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Hyundai's new Sonata could get all-wheel drive

Hyundai is "currently reviewing" the need for an all-wheel-drive Sonata in the US.

2020 Hyundai Sonata

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata will arrive in US showrooms later this year, with bold styling and lots of new driver-assistance technologies. The rakish sedan rides on a brand-new platform, and Hyundai says the Sonata could eventually be offered with all-wheel drive because of that -- a first for the model.

When specifically asked about the possibility of an all-wheel-drive Sonata during a press briefing in Seoul, South Korea on Wednesday, Jae Young Kim, the director of Hyundai's product division, said, "Yes ... we are currently reviewing the need for all-wheel drive in [the US] market."

The 2020 Sonata's platform -- called N3 internally -- will go on to underpin a number of other vehicles, including crossovers and SUVs. Because of that, the N3 chassis has been designed to support all-wheel drive from the get-go.

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata arrives in the US later this year.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

"In the future the SUVs will sit on this platform," Kim said, "so of course ... the platform does have that."

An all-wheel-drive Sonata would give Hyundai a strong contender to fight the upcoming 2020 Subaru Legacy, not to mention the redesigned Nissan Altima, which also gets this driveline tech for the first time. Mid-size, all-wheel-drive sedans are geared toward buyers who like this sort of foul-weather capability but don't necessarily want to step up to a crossover or SUV. 

The US mid-size sedan segment might not be what it used to be, but Hyundai notes it's still the fifth-largest vehicle class overall, and thus, the company sees great opportunity there. The Korean automaker refers to its 2020 Sonata as a "personalized high-tech sedan in style," according to Kim.

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata will officially make its public debut at the New York Auto Show in April. We're driving Hyundai's new sedan in South Korea this week, so stay tuned for detailed impressions in the not-too-distant future.