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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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    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.

    Edited by regfootball
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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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    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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      View full article
    • By William Maley
      It is surprising to think it has been over six years since Hyundai first showed the Santa Cruz pickup concept at the Detroit Auto Show. But today, Hyundai has unveiled the production version. The automaker isn't calling this a truck, instead using the term "Sport Adventure Vehicle". To us, it's a truck.
      We need to start with a bit of a reality check. The Santa Cruz is not a direct competitor to the likes of Chevrolet Colorado, Honda Ridgeline, or Toyota Tacoma in terms of measurements. Compared to those models, the Santa Cruz is around 10 to 17 inches shorter in length. Overall height is around 3 to 4 inches shorter. The bed measures 4.3 feet, which is about foot shorter than the Ranger. There is also an in-bed trunk like the Ridgeline.
      The model is based on the recently redesigned Tucson crossover, which explains why it shares the front end styling - complete with headlights in the massive grille. That also means it shares the same engines as the Tucson. Here's the lineup,
      2.5L four-cylinder:  estimated 190+ horsepower and 180+ lb.-ft. of torque Turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder: estimated 275+ horsepower and 310+ lb.-ft. of torque The N/A 2.5 comes with an eight-speed automatic, while the turbo makes do with an eight-speed dual-clutch. Front-wheel drive is standard, while HTRAC all-wheel drive is optional.
      The interior looks very modern and comes with an eight-inch touchscreen in the center stack. Optional features include a 10-inch touchscreen and TFT instrument display. 
      Hyundai is keeping mum on pricing until the Santa Cruz launches sometime this summer.
      BTW: If you're wondering why the Santa Cruz took so long to reach production, I recommend this piece from Autoblog which delves into this.
      Source: Hyundai
      Hyundai Unveils Segment-Shattering Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle
      Highly-anticipated Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle Shatters Both SUV and Truck Segments, Creating an Entirely New Vehicle Category Multi-utility, Secure Open Bed Provides Diverse Gear-Carrying Flexibility Powerful and Efficient 2.5L Turbo Powertrain with HTRAC® AWD Capability Available Cutting-edge Connectivity, Convenience and Active Safety Features Compact Footprint Provides Superior Maneuverability in an Open-bed Configuration Proudly Built at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) in Montgomery FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Apr. 15, 2021 – Hyundai today unveiled its highly anticipated Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle. The 2022 Santa Cruz breaks new ground within the SUV, Truck and Crossover segments by offering a true Sport Adventure Vehicle unlike anything else in the U.S. market. Santa Cruz boasts bold yet sophisticated design, powerful and efficient powertrain options, a flexible open bed for gear, cutting-edge connectivity and a highly maneuverable all-wheel drive platform that is equally at home in urban and adventure-focused environments. The Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle begins production in Montgomery, Alabama in June and will be available for sale in summer. The addition of Santa Cruz to HMMA production will add an estimated 1,200 jobs to the U.S. economy. Hyundai is also creating an early reservation system for the U.S.-market Santa Cruz in late April at https://www.hyundaiusa.com/.
      “Santa Cruz, with its bold styling, breaks open all new segment territory, both for Hyundai and the industry as a whole. Open-bed flexibility coupled with closed-cabin security meets the changing everyday needs of its adventure-oriented buyers, while powerful and efficient engines and superb maneuverability ensure it is a pleasure to drive in urban or off-road environments. Our customers will wonder just how they managed before owning one,” said Jose Munoz, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor North America.
      Why Santa Cruz?
      Santa Cruz was developed to be the ultimate Sport Adventure Vehicle, a moniker confirmed in Hyundai’s early consumer research. The research found consumers, often living in urban environments, whose lifestyles include the need to escape to weekend adventures of all kinds. Many of these customers carry various gear and equipment that is better suited to an open bed rather than a typical SUV bodystyle. These buyers want versatile transportation that is equally flexible for urban, adventure, occupational or even home improvement gear. Santa Cruz features a secure, open bed area which includes a lockable tonneau cover, hidden bed storage and versatile bed extension accessories. At the same time, these customers still value the secure utility of a compact SUV, with its comfort, passenger space, fuel efficiency and parking ease. Santa Cruz, with its unique, bold design, created an entirely new segment that meets these specific buyer needs like no vehicle before it.
      Everything about Santa Cruz reflects a duality of purpose in its design execution. This all-new category-bending vehicle holds a variety of imagery in balanced juxtaposition:
      Urban life connectivity with escape to outdoor adventure Work and play flexibility Tough yet alluring demeanor Roominess with maneuverability Open cargo area and secured, lockable storage Towing capability and fuel efficiency The forward view of Santa Cruz deploys a hidden lighting signature that becomes visible within the grille only when illuminated. The daytime running lamps (DRLs) present a parametric jewel design with high-tech precision detailing. A bold, cascading grille anchors the front view, supported by a skid plate element in the lower front fascia. Voluminous hood and fenders further communicate an imposing first impression.
      In profile, Santa Cruz signals a sporty yet capable spirit. The A- and C-pillars present faster forward and rearward rakes than typical open-bed utility vehicles. Large 20-inch alloy wheels with a multi-faceted, triangular design are surrounded by armor-like wheel arches, conveying both wheel-articulation potential and off-road capability. Powerful body side volumes contrast with precise triangular sheer-edged surfaces and tight radius character lines.
      From the rear, a horizontal “T” lighting signature adds visual width and distinguishes Santa Cruz from anything on the road. The functional rear open bed area features secure, lockable in-bed storage, integrated corner bumper steps and a lockable tonneau cover, seamlessly integrated with the overall design. The rear tail lamps are embossed with: “Designed in California” as a testament to the passion of Hyundai’s California-based design team. Small, discrete design details such as this can be found throughout the exterior and interior.
      Interior Design
      The interior of the Santa Cruz expresses a sophisticated and refined appearance. The contrasting rugged yet refined motif matches the boldness of the exterior, boasting a technical ambience that appeals to those who appreciate cutting-edge technologies in their daily lives. It features an enveloping dual-cockpit design that encapsulates each passenger. Design teams focused on ease of ingress and egress and ergonomic comfort on long drives. The premium center stack display features an edgeless infotainment screen appearance, with an impressive 10 inches of visibility. The optional center digital cluster display also measures 10 inches. Under the rear seats is convenient, in-cabin storage. Completing the premium ambience is an available Bose® audio system.
      Powerful and Efficient Powertrains
      Santa Cruz offers two powerful, flexible and efficient powertrains. The standard powertrain is a 2.5L direct-injected in-line four-cylinder engine with an estimated 190+ horsepower and 180+ lb.-ft. of torque. This engine couples to an eight-speed hydraulic automatic transmission for quick acceleration and superb efficiency. Santa Cruz also offers a 2.5L direct-injected turbocharged engine with an estimated 275+ horsepower and 310+ lb.-ft. of torque linked to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT). This DCT includes steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for manual shifting control by the driver.
      Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission
      The eight-speed transmission for the standard 2.5-liter engine provides quick and crisp shifts for an engaging and efficient driving experience. This automatic transmission adds ratio range at both the top and bottom of output speeds allowing for extra thrust off-the-line and a quieter, more fuel-efficient trip on the interstate. A multi-disc and individually controlled hydraulic channel torque converter improves responsiveness by expanding the direct connection band, while a downsized oil pump and double ball bearings minimize frictional losses.
      Advanced HTRAC® AWD and Towing Capability
      Both 2.5L four-cylinder and 2.5L four-cylinder turbo models offer HTRAC® all-wheel drive capability for complete confidence when pursuing adventures of all kinds or for that extra peace of mind when driving in an unexpected snowfall. The HTRAC AWD system was developed as a multi-mode system, providing an electronic, variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control between the front and rear axles. The Sport setting gives a more agile feel by sending more torque to the rear wheels, for a sporty, dynamic experience. This system has a wide range of torque distribution variability, tuned for conditions such as straight-line acceleration, medium- and high-speed cornering, and hill starts. For those customers who like to tow their weekend gear with them, the 2.5L 4-cylinder is rated at 3,500 lbs. for towing and the 2.5L Turbo AWD model boasts a generous 5,000 lbs. of towing capability.
      Compact Dimensions Yield Superb Maneuverability
      Santa Cruz makes efficient use of its compact dimensions by offering high utility with excellent maneuverability. Its shorter wheelbase and smaller overall footprint make it a joy to maneuver and park in challenging urban parking, with an exceptional curb-to-curb turning radius of only 20.0 feet.
      Specification (in.)
      Santa Cruz
      Tacoma
      Ridgeline
      Frontier
      Length
      195.7
      212.2
      210.0
      205.5
      Width
      75.0
      75.2
      78.5
      72.8
      Height
      66.7
      70.7
      70.3
      70.1
      Wheelbase
      118.3
      127.4
      125.2
      126.0
      Bed Length
      Upper 48.4
      Lower 52.1
      60.4
      63.6
      59.4
      Footprint Area
      (sq. ft.)
      101.9
      109.7
      114.6
      103.9
                         
      Responsive and Refined Chassis Tuning
      Santa Cruz was developed with a focus on enhanced driving dynamics and responsive performance for a wide variety of urban and off-road, multi-surface driving conditions. The shorter wheelbase, short overhangs and wide track create a planted stance that results in exceptional agility in urban environments. These specifications also provide confident agility when traversing off-road terrain. Available 20-inch alloy wheels with wide, all-season, all-terrain tires give surefooted, agile handling character on a variety of road surfaces. Available 18-inch wheels with more voluminous tire sidewalls for off-road adventures are also available.
    • By William Maley
      I rarely get the opportunity to drive two different flavors of the same vehicle within a short timeframe. But that's what happened in the fall when I had the chance to drive the new Hyundai Sonata in its standard and hybrid forms. The Sonata has always been a favorite of mine as it offered a lot for a midsize sedan, with a surprising price tag. It has also come very close to being at the top of the class, but falling somewhat short due to one thing or another. This new version has the chance of changing that.
      Very Polarizing Design

      The consensus from several readers on Cheers & Gears and various social media sites on the Sonata's design was of dislike. Many found the design to be a bit much and overdone. I found myself in the minority as I was impressed by the lengths Hyundai went. The flowing lines and raked roofline reminded me of the 2012 Sonata which gave notice to other automakers to step up their game. Little details such as the bars the run along the outer edge of the hood to the headlights to a distinct rear-end treatment make the Sonata stand out.
      If there is an issue I have with the Sonata's design, it is the grille. I find it to be slightly cartoonish due to the large size and shape.
      Simple, Yet Elegant Interior
      If you're worried that the polarizing ideas from the exterior make their way inside, don't. The interior is surprisingly sedate with clean lines and a simple design. Hyundai should be commended for using a lot of soft-touch plastics and leather on various surfaces. It makes the Sonata look and feel more premium than its price tag may suggest.

      Despite the coupe-inspired roofline, the Sonata's interior space is quite spacious. Most no one will have any complaints sitting in the back as there is ample head and legroom. Taller passengers should be aware that the optional panoramic sunroof for the Sonata will take away some headroom. The Sonata Hybrid doesn't worry about that as it doesn't offer the sunroof.
      Tech Galore!
      Both of the Sonatas on test came in the Limited trim which means a bountiful selection of technology. It begins with a 10.2-inch TFT display for the instrument cluster which provides all of the key information needed at a glance. A clever trick is when you engage the turn signal, the respective 'dial' brings up a camera mounted underneath the side view mirrors to provide a blind-spot view. I found this system to be helpful as it gave me an extra set of eyes whenever I needed to change lanes.

      Next up is another 10.25-inch screen housing Hyundai's latest infotainment system. I like the three-window layout on the home screen that you can customize to your needs. Navigating around the system is a breeze with a response touchscreen and capacitive touch buttons sitting on either side. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
      The next two tech features are exclusive to the standard Sonata. First is what Hyundai calls a digital key. Using the BlueLink application on a compatible smartphone, you can use this instead of the key to start the car and drive away. At the time of this writing, this is only available on Android phones. Hyundai did provide a loner Samsung Note smartphone for the week to try this out. I did not have the best experience with this feature at first because I found you need to be pretty close to the vehicle to make a connection. Trying to connect from my room upstairs, just above where the vehicle was parked, the application would throw up a connection error. I found that if I moved to the living room or just outside the front door, the phone was able to make the connection. This sours some of the appeal of this feature. 
      At least using the phone as the vehicle's key does work a bit better. It only takes a few seconds for the phone to make the connection to the vehicle and you can start it up. Although, I found myself wondering wouldn't it be easier and faster to have the key. The only feature that makes any sense to me is the ability to share the key with other people, but lock down certain aspects.
      Second is Smart Park (or smart parkh as made famous by the Super Bowl commercial from last year). Using the key, you can have the Sonata move forward or back out of the parking spot to allow for easier access to get into the vehicle. It's simple to operate, just hold down one of two buttons for a few seconds; the Sonata starts up and goes into the correct gear to move in the desired direction. I can see the appeal in urban areas where space is limited. But in the current pandemic times all of us find ourselves in, this seems to be more of a gimmick.
      Power Selection
      Hyundai offers two engines for the regular Sonata; a naturally aspirated 2.5L four-cylinder or a turbocharged 1.6L four. A more potent turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder is available on the upcoming Sonata N Line. My tester featured the turbo 1.6 which produces 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. That puts it in line with some of the base engines found in the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
      I wouldn't call this engine quick, but it handles most driving situations with aplomb. This comes down to most of the torque being situated at the lower end of the rpm band. The only area where you might be wishing for more power is merging onto a freeway or keeping up traffic. The eight-speed automatic does an excellent job of maximizing the engine's output.
      Under the Sonata Hybrid's hood is a system comprised of a 2.0L four-cylinder and electric motor to provide a total output of 192 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. The Sonata Hybrid feels just as fast as the standard Sonata around town and on country roads. It does struggle slightly on the highway due to the smaller torque figure. The six-speed automatic doesn't stumble when the change over from electric-only to hybrid mode like I have experienced on other Hyundai/Kia hybrid models.

      Opting for Limited on the Sonata Hybrid brings a solar panel for the roof which acts as a trickle charger for both the 12-volt car battery and 1.6-kWh lithium-ion pack for the hybrid system. Hyundai says that the panel can add an extra two miles of range with adequate sunlight. I can't attest to this claim, but will say the solar panel did add an extra bit of charge to the battery, even on an overcast day.
      Fuel economy for both models are as followed,
      Sonata 1.6T: 27 City/36 Highway/31 Combined Sonata Hybrid: 45 City/51 Highway/47 Combined My week saw an average of 29 mpg in the Sonata and 39 mpg for the Sonata Hybrid.
      Calm and Collected
      Hyundai has done some work on the Sonata's chassis and suspension to make it more rewarding to drive. It shows on a winding road as both versions show little body roll and feel more agile than the outgoing model. Steering feels direct and has a decent amount of weight. I will say the Mazda6 is still the one to beat if driving pleasure is your key goal.
      But the Sonata has an ace up its sleeve. It is also one of the most comfortable cars in the class. Driving over some of the roughest roads in Metro Detroit, the Sonata's suspension soaks up most bumps and imperfections to provide a serene ride. The minimal amount of road and wind noise that comes inside also helps.
      Rising To The Top

      The previous generations of the Sonata were always so close to being at the top of the class. But there always something that held it back whether it was the design, handling, or powertrains. But this new model shows how much Hyundai has put in. There is a nice balance between ride and handling; powertrains are very competent, and the interior is best in the class. Plus, the Sonata still retains Hyundai's trademark of offering a lot for not much money.
      Where most people will stumble on the Sonata is the exterior. It is very much a love or hate it affair. Plus, some of the tech features feel more like a party trick to show to friends than something you'll use. 
      Nevertheless, I think Sonata moves up to the top of the midsize sedan pecking order. 
      But there is one more question to answer. Between the regular and hybrid versions, which one I would drive away with. The answer which surprised me is the hybrid. I found it to be a little bit more well-rounded and deliver some excellent fuel economy figures during my time.
      Alternative:
      Kia K5: Like the idea of the Hyundai Sonata, but not to sure on the design? Then the Kia K5 may be the answer. Based on the same bones as the Sonata, the K5 takes a more evolutionary approach to the design. The basic shape may remind you of the previous-generation Optima, but its the little details such as a new grille and revised rear deck lid that help it stand out. From reviews, the K5 proves to be a bit sportier. We hope to get our hands on this challenger in the near future. Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonatas, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata
      Trim: Limited 1.6T
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 180 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500-4,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 27/36/31
      Curb Weight: 3,336 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, AL
      Base Price: $33,300
      As Tested Price: $34,365 (Includes $930.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Hyundai
      Model: Sonata Hybrid
      Trim: Limited
      Engine: 2.0L GDI DOHC 16-Valve Inline-Four, Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 150 @ 6,000 (gas); 51 @ 1,800 - 2,300 (electric motor); 192 (total output)
      Torque @ RPM: 139 @ 5,000 (gas); 151 @ 0 - 1,800 (electric motor)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 45/51/47
      Curb Weight: 3,530 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Asan, South Korea
      Base Price: $35,300
      As Tested Price: $36,430 (Includes $975.00 Destination Charge)
      Options: 
      Carpeted Floor Mats - $135.00

      View full article
  • Posts

    • Base prices on the Ford vans here are apparently about 8 grand apart. However, the ‘snake oil’ sales pitch of some BE-fans seem to not read their own source materials. The Forbes link above states the fueling cost in Hawaii is about $400 different/yr, and about $500 in Alabama. That would equate to 20 years and 16 years for the EV to achieve price parity with IC on ‘no gas’ alone. Or; no where near either “18 months” or 5 years.
    • Obviously... heavy duty trucks like class 8 are going to be required to run flaps in any state. I kinda just stated that above. Seems Seattle has a lot more on it’s enforcement mind than mud flaps. If you think about it, a vehicle’s tire isn’t throwing rocks from the middle of a tire as often as it’s more likely to be coming from where the tire meets the ground. There; almost nothing is ‘properly covered’.  Hm-mmm... I wonder if a vehicle that is scampering to 60 in 3 secs is more often going to be throwing rocks than the average lifted pickup. 🧐
    • That is interesting, I still think that is wrong, all auto's especially heavy duty trucks like Class 8 should have the wheels covered and the back with mud flaps to minimize throwing rocks. The construction of lite rail in the Seattle area has played hell with cracked windshields from all the dump trucks and semi trucks delivering all over the area product with no mud flaps. Then you have the lifted pickup trucks with idiots that push the wheels outside the wheel well and through stuff at your auto. I just find it wrong to cause so much damage by not properly covering up the wheels.
    • Have to say that Ford is really bringing it in competition to Jeep with the partnering with Yakima to ensure off-road fans have the ultimate play time outdoors.
    • The 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline edition is the most off-road capable Explorer ever due to increased ground clearance, improved approach and departure angles, steel skid plates, Torsen limited-slip differential, Bridgestone Dueler all-terrain tires, new shocks, springs and stabilizer bars. The Timberline sports a functional, capable appearance with unique front and rear styling combined with three rows of seating for everyone. Fords marketing data shows that over the last 10 years, SUVs have jumped to command 55% of the U.S. Market with sales growing from 4.6 million units in 2011 to 7.8 million for 2020. This same Ford data is saying that owners are reporting a 56% increase in off-road use over the last 3 years alone. Timberline was built to give customers more confidence and capability to get to the their next adventure be it fishing or a remote off the beaten path spot. A second very important trend is the data showing people are now participating in more outdoor activities and adventures than before due to the pandemic. 40% of all Americans surveyed say they spent more time outdoors since the pandemic began. The Ford Explorer Timberline off-road credibility starts with Ford's standard intelligent four-wheel drive. A system that automatically adjusts torque between the wheels based on conditions and driver inputs delivering best traction, pre-empting wheel slip with proper application of torque per wheel. Ford continues the off-road passion with the following details: Intelligent four-wheel drive Torsen Limited-slip rear differential Terrain Management System featuring seven drive modes (based on 2020 version, could be different on the 2021) Normal mode Eco mode Sport mode Slippery mode Deep Snow and Sand mode Trail mode Tow/Haul mode Standard Hill Descent Control for constant speed control between 2 to 12 mph maximum Timberline capability Heavy duty steel skid plates Enhanced steering calibration Heavy duty stabilizer bars and springs tuned for the Timberline Includes exclusive rebound springs in the front to prevent sudden jarring off-road Heavy Duty Shocks raises the ride height 0.8 inches (Developed for the Explorer Police Interceptor) Bridgestone Dueler P265/65R-18 All-Terrain tires Approach angle of 23.5 degrees and departure angle of 23.7 degrees Minimum ground clearance of 8.7 inches EcoBoost 2.3L engine producing 300 HP and 310 lb/ft of torque paired with a 10 speed automatic transmission giving a 5,300 lb towing capability. Ford only states a couple modes in their press release and as such it could be using the same 7 modes from the 2020 Explorer, but since this is the Timberline edition of rugged off-road prowess, it could be using the Bronco 7 G.O.A.T. modes which stands for Goes Over Any Type of Terrain. This would be the first 5 listed above and then would include a Mud/Ruts and Rock Crawl modes for the final two. Either way you will have a very capable off-road SUV. The Explorer Timberline edition launches a new Forged Green Metallic exterior color with a blackout treatment and red ember tow hooks rated at 150% gross vehicle weight. Ford has already incorporated a heavy duty wiring harness that allows Fords wide dealer network to install Ford Performance auxiliary lights giving an output of 160,000 candelas of illumination for nighttime trail riding. This equates to 2.5 times the brightness of the Explorer Timberline high-beam headlamps. Ford's Deep Cypress interior trim color compliments the new Forged Green Metallic exterior and includes the standard Co-Pilot360 with Assist+ technology featuring Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go and Speed sign recognition, Lane Centering, Evasive Steering assist and voice activated touch screen navigation. Standard 360 degree cameras provide views of all potential obstacles including a front view camera to help with cresting hills off-road. Ford has partnered with Yakima Rooftop accessories for customer to take any and all the equipment they want on their adventure. 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline is available to order now and arrives at Ford dealers summer of 2021. Ford Grows Rugged SUV Lineup with New Ford Explorer Timberline – Most Off-Road-Capable Explorer Ever | Ford Media Center What’s New in the 2020 Ford Explorer Terrain Management System? (akinsford.com) Terrain Management System - Ford Technology| Ford KSA 2021 Ford® Bronco Sport First Edition SUV | Model Detail & Specs View full article
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