The Hyundai Sonata is a stylish, mid-sized sedan with a pleasant interior, ample trunk space, and plenty of creature comforts to justify its price.
But is the Sonata a good choice for colder climates, specifically ones that get a lot of snow and ice? Read on to find out…
Here Is the Short Answer to Whether the Hyundai Sonata Is Good for Snow and Winter Driving
The Hyundai Sonata performs decently on snow in its stock configuration but requires a set of dedicated snow tires to bring out its full potential.
However, truth be told – if you are looking for a truly capable car for use on snow and ice, an all-wheel-drive system is a must which this fun-size SUV is not.
Is Hyundai Sonata Good In The Snow?
The Sonata is a very reliable car in the snow.
It has a powerful 2.5l turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, capable of producing a healthy 290 horsepower, and more importantly, 311 lb-ft of torque.
These figures make for a very powerful car that can easily tackle low to medium snow levels and drive over it with minimal sliding and loss of traction.
Furthermore, the front-wheel-drive system also performs well, gaining extra traction from the engine’s weight positioned over the front axle.
This aids snow driving as the car digs into the road and moves through moderate levels of snow with ease.
The problem comes with deeper snow, where the car’s 5.3-inch ground clearance works against it. With anything above 4 inches of snow, you may find it hard to maneuver the car and experience significantly more sliding.
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What Features Does The Hyundai Sonata Have For Winter Driving?
The Hyundai has a great set of features that are useful for winter driving conditions.
Hillstart Assist Control (HAC)
This is a great feature to have in any car, and it is a welcome addition to the Sonata.
The car assists you when you are starting up a hill by automatically applying brake pressure to prevent you from rolling downwards.
It has the added benefit of keeping you from sliding on snowy hills, especially when you are pulling out of an inclined parking spot.
Having the ability to dial in the level of traction control is an absolute god-sent gift on snowy roads.
By regulating the power that is delivered to the wheels, the car can intelligently manage traction and keep you from slipping because of too much (or indeed too little) throttle input.
What makes it even more useful is that when you are on better roads, you can dial it back so that the car is not intervening as much and the drive quality improves dramatically.
Anti-Lock Brake System
Panic braking is the easiest way to lose control of your car and swerve off the road. If your brakes lock up in snowy conditions, the car will lose grip and slide.
Anti-Lock brakes work by momentarily releasing the brakes and then re-engaging them so that they do not lock up and are a must-have feature for cold-weather regions.
Electronic Brake Force Distribution
EBD works in conjunction with ABS by further regulating not just when brake pressure is applied but also how much is applied to each individual wheel.
This helps tremendously, especially when the situation calls for unequal pressure to the rear and front wheels.
All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
The Sonata lacks an All-Wheel Drive System, favoring a Front-Wheel drive setup.
This is not the ideal setup for driving in snowy conditions and would have been a hugely beneficial feature if it had been offered.
Comfort and Entertainment Features
The Sonata comes loaded with a number of creature comforts and tech features that are sure to be useful and nice to have.
A large 10.25-inch center screen dominates the dashboard. This can be used to control various vehicle functions and also display user content via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
A premium Bose sound system accompanies this screen. The driver will have all of the relevant information displayed on an expansive 12.5-inch instrument cluster.
The car comes equipped with a number of airbags and also knee and side air curtains to maximize safety.
Heated front seats dressed in Napa leather make the seating very comfortable and luxurious.
Ambient lighting throughout the cabin adds to the sense of quality.
Does A Hyundai Sonata Have Snow Mode?
Hyundai Sonata does not have a dedicated snow mode.
Nevertheless, it has a number of driving modes to choose from, each geared to perform a different way, whether that is to improve fuel economy, comfort, or handling and performance.
It is recommended that you drive in normal mode in snowy weather.
How Much Snow Can a Hyundai Sonata Handle?
A Hyundai Sonata can easily handle only up to 4 inches of snow.
Even though the Sonata has a decent 5.3 inches of ground clearance, the short ground clearance means that the car may start struggling with 4 inches of snow and higher.
Some drivers have reported being able to drive in deeper snow, having outfitted their cars with after-market wheels and tires that somewhat raise ground clearance.
Is The Hyundai Sonata Good On Wet Roads?
The car performs very well on slightly wet roads and terrain.
This is one aspect where the lack of rear-wheel drive actually benefits the Sonata.
Front-wheel drive allows for more traction and grip in slippery conditions.
Furthermore, the Anti-Lock Brakes and traction control work great and keep you out of trouble on most wet roads you might encounter.
How Does The Hyundai Sonata Handle Low Winter Temperatures?
The Sonata performs well in lower temperatures.
Advanced technology allows for a less warm-up time when you first start the car up, and a cool remote start feature enables you to warm up the engine and the interior well before you even get inside.
Furthermore, Hyundai offers one of the best warranties in the segment with 10 years/100,000 miles.
So you can rest easy, knowing that you will be covered under warranty if there are any engine issues.
Can The Hyundai Sonata Drive On Ice?
Drivers have reported that while the Sonata is able to drive on ice, it is only at a very low speed.
Anything higher than a few miles an hour, and you will start to feel the car slipping and losing grip.
In such cases, you must put on some dedicated snow tires or ice chains. Unfortunately, even winter tires will not be ideal as the ice can be quite treacherous.
In a pinch, you can probably get away with driving very slowly with traction control turned all the way on, but this is still not recommended.
Does The Hyundai Sonata Have 4WD?
The Sonata lacks any type of four-wheel-drive system for the 2021 model year.
All trim levels are offered exclusively in a front-wheel-drive configuration.
What Are The Best Hyundai Sonata Years For Winter Driving?
Keeping the specific features and specifications of the Sonata in mind, it is our opinion that the most recent model year i.e. 2021 is by far the best suited to driving in the snow.
This is due partly to the lack of any all-wheel-drive variants in recent years and the fact that the most recent model year has the highest torque output.
This torque is delivered smoothly from as low as 1600 rpm and helps overcome any obstacles, being especially useful in snow.
Furthermore, the addition of driver-assist features in this latest iteration makes it all the more convenient in almost all driving conditions.
What Are The Worst Hyundai Sonata Years For Winter Driving?
Older models of Hyundai Sonata such as 2010-2018 models lack the power and drive assist features found in newer ones, so they are the worst for winter driving
We would not recommend going too far back in the lineup when looking for a capable car that can take on the snow.
Moreover, the smaller displacement engine options in even the most recent models may be lacking in the power output.
Similarly, hybrid models which employ battery packs are notorious for being poor performers in colder weather due to the inherent flaws of this technology.
In summation, you would be better off getting a Sonata from the past two or three years. And the more power you can get, the better.
As the old saying goes: ‘No replacement for displacement’.
Does The Hyundai Sonata Need Snow Tires?
Hyundai Sonata will definitely benefit from snow tires as these tires are specifically designed to provide more grip and traction in snowy conditions.
While you can drive in the snow on the stock tires, it is recommended that you put on a good set of snow tires for the optimal driving experience.
Can You Mount A Snow Plow On A Hyundai Sonata?
You can mount a snowplow on a Hyundai Sonata but we recommend against it.
While the Sonata is certainly powerful enough to drive a snowplow, we would recommend against it.
This is because the car will have to undergo significant modifications to support the plow, and even then, it will not be as effective.
In this case, it would also be quite expensive to outfit the car with a snowplow while also changing up the overall setup of the car.
At that point, it is not worth the price to do it.
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