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Hyundai Sonata information and reviews

All Sonata Trim Levels

The official factory page for the Hyundai Sonata

The official factory page for the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Sonata a Top Safety Pick.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has safety rated the Sonata 5 Stars, their highest rating. 

According to the JD Power 2022 Vehicle Dependability Study, the Hyundai Sonata placed best in class, outperforming cars like the Honda Accord, Subaru Legacy, Nissan Altima, and the Toyota Corolla.

JD Power has a study that they call the APEAL study. It stands for Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout and is meant to measure "owners' emotional attachment and level of excitement with their new vehicle". The Sonata placed second in its class, ahead of midsize sedans such as the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, and others.

MotorTrend drove the 2020 Sonata and they said it is an absolute looker and the pictures don't even do it justice. And obviously that picture above looks pretty good. They also complimented the way it drove pointing out that the 1.6L Turbo is sporty like a Honda Accord yet has a comfortable ride. The 2.5L non-turbo is comfortable yet handles well and is not floaty. They sum up the test drive saying, "Both models feel tight and composed, with a cosseting ride and handling good enough to invite comparisons with the best-driving competitors."

In this article, MotorTrend focuses on 7 design elements that make the Sonata stand out as a particularly beautiful car in its segment. Among other things, they praise the design of the front and rear LED lighting.

There is a lot that goes into vehicle design that most of us will never notice. Here is an interesting article from MotorTrend that touches on some of the design cues that go into the 2020 Sonata redesign, as well as the reasons behind them.

Car and Driver really likes the Hyundai Sonata and they score it a 9 out of 10. They really like the good-looking and high-tech interior, good fuel economy, and strong value. And I concur - at writing I have 47,000 miles on my identical 2020 Hyundai Sonata Limited. Additionally, I commonly get compliments on how the exterior looks. 

Kelly Blue Book sums up saying that the Sonata may be the best sedan on the market today. They love the comfortable ride, composed handling, competitive fuel economy, great safety technology, feature technology that is easy to use, and, on the Limited, the Smart Park feature.

Sonata SEL

This is Consumer Reports first impressions of the Sonata SEL. They praise the roomy cabin and impressive list of standard safety features. They comment that the powertrain is quiet and works smoothly, yet has plenty of power when called upon. Handling and steering is also praised, as is more.

Sonata SEL Plus and Limited

The official Hyundai walk-around video for the Sonata Limited. (Personal note: this is the car I drive. It is, without question, the best car I have ever owned/leased. I highly recommend it based on a nice balance of fuel economy and power, plus the great safety tech, comfort, and technological amenities like navigation, bose audio, and BlueLink. Hyundai pays for 3 years of free oil changes and tire rotations, too!)

As I write this on March 5th 2020, only Hyundai and supercar maker Koenigsegg allow for variable valve duration. It is an impressive bit of technology that allows for an improvement of power, emissions, and efficiency. This video from Road and Track helps to explain. I kind-of understood it but then physics was always over my head. It is currently available on the 1.6L turbo that comes on the SEL Plus and Limited trims on the Hyundai Sonata.

Autobytel drives the Sonata Limited in this video review. They have high praise for the styling, including the exterior lighting, the comfortable seats and ride quality, and the high quality infotainment. Watch the video for all their comments, but they sum up by saying that they believe it has surpassed the competition.

Car and Driver sampled the Sonata in its Limited trim. They sang the praises of the class-leading levels of technology, yet marveling at how Hyundai was able to keep it all very easy to use. They love the way it looks saying its "stunning body is as universally attractive as a Grand Canyon sunset." "Elegance" is the word used to describe the interior. They add "The Sonata is a peach...plan to be pleasantly surprised." 

MotorTrend has a 2020 Sonata Limited in a long-term one-year test. This is the latest update at the time I write this (12-14-21). While this update only covers the maintenance and fuel economy, previous updates are linked below this article. One helpful update is where it briefly compares the Sonata and Kia K5 (Sonata's Kia sibling). I was surpised to see that they feel that the Sonata is more nimble in its handling as that is kind-of supposed to be Kia's department when the two have similar cars. They also mentioned that the Sonata's tires offer more grip. In fact, their track update explains that it was more nimble through the figure eight than the similar Camry (no surprise) and the similar Accord (somewhat surprising).


Having had my 2020 Sonata Limited for two and a half years and 47,000 miles now, I love it for many of the same reasons that they articulate in these updates - blind view and 360 cameras, nimble handling (though I don't really try it out too often, in rare cases I have pushed the limits a little it handles securely), and just the right mix of power and fuel economy. Speaking of fuel economy, I find it curious that they said highway trips never amounted to more than 31 mpg average for them. I loaded up my Sonata on my move to NC and then I added my 385 lbs to the driver's seat. I averaged over 41 mpg on my trip. (Update: on a trip back to PA without the car loaded up I averaged 42 mpg highway.)

Sonata N Line

The official Hyundai walk-around video for the Sonata N-Line:

Do you think of Hyundai when you think of sporty performance? If not, maybe you should. Here is a list of the 10 quickest 0-60 front-wheel-drive cars that Car and Driver has ever tested. Hyundai takes the #2 and #4 spots with the DCT Veloster N and the Sonata N line respectively.

Here MotorTrend drives the Sonata N Line and liked it a lot... a whole lot. They liked that around town it is "comfortable, quiet, dignified" but that it also handles curvy roads with "poise, finesse, and grace". And it is powerful and quick - 5.3 seconds 0-60. They say that for a comfortable and unflappable ride, that it is remarkable how planted and stable the car is through twists and turns. Several times they compared the ride to that of refined German automobiles - in fact they call it "a Hyundai sedan that can legitimately run with BMWs" (I guess it helps that BMW's long-time lead engineer of their M performance division is responsible for chassis development in all new Hyundai corporate vehicles). They say it is nearly perfect. Nearly? They comment that they wished it had a limited slip differential to control inside wheel spin when cornering, though they admit that taking it out of "Sport +" setting (which turns off the ESC) and putting it into "Sport" setting solves the wheelspin problem.

MotorTrend reviewed the go-fast version of the Sonata, the Sonata N Line. It is a midsize sedan, but to those who care about such things, it is quicker 0-60 and in the quarter mile than the go-fast versions of the Camry and Accord. Oh, and it is the quickest non-luxury midsize sedan MotorTrend has ever tested, tying only the discontinued Ford Fusion Sport. Oh, and it is quicker through the figure eight than the go-fast versions of the Camry and Accord, but MotorTrend mentioned that this is aided by the fact that it stops better than they do as well. Must be uncomfortable to drive, then, right? Nope. It rides firmly, but also comfortably. MotorTrend points out it is the only car in its price point with adjustable side seat bolsters - you can add more bolstering when going around corners, or less when on a leisurely drive. And it has better tech than the Toyota and Honda, enjoyed on a bigger screen than they have. No wonder they say "This is the Sonata to buy" and "Frankly, it's excellent".

This article from MotorTrend is kinda funny. In it they take issue with Hyundai for the Sonata N Line. Not because of what it is - they say it is near perfect and actually perfectly realized for what it is trying to be. They say that there are very few - read none - midsize sedans that can shake this car loose, implying it would take a full BMW M3 or Audi RS5 to accomplish that feat. They point out that the Sonata is comfortable whereas the spicier version of the Camry rides hard as a rock. They call the N Line truly excellent. The issue that they have with Hyundai is that they didn;t make the car several thousand dollars more and include a limited slip differential and extra cooling capability to turn it into a fully capable track car. So, essentially , they are saying to buy this car, unless you want a fully track capable midsize family sedan that you intend to take, you know, to the track.

AutoGuide points out that the 311 lb-ft of torque in the Sonata N Line is the highest torque of any front wheel drive car on the market. In their review, they point out that torque steer is under control and that its power delivery is deceptively quick because it is so smooth. Speaking of smooth, they also compliment the smoothness of the 8-speed wet-type dual-clutch transmission that they point out is absent of the herky-jerkiness of many dual-clutch transmissions. The suspension is beefed up for sportier handing but not to the point that it makes the car uncomfortable. And they like the mature design of the car - there is very little that speaks of its sporty abilities.

I include this review of the Sonata N Line from Motor Authority mainly because it is the first I have seen that compares the Sonata to any of its competition. They mention that, in their opinion, the closest competition comes in the form of the V6 Nissan Maxima and the V6 Toyota Camry TRD. They also comment that the Sonata N Line "drives absolute circles around them both".

Car and Driver provides instrumented testing results for the Sonata N Line in this review. They say it has the chops to take on the sportier go-faster versions of the Accord and Camry. In fact, they say it is the "quickest front drive family car we've ever tested."

Sonata Hybrid

The official Hyundai walk-around video for the Sonata Hybrid Limited:

US News compiles reviews from around the web to help them provide car rankings, so think of what they do as consensus rankings of the experts. For 2022, as of this writing on 6-23-22, the Sonata Hybrid is the #1 ranked "hybrid car". Kudos include great fuel efficiency (or course), lots of standard tech and safety features, and a large and comfortable interior.

Impressed with all of the tech, great fuel economy, back seat room for adults and car seats, and a usable trunk size, adds about the looks that it is "a head-turner in a fairly vanilla segment."

Autoguide went for a long highway drive in the new Sonata Hybrid. They found that the car came within 2 mpg of the posted estimate, which they found impressive, especially considering that they weren't taking it easy on the acceleration or speed. They found the ride comfort outstanding, even over bad midwest roads. And after over 500 miles straight of driving, he said that the seats were extremely comfortable and made for long-haul driving. After "sitting behind himself, he said his 6'4" frame had enough headroom in the front, though it was slightly tight in the back; legroom was good in both cases. They commented that acceleration power is good. As with all Hyundais, it has a lot of tech but it is all easy to use. In summation, he says if you want a stylish sedan with all-day comfort, the Sonata Hybrid is hard to beat.

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