and write ups on the auto Bill.

    I will say that while normally I would not use the Smart Park, I do see a valid use case for the feature.

    INNER CITY PARKING. The parking garages and lots have gotten so small that it makes sense to have a self parking feature to get the auto into and out of a tight parking spot. Other wise party trick is so true in the suburbs and rural areas.

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    43 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    Not to worry - people are streaming out of big cities to live elsewhere, and there's no entertainment industry left to pull those outside the city, in.

    For now, but a year from now, I would not be surprised to see those that like a city life, stream back in. Right now it is all about saving one self.

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    NY has been losing residents since 2015. They stand to possibly lose 2 representatives because of it. It's not all COVID-related (the reprocussions of which aren't done being felt for who knows HOW long) And a LOT of the features of urban living (dining, entertainment) may be permanently altered & permanently GONE.

    Emboldened by unprecedented power-execution and bathed in the cold sweat of CYA (cover your ass), politicians are going to err on the side of extreme caution in many instances, and of all the events canceled for 2020 I expect most to be canceled again in '21.

    Manual parallel parking may be a breeze for years to come. Too bad, hyundai.

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    I suppose self-parking could be useful if you do a lot of parallel parking.  Parallel parking is stupid--I very rarely have to do it, prefer to park in lots or garages, or valet if available.  

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    3 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    Just saw Nashville hotel bookings are off by 46%. That means parking there is easier by the same amount. 😉

    Seattle down town bookings are off 60%, so 60% more space for manual parking. :P 

    3 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

    I suppose self-parking could be useful if you do a lot of parallel parking.  Parallel parking is stupid--I very rarely have to do it, prefer to park in lots or garages. 

    Yet that is the easiest parking for you, the owner of SUV/CUV where you can just put the front wheel up on the curb and gently let it back off once you pull in tight. Always close to the curb.

    My daughter who is terrible at parallel parking , I showed her to how do that with her Durango, Boom issue solved and she was always close and tight. Yea a few tire scrapes, but heck easy P parking. :P 

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    4 minutes ago, David said:

     

    Yet that is the easiest parking for you, the owner of SUV/CUV where you can just put the front wheel up on the curb and gently let it back off once you pull in tight. Always close to the curb.

    My daughter who is terrible at parallel parking , I showed her to how do that with her Durango, Boom issue solved and she was always close and tight. Yea a few tire scrapes, but heck easy P parking. :P 

    Yes, the ground clearance of an SUV makes it easier---just go up on the curb.  The times I've parallel parked I usually end up way out from the curb.  I remember some years ago what a pain it was parallel parking in downtown Portland in a rental Grand Prix--hard to see out of, and big overhangs, and too low to go up on the high curbs..

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    You guys should try PPing a vehicle with a 153" wheelbase.

    I've PP'd a number of times, if I'm working in a city, but I only do it with TWO open spots and I go in nose-first / often go over the curb. On tight streets I've parked with both curb-side tires on the curb... cause she's girthy.

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    8 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    You guys should try PPing a vehicle with a 153" wheelbase.

    I've PP'd a number of times, if I'm working in a city, but I only do it with TWO open spots and I go in nose-first / often go over the curb. On tight streets I've parked with both curb-side tires on the curb... cause she's girthy.

    The closest I get to that wheel base is PPing my Escalade ESV and then the wheelbase is only 134.1". I can totally imagine just how much more challenging an extra 10" of wheelbase would be to park.

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    I have parallel parked my sister's Chevy Trax...167.2" overall length.  Very easy to PP.    

    I remember as a teenager learning to PP on the farm...my Dad set up poles in milk jugs filled w/ sand and I took the longest car he had then ('85 Lincoln Town Car) and practiced with it...serious blind spots w/ the tiny rear window and thick C-pillars, but super-light power steering.   I did my driving test in his '84 Ford Escort diesel, much easier to PP. 

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    16 minutes ago, David said:

    ...my Escalade ESV and then the wheelbase is only 134.1". I can totally imagine just how much more challenging an extra 10" of wheelbase would be to park.

    I came out of a 133" WB F-150 going into this- there's def a difference, but the 2500HD does have more steering angle range, and I think it's faster, also.

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