Based on its long list of tech, luxury, and safety features, you wouldn’t guess that the Sonata is an affordable mid-size sedan.
We’ve already told you about the new Hyundai Sonata that will be hitting U.S. streets this fall; although not all the information is out yet, what we do know is pretty impressive. The first thing you’ll notice is its shapely styling—see our prototype drive for a more in-depth look at its design—but the Sonata will also be remarkable to mid-size-sedan buyers for its many advanced tech features. We’ve detailed the most impressive ones below.
Phone As Key
One of the very few things in our lives that can’t be stored on a phone is a car key, but that changes with the new Sonata, which allows the car to be locked, unlocked, and driven using only a phone. The feature is controlled through a Hyundai-specific app and uses the phone’s near-field communication (NFC) for a secure connection to the vehicle. With the app open, hold the phone up to the driver’s door handle to unlock and then set the phone on the wireless-charging pad to enable the ignition. The app allows the owner to grant temporary or permanent access to other drivers, and also enables partial access so that, for example, a package could be delivered into its trunk.
Illuminated Chrome Trim
Flanking the hood on either side is what at first looks like standard-issue chrome trim. But in a neat (and patented) trick, the leading quarter or so of that trim is backlit. When that light switches on, it shines through in increasing intensity the closer it gets to the headlights, as the chrome coating has been burned off by a laser in an expanding grid of tiny, 0.05-milimeter squares to let light through.
Launched on the 2016 BMW 7-series and, until now, exclusive to luxury offerings, the Sonata has the ability to be pulled into or out of a parking spot that might otherwise be too tight to extract oneself from. The car’s movement is controlled remotely using buttons on the key fob (and, presumably, also through the app that allows key-free operation).
Oodles of Safety Tech
The Sonata’s available three radar sensors, five cameras, and 13 ultrasonic sensors enable lots and lots of active-safety features: standard adaptive cruise, forward-collision braking, lane-following assist (it will keep tracking the car ahead even if it loses sight of the lane lines), plus available rear-collision braking, a blind-spot-view feature that shows a video feed in the digital gauge cluster looking back from the respective outside rearview mirror when the turn signal is activated, and a 360-degree overhead view when maneuvering. There’s also a new safety feature that warns of a vehicle approaching from the rear when a door is opened.
Higher-Speed Wireless Phone Charging
To increase the wireless-charging speed on the new Sonata, the pad circulates air over the phone to keep it from overheating. This enables charging power of up to 10 watts (that’s the equivalent of a 2 amp USB port), or twice the previous Sonata’s rate, although other automakers also offer similar wireless-charging rates.
Digital Gauge Cluster/Large Center Screen/Head-Up Display
Judging the modernity of today’s cars starts with screen size, and the new Sonata has an available 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, the same size as the one that’s optional on the Audi A7. As is typical with screen-based gauges, there’s a host of customization options to alter what vehicle, infotainment, or navigation information is displayed. There’s also a large head-up display that broadcasts information onto the windshield just ahead of the driver, and the center screen is a large, 10.3-inch unit with split-screen functionality.
Nappa Leather Seats
Nappa leather is a $1500 option on the $84,645 BMW 740i, and it’s also available on the new Sonata, at a price point roughly $50,000 lower. Hyundai promises that the top trim level, likely the only one that will offer the upscale leather, won’t be much more expensive than the $33,020 Limited trim on the 2019 model.
Writer: Dave VanderWerp
Published: Mar 27, 2019
Source: car and drive