February 17

2020 Hyundai Sonata vs. 2021 Hyundai Sonata

If you’re planning to buy a midsize car, consider the Hyundai Sonata. This sedan offers excellent ride comfort with its smooth handling and refined cabin, as well as good fuel economy and a long list of advanced safety features. If you’re unsure whether you should opt for the 2020 or 2021 Hyundai Sonata, read this in-depth comparison between the two models.


Hyundai Sonata 2021
Image via Unsplash by jakobowens1

The 2021 Hyundai Sonata didn’t undergo any exterior styling changes, so it looks exactly the same as the previous year’s model. It continues to feature a distinctive, modern design that makes it instantly recognizable. It appears sleek and stylish with its coupelike silhouette, low-slung stance, and arching hood and roof. Its long hood and short tail give it a forward-thrusting look, while its large, gaping grille and angular headlights add a touch of aggressiveness.

On the outside, the only update the 2021 model received is a new wheel and tire combination. The SEL Plus model now comes with 19-inch wheels and all-season Pirelli P Zero tires.


Hyundai carried both of the 2021 Sonata’s currently available engines over from the 2020 model. The sedan comes standard with a 2.5-liter inline-four engine that generates 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, this engine delivers smooth acceleration and more than adequate power for most driving tasks.

The optional engine is a 1.6-liter turbo-four that’s rated at 180 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. Although it produces slightly less horsepower, it’s more responsive during acceleration, giving you a livelier driving experience.

Perhaps the biggest change to the Hyundai Sonata is the addition of the performance-oriented N Line to its lineup. This model gets its power from a 2.5-liter turbo-four engine that serves up 290 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. It can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in an impressive 5.3 seconds, making it arguably the quickest front-wheel-drive family sedan on the market. The N Line is expected to hit showrooms in the later part of 2021.


The 2020 Hyundai Sonata received an all-new modular platform that’s longer and wider than before, giving it increased stability. For the 2021 model year, Hyundai used new materials to make this chassis lighter yet stronger. As a result, the latest Sonata delivers noticeably better handling than its predecessor. Still, the car is a family sedan at heart, so its suspension is specifically tuned for comfort instead of sporty handling.

The 2021 Hyundai Sonata uses a strut front suspension and a multi-link rear suspension, which both respond with soft compliance. As such, the sedan can deliver a smooth, composed ride in most situations. Thanks to its stiffer body, it absorbs potholes, railroad tracks, and other uneven surfaces with ease. Despite being a comfort-oriented car, the Sonata demonstrates good agility around turns and on winding roads, partly because of its low center of gravity.

Another feature that makes the Sonata a great handler is the drive-mode selector. By choosing Normal, Smart, Sport, or Custom, you can adjust the car’s drivetrain to suit your preferences. For instance, you can select Normal to make the steering feel lighter when you’re driving in the city.

Fuel Economy

The 2021 Hyundai Sonata has the same fuel-economy ratings as the 2020 Sonata, since they’re equipped with the same engines. With the base inline-four engine, the sedan manages 28/38 mpg (city/highway). If you opt for the turbo-four, the rating drops slightly to 27/37 mpg. Despite its more potent engine, the N Line is relatively efficient, giving you a respectable 23/33 mpg.


Most trim levels of the 2021 Hyundai Sonata didn’t get interior updates. However, the range-topping Limited now comes with a six-way power front-passenger seat, which replaces the four-way power seat in the outgoing model.

Other than that, the Sonata continues to feature one of the most well-built and attractive interiors in its class. Its cabin is airy, stylish, and lined with soft-touch materials. It also offers cushy and supportive seats with enough legroom and headroom to comfortably accommodate even tall adults. The base SE comes with cloth seats, while the Limited approaches luxury territory with genuine leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, a leather-wrapped dashboard, and a panoramic sunroof.

Tech Features

The Hyundai Sonata’s list of tech features received no changes from the 2020 to 2021 model year. The 2021 edition comes standard with an easy-to-use infotainment system with an 8-inch touch-screen display, Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a USB port. Available features include a 10.25-inch display, navigation, satellite radio, HD radio, Blue Link telematics system, wireless device charging, a second-row USB port, a 12.3-inch digital instrument display, and a 12-speaker Bose audio system.

Safety Features

Another notable improvement to the Hyundai Sonata is the addition of a new safe-exit warning system. Standard in the SEL, SEL Plus, and Limited, this feature alerts occupants to oncoming traffic when the sedan is parallel parked.

The 2021 Sonata offers an extensive list of driver-assistance technologies to enhance your safety on the road. It comes standard with automatic high-beam headlights, pedestrian monitoring, forward-collision alert, forward automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-tracing assistance, lane-keeping assistance, lane-departure warning, a rearview camera, and driver-drowsiness detection. Few midsize sedans offer a more generous selection of standard active safety features than the Sonata.

If you want to further reduce your risk of accidents, you can get available safety features such as a head-up display, blind-spot detection, a surround-view parking camera system, reverse automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, and remote parking assistance.

Whether you decide to buy the 2020 or 2021 Hyundai Sonata, you’ll get a great car that offers excellent value for money. Both of these models have a high reliability rating, so you can expect them to remain in good working condition for a long time. If you want to know whether the 2020 or 2021 Hyundai Sonata is more suitable for you, take a test drive at Huffines Hyundai McKinney. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. 


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