Test Drive Notes Library
- Mileage. We didn't quite hit the EPA's estimated 47 mpg in our mixed driving. But we were nonetheless impressed with the 40 mpg we got. Effortlessly. Because of that high mileage, the Sonata Hybrid has a 500 mile range with a full tank. For some of us, that means weeks between fill ups.
- Smooth drive train. Hyundai has done a good job making the Sonata a hybrid with no noticeable downsides. Acceleration is smooth and plentiful. The operation of the transmission is nearly invisible. You occasionally hear the engine thrum, but otherwise it drives like any other quiet car.
- Handling. This latest version of the Sonata has taken a big step up in the handling department. The older Sonata was squishy and wallowy. The 2020 handles crisply and with confidence. It's not particularly sporty, but it handles very cleanly and securely, which makes it easy to drive.
- Interior. The inside of our Limited trim Sonata is both tech-y looking and ergonomically pretty good. For instance, there are two large, round knobs for temperature controls, but inside the knobs is a digital readout. So you get the tech without losing the easy-to-use controls. Much of the interior is well padded and nice looking. On the road, wind and tire noise are well blocked out.
- Styling. Hyundai took a risk with its mid-size sedan, and made it look like a fastback, with a long, sloping rear roof line that blends into the tail. We like it.
- Visibility doesn't suck. When you see the slope of the rear window in this car, you assume you'll be backing up by feel. So we were surprised at how much window there actually is back there. Like most modern cars, you can no longer see the trunk when looking out the rear view mirror. But there's enough visibility to check what's going on behind you. Front and side visibility are decent, saved in part by reasonably thin roof pillars and long side windows.
- Price, features, and warranty. Our loaded Limited trim Sonata Hybrid left the lot at $36,430. That's not bad for a loaded, mid size sedan that gets 40 mpg day and night and has all the up to date safety equipment your family needs. And while Hyundai is still working its way up the reliability charts, they do offer an excellent warranty: 5 year or 60,000 miles on everything, plus 10 years or 100,000 miles on the drive train components. Plus free maintenance for 3/36,000.
Test Drive Notes Library
- Low. While the trend is towards crossovers and vehicles you have to climb up into, the Sonata is fairly low to the ground. The door openings allow reasonable access, but you do fall down a bit into the driver's seat, and push up out of it. It's the anti-Ford-F150.
- Firm ride. We love the handling, but the price of the handling precision is a little more road feel. If you're looking for the cushiest mid size sedan, this isn't it.
- Transmission buttons. One ergonomic decision we don't care for is the push button transmission selectors. First of all, you have to look at the console to find the button you want. With other types of selectors -- even the dial selector that also saves space -- you can operate it by feel. Second, the Sonata won't shift from reverse to drive unless the car is completely stopped. So you have to stop backing up, then look down and locate the D button, then select it and go on your way. If you back out of your driveway onto a busy street, prepare to feel the pressure.
- Infotainment. The screen is horizontally huge, and there are things we like about it, like room for three distinct mini displays (for instance: map, radio, and mileage). But we found the interface a little clunky to use for certain tasks. This larger screen comes on higher end Sonatas, and it deletes the tuning knob. So if you want to scroll through stations, you have to go several menus deep and select "List Stations" each time.
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