Joe Parker is a lifelong north Georgia resident and a graduate of Georgia State University. Parker has served as an automotive journalist since 2018 and is the previous editor of the Milton Herald.

There are a bevy of ways to outfit a 2022 Hyundai Sonata, but among a strong midsized sedan market, the Sonata’s value stands out in any trim. It may not be the most engaging in its class to drive or the quickest — apart from the sportier N-Line model — nor does it have the smoothest ride, but the Sonata packs in plenty of sought-after features with sensible pricing throughout its range to bolster its good looks, pragmaticism, efficiency and upmarket feel.

The only notable difference for the 2022 Sonata is a slight price increase to all models except the base hybrid trim, which sees a slight reduction. The SEL Plus model is the only to receive a major sticker hike, up from $29,345 in 2021 models to $32,495. Those extra dollars do net buyers a newly standard features, including a panoramic sunroof, LED interior lights, a 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, a Bose audio system, voice recognition and Hyundai’s Highway Driving Assist system.

Despite paying slightly more for most models, the Sonata still presents value across the lineup.

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2020 Hyundai Sonata

Buyers can choose from gas-only models, hybrid versions or the performance tuned N-Line.

For gas-only variants, SE and SEL models get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine offering 191-hp with SEL Plus and Limited trims sporting a 180-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter. Hybrid models are powered by a 2.0-liter engine and a 39-kWh electric motor for a combined 190-hp. Those wanting more power can opt for the N-Line, which has a turbocharged four-cylinder that dishes up a notable 290-hp and 311-foot-pounds of torque.

I have yet to pilot a Sonata with its base, naturally aspirated engine, but the hybrid and 1.6-liter turbo powerplants provide adequate pep and passing power for the daily commute. These engines aren’t exactly exciting and they whine under acceleration, but aside from being mundane, they are mostly inoffensive. They are also efficient. The turbo gets 30 combined mpg, and the hybrid will net drivers 47-52 combined mpg, depending on trim choice. Those figures are all the more impressive considering the Sonata foregoes a dull-but-efficient continuously variable transmission, instead fitting a traditional eight-speed automatic.

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2020 Hyundai Sonata

Those wanting to add some drama to the Sonata can opt for the N-Line, which will hustle from 0-60 in under six seconds with ample energy throughout the rev range with peak torque right in the middle of the powerband. N-Line models also get some slightly more aggressive exterior trim, an eight-speed, wet dual-clutch transmission, a tuned suspension and a long list of desirable features and creature comforts. The N-Line is a stout performer with its extra horses and better poise through corners. Though it can’t compete with more expensive sport sedans in overall agility, the N-Line is a good sprinkling of hot sauce that livens up the Sonata experience.

Sticking with the norm of most of its class, the Sonata is only offered in front-wheel drive.

Ride quality is somewhat stiff against the competition, but the Sonata’s cabin is relatively quiet with impressive passenger and cargo space.

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The Sonata’s shines when viewing the spec sheet. All models are well-equipped for their price point with upscale fit and finish. In SEL Plus and Limited trims, the Sonata practically fringes on luxury territory.

All models get a suite of driver’s aids, including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist and other features. Also available in upper trims are blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, parking assist systems and a head-up display.

Most buyers will be pleased in mid-range SEL or SEL Plus trims. The SEL offers a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, push-button start, dual-zone climate control, hands-free trunk lid, satellite radio and added safety features.

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SEL Plus models get the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine along with adjustable driving modes, sportier seats wrapped in synthetic leather, a digital gauge cluster and the aforementioned features like a Bose audio system and 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation that was previously available through an options package.

My top-of-the-range Limited tester had genuine leather seats that we ventilated in the front, a heated steering wheel, head-up display and innovative safety features like Hyundai’s blind view monitor and Remote Smart Parking Assist, which can pull the Sonata in and out of tight parking slots, you guessed it, remotely.

With prices starting at $25,545 and cresting below $37,000 for the loaded Limited hybrid model, there is a Sonata for just about every budget. And no matter the trim, the Sonata offers quite a lot for the money. Of course, the value assessment is also boosted by Hyundai leading basic and powertrain warranties.

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Though the Sonata and its hybrid cousins may not the most engrossing midsized sedans to drive, those looking for efficiency, upmarket features, practicality and value should put it on their short list. Those wanting some extra athleticism can also opt for the loaded and sportier N-Line model. And no matter the choice, the Sonata stands out as a strong contender, even against the juggernauts of the group, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

It's tough sledding the midsized market, but the Sonata is certainly in the upper echelon.

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