Its Japanese rivals suddenly look rather outdated.
There are mild facelifts and extreme makeovers, and the new Hyundai Sonata falls firmly into the latter group after the Korean marque revealed the refreshed mid-size sedan late on Sunday. This dramatic redesign is a vast improvement and makes the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord appear decidedly ordinary. Even the Accord, unveiled just a few months ago in all-new 11th-generation form, seems very conservative by comparison.
Although the Sonata's future remains in doubt, this update underlines Hyundai's commitment to the mid-size sedan segment, but it's not only on the styling front that the Sonata has received attention. It also comes with a curved display reminiscent of those used in the latest BMWs, the first time such a feature has made its way into a Hyundai.
The highlight of the new exterior is the Signature Horizon Lamp that stretches across the entire width of the car's face, something that the large Ioniq 7 electric SUV also shares in concept form. Together with a broad grille and hidden headlamps, the sedan has a much more futuristic, confident countenance than the pre-facelift model that appeared in 2019. Hyundai says that the exterior as a whole is "N Line-based," owing to the more overt nature of the company's performance models. Along the sides, there is a black garnish that gradually rises towards the rear, and the N Line comes with bespoke 19-inch alloy wheels.
The wraparound, curved rear lighting signature of the outgoing model has been replaced here by new H-lights with a less fussy look, and this is complemented by a particularly wide third central brake light at the top of the rear window. A rear spoiler and dual twin-tip mufflers are further sporty adornments found on the N Line.
In the cabin, the new panoramic curved display seamlessly combines dual 12.3-inch displays, including one for the gauge cluster and one for infotainment. There are also new touch-type climate controls that Hyundai says emphasize a much more high-tech layout. That's true, but we do hope that these modern controls have not come at the expense of usability.
Other additions in the cabin include a column-type shift-by-wire controller mounted behind the steering wheel, which frees up center console storage space, and new interior color combinations.
Hyundai did not share any other details about the updated Sonata, so assuming the powertrains stay as is, it'll come with the same base 2.5-liter engine making 191 horsepower. The 1.6-liter turbo with 180 hp and the N Line with 290 hp should follow, along with a hybrid variant. We could also see an improvement in gas mileage, as Hyundai says the new aero-friendly exterior improves efficiency. Rumors suggest that an all-wheel-drive option will be added to the range, too.
A global launch will follow on March 30, so it won't be long before we find out more about the radically redesigned Sonata.
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