2020 Acura TLX vs. 2019 Hyundai Sonata

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The TLX V6’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Sonata doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The TLX offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Sonata doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The TLX V6 offers an optional Surround View Camera System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Sonata only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

Compared to metal, the TLX’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Hyundai Sonata has a metal gas tank.

Both the TLX and the Sonata have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Acura TLX is safer than the Hyundai Sonata:

TLX

Sonata

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.8 inches

1 inches

Abdominal Force

179 G’s

179 G’s

Hip Force

276 lbs.

408 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

229

354

Spine Acceleration

57 G’s

74 G’s

Hip Force

483 lbs.

785 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

678 lbs.

773 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the TLX has a standard 650-amp battery. The Sonata’s 608-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

Engine

The TLX has more powerful engines than the Sonata:

Horsepower

Torque

TLX 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

206 HP

182 lbs.-ft.

TLX 3.5 SOHC V6

290 HP

267 lbs.-ft.

Sonata Eco 1.6 turbo 4-cyl.

178 HP

195 lbs.-ft.

Sonata 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

185 HP

178 lbs.-ft.

Sonata Limited 2.0T 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

245 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Acura TLX is faster than the Hyundai Sonata:

TLX 4-cyl.

TLX V6

Sonata Eco

Sonata 4-cyl.

Zero to 60 MPH

7.2 sec

5.9 sec

7.8 sec

8.4 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

14.4 sec

16.1 sec

16.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.1 MPH

98.4 MPH

89.4 MPH

86.7 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the TLX V6’s fuel efficiency. The Sonata doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the TLX SH-AWD’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Sonata doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The TLX has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Sonata doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Acura TLX V6, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Sonata.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the TLX’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Sonata:

TLX

Sonata

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

12.2 inches

11.2 inches

The TLX stops shorter than the Sonata:

TLX

Sonata

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

129 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the TLX has larger standard tires than the Sonata (225/55R17 vs. 205/65R16). The TLX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Sonata (245/40R19 vs. 235/45R18).

The TLX’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sonata SE/Eco’s standard 65 series tires. The TLX A-Spec’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Sonata 2.0T’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the TLX has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Sonata SE/Eco. The TLX A-Spec’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Sonata 2.0T.

The TLX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Sonata doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The TLX handles at .84 G’s, while the Sonata Eco pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The TLX V6 SH-AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the Sonata Eco (26.7 seconds @ .76 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Chassis

The TLX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Sonata doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the TLX easier. The TLX’s trunk lift-over height is 27.5 inches, while the Sonata’s liftover is 28.6 inches.

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the TLX’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Sonata’s useful trunk space.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than Hyundai. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 48% lower rating, Hyundai is ranked 22nd.

Ergonomics

The TLX offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Sonata doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The TLX’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Sonata’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Sonata SEL/Sport/Limited’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the TLX the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Sonata can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The TLX’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Sonata’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The TLX’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

When the TLX is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Sonata’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The TLX V6 offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Sonata offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The TLX has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats are only available on the Sonata SEL/Sport/Limited. The TLX Advance also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Sonata.

The TLX has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Sonata SEL/Sport/Limited.

Both the TLX and the Sonata offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the TLX has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Sonata doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

The TLX will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the TLX will retain 48.4% to 50.83% of its original price after five years, while the Sonata only retains 43.16% to 47.95%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the TLX is less expensive to operate than the Sonata because typical repairs cost much less on the TLX than the Sonata, including $1 less for a water pump, $6 less for front brake pads and $299 less for a timing belt/chain.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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