2020 Hyundai Sonata first drive: Calling the shot

Underneath that protruding nose is either a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle I4, or the one we tested, a 1.6-liter turbocharged I4. That more powerful engine debuts in SEL Plus and Limited trims this December. Both are marketed under the new Smartstream name. The 2.5 direct-injection four delivers 191 hp at 6,100 rpm and 181 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm. The 1.6 turbo is a strangely similar 180 hp and 195 lb-ft, though that twist comes lower, starting at 1,500 rpm. There is a hybrid coming, but Hyundai says the 2.5 will be a standalone engine. All are connected to an eight-speed automatic and only the front wheels.
Inside the cabin is where things get clever. The whole space is redesigned with new, soft armrests that feature a long cargo slot/grab handle for easy door closing and storage, a new digital display on upper trim models that shows blind spot cameras on either side (in addition to your usual blind spot warning lights in the mirrors), a new steering wheel design that looks a little like an airplane yoke, and a central screen that bends inward, giving the illusion of one continuous piece connecting with the gauge cluster.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included with the 10.25-inch screen and Hyundai has a new partnership with Bose for its top audio system. The rest of the instrument panel consists of narrow air vents, which Hyundai spent time on eliminating air noise, a large central storage compartment and a push-button transmission. Kia got the dial transmission, Hyundai got the buttons. The drive mode switch (smart, comfort, normal, sport) sits behind the gear selector panel.