2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited new car reviews

We recently drove the non-hybrid Sonata Limited not too long ago. Our thoughts? A fantastic "normal car" that might actually make your commute less sucky. It even came with a fun party trick called Smart Park Assist.

Under the hood of this Sonata Hybrid is a 150-horsepower, 1.6-liter inline-four that's combined with a 39kw electric motor. Both engine and electric motor are said to make a combined 192 horsepower—that's 10 more horsepower than the non-hybrid Sonata.

Is that extra bump in electric power noticeable? You'll have to read JG's counterpoint below to find out.

Like what you're reading? We rely on your financial support. For as little as $3, you can support Grassroots Motorsports by becoming a Patron today. 

Become a Patron!

Other staff views

J.G. Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

[Editor's Note: this was written before prices for the Sonata Hybrid were revealed]

Hyundai put the eighth generation 2020 Sonata Hybrid into the media loaner fleet before it even hit dealerships— the window sticker it came with listed all the prices as TBD—but after driving it we can completely understand their excitement.

And we also get that it’s weird to say things like “Sonata” and “excitement” in the same breath, but is that really crazier than [gestures around vaguely at everything]?

Look, it’s no secret we’re Hyundai fanbois, at least as far as “normal” cars are concerned. Hyundai has been absolutely killing it lately, producing vehicles that check the boxes of utility, quality, drivability and downright goodness as well as any company we can think of. And the new Sonata appears it will continue that trend.

While it’s a new platform, the new Sonata feels like a more mild update, not undoing much that we liked about the previous model, but honing a few edges and introducing a few bits of technology that seamlessly make the Sonata a lovely place to do stuff.

The 2.0-liter, direct-injected four-cylinder is augmented by a 39kw electric motor that, together, is rated for a combined 192hp, which feels underrated when you lean into the throttle. Solar panels covering the roof charge the hybrid drive batteries and use that typically vacant real estate to add a few miles of range to the Sonata each sunny day.

Inside, technology abounds with a 12+ inch touch screen allowing access to all major functions, but also BUTTONS! Glorious buttons! Well-placed, easy to use, tactile buttons controlling all the major functions with first-order access and no menu-diving needed. Hyundai should be an object lesson to every other premium manufacturer that you can make an interior that works well, looks good and is easy to use and still use old-school tactile controls.

Prices should be released soon, but we’re expecting a loaded Sonata Hybrid will go for around $35,000, give or take. The previous Sonata Hybrid was a class leader in its segment, and this new one may be an even better car.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more articles.
View comments on the GRM forums
Stealthtercel Dork
6/17/20 4:37 p.m.

Ooh, look: my chance to be That Guy!  JG and the specs column say the engine is a 2.0, not a 1.6.  

Of much more interest: a family member has a 2015 Elantra (which, in Hyundai years, is probably three generations ago or something) and because kids apparently keep growing even while locked down he's starting to get some static from the back-seat squad on the subject of space.  (They're 8 years old in a regular seatbelt, 6 in a booster seat, and an infant.)  Would the Sonata be bigger enough in the back to be worth looking at, or is he inexorably heading toward a minivan?

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
6/17/20 4:50 p.m.

I love how these look in person and that makes me slightly itchy. 

bobzilla MegaDork
6/17/20 5:42 p.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

I love how these look in person and that makes me slightly itchy. 

JG finally came out of the closet..... in his admiration of Hyundai. So can you. Cmon join the cool kids!

edit: is that a solar panel in the roof? Sweet. 

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
6/17/20 5:53 p.m.
bobzilla said:
mazdeuce - Seth said:

I love how these look in person and that makes me slightly itchy. 

JG finally came out of the closet..... in his admiration of Hyundai. So can you. Cmon join the cool kids!

edit: is that a solar panel in the roof? Sweet. 

Oh I love me some Hyundai. Of course, it doesn't hurt that one of our buddies in their PR department is a huge MR2 nerd, but at every level it's kind of a company that gets it right now. Somehow they seem to have the flexibility of a specialty car maker to do stuff like hire the guy responsible for BMW's M Cars to develop their performance lineup, while also having the resources of one of the largest industrial companies in the world. That's a cool combo,and I hope it's sustainable for them.

And, yeah, full-roof solar panels. Shocked that hasn't been a more common offering until recently.

bobzilla MegaDork
6/17/20 5:54 p.m.

In reply to JG Pasterjak :

I am surprised by the lack of roof panels too. And welcome to the Hyundai Humpers club. We get cool signed posters and get to drive cool cars slightly used for pennies. 

1988RedT2 MegaDork
6/17/20 5:58 p.m.

Huh.  Sounds like they're moving backwards.  The 2.0 TGDI in the 2012 made 274 HP and returned decent mileage.  It wasn't the engine that caused us to dump the car after just a year, though.  It was all the transmission issues and the electrical gremlins. 

bobzilla MegaDork
6/18/20 7:27 a.m.

In reply to 1988RedT2 :

Decent, yes. They're now pushing the non-hybrid cars over 40mpg and the hybrids into the 50-60 range. The SE/SX 2.0T cars were rated at 34 highway 22 city and a combined of 26. the 2020 non-hybrid is 28/38 combined 32. The 2019 hybrids were rated at 45 city/51 highway with a combined 47. So, from an economy perspective that's FAR from going backwards. 

Our Preferred Partners