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2020 Hyundai Sonata Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2020 Hyundai Sonata Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: SE vs SEL vs Sport, Limited & Limited 2.0T

What 2020 Hyundai Sonata Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata will likely attract customers based on its modest price tag. With a base trim starting at about $19,000, the chic-looking Sonata will initially seem like a good decision to buy. But how does it perform? How much comfort and convenience does it offer?

That depends on which trim level you purchase. The 2020 Hyundai Sonata comes in five different trim levels: the SE, SEL, Sport, Limited, and Limited 2.0T. These trim levels are all fairly well-equipped, even the base SE. But is one of them better than the rest? Which one presents drivers with the best overall deal?

This trim level comparison review will take a look at each of the Sonata's five trim levels. By the end, we will declare a winner for the best trim level to get this model year, so be sure to read through to the conclusion.


Compare the 2020 Hyundai Sonata SE vs SEL Trims. What is the difference?

If fuel efficiency is crucial to you, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata's base trim, the SE, is the way to go. This trim level gets a combined 33 mpg (which bests the outgoing 2.4-L engine's 29 mpg combined). Not bad for a large sedan. The SE gets its power from a brand new 2.5-L inline-4 cylinder engine that generates 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel drive comes standard, and there is a 6-speed automatic transmission rounds out the powertrain. This is the same powertrain that comes on the SEL. The only real mechanical difference between these two trim levels is that the SE rides atop 16-inch alloy wheels while the SEL gets boosted up to 17-inch alloys.

On the outside, the SE is equipped with quite a few features. These standard features include projector beam headlights that have automatic functioning, lamp-stle daytime running lights, a stop light that is center-high mounted, power-folding side mirrors that are the same color as the body, body-colored door handles, variable intermittent windshield wipers, window belt molding done in chrome, glass with solar control, a shark fin type of antenna, and a single exhaust outlet with a chrome tip.

The SEL adds onto that. A proximity key with push button start comes standard, as does a hands-free smart trunk. You also get LED daytime running lights, heating for the side mirrors (which also get integrated turn signals), chrome door handles, a sport front grille, a sport front bumper, and a sport rear diffuser. This definitely ups the ante from the SE.

The interior is just as important though, if not more so since that is where you will be spending your time driving. The SE offers power door locks and windows (with auto-up/down on the driver's window), a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel with Bluetooth and audio controls mounted onto it, seats with premium cloth upholstery, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, air conditioning, two sun visors up front with illuminated vanity mirrors, and accented trim with a metal-grain look. A 7-inch touchscreen display accompanies the infotainment system and a 6-speaker sound system with AM/FM radio and MP3 capabilities. There are also smartphone/USB and auxiliary input jacks up front, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity for your phone, and smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

To that list, the SEL adds power auto-up/down on the front passenger's window,a leather-wrapped shifter knob and steering wheel (which also gets standard heating), a customizable 4.2-inch trip computer, a power-adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear vents mounted to the floor console, HD Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, the Blue Link Connected Car system, a 3-year complimentary Blue Link Connected Care package, and the Blue Link Remote Package (which is also a 3-year complimentary service).

A few optional safety features open up on the SEL. The Tech Package gives you automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, smart cruise control with stop/start functionality, and an electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold. This package is only $600 and is something a lot of drivers will likely want to equip.

Compare the 2020 Hyundai Sonata SEL vs Sport Trims.  What is the difference?

Of course, if the SEL is not enough for you, you can go for the Sport. The Sport costs less than $1,000 more than the SEL and packs in a few more features. When it comes to the mechanical specs, the Sport adds paddle shifters to the steering wheel, but that's really the only difference there.

On the outside, the Sport adds a few details that set it apart from the SEL. For example, the Sport has sport chrome rocker panels and chrome-tipped dual exhaust outlets, thus giving it a slightly sportier look. However, it does largely resemble the SEL.

The interior adds a few more upscale features. You get a power tilt and slide sunroof, a D-cut steering wheel that is wrapped in leather, a sport shifter knob that is also clad in leather, sport seats with cloth inserts and leather bolsters for support, 3-D tech accents, and aluminum pedals.

As far as safety features on the Sport go, they are exactly the same. Again, you get the option of paying $600 to add the Tech Package.

Compare the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Sport vs Limited Trims. What is the difference?

The Sport seems to have a lot equipped, sure, but if you want something that inches more toward luxury, then the Limited trim level might be the right one for you. The Limited has the same powertrain as the lower trim levels and same mechanical features (minus the Sport's paddle shifters).

The exterior of the Limited gets treated to a couple of upgrades, including LED headlights and taillights. The cabin receives a few upgrades as well. Everything that is in the Tech Package becomes standard. Other standard features include an automatically dimming rear view mirror with HomeLink built into it, stunning leather seats, front seats that have ventilation, an integrated memory system for the side mirrors and driver's seat, woodgrain accents, and premium door sill plates. Options also open up for the Blue Link Guidance Package, the 10-speaker Infinity premium sound system, an 8-inch touchscreen with built-in navigation, sun shades for the rear side windows, and a panoramic sunroof.

A few more safety features get tacked onto what you get with the Tech Package's features. Te Limited has headlights with dynamic bending light technology and automatic high beam assist. Rear parking sensors are an option if you would like to add them on. The optional features you get on the Limited come in a package called the Ultimate Package. This costs $2,300 to add and is something a lot of drivers think is worthwhile to get.

Compare the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Limited vs Limited 2.0T. What is the difference?

As you might be able to guess, the "2.0T" in the Limited 2.0T's name indicates that it is powered by a 2.0-L turbocharged engine. The engine is a twin-scroll turbo, and it gets 245 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC technology comes equipped, as do paddle shifted mounted onto the steering wheel. This vehicle also has a sport-tuned suspension, a rack-mounted motor-driven power steering system, sport-tuned steering, and 18-inch alloy wheels. Yeah, you guessed it - this is a sporty trim level variant.

The exterior does look quite similar to the regular Limited. However, the sport chrome rocker panels make their return, as does the chrome-tipped dual exhaust. Otherwise, the two trims are pretty hard to tell apart with the naked eye.

On the inside, the Limited 2.0T gets all of the Limited's standard features. It also manages to add a few more things into the mix. These features include the panoramic sunroof, the rear side window sun shades, the D-cut leather steering wheel, the sport shifter knob wrapped in leather, leather sport seats, 3D tech accents, aluminum pedals, the 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, the 10-speaker Infinity sound system, and the Blue Link Guidance Package. The rear parking sensors get tacked on as standard features as well.


Which Trim to Choose?

Before we announce a winner, note that Hyundai offers a generous 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. It is a leading warranty for this industry and is a great reason to buy the 2020 Hyundai Sonata.

Of course, we do have to pick a winning trim level here. And that honor goes to the Limited trim. Sure, it costs more money than the lower trim levels, but it offers just about everything that you could possibly ask for from a vehicle in this class. The 2.0T is a lot of fun to drive, but it does have quite the price jump over the Limited. The SE and SEL are fine enough, too, but they tend to border on basic for some drivers.

As for the Sport, it has a bit of pizzazz, but if you really want a sporty vehicle, get the Limited 2.0T. Go big or go home. And, as of right now, there are no hybrid powertrain options available for the Sonata. This is something that Hyundai plans to incorporate in the near future, but they just have not done so yet. When they do, there will likely be a jump in sales on the Sonata since more people are looking for hybrid powertrain variants.

Bear in mind that the 2020 model year marks a whole new generation for the Hyundai Sonata, so you might find some surprising changes in certain specs and features. This Sonata will be slightly bigger than the previous generation, so expect a little bit more room in the cabin and the cargo area.

The regular Limited trim should do just fine for most drivers. It provides for a good balance between power and comfort, which can be hard to find in a large sedan. The ride quality you get in the Limited trim feels comfortable, and you get plenty of creature comforts to play around with before you set out on the open road.

Drivers should really love the infotainment system and its user-friendly appeal. You also get to view the menus on a crystal clear screen. The upgraded Infinity sound system is also well worth the cost, as you get concert-like sound quality from its speakers. The lower trim levels have decent enough sound systems, but they really are nothing compared to this. Music lovers will definitely need to check this system out.

Overall, the Limited gives you more for your money than the lower trim levels. It might not be as powerful as the 2.0T variant, but it is still a strong performer nonetheless. The improved fuel economy over the outgoing model is impressive and shows that Hyundai is ready to compete with some of the leading names in the sedan segment. Large sedans can be both fun and fuel efficient, and the newly revamped Sonata is proof of this.
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Compare the 2019 Hyundai Sonata Trim Levels