2020 Hyundai Sonata reveals striking new design ahead of New York Auto Show

Hyundai's bold new Sonata features trick daytime running lamps hidden beneath chromic strips.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
2 min read

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata is here, and its design is a big departure from the rather conservative look of the current model. Hyundai revealed a handful of images Wednesday showing the next-generation Sonata, inside and out, and we must say, it's a looker.

As is the vogue these days, the new Sonata adopts a more radical roofline that lends the sedan a "four-door coupe" look, but the car's most unusual feature is the way the LED daytime running lamps form a strip that runs all the way up the outer edges of the hood, blending into the chrome surround of the side windows. The DRLs, dubbed Hidden Lighting Lamps, are secreted beneath a chromic trim piece, so when the themselves are not illuminated, they look like a simple accent trim, not lighting.

The nose itself seems impossibly low and broad for a family sedan, looking almost sports-car-like in person. has done a particularly nice job nuzzling the hood up to the amusingly named Digital Pulse Cascading Grille without a noticeable shut line.

2020 Hyundai Sonata
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2020 Hyundai Sonata

The 2020 Sonata looks a whole lot different than its predecessor.


Overall, the new Sonata sits 30 millimeters lower than its predecessor, the bodywork stretches a further 45 mm in length and it's also wider by 35 mm. The design's overall aesthetic draws heavily from the company's Le Fil Rouge concept car, which debuted at last year's Geneva Motor Show.

For the moment, the automaker isn't revealing anything about the 2020 Hyundai Sonata's powertrain, including whether or not it features any electrification options, so it's impossible to know how these cars might stack up against segment rivals like the , and .

Hyundai has at least revealed a photo of the car's dashboard, which features a winged shape "inspired by a stealth aircraft." The low, narrow instrument panel features a large wide-aspect-ratio touchscreen above a set of slim HVAC vents. Based on the photos, there appears to be a new button-based gear selector adjacent to a set of USB-A and USB-C plugs, and the official press release makes note of some new capacitive-touch buttons.

Hyundai also confirmed Wednesday that the 2020 Sonata will debut at the New York Auto Show in April, which makes sense, given the timing of these photos. In addition to the brand-new car, Hyundai says it's developing a "Digital Key," which will let users unlock and start the car via their phone.

2020 Hyundai Sonata is a sharp-dressed sedan

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