2019 Hyundai Sonata
2.4-litre I4 (185 hp, 178 lb.-ft.), 2.0-litre turbo I4 (245 hp, 260 lb.-ft.),
(2.0-litre I4 (144 hp) with electric motor (193 hp net)
- The Sonata is unchanged for 2019
- Part of the sixth Sonata generation introduced for 2015
- Solid list of standard features and tons of available tech
- Spacious interior accommodations and generous trunk space
- Excellent user interface receives a more upscale redesign
- Generous warranty coverage
- Lackluster power from base engine
- Top turbocharged engine trails performance of its competitors
- Slightly less rear legroom than the segment leaders
- No options available on Edmunds’ recommended Eco trim
There’s no bad pick here, but consider getting the Sonata Eco with its turbocharged 1.6-liter engine and seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. This combo is more engaging and fuel-efficient than the standard 2.4-liter engine. You don’t really get any options to choose from with the Eco, but it comes equipped just like the SE model, which is to say very well indeed.
Overall rating 7.7 / 10
The midsize sedan playing field is vast with the competition coming from just about all the major manufacturers.
Just about all of the midsize sedans these days are very good. As a shopper, it can be hard to choose. The 2019 Hyundai Sonata won’t really wow you with dramatic styling or crazy amounts of horsepower, but it is a very competent sedan that ranks among the class leaders.
It has an easy-to-use interior and ample cargo room. And while it trails behind the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry in rear legroom, the Sonata is still large enough that your backseat passengers won’t feel crowded. Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integrate your smartphone into the car, while blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane keeping assist help to prevent avoidable fender benders.
You will have to be a little careful about which engine you pick. We’re not fond of the Sonata’s tepid 2.4-liter four-cylinder base engine. It doesn’t have the same punch and efficiency of the Accord’s 1.5-liter turbocharged engine or the Camry’s 2.5-liter engine. Thankfully, the Sonata Eco model features a stronger 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and a quick-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. At the top of the range is the Limited with its more powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. It’s strong, but the resulting acceleration isn’t as good as what you get from other manufacturers’ optional premium engines.
Really, though, don’t let horsepower figures sway you too much. The 2019 Hyundai Sonata’s easy driving demeanor, excellent standard technology and roomy interior make it a solid pick for a midsize sedan.
2019 Hyundai Sonata configurations
The 2019 Hyundai Sonata is a midsize sedan available in six trim levels. The SE and the Eco are similarly equipped and mainly differ in their engines. The SEL adds a few luxury options, while the Sport adds visual appeal. Topping the range are the Limited and the Limited 2.0T, which has the most standard equipment and offers a powerful turbocharged engine option.
The SE is the entry-level trim and is powered by a 2.4-liter (185 hp, 178 lb-ft) four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Its list of standard equipment includes automatic headlights, power-folding mirrors, cruise control, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a 7-inch touchscreen display, a six-speaker sound system with Bluetooth and USB/auxiliary jacks, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, a rearview camera, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
You get the same features with the Eco. It mostly differs with what’s under the hood: a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (178 hp, 195 lb-ft) with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. This is the most fuel-efficient Sonata in the lineup.
Next up is the SEL, and it’s a solid value if you don’t mind the base engine. It adds larger 17-inch wheels, keyless entry and ignition, LED daytime running lights, hands-free smart trunk access, heated mirrors, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, satellite and HD radio, and a rear USB port. Also included is Hyundai’s subscription-based Blue Link communications system. You can also add advanced driver aids such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist with the optional Tech package.
Following the SEL is the Sport trim. It has unique styling front and rear, a sunroof, a flat-bottom steering wheel with paddle shifters, leather sport seats with cloth inserts, and Sport-specific interior trim. The SEL’s Tech package is also available on the Sport.
You don’t get any of the Sport-specific items stepping up to the Limited trim, though the sunroof remains. Also standard are LED headlights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, full leather seats, a power passenger seat, driver-seat memory settings, front-seat ventilation, and dual-zone automatic climate control. The safety features of the Tech package are standard here.
You also have the option of upgrading to the Ultimate package, which adds a panoramic sunroof, rear window sunshades and rear parking sensors. An 8-inch touchscreen navigation system and a premium audio system are also standard.
Topping out the Sonata line is the Limited 2.0T, which includes everything from the regular Limited but has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (245 hp, 260 lb-ft) and an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of a Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T (turbocharged 2.0L inline-4 | 8-speed automatic | FWD).
Power in the top-of-the-line 2.0-liter turbo engine is plentiful for a midsize family sedan. The driving dynamics are spirited but not sporty. On the whole, it drives in a manner that the typical buyer will find satisfactory, but it doesn’t change the game in any way.
In everyday driving, the 2.0-liter turbo engine is pleasantly responsive and smooth. It’s also plenty quick. In our testing, it hit 60 mph in 7.4 seconds, which is about half a second quicker than its chief rivals when equipped with their base engines.
The pedal is reassuringly firm and easy to modulate in routine driving. Under heavy braking, there is some noticeable nosedive, but the car remains very controllable. In our panic-brake test, it came to a stop from 60 mph in 118 feet, which is a pretty good result for midsize sedans in this class.
The amount of steering effort is appropriate throughout the speed range — it’s suitably light at parking-lot speeds and weights up nicely on the highway. There’s not a lot of feedback to the driver, favoring isolation over involvement.
Though it doesn’t exactly encourage sporty driving, the Sonata is surprisingly capable on a challenging twisty road. The well-managed body roll certainly instills confidence. And despite its low-rolling-resistance tires, there’s not much screeching when cornering aggressively.
It’s easy to drive the Sonata in any condition, and it doesn’t require the driver to adapt to any quirks or shortcomings. The turning circle is small enough that multipoint turns are a rarity and maneuvering in tight quarters is stress-free. Its transmission behaves as expected.
The newly updated suspension is a big improvement over past Sonatas. There’s the right dose of compliance to smooth out road imperfections, yet body roll isn’t excessive — it’s a good balance of compliance and control. The front seats deliver long-haul comfort and very effective ventilation.
Seat comfort 8.0
The front seats are supportive and well-cushioned for long-distance comfort. There’s a good range of lumbar adjustments, and the ventilated seats do an excellent job of keeping you cool. The rear seats are flatter in shape but still comfortable for the average-size adult.
Ride comfort 8.0
Given how well the Sonata handles, the ride quality doesn’t suffer. Small to moderate bumps and undulations are smoothed over gracefully with no residual motions afterward. This improvement in damping is a definite step in the right direction for Hyundai.
Noise & vibration 7.0
Wind noise is limited to a little bit of white noise by the mirrors at highway speeds, but it’s really only noticeable if you turn off the stereo. Road noise intensity is comparable to that of other cars in this class.
Climate control 8.0
The layout of controls is simple and effective. Once you set the dual-zone automatic climate control, there’s little need for subsequent adjustments. The ventilated front seats are particularly effective.
The cabin does the basics well, from accommodating various driver shapes to facilitating easy entry and exit. The placement of displays and controls is intuitive and easy to use. Even though this cabin isn’t all-new, it still asks for fewer sacrifices than some newer sedans.
Ease of use 8.0
All of the controls are logically placed and easy to operate. Rather than rely solely on a touchscreen, the Sonata has physical buttons that are well-suited to accessing the information you need efficiently.
Getting in/getting out 8.0
The big door openings and sensible ride height make getting in and out of the Sonata a breeze, even in tight spots. The sloping rear roofline does require rear passengers to stoop a little to clear it, but it’s no worse than in other cars in the segment.
Driving position 8.0
The wide range of adjustability, especially with the telescoping steering wheel, allows short and tall drivers to find their optimal position quickly. Unlike some of its competition, we never felt as if we had to compromise to get comfortable.
The Sonata conveys a spacious and airy feeling, with a decent amount of physical space in the front seats. The rear seats are also roomy. The rear roof pillar does cut down the view a bit, yet it’s far less confining than the back seats of some other sedans.
Forward visibility is about average, as is the view out the back. A standard backup camera takes the guesswork out of reversing into a space. The high-mounted touchscreen helps to keep your eyes on the road.
The interior materials aren’t quite as nice as some other sedans, but everything has a good sturdy feel about them. We never noticed any creaks or squeaks while driving, and all features functioned as they should.
There’s little to complain about when it comes to the Sonata’s everyday usability, which is aided by solid cargo capacity and no shortage of in-cabin storage options. It’s as good as or better than what you’d get with the typical car in this class.
Small-item storage 7.5
The smart placement and sensible sizing of bins and pockets mean there are plenty of places to store your personal items. A grippy wireless charging pad is another example of smart design.
Cargo space 8.0
The Sonata’s 16.3-cubic-foot capacity beats rivals by a small margin. Remote seatback releases make for easier loading of large items. Its hands-free trunk opener is a nice touch, but we wish it would open completely. The trunk release is hidden in the badge; we had to consult the manual to find it.
While its infotainment isn’t cutting-edge, the execution is sound and well-thought-out. The premium audio system might leave audiophiles wanting. It’s decent but not exceptional. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard features, a nice attribute that’s not universal in the segment.
Audio & navigation 7.5
The well-spaced-out on-screen buttons are easier and less distracting to use while on the move. Graphics are sharp and the system is fairly quick to respond. The Infinity audio system is good, but we expect more performance from a premium feature such as this one.
Smartphone integration 7.0
With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard equipment throughout the Sonata lineup, you’ll have a familiar interface and more advanced music and texting features than Hyundai’s system. It’s not all that unusual, but it’s worth noting that Toyota does not offer them.
Voice control 7.0
Voice control for the navigation and phone systems is accurate and easy to use. Apple CarPlay remains our preferred voice-controlled system because it more readily accommodates natural speech and has more features that benefit from it.