The new-generation Hyundai Sonata continues to bask in the afterglow of its debut for this model year, so the 2021 model makes do with a trio of detail changes. The biggest improvement is a set of 19-inch wheels that will come standard on the penultimate SEL Plus trim, shod in Pirelli P Zero all-season tires. Right now, the SEL Plus rides on standard 18-inch wheels with 235/45 Michelin rubber, the coming Pirellis a little wider at 245/40. The Pirellis will deliver better traction in the dry and wet than the Michelins, sacrificing a touch of tread life for the sake of fun. To tamp down cabin noise caused by higher-performance rubber, the P Zeroes fit a “sound absorbing sponge” behind the tread that the tire maker claims “reduces noise by between two or three decibels, which on average reduces the perceived noise by half, with a consequent improvement in driving comfort.” The wheel design is different, but the size and tire spec are what we’ve been told to expect on the coming Sonata N-Line.
In response to feedback from customers who bought the top Limited trim, the 2021 Hyundai Sonata Limited’s front passenger seat goes from standard four-way to standard six-way adjustment thanks to power height controls.
And all but the entry-level SE trim will benefit from Safe Exit Warning next year. Seen on other Hyundais including the three-row Palisade crossover, this feature uses the blind-spot monitoring radar to watch out for passing traffic when the sedan is parallel parked. An alert informs occupants when it’s not safe to exit the vehicle.
Engines carry over, being the 2.5-liter four-cylinder standard on the SE and SEL producing 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, and the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder on the SEL Plus and Limited making 180 hp and 195 lb-ft.
The 2021 Hyundai Sonata goes on sale in August. Hyundai hasn’t mentioned pricing for next year’s car, but there shouldn’t be much movement from the base SE’s MSRP of $24,575 after destination.