12:44 PM 5 Sep, 2022
Hyundai Sonata test 2020. Design and technology
The eighth generation of Hyundai Sonata was presented in November last year, already in December the first cars appeared on sale, but only with a new 2.5 MPi engine of the Smartstream family.Interestingly, along with the new Sonata, the Koreans introduced a new online car booking system for our market, which allows you to configure a car for yourself on the official website and immediately book it.
I would like to talk about the design of the eighth generation Sonata right away. Korean designers completely redrawn it, making the silhouette more sporty, apparently focusing more on a youth audience. And I liked that Hyundai turned out to be a harmonious car that looks good from all angles, they even managed to stretch the stern, which does not happen so often with sedans. But it is worth noting that the profile of the 2020 Sonata is not classic, like most sedans, it is more like a liftback, and you can also see similarities with the Audi A5 Sportback. The latter is not so bad, yet the Sonata plays in the mass segment, so borrowing parts from the premium A5 even plays into the hands of a Korean car.
The Korean automaker added pleasant details to the overall design of the car body, which make its appearance recognizable and unique. So, back in the seventh generation of the Sonata, the manufacturer added a chrome bar along the entire sidewall of the body, which reached the very edge of the hood. In the new generation, this detail has remained, only now it reaches the headlights, and then it is continued by daytime running lights of the same width, with a smooth transition at the junction between decorative and LED elements. A very beautiful detail that the Koreans were able to elegantly beat. The rear optics with rounded-up edges, united by an active light element that runs along the entire surface of the trunk, did not let us down either. Only diode headlights are offered, there are no foglights and rotary modules, but despite this, the light is good in all cases.
In general, I liked the new look of the Hyundai Sonata, it looks fresh, interesting and sporty. In golden color (if anything, this is the factory color that any buyer can choose), the car looks especially interesting. If you're worried that this color has become popular with taxi drivers since last year, then don't worry, the golden checkered cars are living their last days, as they were forbidden to use it on work cars. I saw a new "Sonata" in dark blue at the presentation, black in the cabin, and also white, sealed for a taxi, the first one is also interesting and strict, and in black and white the car loses some of its charm.
The interior design of the Hyundai Sonata 2020 has also been completely updated, it has become more modern and closer in style to European brands. Obsolete, as in the case of its predecessor, the language does not dare to call it. The most interesting thing, in my opinion, the interior looks like in a beige version, by the way, this was shown on the first official images of the eighth generation of the car. There is also an option in black and gray. Interior materials are well chosen, especially in the upper part, which you most often touch with your hands. Here, the plastic is only soft, and the elements sheathed in leather are not dotted, as in other models of the company, but more monumental. For example, the armrests in the doors are completely sheathed in leather, leather inserts have been added in the area of the handles, and also not with a small overlay, but with a wide strip. The lower part of the cabin is made of simpler materials, but you can’t call them cheap, just the same plastic elements are no longer soft, but hard to the touch. In an effort to give premium to the new Sonata, the manufacturer, of course, added gloss, where without it. Black glossy plastic on the central panel in the area of the gearbox, around the central display and on the climate control unit, and even the stalk levers are also partially glossy. The latter, apparently, the Koreans spied on in the Audi A8, well at least, they did not dare to make them completely glossy, unlike the Germans.
The central display, which goes from the dashboard visor, looks quite interesting, however, we have already seen a similar solution in the new BMWs. The ditching of the classic gear lever has allowed for a visually wider space, but the buttons look a bit off-kilter, visually reminiscent of those in the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace. Yes, using the buttons is easy, you just need to get used to this solution a little. The climate control unit, which, apparently, the manufacturer unifies and will install in other models, looks a bit alien. It's just that all interior elements have smooth curves of lines, the same air ducts are elongated with rounded edges, and the buttons on the climate control unit are straight rectangular and stand out from the general design concept.
But, despite the nit-picking, I liked the interior of the new Sonata, it is head and shoulders better than that in the current models of the company, and it is not inferior to its competitors. Of course, it is clear that Hyundai designers peeped some decisions from the same Germans, but it seems to me that many are doing this now.
In terms of electronics, the new Sonata has also reached a new level, it even has solutions that previously could only be found in premium cars, but now they have migrated to the mass segment. Of course, the full set of all options is available only in the top Sonata trim levels, which will not be as popular as the initial ones, but it's still great that they are available for order.
So, the car received a new multimedia system with a touchscreen 10.25 ”widescreen with HD resolution. Although the display has been moved closer to the driver, it still lacks some kind of additional control, a puck or even a touchpad, since you have to reach for the screen to control. Yes, in some cases it is possible to navigate the system from the steering wheel buttons, for example, to move through the call list, but this is not available in all modes. Once I wrote about the list of calls, it’s worth saying that, despite the presence of a virtual instrument panel, in the Hyundai Sonata, the list of calls, as well as information about incoming / outgoing calls, is displayed only on the central display. Why this is done is completely incomprehensible. For competitors, everything has long been done from the screens on the dashboard or directly from it, if it is virtual, and the data on incoming calls is displayed even on the projection screen, but for the Koreans everything is unchanged. Being distracted for calls to the central screen is still both inconvenient and unsafe.
Along the edges of the screen are touch-sensitive shortcut keys, in the previous version of the media system they were ordinary. Working with the keys does not cause difficulties, the response to them is always accurate. It is also nice that the manufacturer has changed the location of some buttons, now the map, navigation and soft key are located on the left side of the display, and not on the right side, as before, that is, now they are closer to the driver.
The speed of the media system is at a good level, there are no slowdowns, so you can use it for your own pleasure. The Koreans redrawn the entire interface of the new system, so that both fonts and icons now look nice and modern, yet Hyundai had trouble with this in previous solutions, but everything has been fixed here. Three widgets can be displayed on the main screen, similar to BMW solutions. For example, I had widgets for maps, music / radio and weather. Yes, maps can be opened in a window from any screen, which is important when moving along a built route. Navigation in the new Sonata is not the best, despite the fact that the car seems to have come out just recently, some interchanges and roads that were launched more than a year ago are not on the maps. The built-in navigation along the route is sometimes strange, suggesting that you often go to the street where there is a traffic jam, while there are no traffic jams on the road you are moving on. So I got stuck in a traffic jam a couple of times, pulling out on the understudy on the navigation prompts and getting stuck while watching the main road move. What is most surprising, the navigation system sees the traffic jam and even displays it on the map, but stubbornly leads to it. Yes, online traffic is displayed on maps when the car has network access, which you can provide via Wi-Fi, for example, by creating a hotspot on your smartphone. I would also like to complain about the poor use of the virtual instrument panel by the manufacturer, the same navigation is displayed there only with signs along the route. A map, at least a schematic one, like in BMW, not to mention a complete one, like in Audi and Volvo, cannot be displayed here. I didn’t understand if the new system can update online, or if this requires downloading updates to a memory card or even going to the dealer, and the representative office didn’t respond to my request for a week.
Two smartphones can be connected to the new media system at the same time, the speakerphone works well, the interlocutors did not complain, and there were no problems with connecting devices. Yes, if you are not satisfied with the built-in navigation, and, as I already wrote, it sometimes offers strange routes, and the maps are not the most relevant in it, you can use the maps using Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. To recharge devices, two conventional USBs are used (Type-C has not yet been delivered), which are located in the niche of the front console, there is also one 12-volt outlet, another USB is available for rear passengers. Modern devices are charged from the car's on-board network quite quickly, so that even during a short trip you can restore the charge. In top configurations, wireless charging according to the Qi standard is added to the set of USB ports, and with its own smartphone cooling system, so that the device will not overheat when charging. Wireless charging is located in a niche next to the gearbox, even the largest smartphone fits there without any problems. In the initial configurations, there will be just a rubberized mat in the niche, already without charging.
The virtual dashboard in the new Hyundai Sonata has a diagonal of 12.3”, the resolution seems to be HD. The image on the screen is well read, and due to the fact that the display is recessed into the console, and even covered with a large visor, it does not go blind even in the bright sun. Despite the use of such a dashboard, Hyundai engineers did not give owners additional options. So, there is no customization here, the instruments change minimally only when changing driving modes, there is no way to work with the list of music / radio stations and calls. Navigation tips are displayed, as I said, very sparsely, only in the form of directional arrows, you can also turn on a graphical representation of the work of driver assistants and display on-board computer data, which, however, get along well in the center of the tachometer, so it makes no sense to display them on the main part of the screen. The only thing to praise the company's engineers for is the display of images from the cameras installed in the mirrors, which becomes available when the turn signals are turned on and is displayed in place of the speedometer or tachometer, depending on which of the turn signals is turned on. At first glance, this function may seem like just a toy, but after driving a car for a while, you understand that sometimes it helps to avoid a collision with a car that at the last moment suddenly decided to wedge in on your side. This solution is not new, in a slightly different version it is on the Genesis G90, namely in this version - on the Kia K900.
There is also a color head-up display in the Hyundai Sonata 2020, it is well read, and at the same time it displays a lot of useful information. So, on the projection, of course, there is a speedometer, and in the settings you can choose one of three colors for its display, and three options for its size are also available. There are hints of the built-in navigation system with the display of interchanges and information about the work of assistants. And what I really liked is that data from the blind spot monitoring system is also displayed here, which will inform you about interference from the side even before you look in the mirror. And also on the projection, as well as the virtual dashboard, you can display hints for movement in the form of signs of speed limits. But you should not rely on these hints completely, it seems that the car takes data from its maps, and does not read road signs, so in some places the information will not correspond to reality.
Electronic assistants in the new Sonata are complete, along with adaptive cruise control, it also has a traffic jam assistant, which operates at speeds up to 30 km/h and does its job quite well. The assistant keeps the optimal distance, you can choose one of three options, to the car in front, brakes and accelerates without jerks, and at the same time sees the built-in cars well. True, after a complete stop of the car, the driver’s assistance is required, but you can continue driving not only by pressing the gas, but also using the buttons on the steering wheel. There is also an interesting feature that warns you with a sound and a graphic image that the car in front has started moving, so even if you suddenly think, the Sonata itself will remind you to move on. In addition, there is an emergency braking system in front of obstacles, which can completely stop the car, as well as a warning system when leaving the parking lot, which sees traffic going perpendicular to your direction and on the main screen shows the direction where the obstacle is coming from, of course, while giving more and sound warning.
In addition to the now-conventional lane-keeping function with automatic steering, there is a lane-keeping option that will automatically keep the car in the center of the lane, if, of course, the markings are clearly visible. And the blind spot monitoring system has an option that will not only warn you with a sound of obstacles when changing lanes, but also give you power on the steering wheel, preventing you from making a sharp maneuver. In principle, the sound warning and additional effort on the steering wheel can be turned off separately in the settings, leaving only visual information. The only negative of the blind spot monitoring system is that its sensors quickly get stuck in the slush on a dirty road and the car turns it off. And where these sensors are located is not entirely clear, they are usually placed next to the cameras on the mirrors, but the system can turn off even if your cameras are clean.
Yes, the cameras in the top Hyundai Sonata 2020 are arranged in a circle, giving a picture not only in front, behind and from the side, but also projecting a circular view, thereby making life easier for the driver when parking. The picture from the cameras is of good quality, so it is very easy to navigate through them. The only thing is that the front camera gets dirty quickly, but this is a problem for most cars, but the rear and side cameras last longer, without requiring constant attention even in bad weather.
Behind the wheel of a car you get comfortable, there are enough adjustments for drivers of any height. If you order a panoramic roof, a tall driver can cling to the ceiling with his head, but if you lower the seat a little, the situation changes for the better. In the top trim levels, the front seats of the Sonata will be equipped with electric adjustments, and the driver's seat will also have memory. The lumbar support is adjustable only for reach, there are no height adjustments. The front passenger seat on the side has additional adjustment buttons so that the driver or rear passenger can move or fold it. There are no special questions about the seats, they are not too soft, with moderate lateral support, the only thing I would not refuse is the adjustable length of the pillow, since it is still a bit short, which tall drivers will notice.
The front seats are equipped with three-level heating and ventilation, the latter option is available only in the highest trim levels. Both work properly, so that in winter you can quickly warm up the chair, and in summer - cool it. For rear passengers, only separate heating of the sofa is available, its buttons are located on the armrests of the doors. Yes, a new steering wheel, relatively small and plump, also heated, which works all over its surface.
Dual-zone climate control works well, gently and smoothly adjusting the temperature in the cabin in automatic mode, which has three levels of airflow intensity. The new control unit with round knobs, in which the screen showing the temperature is integrated, is convenient to operate. The only drawback is that the keys at the edges of the screen are not highlighted, only their symbols are visible, so you have to remember that the button is under the icon, which at first causes inconvenience.
There is a lot of space in the back of the new Sonata, with a height of 187 cm I calmly sit down behind myself, the only thing that prevents a comfortable fit and exit from the car is a narrow doorway from below. It seemed to me that in the seventh generation of the Sonata, there was still more space in the back, and landing and disembarking were more convenient. To install a child seat on the back of the side sofas, there are Isofix mounts under spring-loaded plugs, so installation is not difficult.
Trunk volume in comparison with the previous model has not changed and is still the same 510 liters. The rear seatbacks can be folded separately from the luggage compartment itself, which is convenient. There is no automatic trunk opening / closing system, as well as a banal handle for this action. Yes, you heard it right, there are no handles or niches in the trunk of the new Sonata, with the help of which it would be possible to slam the lid. At the presentation of the car, colleagues asked this question, to which company representatives replied that they were aware of this problem and would soon fix it. In the meantime, the owners will be forced to get their hands dirty on the cover in bad weather, although during the test I realized that it is easier to take on the ledge of the rear optics, which does not get so dirty.
Surprisingly, the eighth generation Sonata loses in comfort to its predecessor. To ensure better handling of the car, the manufacturer made the suspension stiffer, but now small bumps in the roadway are better felt in the cabin, although the car goes through large bumps quite well. Noise isolation has also become worse, in my opinion, the sound of tires from not very well insulated arches constantly annoys, and acoustic noise also appears at speed, so you have to raise your voice a little while talking with a passenger. In general, here I had a dissonance, with such an appearance, interior and quality of materials, I personally expected more comfort. Of course, in the summer with good tires, the sound of the tires will no longer be so annoying, and if you change the 18th radius to the 17th, then minor defects in the roadway, in theory, will be less felt, but acoustic noise at speed, unfortunately, won't go anywhere. But why the manufacturer himself, working on a new model, missed such an important parameter is not very clear, because not only the appearance and dynamic characteristics sell the car.
The new Hyundai Sonata 2020 comes with two gasoline engines, this is the new 2.5 MPi of the Smartstream family with a capacity of 180 hp. and familiar from other Nu 2.0 MPi models with 150 hp. The box is only 6-speed automatic. The test car was with a new engine, paired with an old automatic, it is tuned well, at city speeds you get the right acceleration even with a little effort on the gas pedal, the box does not twitch once again and switches smoothly without jerks. But when leaving the highway and trying to accelerate from 90 km / h, you have to put more pressure on the accelerator, in turn, the automatic box thinks for two seconds and only then switches to a lower gear. True, you still do not get the expected acceleration, which is understandable, 9.2 seconds to 100 km / h is clearly not a racing car. But the control of the Sonata is good, the car is understandable from the first minutes of acquaintance and accurately responds to the actions of the driver. There are four driving modes (Eco, Sport, Comfort, Smart), the best, in my opinion, is Smart, which adapts to the driving style and provides the necessary steering effort, gas pedal sensitivity and regulates the operation of the gearbox. Fuel consumption in mixed mode I got about 9.5 liters per 100 km with the declared 7.7, but in the city, in traffic jams, it corresponded to the passport data - 11.4 liters.
In general, the car turned out to be quite good: a stylish and modern design of the exterior and interior, high-quality materials, a new media system and a large set of correctly working driver assistants. But what upset me was the comfort, noisy and shaky for such a car, it could be much better. Of course, it is interesting to test the car on summer tires and with a 2.0 MPi engine, which will account for a large share of sales, maybe the overall impression will change.
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