And dang, it’s smart, too!
I recently told you about my trip to Korea to test out two new cars and to get a feel for how the Korean culture shapes some of the world’s most popular cars.
Like so many, I’ve spent hundreds of hours watching gorgeous Korean women create perfect palettes of flawless skin, artfully shaped brows and precision-lined eyes. This is a skincare and cosmetics-obsessed culture.
Turns out, that obsession extends to cars, too.
Hello K-Beauty: The Hyundai Sonata Is As Finely Drawn as any K-Beauty Instagram Star
We got a chance to take the 2020 Hyundai Sonata for a test drive just ahead of it’s debut at the 2019 New York Auto Show. We toured around Sonata’s home turf, Korea, and got a feel for the new technology and upgrades in design and materials that define the 8th generation of this flagship car for Hyundai.
A bold exterior is often made up of small, subtle details and changes that together have a huge impact (you learn this from watching hours of beauty videos). The 2020 Sonata is no exception. The design team thought deeply about modernizing the Sonata and conveying the modern and intelligent features inside the car.
The front of the Sonata is a modern departure from Sonatas of the past; it reminded me of the Tesla S: The steely-focused headlights are framed by a strip of lighting that angles around the lights and sweeps along the car’s belt line, or mid line, which helps to define a car’s shape. It lights up and at night so it’s distinct and easy to spot in traffic with a dynamic and personified glow.
The rear end had some work done, too. The roofline is low and swoops down to the trunk. It ends with an upturned spoiler and lights on the trunk, accented by raised nodules that aid ever so much with aerodynamics for efficiency.
The new tail lights frame the back end, a flat glowing red line across the trunk and wrapping up and around the the back-up lights. I didn’t love this part of the design as much; but maybe that’s just me (I don’t love cat-eye eyeliner either). But it’s definitely distinct and modern.
Oh, the Woeful Sedan: Is There a Future For You?
The sedan has been the butt of bad news in the past year; with the popularity of SUVs and crossovers, many automakers have dialed back sedan production, making those who love sedans a sad bunch.
But sedans still represent a HUGE market; more than 1.5 million will be sold around the world this year. And Hyundai intends with the 2020 Sonata to maintain its place as a leader both sedans and of in-car technology by implementing innovations in the Sonata.
And this makes for some cool news about the 2020 Sonata: There is a boatload of new technology in this car and that sets the stage for where Hyundai is headed as a brand and as a company.
Meet Sonata: The Smart Mobility Device
For a flagship value-priced car, the tech in the Sonata is stunning. But, that’s Hyundai’s provenance: adding all the tech it can to its models for a really great price. Here are the tech features that I found amazing:
- Owners can use a smart phone app to unlock, start and drive the car. The Sonata will recognize a cell phone app from about 100 feet away; it will unlock when the door when in close proximity and a receiver in the wireless charge pad will recognize the presence of the phone for driving.
- The car can also recognize which phone is in commanding the car and accommodate that driver’s pre-set adjustments for your seat, climate and radio settings. Don’t you love that?
- A smart adaptive drive system lets you relax behind the wheel; the system follows the lines on the pavement and traffic ahead of you to keep the car centered in its lane, all while adapting its speed to the traffic ahead.
- When the turn signal is engaged, a screen on the driver information cluster pops up with an image of what’s on that side of the car. Love this!
- Head up display was added to the model we test drove. The HUD isn’t just a novel feature—one that certainly was helpful in navigating the unfamiliar roads of Seoul and the Korean countryside and road signs all written in Korean, which I don’t read— but one that gives a car a very upscale feel.
A Modern, Elegant and Comfortable Interior
I was really surprised at how elegant and luxe the interior of the Sonata was. Really. From Napa leather that perfectly complemented my shoes (it was soft and comfortable, too) to all the needed features in just the right place to conveniences like a wireless charge pad with a cooling system for your phone —and Hyundai makes one of the best; it charges through my hefty phone case— and a panoramic sun roof, the 2020 Sonata has an elegant feel.
I kept wondering about the price, which Hyundai hasn’t released yet. For the 2019 model year, the Sonata has a starting price of $22,500; the mid-level model is priced at $27,700 and it tops out at about $32,000. I am curious if all the upgrades in the model we test drove will prompt Hyundai break the its streak of building affordably priced sedans; my guess is not, but we’ll have to wait and see.
You can see the Sonata on display at dealerships shortly, and when you think you see a Tesla S in your rear view mirror, do a double take. You may be seeing those gorgeous Sonata headlights. And the magic of K-Beauty.
Disclosure: I was Hyundai’s guest for this test drive and the visit to Korea. Travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.