NEW YORK — The Sonata has transformed into something of a flagship for Hyundai. The sixth-gen model, released in 2010, put the Sonata on the map as a major player in the midsize sedan space, raising the Korean automaker's share of the segment from 7 to 12 percent within the four years it was on sale.
But while the Sonata has long been an excellent value proposition, it's languished somewhat in the excitement department. Fortunately, Hyundai appears ready to bring it back with the eight-generation, 2020 Sonata, revealed today (April 17) at the New York Auto Show.
The upcoming Sonata is built on Hyundai's new global architecture, and with those underpinnings comes a sharp new design. Hyundai calls it "Sensuous Sportiness," though we think it looks more like a fastback, given the short overhangs, extended wheelbase and sloping rear deck. The hood bulges out and drops steeply, before ending at the leading edge of the grille. It's accented by two LED strips that wrap around the headlights to create a distinctive — and likely polarizing — look.
But it's what's inside the new Sonata that should ultimately win drivers over. Hyundai has packed this car full of technology, the most prominent of which is the company's new Digital Key feature. Using Hyundai's Digital Key app, you'll be able to replace your car keys with your smartphone (provided that phone supports Bluetooth Low Energy and NFC). Simply tap your handset to the door handle, feel the haptic feedback informing you the door's unlocked, and you're in.
It gets better, though. Like many new cars, the 2020 Sonata features a Qi wireless charging pad built in right next to the shift lever. However, if you're using your phone as the Digital Key, you can actually place your device on the pad to turn the vehicle on and activate the ignition. It's a seamless and elegant solution, and one of the smartest ways in which we've seen the smartphone key-replacement feature implemented.
The 2020 Sonata also supports an impressive safety suite, including highway driving assist, lane following assist, and smart cruise control. The car can actually back out of narrow parking spaces slowly and all on its own, with the press of a button either on the car key or the smartphone app.
The Sonata will come with two engine options when it arrives in showrooms in a few months time, and both are four-cylinder mills. There's a 2.5-liter, naturally-aspirated power plant producing 191 horsepower, and a turbocharged 1.6-liter option generating 180 horsepower. A hybrid model will follow in the spring of next year, as well as a sporty N-Line variant with more than 270 horsepower.
Credit: Tom's Guide