Volkswagen Has Another GTI Model In Mind

Volkswagen Has Another GTI Model In Mind

The second-generation Volkswagen Tiguan has been around since 2017 and has been the best-selling model in the US for the past few years. But the competition has since caught up and it'll soon be time for some major updates. We just learned that a radical exterior styling update is planned, including a new hood and front end. The result will be a more dynamic and masculine-looking crossover further augmented by a new 100 percent LED front light design.

Via Skype, CarBuzz recently spoke with a group of VW officials directly involved in the project and it was revealed more Tiguan variants are expected. Speaking with Hein Schafer, Senior VP for Product Marketing and Strategy, we were told a more powerful engine option could certainly be possible.

Which begs the question: is there a Tiguan GTI coming? 

"I think we're always looking at finding ways and means of finding more fuel-efficient engine options and, yes, with more horsepower," he said. "So I think the answer is 'yes.'" VW also previously confirmed it wants to "enrich the Tiguan's line-up with a performance version," though don't expect this to be a fully-fledged Tiguan R that will soon be sold in Europe. That vehicle will likely come powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 333 horsepower and have standard AWD.

Pricing, however, is a problem, at least in the US where a majority of buyers won't be willing to pay the premium. They'd just opt for an Audi Q5 instead.

That said, America will definitely receive a new Tiguan R-Line, which is really more of a styling package. But VW doesn't want to leave Americans without a high-performing Tiguan entirely, and the best solution could be the Tiguan GTI. VW already stated intentions to expand the GTI nameplate in the US, where it's only attached to the Golf GTI. In Europe, there's also the up! GTI and Polo GTI. Since neither are sold here, it'd make sense for the Tiguan to get the GTI treatment. 

Another possible Tiguan variant up for consideration is an off-road accessory package. Like the recently revealed Atlas Basecamp, Schafer acknowledged VW has "received good feedback on the Atlas Basecamp… and that will eventually roll up to our SUVs." Will the Tiguan be included? "I think the fact that this car looks a little bit more sporty and little bit more on-road probably sets it up even better for the R-Line package. And potentially maybe the Basecamp or the off-road treatment could work really well on the smaller issue, (a future SUV) positioned below the Tiguan."

If we had to make a choice between a Tiguan GTI/GLI or a Tiguan Basecamp, we'd prefer the former. Based on Schafer's statements, it appears VW agrees. Expect the facelifted Tiguan to debut later this year as a 2021 model. Hopefully, the Tiguan GTI won't be too far behind.


2020 Hyundai Palisade Review: The New Value Benchmark

2020 Hyundai Palisade Review: The New Value Benchmark

Contemplating the current SUV landscape, the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” often springs to my mind. There are countless examples of sports-tuned SUVs, knobby-tire offroaders, cushy living rooms with wheels, and an endless array of bargain-basement sell-outs that get you from point A to point B and not much else. Few offerings are holistically solid, but apparently South Korea took what seems like a market’s foregone conclusion as a challenge when making the 2020 Hyundai Palisade. 

Since SUVs are the hottest ticket in town, a manufacturer’s predisposition is to run fast and loose with design and manufacturing—“master of none” issue, disappearing/reappearing volume knobs, lazy refreshes, various iterations with little to no discernible distinctions, you get the idea—so it can be first to market and ready for the public to slap down thousands of dollars. That's a good initial business plan, but the long-term patronage may not happen if haphazard vehicles are the standard. Buyers are likely to drop those offerings quicker than you finding a moldy three-week-old slice of salami beneath your kid’s car seat. 

Of course, there will be some that point to Hyundai’s past as evidence the Palisade likely follows that same trend, but the company’s age of anguished, miserable cars and SUVs is long gone. The Korean manufacturer has now been a direct rival to Japan’s Toyota and Honda in terms of fit, finish, and affordability longer than it has not. Hyundai’s execs clearly want more, though, spending the R&D cash building something with equal parts versatility, practicality, affordability, and comfort in the hopes of taking out every other available SUV at the knees. Or at least that's what the Palisade seems to be on paper. 


Launched in 2018 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Hyundai Palisade was the company's flag in the sand. The biggest SUV Hyundai's ever built, as well as its most premium. It also rounded out Hyundai's SUV lineup, having a model for the most economical to the most baller, with the aim of keeping buyers within the Hyundai family. Every detail was considered and it made a massive impression on everyone who climbed into its cabin during the show, exactly what Hyundai hoped would happen. 

And after a week behind the Palisade's wheel traipsing around a frigid Chicago with a pregnant wife, two children under 2 and a week’s worth of supplies, equipment, and a tandem stroller, hand on heart, Hyundai’s new SUV is not only a master of all trades, it's the new SUV benchmark.

 Here’s the thing about first impressions, and I don’t know if you know this, but you only get one and they sure as hell count. An entire relationship can be marred by a bad first 10 minutes, which could’ve been the case of my introduction to the Palisade. In minus 5-degree weather, after five hours on a plane with two infants, a task was laid out in front of me while my wife held the kids: bolt in the kid's car seats. 

If you’ve never swapped car seats between cars, even though LATCH anchors are standard on nearly every automobile, there’s a wide variety to their design and dealing with some can make you reevaluate your life choices. (I kid, I kid. Mostly.) 

Some anchors are inset in between the top and bottom seat cushions, others are closed off by removable caps which are often lost forever after their first eviction, while some just offer easily marked and accessible recesses. It can make for a tense, swear-ridden, half-hour fight to just get the damn seats in, let alone in icy climes. Hyundai’s designers clearly have children. 

Five minutes after exiting the warm and cloistered confines of O’Hare International Airport, the car seats were in thanks to clearly marked and easily accessed LATCH points, the children strapped in and snug, our luggage was in the Palisade’s cavernous cargo hold (45.8 cubic feet with the third row down), and my wife and I were in the front getting our buns toasted by the heated seats. Simple victories are so satisfying.


Nestled in the front captain’s chairs, our rears being warmed, the fit and finish of the cabin is outstanding. The seats greet your rear like a saucer welcomes a teacup, its perforated leather as smooth as any German car. Additionally, the seat height, something that’s usually cheated toward higher positioning in most SUVs, is actually rather reasonable and I was able to drop the seat considerably and get into a comfortable, and low, driving position. 

Outward looking, the dash layout is excellent with the right blend of future-forward screens, wood, and physical buttons. The gauge cluster is digital, but can also transform into a more traditional analog-looking dial setup with engine RPMs on the left and car speed on the right, which is the setup I’d choose.

The infotainment interface is, well, fine. 

But as a die-hard Apple CarPlay fan—Android Auto is also available—I pretty much used it throughout my week with the Palisade. As always, it’s easy to use and far better than any OEM-built user interface, which are often a convoluted maze of portals and settings that you'll set up once and never touch again, including Hyundai's less than sensitive unit. The optional Harmon Kardon 12-speaker, 630-watt stereo is good but can be better. Bass is a wee-bit heavy, even with tuning, and the mids can be somewhat muddy when playing rap and electronica. There’s also a slight boomy effect, likely due to the Palisade’s voluminous interior, but a quick tune and speaker alignment adjustment would likely make for a truly excellent sound-scape. 


What’s slightly more frustrating is the Palisade’s center console-mounted gear selector. Over the years, manufacturers have played with where to place automatic transmission controls: on the column, on the floor, buttons, dials, you name it. Hyundai went for a push-button selection which is, at first, unintuitive as you have to relearn how you get to Park, Drive, Neutral, and Reverse. But like every new technology added to cars and SUVs, it’s just something that’ll take time to get used to, as we all did with the advent of navigation. Novelty, thankfully, wasn’t a part of the Palisade’s dynamics engineering. 

A naturally aspirated 3.8-liter V-6—sorry, no hybrid or turbocharging available—sends 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Tallied up, that doesn’t quite sound like enough oomph, especially for a three-row, family-centric SUV. Yet, the Palisade only weighs a relatively scant 4,387 pounds. Not enough to reanimate Colin Chapman, but nor is it built of tungsten.  

Sixty mph is achieved in some number of seconds and Hyundai definitely claims it has a top speed. Neither actually matter, just know that when you put your right foot down to get onto the highway or out of a parking lot, the SUV scoots away in earnest, never leaving you wanting for more or thinking it needs less—the V-6 is just right, a goldilocks of a powertrain. 


Handling: it has that too. Turning the wheel is exactly what you’d want in a full-size SUV, neither tight like some unwieldy supercar aiming to throw you off a canyon cliff, nor as sloshy as a soggy pinata sitting in a flooded gutter next to a Vallarta. Direct, not twitchy. There’s also a healthy dose of lean, pitch, and roll, too, but those make the ride quality superb, gliding over the permanently “under construction” Illinois highways and keeping sleeping children asleep. It's easy to see the Palisade being used to cross the country and come out the other side fresh and ready to jump in either the Pacific or the Atlantic.

Hyundai also offers all the passive and active safety technologies every new car needs to have to lure buyers, such as front crash prevention (both vehicle and pedestrian avoidance), lane departure warning and prevention, blind-spot detection, dynamic braking support, among others. I can delightedly say I didn’t get to see any in action, nor did I test the IIHS’s conclusion of the Palisade being a Top Safety Pick. 

What really floored me was how inexpensive the Palisade is in relation to what's standard and how upscale the whole SUV feels. Hyundai says you can get a bog-standard version for just $35,200, while the nearly fully loaded tester I had came in at $43,155. Few, if any, three-row, full-size SUVs can be claimed in such decked-out trims for such little money and not skimp on one or two or all of the Palisade’s standard features. By that metric alone, the Palisade is a clear winner, but there’s more to this SUV. 

As for its competition, the Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-9, Ford Explorer, and Toyota Highlander, in my eyes, the Hyundai reigns supreme. None offer the same level of refinement and luxury for such an affordable price. And what they may do better in some categories, say the Explorer's all-terrain capabilities, the Palisade can hang with it for 90-percent of the time, with the extra 10-percent being attainable with the right set of off-road tires.

Too many SUVs are bogged down with multiple disparate identities, never mastering the SUV’s intention of versatility. Some, like Mercedes-AMG’s GLE63 S, are able to skirt the line, but the Merc's an outlier. Hyundai knows its buyer doesn't want supercar theatrics or off-road heroics, rather they want something to cart around children and adults comfortably to and from school, carry a cello to band practice, head off to dinner dates with their spouse, and maybe once a year, tow something that isn’t too heavy—up to 5,000 pounds. In other words, exactly what the SUV was designed to do in the first place.

The 2020 Hyundai Palisade is a jack of all SUV trades, and most definitely the master of it too.

Source: The Drive

2021 Hyundai Elantra Spied Standing Out In A Snowy Field

2021 Hyundai Elantra Spied Standing Out In A Snowy Field

Amid the impending debuts of machines like the Ford Bronco and Porsche 911 Turbo, one might overlook the redesigned Hyundai Elantra that’s currently in development. This is only the second time we’ve caught a prototype out and about, and it looks decidedly cold in the wintertime grip of Sweden – the same place where we recently caught the company’s new Santa Cruz pickup testing in the snow.

There’s still heavy black camouflage on the outside, but this time around there’s no swirl camo wrap underneath. Indeed, the bright red exterior provides an interesting contract for us to suss out details of the redesigned sedan, which actually just had a minor facelift for the 2019 model year. Our initial sighting suggested the Elantra would draw on design inspiration from the larger Sonata – inside sources tell us that’s the case and we can certainly see Sonata influence with this prototype.

The C-pillar looks very Sonata-like, and though the front fascia is concealed by covers, we can see more Sonata influence in the grille. Look closely and you’ll see the grille’s edges arcing upward from the lower lip to the headlights in a telltale Sonata fashion. Word is the small sedan will grow as well, but by exactly how much is unknown. It certainly looks bigger in these photos, which suggests the changes won't be minuscule.

We’ve heard nothing thus far regarding interior design or new technology, but there are some new rumors regarding power. The latest gossip says a pair of new turbocharged gasoline engines will be offered, one displacing 1.2 liters and the other 1.6. It’s possible a high-performance N edition could eventually arrive, and since there’s no stopping the advent of electric power, a hybrid version might debut later, too.

Speaking of the debut, current intel says the covers will be lifted sometime in the first half of this year, going on sale as a 2021 model.

Hyundai Elantra Spy Photo

Hyundai Elantra Spy Photo

Source: Motor1

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Is An Everyday Sedan Without The Everyday Looks

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Is An Everyday Sedan Without The Everyday Looks

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata looks good. Its manufacturer-suggested prices are good, too, especially given its design. Its entire aura is enough to make anyone have to squint in order to confirm that it does, in fact, have a Hyundai badge on the front. For an automaker aimed at affordability, that’s a feat.

For the most part, the car lives up to the expectations its design creates.

(Full disclosure: Hyundai provided travel to and lodging in Arizona in order to drive its 2020 Sonata and an N-Line prototype, along with providing a few meals.)

What Is It?

The 2020 Sonata is a complete overhaul of the last model year, trading the old car’s generic looks for ones that—whether you love or hate them, and whether they’ll age well or not—were unexpected. And unexpected, in a vehicle market where the average car looks really, really average, is commendable regardless.

The exterior and interior stylings of the 2019 Sonata (left) and 2020 Sonata (right).
The exterior and interior stylings of the 2019 Sonata (left) and 2020 Sonata (right).
Image: Hyundai

While the Sonata is a global vehicle, such an evolution and ambitious design revision is almost necessary in terms of the U.S. vehicle market. Buyers here are all about crossovers and SUVs, choking sedan sales and killing plenty off in recent years.

The Sonata hasn’t been immune, either. In 2012, annual Sonata sales were over 230,000. This month, Hyundai Motor America announced year-to-date sales as of November at 80,361, compared to 96,413 by the same time last year.

There’s still a month left in the year, but Sonata sales won’t be near where they were at the start of the decade. They likely won’t even match last year.

Illustration for article titled The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Is An Everyday Sedan Without The Everyday Looks
Photo: Alanis King

Sedans, thus, need to get buyers’ attention if they even want a sliver of hope to lure them away from their more bloated competitors. But the new Sonata isn’t only a major styling update, giving the car the looks it needs to have in order to distract from the growing crossover and SUV market. It’s also a testament to what Hyundai wants to be: a company that offers more niche, enticing vehicles, like the Sonata N-Line performance variant will be when it launches.

The new Sonata has a lot going for it. We’ll just have to see whether prospective buyers agree.

Specs That Matter

The Sonata comes with a few engine and transmission options, if we include the N-Line, and base MSRPs for trims range from $23,400 to $33,300 excluding the N-Line. All regular Sonatas come with an eight-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel drive and a four-cylinder engine, but the bottom two trims have a 2.5-liter unit that claims 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque while the top two have a 1.6-liter turbo with 180 HP and 195 lb-ft.

If you’re into big wheels, that’s one place where the four regular trims differ that’s noticeable from the outside: the bottom SE will give you 16-inch wheels, the SEL has 17s, and the SEL Plus and Limited both come with 18s.

Most of the safety features available on the top Limited trim are also standard on the lower ones, with the exceptions of: parking-collision avoidance assist; blind-spot view monitor, which puts a blind-spot camera on the instrument cluster when a turn signal comes on; and highway driving assist, which helps the car stay in its lane and at a safe distance behind others. That means even the $23,400 Sonata will have assistance systems for things like collision avoidance in certain situations, lane keeping, lane following, smart cruise control, and automatic high beams.

The N-Line, comparatively, will make a Hyundai-estimated 290 HP and 310 lb-ft of torque when it comes out, and still be front-wheel drive. It will have an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and 19-inch wheels that aren’t available on other Sonatas.

What’s Great

Everything inside of the 2020 Sonata’s top Limited trim feels decent, and that’s all, which is a testament to both its exterior looks and the fact that modern cars are just really good. It has a comfortable ride with a bit of road and wind noise, and passengers can feel bumps in road well but not distractingly. Ride quality is very average—the Sonata’s suspension is no pillow, but it’s also not bad.

From the driver’s side, the interior of the Sonata looks well thought out. It’s big, shiny screen isn’t distracting, and the consolidation of buttons for features like seat heaters is a nice effort toward an uncluttered interior. There’s a huge amount of pocket space in the doors compared to the usual divot that only holds a smartphone vertically, a standard wheel heater if your hands get cold, and ambient lighting, if you’re feeling it.

The big center screen allows for easy app navigation, and the instrument cluster is put to good use: Digital gauges will splash to red when the car changes into sport mode, and the blind-spot monitor that comes standard on the Limited trim is helpful in a way that isn’t jarring. Unlike blind-spot monitors that wail with beeps if anyone or thing is in the intended lane when a turn signal comes on, the Sonata simply trades out a gauge temporarily for a video view of who or what might be over there.

But where the Sonata really does well, at least in its top trim, is the technology. In addition to all of the non-invasive safety features on the Sonata, reminders to grab the wheel from the assistance features aren’t annoying during highway driving, and across several minutes in traffic with lane-keep features on, the wheel only inadvertently nudged itself to the side a couple of times.

The Limited trim also comes with a standard 12-speaker sound system, which is optional on other trims except the base SE. It’s easy to see how good the system is when you pop on over to the “Sounds of Nature” section in the infotainment screen, which will make you feel like you’ve been transported to the middle of the Rainforest Cafe. (Or my idealized, magical version of what that sounds like, since I haven’t been in years.) Certain trims and packages on the 2020 car also come with features like Blue Link and the Hyundai Digital Key, with the former—which is complimentary at first and then costs money—allowing drivers to check up on their vehicles and remote start or lock them from certain devices, and the latter allowing owners to give people temporary digital keys to their car. But don’t get too excited for a digital key if you have an iPhone, because they’re not yet compatible.

What’s Weak

The interior of the new Sonata, while an improvement from the last one because it cleans things up a bit, is almost too basic. It could use a few accents simply to catch the eye, and that’s particularly noticeable on the all-black interior—it’s almost like staring into a well, up until the jarringly light gray headliner.

Illustration for article titled The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Is An Everyday Sedan Without The Everyday Looks
Photo: Alanis King

And while the car feels decent overall from the inside, looking closely will lead to some disappointment. Its overly simplistic interior is paired with too much noticeably cheap and plastic-like material, which is most obvious on certain parts of the door trims and centerpieces up front. It’s especially evident given how striking the car is from the outside, and from the front passenger seat.

That’s because the experience for the front passenger is just lacking. That’s the best way to put it. Some vehicles, like the new Sonata, are all about orienting the interior toward the driver—screens and center controls pointed their direction, making both an awkward reach of the passenger—which ends up leaving the passenger in a bucket of barren nothingness and feeling disengaged in the car. That, then, makes the flaws of the interior more noticeable.

Sure, you might not have a passenger much, but they’ll immediately get a sense of how bland that side of the car is when you do.
Illustration for article titled The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Is An Everyday Sedan Without The Everyday Looks
Photo: Alanis King

The actual driving experience is another place where the regular Sonata isn’t impressive, and that’s also probably due to its styling. The car just looks special whether you like the style or not, but its gas pedal provides nothing special in return, groaning at the press of your foot and not providing much actual pickup.

Sport mode in the car will give a driver more aggressive sound and the feeling of a quicker acceleration, but overall, the actual act of driving the Sonata isn’t that interesting.

Illustration for article titled The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Is An Everyday Sedan Without The Everyday Looks

The Sonata thus looks sportier than it feels, which is probably fine for most of the people considering it.

Early Verdict

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata is the kind of car that, without the “H” on the front, those unfamiliar with it might wonder what (stylish) planet it came from. But it’s a car from this planet, and it comes with a starting price affordable by most people who have the budget to buy a car new.

And while the Sonata’s looks and safety features might be its best aspects, that doesn’t mean the areas that fail to stand out in comparison—interior styling and performance, outside of the N-Line—are bad. They’re just not quite as good as the high bar the rest of the car sets, but they sure are good for the price.

Automakers know buyers aren’t flocking to sedans like they did, or even paying much attention to them in the crossover era. The Sonata’s tanking sales since the early 2010s prove that, and prove how the same old thing won’t work anymore if companies want to level out the sedan drop.

Hyundai has done its part, because unlike its predecessor, the 2020 Sonata is far from the same old thing. But, like everything else, buyers will decide whether the effort was enough.

Source: Jalopnik

Introducing Hyundai's vision for the future: Prophecy EV Prototype

Introducing Hyundai's vision for the future: Prophecy EV Prototype

Hyundai Motor has unveiled its new ‘Prophecy’ Concept EV during a video presentation posted on showcasing the key elements of its styling and technology. Featuring the timeless design of a classic car, ‘Prophecy’ is inspired by the company’s ‘Sensuous Sportiness’ design philosophy. It embodies ‘Optimistic Futurism’, which focuses on the emotional link between humans and automobiles by balancing nature and technology, emotion and practicality.

The unveiling presentation also covered the company’s electrification strategy, with discussion among three executives: Thomas Schemera, Head of Product Division at Hyundai Motor Group; Luc Donckerwolke, Chief Design Officer at Hyundai Motor Group; and Andreas-Christoph Hofmann, Vice President Marketing & Product at Hyundai Motor Europe.

Hyundai Motor Group is expanding its product line-up to include 44 electrified vehicles, and Hyundai Motor Company alone plans to invest almost 50 billion Euros for research and development into future technologies by 2025. The expectation is to sell more than 670,000 battery and fuel cell electric vehicles annually by this time, and to be positioned among the top three EV providers globally. In Europe, more than 75% of the line-up will be electrified by the end of 2020, and the company aims to supply almost 80,000 zero-emission vehicles to European consumers this year.

Prophecy: defining a bright future for Hyundai designs

Prophecy establishes a new standard for the EV segment. The extended wheelbase and signature shorter overhang of the EV platform give Prophecy an iconic silhouette of perfect proportions. The result is a new EV architecture defined by pristine surfaces, pure volume and harmony of aesthetics and functionality.

Prophecy’s exterior features a clean and simple uninterrupted streamline extends from front to rear. In addition, the pixelated progressive lighting technology is integrated into the headlamp, tail lamp and spoiler, reflecting design elements presented with the Hyundai 45 concept.

The interior design of Prophecy also leverages the advantages offered by Hyundai’s electric platform, which it shares with the Hyundai 45 concept. A key feature is the joystick steering system, which provides greater interior space and offers more expansive views and ergonomic seating for the cabin occupants. The atmosphere inside Prophecy is continuously refreshed thanks to integrated clean air technology.

2020 Hyundai Sonata review: Left-field looks, home-run value

2020 Hyundai Sonata review: Left-field looks, home-run value

It's better to evoke a strong reaction, positive or negative, than none at all. The 2020 Hyundai Sonata certainly follows this mantra, immediately setting the stage with unique styling that's sure to garner a reaction. But the Sonata is no mere one-trick pony -- instead, Hyundai's assembled a whole-ass package that oozes value and immediately pushes this new car to the top of its segment.



  • Unique looks
  • Great standard tech
  • Cushy on-road demeanor


  • Unique looks
  • No AWD on offer
  • Cool new tech is Android-only

Funky outside, fancy inside

First impressions matter, which is why the Sonata's styling will either make or break it. It's hard not to have an opinion on the way the 2020 Sonata looks, but I'm of the belief that it looks pretty awesome. Bearing a resemblance to absolutely nothing else on the road, especially with my tester's Glowing Yellow hue, the car turns heads and begs questions from other drivers like no other midsize sedan I've reviewed.

Even if you disagree with the fish-face grille, there are so many cool little elements here. The LED running lights literally blend into the chrome strip that runs nearly the whole length of the car. The shoulder line gets sharper as it heads rearward, terminating at a dramatic rear end with little vortex generators on the taillights. The new Sonata hearkens back to a time when Hyundai placed a lot of weight on stand-out aesthetics, and I think this formula absolutely has the chance to strike gold twice.

While the outside is a love-it-or-list-it affair, the interior should appeal to buyers of all shapes and sizes. Here, the design is a little more sedate, opting for clean lines and shiny surfaces that feel like they'd be at home in any number of luxury cars. My SEL Plus tester's leather seats are smooth and supportive, and nearly every touch point up front feels fancy.

Despite the stylish cut in the Sonata's roofline, there's ample headroom in the rear, and legroom is more than sufficient for taller passengers. The trunk is equally capacious, and its wide opening makes stuff-shoving an absolute breeze. If that's not enough room for your junk, the center armrest has space for a decently sized purse, the door panels will handle plenty of crumpled-up receipts and the cubby ahead of the shifter is more than big enough for keys, phones and wallets. My only real complaint about the interior isn't unique to the Sonata. My tester's piano-black trim might look slick when it's clean, but hoo boy, it will pick up (and dramatically highlight) fingerprints like no other material. Unless you like that greasy look, I recommend keeping a cloth handy.

Cool and collected on the road

The Sonata's two biggest competitors, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, have both entered new generations with newfound dynamics that make each car more rewarding to drive in a spirited manner. The Sonata's been upgraded in this way, too, but having fun is not this car's focus -- until the Sonata N-Line shows up, anyway.

Instead, this sedan does a great job appealing to buyers who want something predictable and comfortable. The Sonata's new chassis does exhibit some more stiffness than previous iterations, but it doesn't come off as sporty. Static dampers soak up a good amount of the road's nastiness, only really transferring the most serious of movements to the cabin. Both road and wind noise are delightfully low, too, giving the car a slightly more luxurious feel than, say, a comparably equipped Accord.

That focus on sensible comfort makes its way to other parts of the car, too. The steering is suitably direct, with a lighter overall weight that prioritizes smooth inputs. The brake pedal is progressive enough to make smooth stops easy to execute. A standard eight-speed automatic transmission swaps cogs effortlessly with little feel translated to those inside.

The Sonata's output might be low, but its fuel economy is pretty impressive. The EPA rates the Sonata SEL Plus at 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. While I was closer to 23 mpg in the city, I'm beating the highway estimate by 1 or 2 mpg. Those figures are good, but they lag behind the 2.5-liter Camry and the 1.5-liter Accord.

In gross winter weather, the Sonata doesn't lose much of its composure, but I think a change of tires will do a world of good here. The standard 235/45R18 Michelin Primacy Tour all-season tires aren't that great on snow or ice, causing the clunky traction control to kick in frequently. All-wheel drive is not available, but with the right rubber, you should feel plenty secure with this front-driver.

Dripping with fresh tech

I have long been a fan of Hyundai's in-car tech, and the 2020 Sonata only reinforces my beliefs, in part because of its notable complement of standard equipment. An 8-inch touchscreen is included on all Sonatas, which is great, because I find Hyundai's system to be one of the best, offering easy access to major features and laying out information in a straightforward fashion. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, too, in the event you'd rather use what's most familiar.

My tester one-ups the de facto kit with not one, but two screens. The touchscreen on the dashboard grows to 10.25 inches, part of a $2,750 Tech Package upgrade, and I'm a huge fan of its configurable home screen that all but eliminates the need to swap between map and audio pages. This SEL Plus trim also sports a 12.3-inch display in the gauge cluster. Switching between vehicle modes introduces some cute graphics, but more importantly, it shows all the pertinent vehicle info I need with minimal distraction.

No matter where depleted batteries are in the Sonata, there's a port for 'em. My tester carries two USB ports in the front cubby, in addition to a Qi wireless charger. The rear seats make do with a single charger, but hey, it's better than nothing.

Nearly every one of the Sonata's myriad safety systems are included on every trim, covering automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. The optional Tech Package improves upon that kit with Highway Drive Assist, which combines all the aforementioned tech and holds the vehicle in its lane on the highway. HDA is quite good at maintaining its position on the road, but the steering rack's constant adjustments are felt rather prominently through the wheel, which will feel weird to drivers who aren't used to it. The hands-on system could stand to notify drivers to keep their hands on the wheel more often, too.

The 2020 Sonata also carries some new left-field tech, but it's not meant for everyone. Hyundai's Digital Key lets owners use their phones in place of actual physical keys, but it's only available for Android users, which means Apple users (like myself) are cut out from this tech. It's a bummer, but both platforms still get access to Hyundai's Blue Link connected-car app, which offers remote start, locking and unlocking and basic stuff like that.

Down to brass tacks

The midsize sedan segment was once the place to be, but even though crossovers have swallowed up a sizable chunk of its sales, this corner of the industry is producing some of the best metal it has in years. The new Honda Accord places a higher focus on driving dynamics, but its interior doesn't feel nearly as premium as the Sonata's. The latest Camry can wield a 300-horsepower V6, and it'll soon be available with all-wheel drive, but its style (and, again, its fanciness) lags behind the Hyundai's. If you think the Sonata is just a bit too much, sister company Kia has a new Optima on the way that is also very, very good.

The last couple generations of Hyundai Sonata were a little boring, with ho-hum anonymous aesthetics inside and out. It was a fine car, but it didn't exactly make a statement. The 2020 Sonata, on the other hand, screams its benefits from the mountaintops with an out-there design but the same focus on value that Hyundai has always held dear. Even if you're not exactly sold on the styling, the Sonata is worth your hard-earned money for so many other reasons.

Source: CNET Roadshow

The Hyundai Sonata N-Line Is Further Proof That Hyundai Performance Isn't Messing Around

The Hyundai Sonata N-Line Is Further Proof That Hyundai Performance Isn't Messing Around

For years, the U.S. market has known Hyundai as a brand that makes good road cars and kind of stops there. The company has been safe, like its longer factory warranties and its tendency to focus on what does well rather than what serves a more niche audience. But Hyundai is becoming more daring by the model, and the driving the Sonata N-Line performance trim doesn’t just emphasize that—it screams it from the lungs of the Sonata’s most powerful engine yet.

The upcoming Sonata N-Line, along with the other sportier variants Hyundai’s introduced recently, are further proof of what Hyundai wants to be: a company that not only makes good cars, but one that also makes good cars.

We all know the difference, and it’s a big one.

The Sonata N-Line, when it comes around late next year, will be the newest addition to Hyundai’s growing lineup of specialty-oriented models. Since 2015 alone, the company has introduced the separate Genesis luxury brand, which even offers a manual transmission in the G70 sedan despite knowing sales would be meager, along with performance N trims and the mid-grade N-Lines at regular Hyundai—variants that, although new, are good enough to challenge performance trims competitors have made for years. Then, there’s the mid-engine, rear-wheel drive RM19 prototype that’s as loud as it is wild.

The N-Line will also be the top of the Sonata lineup in terms of performance, as Hyundai said at the launch of the 2020 Sonata that it doesn’t plan for the car to go “full N.” (Like Honda’s Si versus Type R, or Ford’s ST versus RS, Hyundai’s N-Line presents the step in the middle between the regular model of a car and the full-on performance trim, the N.)

The N-Line Sonata’s engine will make an estimated 290 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, Hyundai said, and will come with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. That’ll make it the most powerful Sonata ever, and far more powerful than any other Sonata Hyundai plans to offer—the other two engines on the car make a rated 180 and 191 HP, meaning it’s a huge jump to the N-Line.

The other main details Hyundai gave on the car were that it would come with 19-inch wheels that aren’t available on other Sonatas, while keeping the same front-drive layout. The prototype for the N-Line is still in camouflage, so at least some styling elements are hidden.

The two regular Sonata engines are almost disappointing next to the car’s new, sportier looks, since hitting the gas pedal is met with some groan and not a lot of go. But the N-Line solves that problem and then some, because next to the 180-HP turbo in the Sonata’s top Limited trim, the N-Line is a rocket.

After only a couple of minutes in what Hyundai called an “early production” prototype of the upcoming car, a few things were evident. It’s fast. It’s fun. It feels as sporty as the Sonata looks, whereas the regular Sonata does not. Its torque steer isn’t at all noticeable, despite the front-wheel drive.

The N-Line feels more planted and far more engaged than the normal model, and it lets a driver choose whether they’d like engine noise fed in through the speakers with a menu option rather than making them pull a fuse to get rid of it. Anyone who wants to fake it has a choice between “minimized,” “normal,” or “enhanced” sound, but it honestly sounds best when it’s off.

The N-Line, overall, just feels good. It feels like the Sonata that its new, more daring look was designed for, and it feels like yet another win for Hyundai in its pursuit of being a brand that does more than just make good cars. It feels like a win for Hyundai, a brand that makes good cars.

And we all know the difference.

Source: Jalopnik

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