Hyundai revealed its all-new, eighth-generation Sonata at the New York auto show this morning. More than the brand’s most successful model, the 2020 Sonata blazes a technological path forward for the Korean automaker.
The most intriguing tech offered with the Sonata starts with accessing the vehicle itself. The car’s key fob can be replaced by Hyundai Digital Key smartphone app. Using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) communication and Near Field Communication (NFC), Sonata owners can lock, unlock, and remotely start their car from the Android-only app. An NFC key card is also included with ever Sonata for use when handing the vehicle over to, say, a valet.
All In The Connected Family
What’s more, this digital key can be shared with friends and family. Owners can tailor vehicle feature access through these sharable digital keys as well as set the duration of the key sharing. For example, let’s say your brother in law needed to get a bag he left in the trunk of your Sonata. You could send him access to the vehicle, allowing him to lock and unlock the car, but not start it. And you could set his access window to just a few minutes — and revoke it early.
Hyundai isn’t the first automaker to offer a digital key. Volvo revealed its digital key a few years ago. However, Volvo’s is available on both Apple and Android smartphones. Hyundai’s is relegated just to Android.
The technology story continues into the cabin where owners will be greeted by both a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster as well as a 10.25-inch infotainment screen in the center dash. These big, bright screens are complimented by an 8.0-inch head-up display (HUD) that is projected on the windshield in front of the driver.
Not So Standard Equipment
On the road, the Sonata is fairly advanced as well, in terms of advanced driving safety technology. 2020 Sonata features several advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). These include Advanced Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, and Lane Keeping Assist — all standard equipment. Optionally, buyers can specify Highway Driving Assist system, which is essentially a more robust version of adaptive cruise and lane keep assist in that it helps drivers remain centered in the lane and a safe distance from the vehicle ahead.
At launch, 2020 Sonata is offered with two gasoline engines: a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and an all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder called the ‘Smartstream.’ Presumably, these will not be the only propulsion options for the Sonata. It is reasonable to assume that Hyundai will offer a hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version of the all-new Sonata in the years to come.
In addition to the new Sonata, Hyundai also revealed its new Venue entry-level SUV. Like the Sonata, when it first goes on sale, the Venue will be powered only by a 1.6-liter gasoline engine. It would not be surprising to see a new hybrid version of the Venue down the road, too. That’s because automakers are eager to eke out as much fuel-efficiency from their vehicles as possible. And although the Venue is rated to achieve an EPA-estimated combined 33 miles per gallon, there is always room for improvement.