The 2021 Hyundai Sonata stands apart from other midsized sedans thanks to its long list of standard comfort and technology features, spacious interior with upscale soft-touch materials, generous warranties and maintenance coverage, and updated exterior look led by a line of hidden lights that flows along the front fenders and into the headlights. For 2021, the Sonata's SEL trim now gets Hyundai's Safe Exit feature, which alerts the driver if a car is coming (when the Sonata is parallel-parked) and keeps the traffic-side doors from opening. There will also be a sport-oriented N Line trim level that will debut with late availability; we'll cover it in a separate overview once it's released. Hyundai's well-received 3-year/36,000-mile complimentary scheduled maintenance plan, which began with the 2020 model year and covers oil changes and tire rotations, is back for the 2021 Sonata.


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Trims and Powertrains


The 2021 Hyundai Sonata is available in SE, SEL, SEL Plus, and Limited trim levels. The SE and SEL both have a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 191 hp; the SEL Plus and Limited are given a torque boost with a turbocharged 180 hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. Both are joined to an eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drivetrain. The SE returns an EPA-estimated 28 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, while the SEL, SEL Plus, and Limited each achieve 27 city/37 highway.





The SE comes with automatic LED headlights, LED taillights, cloth seating surfaces, a 60/40 spilt fold-down rear seat, a rearview camera, and a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel. The SEL delivers heated side mirrors with LED turn-signal indicators, sport front and rear bumpers, a power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, a rear center armrest with dual cupholders, Blue Link Connected Car services (which provides several convenient services directly from your mobile device), dual-zone automatic climate control, and keyless entry with push-button start. A few optional items are available for this trim: a wireless smartphone charger, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink, LED interior lighting, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and Hyundai Digital Key (allows you to lock/unlock and start the vehicle with your smartphone).


The SEL Plus gets the wireless charger, auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and Digital Key. It also includes simulated-leather seats with suede inserts and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. At the top of the range, the Limited has premium LED headlights, leather upholstery, a power-adjustable front passenger's seat, ventilated front seats, memory functions for the driver's seat and side mirrors, a heated steering wheel, a head-up display, and ambient interior lighting with 64 colors.


Safety and Technology Features


Each trim furnishes Hyundai's SmartSense suite of active driver aids. This consists of forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, lane following assist, a driver attention warning monitor, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, rear occupant alert, and high beam assist. The SEL adds blind-spot and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist and Safe Exit Warning. The SEL Plus is eligible for Highway Drive Assist, which is standard on the Limited. The Limited also includes a blind-spot view monitor (displayed in the gauge cluster), a surround-view camera system, remote smart parking assist, and parking collision-avoidance assist.


The SE lays out an infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth hands-free phone and wireless audio streaming, and HD radio. The SEL gets satellite radio; a premium 12-speaker Bose audio system is optional. The premium audio unit is still available on the SEL Plus, as is an infotainment system with a 10.25-inch touchscreen, navigation, and connection for two smartphones at a time. All of these are standard on the Limited.


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