2020 Hyundai Sonata First Drive Review

Hyundai News

SEOUL, South Korea — The midsize sedan market is shrinking. Rapidly. It constricted from 2.4 million units in 2013 to 1.5 million in 2018, with a precipitous 38-percent drop occurring last year. U.S. automakers are abandoning the segment but Hyundai is hanging in (partly because it's still viable in Korea). It is not doing so with more of the same, however.

"We need to do something with the sedan." Those are the words of Hyundai's worldwide head of design, Sang Yup Lee, who is the man charged with doing that something. To save the sedan, Hyundai is going all-in on design, maximizing the body style's advantage over crossovers inherent in its longer, lower proportions. That's the motivation behind the new, eighth-generation 2020 Hyundai Sonata.

The new car stands in contrast to the conservative current Sonata, instead seeming to pick up where the flamboyant 2011–2014 model left off. The standout looks begin with improved proportions, afforded by a new platform. The car is longer (by 1.8 inches), lower (by 1.2), and wider (1.0). There's a 1.4-inch greater stretch between the axles, and the front overhang has been trimmed by 0.8 inches while the rear has grown by 1.2 inches. The cowl is lower and moved rearward, and the hood is longer. The lower roofline slowly tapers as it moves rearward, ending at an ultra-short rear deck.