The front of the car alone is enough to make you look twice.
It’s like jewelry that you drive: The Sonata’s ‘parametric jewel’ grill flanked by LED headlights and chrome that runs the entire length of the hood is a head-turner. Add an extremely sporty and uniquely-lit tail end, a swooping roof line that tips up at the trunk and a lower and longer profile and you’ve got yourself a very unique, stand-out sedan.
While sedans seem to be on their way out, popularity-wise, there is still a massive number of people in North America who are buying sedans. And this one gives all the looks, function, and technology a sedan buyer could possibly expect for a fairly reasonable price, starting at $23,400 USD and nicely loaded at about $30,000 USD or so.
Tesla-like Tech With Hyundai-like Accessibility? Yup.
But looks aren’t the only story to tell about the new Sonata. The real news here is the future-forward technology features, starting with the Hyundai Digital Key and Remote Parking Assist, features that typically are only available in much more expensive and exclusive cars, but now are as close as your nearest Hyundai dealer.
It’s driven a lot of talk about the new Sonata; critics are smitten and technophiles are excited. So, what’s this all about? We took a test drive to find out.
Digital Key, or Phone-as-a-key
I told you about phone-as-key on the Lincoln Corsair recently; Tesla and BMW were until recently the only other car-makers offering this tech. Well, welcome Hyundai to the arena with this functionality, with one [I think pretty major] hiccup – it’s not available for iOS yet. Yes, you read that right, digital key only works for Android devices at the moment. Hyundai reassured us that we will see it with iOS as soon as humanly possible as they’re working closely with Apple on this.
But, what is it?
Phone-as-a-key means you can not only use the Hyundai app to start your car, turn on heated seats and set the temperature in the car, which is nothing new, but you can set up your device AS YOUR KEY, meaning you can leave your key fob and home, and off you go!
Imagine, going for a run without a car key. Not worrying about losing your key fob at the beach. Not having that one more bulky item in your tiny evening bag … all because you are already taking your mobile device with you everywhere. It just makes SENSE to be able to drive your car with it as well, right? Welcome to the phone as a key, or Hyundai Digital Key.
Share Your Key Like You Share Your Photos– And Take It Back When You Want
Not only does it allow you to leave your key at home, but it also allows secure sharing of keys with family and friends. The level of access to different functions can be tailored to each shared key user for a defined period. You can preset the duration of vehicle use or limit the use to only certain features when loaning the vehicle, and, of course, keys can be revoked remotely. So, give your teen access to the car and revoke it at midnight. You bet Cinderella won’t turn into a pumpkin!
Another cool thing Hyundai’s doing with the Sonata is providing an NFC card that looks and feels like a credit card with each purchase. It acts as a key as well, just tap it on the door to unlock, place it in the wireless charge tray and drive away (Tesla offers this as well)!
The NFC card offers additional convenience when using a valet service or visiting a Hyundai dealer; you can give them the card to use and still not need a physical, traditional key.
If you’re a key traditionalist, don’t worry, the Sonata still comes with regular key fobs.
Autonomous Driving? Not Quite…
But … this feature is pretty cool! You can get out of your Sonata and back it into a tight parking space, or pull it out of one WITHOUT being in the car with “remote smart parking assist”.
So you might wonder ‘why this, what would I use this for?’ It would be ideal for tight parking spaces like your garage or public parking spots.
- Get out of the car and use the fob to lock the car
- Use the fob to start the car
- Use the forward or back button on the fob and hold it down
- The tires will straighten
- The car will move slowly forward or back, and the sensors will stop the car immediately if they sense an object
- Pretty cool, right?
Plenty of Advanced Safety Features are Standard
The base Sonata SE starts at only $23,400 USD and includes a ton of new active safety features in the brand’s ‘Smartsense’ package, including:
- Electronic parking brake
- Forward collision-avoidance
- Lane keeping assist
- Lane follow assist
- Driver attention warning
- Automatic high-beam assist
- Adaptive cruise control with stop & go
- Hidden LED lamps
- LED daytime lights
- LED taillights
- Laminated windshield
Move up to the SEL for $25,500 and get a cool feature in the driver information cluster: a camera view for your blind spot when turning signals are on. Hyundai calls this the blind spot collision-avoidance assist with rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance. A few additional features and exterior upgrades include:
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Front and rear sport fascia
- Twin-tip muffler
- Heated side mirrors
- Side mirror turn signal indicators
Add the Convenience package to the SEL for $1,200 and get Hyundai Digital Key, wireless charging, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a second row additional USB charger. For $1,000 add the panoramic sunroof and another $1,850 gets you leather seating and a heated steering wheel.
At the top, choose the Limited and get all of the fancy tech like Hyundai Digital Key and the remote smart parking assist features plus color head-up display, plus all of the above, for $33,300 USD.
So here’s the bottom line. It’s a stunning new sedan. It’s sportier than any other in its class, with a really great price point and plenty of cool new technology. And if you’re the kind of girl who likes to turn heads, you’ll be in a car that will do that for you.
What We Listened to in the 2020 Hyundai Sonata
This gorgeous car deserves a gorgeous playlist, so we made one for you. This is what sounds great in this car.
Disclosure: I was Hyundai’s guest for this test drive; travel and accommodations were provided but all opinions are my own.