The ongoing 2019 Geneva Motor Show is the centre of attention these days in the automotive realm, but that didn’t stop Hyundai from releasing the first images and details about the all-new Sonata (aka i40 in Europe). The eighth generation of the midsize saloon has a far sleeker look than its predecessor and heralds a new design language for the South Korean brand. Called “Sensuous Sportiness,” the fresh styling approach attempts to turn the Sonata into a four-door coupe, although this term is highly controversial.

One thing is for sure – the 2020 Sonata has an exterior design influenced by the stunning Le Fil Rouge concept (pictured at the end) introduced by Hyundai precisely a year ago in Geneva. It’s obviously no way near as exciting as the showcar, but we must say the new design suits the Sonata perfectly and makes it one of the most attractive models in its class.

Gallery: 2020 Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai isn’t going into too many details for the time being, but we do know the saloon has been lowered 30 millimeters and widened by 25 mm. It’s also 45 mm longer than the North American model it replaces, with 35 mm of the stretch going into the wheelbase to enable a more spacious cabin.

Speaking of which, the interior has been overhauled as well and appears to be more upscale. Hyundai mentions it took inspiration from a Stealth aircraft when designing the winged shape of the instrument panel. Satin chrome accents, ambient lighting, and the leather upholstery further contribute to the cabin’s upscale vibe.

Interestingly, Hyundai mentions it’s not a big fan of large displays since they argue these can be distracting. The implementation of shift-by-wire transmission controls has allowed the South Korean marque to free up space inside the cabin and make the 2020 Sonata more practical and roomier. One of the features confirmed by Hyundai is the ability to turn your smartphone into a digital key by downloading an app, which will work with the onboard Near Field Communication (NFC) tech to communicate with the car and unlock the doors.

Rumour has it Hyundai is going global with select models and the Euro-spec i40 saloon and touring – which already share their platform with the Sonata – will be going away in favour of the new car. 

Hyundai will host the public debut of the 2020 Sonata next month at the New York Auto Show.


Gallery: Hyundai Le Fil Rouge concept

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Hyundai Motor Shares First Glimpse of All-New Sonata


  • First model to embody Sensuous Sportiness design language
  • 2020 Sonata showcases sporty four-door-coupe silhouette with spacious interior
  • Sonata to employ an array of advanced features, such as Hidden Lighting Lamps, a Hyundai first, that turn chromic when off and lit when on

SEOUL, Mar. 5, 2019 – Hyundai Motor today revealed images of its next-generation Sonata, showcasing a sporty four-door-coupe look.

The eighth-generation Sonata embodies Hyundai’s Sensuous Sportiness design concept. It is a fully transformed vehicle following the release of the seventh-generation Sonata in March 2017. 

“Sonata celebrates innovative coupe-like silhouette,” said Sang Yup Lee, senior vice president and head of the Hyundai Design Center. “A short overhang, sloping roofline and low deck lid create a balanced feel, and Hyundai’s signature chrome accent now goes all the way into the hood, making it look even longer. It also has LED lighting built in. These cues bring the Sensuous Sportiness design to life.”

The all-new Sonata takes its inspiration from the award-winning Le Fil Rouge concept, which debuted at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show. Like the concept car, the production Sonata attracts immediate attention with its Sensuous Sportiness design.

Sensuous Sportiness is defined by the harmony between four fundamental elements in vehicle design: proportion, architecture, styling and technology. Sonata has a distinct tension on the side using a harmonious blend of layered crisp body lines and pure volumes. Concave and convex forms are also carefully orchestrated to provide a sexy, coupe-like character.

The new Sonata has a much sportier look than its predecessor, with a 30 mm lower height and a width extended by 25 mm. Its wheelbase is enlarged by 35 mm, and its whole length by 45 mm.

The new Sonata’s frontal section is defined by two elements: a bold, voluminous shape evoking a smooth sphere and a cleanly demarcated hood.  

Furthermore, the Digital Pulse Cascading Grille, which resembles the grille of a sports car with its rhythmic visuals, is sleekly connected to the hood, strengthening the overall perception of the front.

In particular, the Daytime Running Lights, embedded with Hidden Lighting Lamps—the first for a Hyundai vehicle—are a chief design innovation that incorporates state-of-the-art lighting technology, forming the Sonata’s light architecture. The Hidden Lighting Lamps appear to be of a chromic material when switched off and become dramatically lit when turned on. 

The light architecture was initially revealed through Hyundai’s HDC-2 concept car at the Busan Motor Show in June last year. It was created by fleshing out the form of the lamp and making it into a powerful design element. Along with the Sensuous Sportiness concept, the light architecture defines the design identity of future Hyundai cars.

The side sections of the Sonata are accentuated by the light architecture, which connects two chromic lines seamlessly linking the windows and daytime running lights. Through these two characteristic lines, the Sonata effuses an athletic and elegant charm.

The all-new Sonata has a wide, layered long hood, a very low stance and a sleek roofline. The feeling of width is also achieved with ultra-wide taillights.

The light architecture is also applied to the interior space with the ambient mood lamp illuminating dashboard and doors.

In the interior, the instrument panel is rich and modern, and the recognizable winged shape is inspired by a Stealth aircraft. This shape almost levitates or floats when looked at, and this philosophy carries into the long armrests. Satin chrome accents enhance this effect. Designers compressed the height of the dashboard and HVAC vents as much as possible to aid the light-weight feeling, while modern, light fabric colors and leathers provide a fresh and freeing ambience for the driver. The clean and sleek design is carried through the center-gauge cluster display. Designers aimed to alleviate the distracting large screens featured in many luxury cars today and instead threaded the two displays together on the 2020 Sonata, using a unique S curve.  These displays are seamless, with no parting lines, and have capacitive touch buttons. Additional features include a satin chrome accent on the steering wheel, which looks like an aircraft yoke, and shift-by-wire transmission controls to free up storage space.