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2021 Hyundai Sonata SEL Plus Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Hyundai, Test Drives

2021 hyundai sonata sel plus

Marking its seventh generation with a redesign for the 2020 model year, the Hyundai Sonata has proven to be a commonality within the automotive landscape in America when it comes to a midsized mainstream sedan. For the 2021 model year, the Sonata remains mostly unchanged except for a new N Line model that ups the performance with a new 2.5-liter turbocharged engine capable of 290 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque.

For those who aren’t interested in the extra literal boost of performance from the new Sonata N Line, there’s the decently equipped Sonata SEL Plus that I had a chance to check out for a week with the middle-of-the-row 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine choice.

2021 hyundai sonata sel plus side

Powered by the brand’s 1.6-liter turbo 4-cylinder, the new Sonata SEL Plus is the sweet spot for value in a vehicle that has just about everything that mainstream buyers would seek except for a few amenities that I welcomed in the upper-level Sonata Limited that I reviewed last year. The engine in both vehicles, touting 180 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque gets the job done to put efficiency at the forefront with a small dash of performance. The Sonata SEL Plus isn’t going to win many races but it is mostly on par with other 4-cylinder base-model competition. You can hit 60 mph from a stop in just over 8 seconds, which again, isn’t going to thrill anyone but it proves to be a consistent pull of power from its front wheels. Power is sent through a decent 8-speed automatic transmission.

See Also: 2020 Hyundai Sonata Limited Review & Test Drive

2021 hyundai sonata sel plus rear

While there isn’t much to brag about in the area of performance, the Sonata SEL Plus with the 1.6-liter turbo engine is rather efficient and easily gets its EPA-estimated 27 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. I did expect slightly better figures considering the lack of power output, but the Sonata outside of the new N Line isn’t geared towards enthusiasts in the first place.

2021 hyundai sonata sel plus dashboard

The interior of the Sonata is decently configured with the center of attention being the large 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen that has a user-friendly interface with a plethora of welcomed feature sets along with the integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The larger 10-inch screen is part of an optional Tech Package that runs about $2,700 but is well worth the additional cost as it also includes a panoramic sunroof, Bose premium audio system with 12 speakers, LED interior lighting, and a highway drive assist feature to add to the adaptive cruise control.

2021 hyundai sonata sel plus front seats

The seating areas are decent and there’s a good use of available space, but the roofline is a bit low for taller people. The one other downfall here is the interior doesn’t look premium but offers plenty of soft touch surfaces above the beltline. The 12.3-inch gauge cluster is a nice touch and can be equipped with additional functions in the higher Limited trim level to offer the blind spot view monitor for a live camera feed of your blind spot when you signal.

2021 hyundai sonata sel plus back seats

The 2021 Hyundai Sonata SEL Plus looks rather sporty with its 19-inch wheels and darkened front grille. The sweeping lines of the body also add a sporty appeal throughout the structure all the way to the LED taillights being part of a small integrated spoiler.

2021 hyundai sonata sel plus

Hyundai has done well to keep the mainstream midsized sedan segment alive while it attempts to be a viable contender against the stiff competition of crossover utility vehicles. Where the new Sonata retains its enjoyment is in the price, starting at just $23,950 for the base SE trim with the naturally aspirated 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque 4-cylinder engine that isn’t as lively as the turbocharged engine in my Sonata SEL Plus test vehicle, which costs $32,174 including the optional Tech Package, carpeted floor mats, and a freight and handling charge of $1,005. Having a decent list of standard features, respectable ride quality, and a consistent level of efficiency, the Sonata is a good value and will continue to appease a wide range of buyers.


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