Hyundai is working on more powerful Sonata variants

The Korean automaker's N performance division might even get in on the fun.

Steven Ewing Former managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Steven Ewing
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2020 Hyundai Sonata
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2020 Hyundai Sonata

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata goes on sale in the US in late 2019.


When the 2020 Hyundai Sonata launches in the US later this year, it'll offer a choice of two different four-cylinder engines. The most powerful of the two engines only produces 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque -- numbers that fall short of other midsize sedans. Happily, says a more powerful Sonata is in the cards.

"There's more to come later," Albert Biermann, Hyundai Motor Group's head of research and development, told Roadshow at the company's R&D center in Namyang, South Korea, on Friday. "You'll see a big step more of power and fun to drive."

Hyundai will offer a 2.0-liter, turbocharged version of the 2020 Sonata in China and several other markets, but this engine is not currently planned for the US market. It's unclear if the higher-performance Sonata that Biermann references will use this 2.0T motor, or something else entirely. 

"We hope to launch additional powertrains in the future," Jae Young Kim, the director of Hyundai's product division, told Roadshow.

2020 Hyundai Sonata is a midsize stunner

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When asked about the possibility of an N-badged Sonata, Biermann notes the company's performance division is keen to expand "in segments where we have not been yet." That could mean a full-fledged Sonata N model is in the works, but I'd sooner bet on seeing a half-step-up N-Line treatment, similar to the new Elantra GT N-Line, instead.

The 2020 Sonata provides excellent groundwork on which to build, with its great design, premium accommodations and huge smattering of onboard tech. A more powerful engine option will definitely be a welcome addition to this already impressive package.