USED 2020 Hyundai Sonata: K-Beauty Comes to Life In This Elegantly Redesigned Sedan

2020 Hyundai Sonata
2020 Hyundai Sonata
A profile of the 2020 Hyundai Sonata. Photo: Scotty Reiss

And dang, it’s smart, too!

In the past, I’ve written about my trip to Korea to test out two new cars and to get a feel for how 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.

2020 Hyundai Sonata
The 2020 Sonatas we drove; the front headlights and light strip frame give it a distinct and modern look. Photo: Scotty Reiss

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 its 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. Actually, 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 midline. This helps define a car’s shape. It lights up at night, so it’s distinct and easy to spot in traffic with a dynamic and personified glow.

2020 Hyundai Sonata
The 2020 Hyudai Sonata has a more aerodynamic shape with a rear spoiler built into the trunk line. Photo: Scotty Reiss

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 wrapping up and around 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). However, it’s definitely distinct and modern.

2020 Hyundai Sonata
The fleet of Sonatas we drove. Notice the signature line that frames the headlights. Photo: Scotty Reiss

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.

However, sedans still represent a HUGE market. Hyundai intended with the 2020 Sonata to maintain its place as a leader in both sedans and in-car technology by implementing innovations in the Sonata.

And this made for some cool news about the 2020 Sonata: There is a boatload of new technology in this car. This has set the stage for where Hyundai is headed as a brand and as a company.

2020 Hyundai Sonata
The new larger multimedia screen in the Hyundai Sonata. Photo: Scotty Reiss

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 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 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. I 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, 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.
2020 Hyundai Sonata
The interior of the 2020 Sonata. Photo: Scotty Reiss

A Modern, Elegant and Comfortable Interior

I was really surprised at how elegant and luxe the interior of the Sonata was. The Napa leather interior perfectly complemented my shoes (it was soft and comfortable, too). The 2020 Sonata had all the needed features in just the right place. Additionally, it has conveniences like a wireless charge pad with a cooling system for your phone. Hyundai actually makes one of the best wireless charge pads. It even charges through my hefty phone case. Alongside the panoramic sunroof, the 2020 Sonata has an elegant feel.

For the 2020 model year, the Sonata had a base price of $23,600 for the SE. The next trim level is the SEL $25,700. The third level is SEL Plus for $27,650. Finally, the highest trim level “Sonata Limited” costs $33,500. This is similar pricing to other model years.

Used models cost about $18,000 to $25,000 depending on the year and trim level.

When you think you see a Tesla S in your rear view mirror, do a double take. You might actually be seeing those gorgeous Sonata headlights. And the magic of K-Beauty.

2020 Hyundai Sonata
The panoramic sun roof added a lot of light and a feeling of airiness to the cabin. Photo: Scotty Reiss

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.

2020 Hyundai Sonata
That head up display! Photo: Scotty Reiss
Looking Of A Luxurious Car? You Need To See The Elegance Of The Hyundai Sonata. Beautiful And Comfortable With A Modern Design.

Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss