The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Turbo shows value and performance can go hand in hand

Sedans are losing out to crossovers and SUVs in sales, in part because many carbuyers seem to think a high-riding utility vehicle is cooler than a traditional four-door. Hyundai is setting out to prove them wrong with the 2020 Sonata, which hopes to win back buyers with a sleek new look. The redesigned Sonata makes its North American debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show, and goes on sale in the United States in October.

The Sonata is Hyundai’s answer to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, and this isn’t the first time Hyundai has tried to set it apart from the crowd with an evocative design. Like most of the Korean automaker’s other products, the Sonata initially emphasized affordability over style. But with the sixth-generation model (sold in the United States from 2010 to 2014), Hyundai took some major styling risks. The automaker then went back to a more conventional design for the current, seventh-generation Sonata. Now the pendulum is swinging in the other direction.

Hyundai says the 2020 Sonata has a “four-door coupe” silhouette, evoking cars like the Audi A7 and Mercedes-Benz CLS. That is why the new Sonata’s roof is lower and sleeker than a conventional sedan’s (which probably has a negative effect on headroom). The 2020 Sonata is also longer, lower, and wider than its predecessor, tweaks that give it much sexier overall proportions.

Changing the proportions or chopping the roof are design tricks used across the car industry. To give the Sonata a truly unique look — day or night — designers added sinuous LED daytime running lights that stretch from the headlights back across the hood. When turned off, they look like regular chrome trim, but when on, they produce streaks of light that look like something out of Tron. It’s likely that not every Sonata trim level will get this feature, but it’s impressive that it made it to production at all. It’s too bad the taillights aren’t as distinctive — they look like they were stolen from a Honda Civic.

The Sonata will be offered with two four-cylinder engine options. A naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter engine produces 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, while a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine makes 180 hp and 195 lb-ft. Hyundai expects the turbo engine to get 31 mpg combined in EPA testing. Both engines are coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission, with front-wheel drive.

On the tech front, Hyundai will offer a “digital key” feature that allows owners to use a smartphone in place of a traditional key fob, as well as Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and Qi wireless phone charging. The range-topping Sonata infotainment system includes a 10.25-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster.

Despite the market shift toward crossovers and SUVs, many automakers aren’t giving up on sedans just yet. In addition to the 2020 Sonata, updated versions of the Subaru Legacy and Volkswagen Passat will also launch later this year. Sedans remain a sensible choice, as their lower ride heights, lighter curb weights, and more aerodynamic bodies give them an advantage in handling and fuel economy over utility vehicles.

Updated on April 17, 2019: Added live photos, powertrain specifications, tech, details, on-sale date.


iOS 13 is the feature-filled update Apple’s iPhone needed

iOS 13 is here -- at least, the public beta has landed. You can install it now on supported iPhones. Check out our iOS 13 hands-on as we dive into some of the biggest new features, from Dark mode to the new Photos app.

From controllers to the cameras, here's what we know about the HTC Vive Cosmos

The HTC Vive Cosmos headset is a premium VR device equipped with a modular design and ease-of-use when setting up. Here is everything we know about the headset, including its cameras and controllers.

Want a PC you can reach out and touch? These are the best touchscreen laptops

The best touchscreen laptops aren't locked to 2-in-1s and convertibles, but include clamshell designs too. We pick the best touchscreen clamshells you can find in 2018, ranging from Windows 10 PCs to Chromebooks.
Product Review

The Klipsch T5 headphones are classy AirPod killers

Klipsch’s new true wireless headphones are a classy, high-end pair of AirPod killers with better battery life, water resistance, and one of the prettiest charging cases you’ll ever see.

Genesis, Kia, and Hyundai top 2019 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

Genesis, Kia, and Hyundai took the top three spots in the 2019 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, while Jaguar ranked lowest. J.D. Power surveys owners for problems with new vehicles.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Tesla Special Edition turns out to be a beautiful dream

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 may not be far away now, but there are still surprises in store. One that will not happen is a team-up with Tesla. A post on Weibo referenced what turns out to be an imaginative high-concept render by a YouTuber.

How the furious pace of innovation has sculpted the world’s fastest motorcycles

The technology that powers modern MotoGP race bikes isn't just inside of them -- it's everywhere. Literally every single part of the bike, from the brake pad coating to the shape of the gas tank, is painstakingly designed to make the rider…

What is Apple CarPlay? Here's all you need to know about iOS in your dashboard

CarPlay is one of two major infotainment systems currently vying for your car's dash. Here's everything you need to know about the system, including its feature set and host of third-party apps.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Illuminated keyboards and a retro gaming console

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

What is Android Auto? Pull over and we'll tell you everything you need to know

What is Android Auto? Google's app overrides native infotainment systems to reduce distractions while driving. Here's everything you need to know about it, including the feature set and compatible car models.

The hottest of all Mini hatches is coming with a Batman-approved design

The Mini John Cooper Works GP concept first seen at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show will go into production in 2020, Mini has confirmed. The John Cooper Works GP is the ultimate performance version of the Mini Cooper.

Airbus-backed Voom could take on Uber’s on-demand flying taxi service

Airbus-backed Voom says it's planning to take its on-demand helicopter taxi to more U.S. cities this fall, a move that could put it in direct competition with Uber's app-based air taxi service launching soon in New York City.

Volvo invented the three-point seat belt, and it might be the company that kills it

Volvo didn't invent the seat belt, but the firm patented the three-point configuration found in every new car in 2019. Autonomous technology will force automakers to rethink how they keep motorists pinned to their seats, and Volvo is…

Airstream inspiration Road Chief puts an off-grid luxury camper on the road

Updated for off-grid camping for four people, the Bowlus Road Chief Endless Highways awaits your tow hitch and your wallet. Bowlus design, build quality, and technology in a world-class trailer towable by most mid-sized SUVs.