Hyundai Sonata: Best Car To Buy 2021 nominee

Our winner in the first competition in 2011, a finalist in 2015, the Hyundai Sonata hopes the third time's a charm in our Best Car To Buy 2021 run-offs.

A late arrival for 2020, the Sonata's included this year and brings with it a trio of contenders ranging from a well-priced base car to a turbocharged mid-range model, to what we think is the most compelling version, the Sonata Hybrid.

For the latest edition of the Sonata, Hyundai brings back a dramatic flair that sweeps from the sedan's low, wide grille through curvy fenders, all the way to a heavily tapered tail. Graced with LED lighting and big C-shaped taillights, the sleek Sonata gets an attractive interior with a toggle-style transmission selector, a wide touchscreen for infotainment, and in top versions, luxury touches like quilted leather upholstery. 

Performance strikes a balance between efficiency and urgency. The base 191-horsepower 2.5-liter inline-4 won't win any best-engine awards, but the 1.6-liter turbo-4 has a much more energetic feel despite being slightly down by the numbers, at 180 hp. Perky acceleration complements the leisurely but effective steering and composed ride quality in the gas-only models. Hybrids carry more weight, but post EPA ratings of 52 mpg combined, a soaring figure that cuts fuel bills and boosts efficiency, though we miss the former plug-in hybrid Sonata in the new lineup.

2021 Hyundai Sonata

2021 Hyundai Sonata

2021 Hyundai Sonata

2021 Hyundai Sonata

2021 Hyundai Sonata

2021 Hyundai Sonata

All Sonatas have ample spread-out room for adults; lesser models have knit fabric seats and more black plastic, but all have supportive seats for at least four adults and a trunk with 16.0 cubic feet of storage space. We're fans of the pricey Sonatas, which get better materials, quilted leather trim, and more sound deadening; they're luxury cars on a budget.

The 2021 Sonata comes with automatic emergency braking, LED headlights, a big touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Options include 19-inch wheels, a power front passenger seat, leather upholstery, and a panoramic sunroof. You'll have to wait for 2022 for the ripe, plucky Sonata N performance sedan.

The 2021 Sonata's positioned well in our Best Car To Buy bracket, thanks to its luxury touches, its silken silhouette, and the 52-mpg rating for the Hybrid edition. We give it a TCC Rating of 7.3 out of 10; come back January 4 to see if that vaults it into the ranks of repeat winners.

Follow along as we crown The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2021 on Jan. 4, and reveal the best vehicles in 15 categories to help you choose the best cars, trucks, and SUVs. Vote for our annual Driver’s Choice awards and tell us what you think is best in every category. We'll also announce the winners from our sister sites, Motor Authority and Green Car Reports. 

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