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2021 Hyundai Sonata Limited Review & Test Drive – Charting the Trim Highlights

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Filed under Automotive, Hyundai, Test Drives

The Hyundai Sonata is one of the few vehicles that has helped keep the mainstream midsized sedan segment alive and well while crossover utility vehicles continue to get all the attention. To continue an experience from my recent review of the 2021 Hyundai Sonata, I get to experience the full-loaded Limited trim level of the midsized sedan for a while to add my thoughts about the additional equipment that comes included for a slightly higher price point.

Having already experienced the well-to-do 180-hp and 195 lb-ft of torque 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in the new Sonata, I can confirm that it’s quite the enjoyable powertrain that’s coupled with a straightforward 8-speed automatic transmission to power the front wheels. The Sonata Limited trim adds a few desirable features over the SEL Plus trim that I reviewed just a couple of months ago.

See Now: 2021 Hyundai Sonata Full Review

The notable add-ons in the Sonata Limited trim over the SEL Plus are mostly exclusive features for the Hyundai brand. These exclusives potentially elevate Hyundai in a way that attracts buyers who seek the latest in tech that proves to be useful for safety and conveniences. Such features included on the new Sonata Limited trim that are not found on other trim levels include the Blind-Spot View Monitor system (BVM), which is a neat offering that’s been around for a few years now.

The BVM system utilizes cameras mounted under the review mirrors to give the driver a live video feed of their blind spot upon activating a turn signal in the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. Initially, the feature is rather clever and intriguing to many. However, I find that the use of the system can be a mixed bag at times because it gives the driver an additional option of discovering their blind spot outside of a few other methods, such as glancing in the physical rearview mirror, viewing the blind spot indicator LED light in the side rearview mirrors, viewing the blind spot indicator in the color heads-up display, or physically turning their head to look out the window to view the blind spot. These multiple options are part of a split-second decision the driver had to make and often enough I found myself not relying on the Blind-Spot View Monitor’s video feed, which is only displayed for the duration of your turn signal is activated. Otherwise, the system is forward-thinking tech, but I could do just fine without it.

Another clever feature only found on the Limited trim of the new Hyundai Sonata is the Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) feature, which gives you a set of buttons on the key fob that allows one to remote control the vehicle to park it in a tight space or parallel park the vehicle from the outside. Fundamentally, RSPA is an autonomous parking system that takes control of all aspects of parking when the driver may find that they may not have an easy exit or entry of the vehicle. Basically, if you ever have the need to park your new Sonata in a tight space that you fear dinging your door, the RSPA will be the feature that you want to use. I found RSPA more useful for parking in a garage that may be too tight for comfortably opening your door to get in or out. The system is rather clever in its use where it has many sensors to prevent a crash or running into a person or object. The system will even steer to a limit to line the vehicle up for entry into a parking space or garage. There are many additional fail-safes that prevent wise drivers from “playing” with the system like you would a remote-control car as it will limit repetitive attempts to move the vehicle forward and backward.

Other add-ons included on the Limited trim are slightly more premium styled LED headlights, real leather seating surfaces, a 6-way power-adjustable front passenger seat instead of a manually adjusted seat on other trim levels, ventilated front seats, a memory system for the driver’s seat and rearview mirrors adjustments, heated steering wheel, a 360-degree surround-view camera system, a parking collision-avoidance assist system, a color heads-up display, 64-color ambient lighting, and full LED taillights with LED turn signals.

One last difference in the Limited trim are the smaller 18-inch wheels over the SEL Plus and N-Line trim’s 19-inch wheels, which provides somewhat of a smoother ride quality for the Sonata Limited trim due to larger tire sidewalls.

In all, the latest Sonata is a well-thought-out vehicle and proves to help keep the mainstream midsized sedan segment thriving without a chance of it bowing out to midsized crossovers. There’s unsurpassed efficiency with the EPA fuel estimates of 27 mpg city and 37 mpg highway, along with a respected price that starts at just $24,150 for the base SE trim and tops out at around $35,000 for my Sonata Limited Test Vehicle.


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