2020 Hyundai Sonata is as quiet as a Camry or Accord…

… at least as measured objectively.

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata is rolling out of the Alabama factory now (Korean brains and American brawn?).

A candid media presentation shows that “road noise” (unclear what speed) was 63.5 dBA for the new Sonata versus 63 for the Camry and 64 for the Accord. Hyundai has pulled out the same technical stops as Toyota and Honda, i.e., using windshield glass laminated with a sound-absorbing layer of plastic (“acoustic glass”). All but the lowest trim levels also get acoustic glass for the front side windows.

(Car and Driver did a comparison test in which the Sonata was rated 2 out of 5 and objectively measured 1 dBA noisier than the Accord (and 2 dBA noisier than the Camry). The authors noted that “A small tornado’s worth of wind noise makes its way into the cabin, which is surprising because the Sonata is the only car here with dual-pane glass in the front doors.”)

Hyundai is pushing hard with smartphone integration. Their “digital key” (Android-only, perhaps due to Apple restrictions on using near field communication?) lets people open, start, and drive the car without a key. At the SEL trim level and above, the car can be remote-started from an app that works on iPhone or Android.

Now that we live in a USB-C world, of course the car, like every other car, is crammed with USB-A charging ports.

Even the lowest trim level includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It looks like the next step up, SEL, is the minimum for the “Blue Link” remote start, heated seats, automatic temperature control, blind spot assistance, rear cross-traffic assistance, etc. This is priced at $25,500. It is an extra $1,200 to get the digital key and some other goodies via a “convenience” package. It looks as though the comparable Honda Accord is the EX, at $27,770. (But the proper way to compare car costs, I think, is to look at the monthly lease payment since that encapsulates the market’s belief regarding likely resale value. See this example with a Tesla 3.)

Readers: Since the prices are similar, maybe it comes down to looks and style? Here’s the Sonata, the Accord, and the Camry. Which one looks the best?

(In other car news: The much-anticipated 2020 Subaru Legacy turned out to be a flop, losing a Car and Driver comparison test to the Nissan Altima AWD version and coming in last in the 5-car test cited above.)

6 thoughts on “2020 Hyundai Sonata is as quiet as a Camry or Accord…

  1. This contest comes down to your choice between the Honda and the Hyundai. If you value the AWD during Massachusetts winter enough to offset the fact that the Honda is a better car, buy the Hyundai. If you can live with FWD, the Honda has an elegance and a build quality that just can’t be matched by any of the others, and I think you’ll agree if you drive them back to back. Too bad for Subaru, I had high hopes for the 2020 Legacy. They need to rethink their chassis dynamics. It’s a shame because the boxer engine should be an asset due to the lower center of gravity. I suspect the Subaru is better than any of them in really bad conditions like deep snow, but the porpoise-y ride the rest of the time is probably due to their suspension configuration. That’s the tradeoff.

    Looks and lines go to the Honda, hands down. It’s a mature, elegant car with the creases in the right places and none of the superannuated adolescent tricks. It manages to look taut, fit and stylish, a cut above the rest. The interior room is also what you need. My $0.02.

  2. Addendum: Also, the drilled brake and throttle pedals on the Legacy Sport? C’mon. Right there the car says: “I wish I could buy the WRX, but I’m too married now.”

    Buy the Honda, even if you have to pay a little more, unless you absolutely want AWD.

  3. The Honda is a nice car but I am leary of the design of the direct fuel injection. I believe they have eliminated the port injectors. They may have an issue with the intake valves getting gummed up due to blowby and EGR gases because fuel will no longer wash over the intake valve as it would with port injectors. This could be an expensive maintenance item down the road. Toyota and Ford have incorporated both port and direct injectors to avoid these issues. Don’t know about Hyundai.

    Re: Altima vs Legacy. Nissans are constantly reported to be very low in reliability. I imagine the resale will be low too. Most of the writers in auto magazines that are supported by advertisers are suspect. I’d advise waiting for what the Consumer Report guys report out and then trying them out for yourselves.

  4. You should know better than to trust a car magazine. Usually the comparison winner is the one with the most expensive ad.

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