I just recently reviewed the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Limited Hybrid a few months ago, but Hyundai already came out with updates for the 2021 model year. Hyundai’s rate of progress is unlike any other car manufacturer so, let’s take a look at what Hyundai added.
2021 Hyundai Sonata Updates
The 2021 Sonata will be available for sale in August 2020. Updates include an optional 19” wheel set up, safe exit warning, and 6-way power passenger seat on the Limited trim. I will go into more detail about each of these new options.
The new 19” alloy wheel option will gets paired with a Pirelli P Zero tire with a 245/40 R19 size. This tire and wheel setup will be standard for the turbo SEL Plus trim. Honestly, I liked how Hyundai offered 16”-18” wheels on the new Sonata because this is an excellent riding car. Sure the Sonata can get away with 19s, but tire replacement costs will be higher with 19” wheels and ride will be sacrificed. On the plus side, 245-wide tries are some of the widest I have seen for the mid-size sedan segment.
Hyundai continues to tout some additional information about the P-Zero all-season tires they are using, primarily regarding the reduced noise the tires create. Pirelli calls this Pirelli Noise Cancelling System (PNCS) as they use a sound-absorbing device inside the circumferential wall of the tires. Variable size tread also got designed to minimize road noise inside the cabin of the Sonata SEL Plus. A method called lateral siping gets used to maximize cornering performance in the dry, and siping also helps with snow traction.
I love Hyundai’s focus on refinement, and I am glad they were able to acquire some excellent tires to help make the Sonata just that much more refined. Although 19s are not my first choice, it’s great to know that Hyundai is focusing on the two qualities I love most in a normal car; quietness and comfort.
SEL, SEL Plus, and Limited trims will come with Safe Exit Warning (SEW) tech as standard. This technology is truly a life saving and will not be intrusive when driving but can help rear seat occupants. By using the blind-spot-monitoring radar sensors, the system will provide an audible warning to prevent rear passengers from stepping out into traffic.
2021 Hyundai Sonata Powertrains
Hyundai’s engines and transmission remain the same for the 2021 model years; however, Hyundai introduced some curious marketing terms for its motors. The name for the powertrains is “Smartstream.” Honda has its Earth Dreams, and Mazda has Skyactiv, so I guess Hyundai wanted its term. The two engines available are the port-injected 2.5l NA four-cylinder producing 191 HP and 181 LB. FT. of torque. The second option is the 1.6l direct-injected turbo four-cylinder producing 180 HP and 195 LB. FT. of torque. These powertrain options help set the Sonata apart from the new Kia K5, which got released with only turbo engine options. Hyundai gives you a choice of a non-turbo port-injected four-cylinder, which should be a little less maintenance if kept over the long term.
Additional 2021 Sonata Features
Hyundai is still promoting the use of its Digital Key technology, and I am against this. The digital key is simply an app on your phone that can open your car via NFC by just touching the phone up against the door handle. Next thing you know, we’re going to have these NFC things put in our foreheads and wrists, so no, I don’t want this trend to catch on.
What I do want to catch on in the auto industry is the three-year complimentary maintenance that Hyundai offers on its cars. I’ve begun to notice more and more car manufacturers are not offering free maintenance when you lease a car like Mazda or Dodge. You have to pay extra for a maintenance package, but Hyundai offers it complimentary.
2021 Hyundai Sonata Conclusion
It’s great to see Hyundai continuously updating its products by listening to its customer base. When I reviewed the 2020 Sonata Limited, some of you complained the wheels were not big enough, so here you are, some 19s and safety tech to boot. Let me know your thoughts on the new updates made for the 2021 Hyundai Sonata below.
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Kevin Meyn is an automotive journalist for Torque News concentrating on Hyundai content. Kevin is the founder of Exhaust Sports Auto Youtube channel, where he does professional car reviews on new and used vehicles. Through the use of various resources and extended Automotive expertise, Kevin documents the latest in automotive news revolving around Hyundai. Kevin graduated from NC State University studying Supply Chain Management but has had a passion for cars since he was a child. Follow Kevin on Twitter and Instagram @exhaustsports.