With sedan sales declining due to the popularity of crossovers and SUVs, you’d think more automakers would drop out of the sedan market entirely. Instead, some automakers are putting their best efforts forward in this segment, as seen with the 2021 Hyundai Sonata, which has been voted by our panel of more than 20 automotive experts from all over the country as the Best Family Sedan in the 2021 autoTRADER.ca Awards.
It’s not an easy task to win this segment, and our jury considered every single vehicle available before voting for their top five to move onto the final round of voting. This segment is full of strong competitors and the Sonata had to impress our jury enough to win over these excellent finalists: the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Subaru Legacy, and Mazda 6, all of which have all seen some improvements over the year. But the Hyundai sedan showcased its excellent value, wowed us with its tech, and truly delivered a high-quality car for the price. The Sonata lineup as a whole also offers Canadians a wide variety of choice with two engine options, as well as a hybrid and a performance-oriented model.
The first thing to take note of with the new Sonata is the design, which is definitely striking. The LEDs used for the headlights extend onto the hood of the vehicle, turning into a chrome strip, which is a unique design cue that helps it stand out. Add in that sportback profile and it’s fair to say this is one of the more distinctive sedans on the road.
Inside, the Sonata also impresses, especially when you take a look at the details. Knurled knobs, textured switchgear and trim, and the high-end models even have soft and comfortable leather upholstery. To quote our expert Jeff Wilson in his review of the Sonata, “The two-tone treatment available on the Ultimate trim cars elevates the look to full-on luxury.”
Beyond the design, the Sonata is loaded with enough features to put most luxury cars to shame. Check out the panoramic sunroof, wireless charging pad, and dual-zone climate control. Furthermore, there is a large 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, which provides the sedan with even more high-tech firepower. There’s also support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and Hyundai is offering a telematics system for additional capabilities like checking the status of your car via your phone. Furthermore, the Sonata now offers a 12-speaker Bose audio system.
The Sonata has a few powertrain options: a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine is standard, rated for 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. Most buyers will upgrade to the 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 180 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. There is also a high-performance 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder offered in the sporty new N Line model that makes 290 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque. Buyers focused on efficiency will likely consider the Sonata Hybrid, which has a combined output of 192 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque and a segment exclusive roof made of solar panels that can be used to charge the car’s battery.
Having that many powertrain choices helps the Sonata appeal to a wide variety of buyers. Interestingly enough, the fuel economy ratings for the base 2.5-litre and the 1.6-litre turbo are the same, with an expected 7.7 L/100 km combined. The 2.5L turbo found in the Sonata N Line is expected to deliver 8.8 L/100 km combined, while the Hybrid will be the most fuel efficient at 5.0 L/100 km.
While the sedan rides well and is smooth enough on the road, buyers will appreciate the safety features that help provide that extra bit of confidence. There’s lane-keeping assist, lane following assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, rear parking collision avoidance, high-beam assist, and a blind-view monitor that broadcasts a video feed of what’s happening in the vehicle’s blind spot. It’s been rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as a Top Safety Pick, another important factor that weighs into our jury’s voting.
When it comes to pricing, the Sonata starts at $27,149 and goes up to $38,749. The N Line model starts at $37,999, while the Hybrid is $40,199. That’s a wide spectrum of prices that will help the Sonata land comfortably with any budget.
All of this adds up to a high-quality vehicle that easily impressed our experts. The standout styling, high-quality interior, tech goodies, safety features, and variety of prices and powertrains are what helped the Sonata earn this win, which isn’t always easy considering the competition. For the Hyundai Sonata to be voted as the Best Family Sedan for 2021 and beat the popular Honda Accord (which was last year’s winner in this segment) and Toyota Camry is noteworthy, as both are favourites among Canadian sedan consumers.