2024 Hyundai Sonata: Aero Styling Mixed With a Classy Cabin

Strong points
  • Sleek lines
  • Sophisticated powertrain
  • Generous content
  • Available AWD
Weak points
  • Tight rear-seat headroom
  • No hybrid model
  • Centre stack should be simpler
Full report

With the current-generation Hyundai Sonata dating back to 2020, it was more than time for a mid-cycle refresh. Designers haven’t just made a few tweaks here and there. Rather, they’ve significantly altered both the exterior and interior. Meanwhile, just two powertrain options are available.

The changes result in a sleeker-looking sedan and a more refined, more comfortable cabin where technology takes centre stage and offers lots of possibilities.

While American automakers have largely abandoned traditional passenger cars, Hyundai continues to believe in them. Remember, the smaller Elantra has been updated for 2024, too. The Koreans anticipate demand for sedans to rise again in the coming years.

Photo: Hyundai

Hyundai Designers Strike Again

Looking at today’s lineup, Hyundai emphasizes selection and styling. A state-of-the-art design studio full of talented stylists was a key part of the company’s investments in recent years. As you know, looks can either make or break a car, but in the 2024 Sonata’s case, the reaction seems to be quite positive despite the numerous and substantial revisions that have taken place.

The main highlight is a full-width light bar separating the hood from the large grille. It makes for a spectacular front fascia that people pay attention to. A similar light bar is found in the rear, just below an integrated spoiler that adds character to the exterior. The side view is equally pleasing, featuring retro and modern touches all at once.

Photo: Hyundai

By the way, the refreshed Sonata is more aerodynamic, as well, with a drag coefficient that went down from 0.27 to just 0.24.

Inside, Hyundai designers have reinvented the whole dashboard, which is now punctuated by dual 12.3-inch displays mounted side by side. One is for the instruments and is seemingly configurable at will, offering innovative and user-friendly graphics. The other screen is for infotainment, allowing drivers to access a myriad of vehicle functions and settings. Lower on the centre stack is an HVAC panel consisting of two large dials and touch-sensitive controls.

The heated front seats are comfortable and rear-seat occupants enjoy generous legroom. That being said, getting there is not an easy thing due to the four-door coupe silhouette that compromises headroom in the back and limits the size of the door openings. Trunk capacity is decent at 453 litres. Build quality and material selection, meanwhile, are worthy of praise.

Photo: Hyundai

Sonata Hybrid is Gone

For 2024, the Hyundai Sonata is no longer available as a hybrid. The standard engine is a naturally aspirated 2.5-litre four-cylinder with direct fuel injection producing 191 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque. It is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with a nifty shifter mounted to the steering column. Push the button at the end to engage Park, twist it forward to put the car in Drive or the other way for Reverse. It’s so simple and pleasant to use that we’d like to see it in more vehicles—and not just Hyundais.

Photo: Hyundai

This mill is optionally available with the automaker’s most sophisticated all-wheel drive system to date, distributing torque evenly in order to prevent understeer and oversteer.

Fancy a Sonata N Line? The sharper-looking, more richly equipped model packs a turbocharged variant of the 2.5-litre engine. With 290 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque, it’s the most potent Sonata ever built—and a whole lot of fun to drive, too. The transmission is the same, but alas, AWD is missing.

Just What You Need

If you think the base Sonata is weak and boring because it’s 99 horsepower short of the N Line model, you’re wrong. Those 191 ponies are adequate enough for most daily driving scenarios, especially with such a smartly tuned autobox.

It’s also a pretty efficient performer, having achieved 7.7 L/100 km on our watch. The more powerful Sonata is officially rated at 8.9 L/100 km, which is still reasonable given the amount of muscle.

Photo: Hyundai

Unlike the vast majority of SUVs that suffer from a high centre of gravity and extra weight, this Korean midsize sedan takes on corners with confidence and is blessed with precise steering that doesn’t feel overly assisted. Handling is slightly better than average, but not on par with the Honda Accord or Toyota Camry.

One last thing you need to know is that the 2024 Sonata boasts a plethora of driver assistance features. For one, adaptive cruise control with traffic stop and go definitely makes urban and suburban driving more enjoyable and more effortless. Ultimately, this is a well-designed, generously equipped and competitively priced car. Speaking of which, all-inclusive pricing starts at $35,256.

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