If sales stats tell us anything, it’s that Hyundai’s latest refresh of the Sonata sedan didn’t seem to resonate with buyers. Despite the addition of a large and aggressive new grille for the 2018 model year, complimented by a sharper rear deck and nicely canted taillights, Sonata sales — like that of so many other traditional passenger cars — continued a downward path. So much for fixing the styling issues of the previous refresh.
After hitting a high water mark of 230,605 vehicles sold in 2012, Sonata volume sunk to 131,803 units in 2017. Sales over the first five months of 2018 fell 33.8 percent.
Given the sales trajectory, it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see Hyundai drop the model after the current generation runs its course, but the automaker seems intent on generating as many sales as it can across the segment spectrum. Thanks to these spy shots from Las Vegas, it looks like there’s a new Sonata in our future.
Photographed alongside rival midsizers on a rooftop parking deck, this 2020 Sonata appears longer than the current generation. Gone is the sharp-edged look of the previous model, though there might be a few creases lurking under that camo.
The Accord-like (or is it Malibu-like?) roofline flows gracefully into the trunklid, below which little detail can be seen of the taillights. Up front, it looks like Hyundai eschewed a Kona-esque over/under headlight arrangement in favor of conventional peepers. A large grille is a given, though its exact shape remains to be seen. V-shaped side vents flank the front opening.
The automaker wants its models to remain somewhat distinct from one another in terms of styling, but carryover design elements will surely tip viewers off to the presence of a Hyundai. For power, the current Sonata makes do with three four-cylinder engine options: a standard Theta II 2.4-liter, a turbocharged 2.0-liter unit, and a fuel-sipping 1.6-liter turbo. It’s likely we’ll see at least the 2.0T make its way into the new model.
A public debut will likely take place in early 2019, with the next-gen Sonata going on sale later next year as a 2020 model.
[Images: Brian Williams/Spiedbilde]