Buyer's Guide

2021 Hyundai Sonata
Select a Different Model (5 Available): Limited Sedan
Zero to 60 $ 7.8 seconds
Fuel Economy 27 / 36 mpg
Safety (IIHS) Best Pick
Horsepower 180@5,500
See All Specs
Free Price Quote From a Local Dealer
2021 Hyundai Sonata MODEL OVERVIEW

Pros

  • User-friendly tech features
  • Hybrid model's fuel economy
  • Fun N Line variant

Cons

  • Hybrid model's grabby brakes
  • Certain safety features limited to higher trims
  • Divisive exterior design

When the 2011 Sonata arrived, it attracted a new generation of buyers to the Hyundai brand with its bold styling and good value. Now, a decade later, the new-for-2020 Sonata turns heads with an avant-garde exterior complete with cool LED light strips integrated into the metal accents on the hood. Available in multiple flavors ranging from an efficient hybrid to a powerful N Line model, every version of the offers slick, user-friendly technologies.

What's New

  • Performance-oriented N Line trim joins the lineup
  • The SEL Plus trim gets 19-inch alloy wheels as standard
  • A six-way power front passenger's seat is now standard on the Limited grade
  • SEL and higher trims now get the safe exit warning, which can alert you of an oncoming vehicle and lock the doors

What We Think

Hyundai has transformed the Sonata from a dull, average midsize sedan to a roomy and stylish cruiser packed with tech. Stable handling means you can confidently drive through winding roads, though body control leaves something to be desired. The available 1.6-liter turbo-four offers plenty of power while the responsive transmission drops gears promptly when you put your foot down. One small issue with the 1.6T engine: Stab the accelerator pedal too much at once, and the tires might struggle to gain traction.

If you need your stylish midsize sedan to be supremely efficient, try the Sonata Hybrid. Even though it's not the most powerful option, the Sonata Hybrid still offers good power and cruises quietly. The six-speed automatic, however, isn't smooth at low speeds and causes some head tossing. The brake calibration is also grabby; the initial bite is too immediate. When performance and dynamics take priority over efficiency, the Sonata N Line is a masterfully executed take on the sporty midsize sedan.

A well-packaged interior means there's plenty of space inside despite the sloping roofline. Even average-sized adults will be comfortable in the rear seats. Hyundai continues to lead in the infotainment department with easy-to-use systems, responsive displays, and clear graphics. Even with the addition of an available large main touchscreen and digital gauge cluster, the Sonata's infotainment system remains one of the simplest to learn.

All of these improvements elevate the Sonata into a really solid performer, though some editors might still go for a Honda Accord. That car took the top spot in our seven-way family sedan big test, in which the Sonata placed fourth. Nevertheless, for consumers who still want a sedan instead of an SUV, the compelling Sonata is worth considering.

Performance and Fuel Economy

The 2021 Hyundai Sonata is available with four powertrain options including a hybrid. Every variant comes with an automatic transmission.

Model: Sonata SE, Sonata SEL
Engine and Transmission: 
2.5-liter I-4 - eight-speed automatic
Power:
191 hp/181 lb-ft of torque
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy:
28/38 mpg city/highway (SE); 27/37 mpg (SEL)

Model: Sonata SEL Plus, Sonata Limited
Engine and Transmission: 
1.6-liter turbo I-4 - eight-speed automatic
Power:
180 hp/195 lb-ft
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy:
27/37 mpg

Model: Sonata Hybrid Blue, Sonata Hybrid SEL, Sonata Hybrid Limited
Engine and Transmission: 
2.0-liter I-4 + electric motor - six-speed automatic
Power:
192 hp combined
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy:
50/54 mpg (Blue); 45/51 mpg (SEL and Limited)

Model: Sonata N Line
Engine and Transmission:
2.5-liter turbo I-4 - eight-speed dual-clutch automatic
Power:
290 hp/311 lb-ft

EPA-Rated Fuel Economy: 23/33 mpg

Safety

NHTSA: 5 Stars (out of a possible five stars)

IIHS: 2021 Top Safety Pick

The Sonata scored Good in all IIHS crashworthiness categories, except the headlights test where the standard units only got a Marginal rating (Good is the highest possible score). In the front crash prevention tests, the Sonata got a Superior rating on the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations (Superior is the highest rating).

All 2021 Sonata models get forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, cyclist detection, front automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams as standard. Moving up to the SEL grade adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and safe exit warning. The range-topping Limited model adds rear automatic emergency braking and an enhanced blind-spot monitoring system that uses cameras on the side mirrors to show what's on the left and right of your vehicle.

Hyundai's Highway Driving Assist system, which bundles together enhanced adaptive cruise control, improved lane centering, and traffic jam assist, is standard on the Limited trim and part of the Tech package on the SEL Plus.

Technology

Hyundai's infotainment system is available in two versions in the 2021 Sonata. The SE and SEL models get an 8.0-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker audio system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. A 10.3-inch touchscreen is optional on the SEL Plus and standard on the Limited trim.

That larger screen is bundled with built-in navigation, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and a 12-speaker Bose audio system. Other tech features include the ability to use your mobile device as a key (Android only for now), wireless charging, and a 360-degree view parking camera system.

Cool Features

The range-topping Sonata Limited has a remote parking assist feature that lets you park the car into tight spaces using the key fob. How does the system work? You simply turn the car on via remote start and press the forward or back button on the key fob to move the vehicle. If you can't get out because the person next to you doesn't know how to park, line up the Sonata with the space, press the remote parking assist button just behind the push-button gear selector, get out, and use the forward or back buttons on the key fob to squeeze the car into the spot.

Read more about how remote parking assist here.

Key Competitors:

2021 HYUNDAI SONATA SPECIFICATIONS
OVERVIEW
FEATURES
WARRANTY/RECALL
SAFETY
REBATES
Engine Name
Engine: 4-Cyl Turbo 1.6 Liter Smartstream
Transmission Name
Transmission, SHIFTRONIC 8 Speed Automatic Mode Select with Manual Mode
Trim
Limited Sedan
Class
Passenger Car
Horsepower
180@5,500
Standard MPG
27/36
Body Style
Sedan
Drivetrain
FWD
Fuel Type
Unleaded Regular
Seating Capacity
5/5
Package Invoice Retail
Show Full Specs
Corrosion Warranty Miles
Unlimited
Maintenance Warranty Months
36
Corrosion Warranty Months
84
Powertrain Warranty Miles
100,000
Full Warranty Miles
60,000
Powertrain Warranty Months
120
Full Warranty Months
60
Roadside Assistance Miles
unlimited
Maintenance Warranty Miles
36,000
Roadside Assistance Months
60
IIHS Best Pick
1
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
Good
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
IIHS Front Small Overlap
Good
NHTSA Rating Front Side
Not Rated
IIHS Overall Side Crash
Good
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
IIHS Rear Crash
Good
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
IIHS Roof Strength
Good
NHTSA Rating Rollover
Not Rated
Amount Description Expiry Date
$500 Hyundai announces a Bonus Cash offer available to all service branches of the military including National Guard and Reserve branches, veterans and retirees. 12-31-2021
$400 Hyundai announces a Bonus Cash offer for College Graduates who finance through HMF. 12-31-2021
$0 0% Financing available for varying term lengths : 24, 36, 48, 60 Months - Hyundai announces APR rates on select models. 07-06-2021
$0 1.9% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Hyundai announces APR rates on select models. 07-06-2021
$1000 Hyundai announces a Bonus Cash offer for standard rate customers through HMF. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 07-06-2021
$1000 Hyundai announces a Bonus Cash offer for customers who finance through HMF. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 07-06-2021