The current-generation Hyundai Sonata isn't old. It debuted in 2019 as a 2020 model with styling that seems to be love-it or hate-it. Ordinarily, we'd expect a mid-life refresh around 2023 but apparently, the Sonata's design has more haters than lovers. It's fuel for a new rumor that Hyundai will skip the refresh and offer a completely redesigned Sonata sooner rather than later.
The rumor comes from the South Korean website Auto Post, which claims an internal decision was made at Hyundai Motor Company on the matter. The report also states that Hyundai officials deemed the Sonata's daring design a failure, hence the reason for canceling the refresh in favor of a completely new look. It's important to emphasize the word look, as the report claims the next Sonata will stick with the current platform and powertrain.
Gallery: 2020 Hyundai Sonata (U.S.)
It's also important to note there isn't a specific source for the information, so we've contacted Hyundai directly to see if there's anything official from the automaker. Such a quick remake on a model, especially one in a declining segment, is highly unusual. So until we hear otherwise, take it all with a grain of salt.
That said, it's unusual but not unheard of. When the Ford Five Hundred's sales proved lackluster in the mid-2000s, its 2008 facelift was quickly rebranded Taurus and just two years later, the same platform had a completely restyled exterior. If Hyundai is indeed planning such a redesign, 2023 falls into the same timeframe Ford had with its Taurus.
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Sonata sales are indeed down since the new model's debut, and not just in South Korea where the former best-seller isn't even in the top five. Hyundai moved just 76,997 Sonata's in the US last year, down from over 200,000 just a few years prior. Admittedly, 2020 saw just about every model lose sales, but 2021 stats are looking better with a year-over-year increase of 75 percent thus far through July.
Perhaps that's why the rumor involves a new Sonata design instead of an outright cancelation.