2020 Hyundai Sonata Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system and engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Sedans haven’t been very popular over the past few years, but it seems that the 2020 Hyundai Sonata still has a strong customer base. Maybe it’s because the company says “the sedan is new again,” but others worry that this model could destroy the enthusiasm. It appears that the Sonata struggles with the electrical system, structure and engine.

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Problems with the Electrical System?

A properly working vehicle electrical system can make any drive more enjoyable, but that’s not what is happening with the Sonata.

One NHTSA complaint states, “The contact owns a 2020 Hyundai Sonata. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 55 mph, the vehicle shifted into Safe Mode and lost motive power. The vehicle was taken to [dealership] but was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted or informed of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 1,500.”

This is a simple illustration of how much the electrical system has control over. Yet, this is just the beginning of the problems. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V213000 talks about how some vehicles are equipped with defective Remote Start Parking Assist software. With this glitch, the system might allow for unintended vehicle movement, which could lead to an accident. So, what exactly is “new” with this sedan? Well, apparently, it’s equipped with software that wants to destroy the occupants.

Problems with the Vehicle Structure?

Looking at the structure of the Sonata, it’s clear to see that the same level of engineering went into this as the electrical system.

One more NHTSA review claims, “Rear doors retain water every time it rains. When you open the rear doors, water drains out of the car. Brought car to Hyundai dealership who verified the problem and confirmed the problem with other new cars on their lot, on April 21, 2020. Dealership contacted Hyundai Corporate for guidance and there has been no response to date.”

It turns out that this isn’t the only manufacturing defect. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V122000 says that the company put the wrong tire information on some vehicles. The data was listed incorrectly on the driver’s door label and also the owner’s manual. By following these incorrect tire size recommendations, owners could suffer from reduced handling and an increased chance for an accident. If someone didn’t know better, it would be safe to start wondering if Hyundai is purposely trying to hurt its fan base. Considering there aren’t many sedan lovers left, this might not be a good marketing tactic.

Problems with the Engine?

The last illustration of what’s wrong with the 2020 Sonata comes from under the hood. The engine is supposed to provide power for drivers to get from Point A to Point B, but this Hyundai model is simply a disappointment.

Read an Edmunds review. “If you put your foot into it the little 1.6 liter Turbo thrashes like an old Chevy Vega. Noisy, rough, unrefined. It accelerates OK, but it lets you know it’s not happy about it. Honda’s 1.5T is much more refined (although a little bit noisy under the same conditions). I’m not sure if the Honda’s engine is just smoother or if the sound insulation and engine mounts better isolate it, but Hyundai’s got some work to do.”

However, this hasn’t gotten a lot of attention from Hyundai, maybe because it isn’t going to cause an abundance of accidents. What has gotten noticed is the EVAP system leakage detection noticed by the ECM software. In fact, Service Bulletin #20-01-027H talks about updating the software to avoid getting notifications about this “very small leak.” After all, the best way to handle any defect is to simply cover it up.

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About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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  • Nancy J

    I have a 2020 Sonata sel plus that at 1,800 miles the air conditioning compressor went out and had to be replaced. Now with just over 4,000 miles the turbo has to be replaced. The dealer has had my car for over 3 weeks and are waiting on parts to repair. We only have one car and they told me that from now on they will not off a loner. Is this considered a lemon??

  • Corrina b

    What do I do if I think I got a lemon

  • Dean

    Turbo lag on take off in my 2020 Sonata limited, very annoying!

  • Craig

    I was hit by a non insured driver of one of these 2020 Hyundai Sonatas. How he was the owner of this vehicle and not insured is beyond me.

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