First Drive: 2020 Hyundai Sonata Is a Big Step Forward

This affordable midsized sedan impresses with a roomy cabin and advanced safety features that come standard

2020 Hyundai Sonata front 3/4 view

Update: Since this first drive was originally published in December 2019, we finished testing the Sonata.

See the complete Hyundai Sonata road test.

The redesigned 2020 Hyundai Sonata midsized sedan leaves behind the upright styling of its predecessor for the stylish silhouette of the Sonata of two generations ago. It’s cloaked in sleek sheet metal that gives it a sporty look. In our first drive of the new Sonata we’ve found that it handles well, has plenty of power, and is quite roomy.

We just bought an SEL trim Sonata with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic transmission. This version is expected to be the most commonly sold. In addition, we rented a Sonata Limited 1.6T from Hyundai so we could get impressions of its turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and all the features that are available.

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What we bought: 2020 Hyundai Sonata SEL
Powertrain: 191-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder; 8-speed automatic transmission; front-wheel drive
MSRP: $25,500
Options: $240, which includes carpeted floor mats, a cargo net, and wheel locks
Destination fee: $930
Total cost: $26,670

CR's Take

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata may be the deal of the new decade. Our SEL tested car is incredibly well-equipped for the price, particularly with its standard forward collision warning (FCW), automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning (BSW), rear cross traffic warning (RCTW), heated seats, and remote start. Add a roomy cabin and attractive design details and the Sonata may give the Honda Accord, Subaru Legacy, and Toyota Camry a challenge for top midsized sedan.