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Hyundai Sonata Sel vs. Sel Plus

1. Features of Hyundai Sonata Sel

Another luxury feature is the door handle with a sensor. This is a new feature the Hyundai Sonata has, and the only model to have it is the Sel Plus. If you have the key fob on you, you can easily open the door by simply pressing the button on the door handle without having to use the physical key. This feature also extends to the push-to-start button, as you can start the car without the key, which is another feature that the standard Sel model does not have.

Interior Features: In terms of interior features, both models are quite similar to each other. There is an added bit of luxury with the Sel Plus. This is because the standard Sel model has a 6-way manually adjustable seat, while the Sel Plus has an 8-way power adjustable seat, and the driver's seat has a 2-way lumbar option. With the increased seat functionality, there is a chance for increased comfortability for the driver. This is useful if the car is shared between multiple drivers, as it provides an easy way for the seats to be moved and the ability to remember a previous setting.

Exterior Design: The Sel has 17-inch wheels with wider tires and a chrome-like grill. For Sel Plus options, there are 18-inch wheels and a panoramic sunroof. Both versions also have LED lights throughout.

1.1. Exterior design

Exterior expression displays a tapered, sporty and luxurious image that originally turned heads. A number of exterior styling updates distinguish the SEL variant from other 2021 Sonata models, including Hyundai's signature cascading grille accented by a chrome lower rocker, sideskirt and trunk molding. LED daytime running lights connect with the chrome molding that flows into the bottom of the headlight, and the SEL seats on 17-inch fully machined wheels that complement the car's sporty image. A number of upscale amenities have been added to the Premium package, including a powered sunroof and exterior mirror with turn signal indicators, while the Convenience package includes the West's first door welcome light, quality performance tires and a hands-free smart trunk. The SEL Sonata is available in seven colors, including four new 2021 colors: Shimmering Silver Pearl, Quartz White, Nocturne and Eclipse Black.

1.2. Interior features

The Hyundai Sonata SEL's interior has an attractive design and has many standard features, including a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and an 8-inch display audio touchscreen. The standard interior colors are black and dark gray cloth. The SEL Plus only adds on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob, and bolstered sport seats with leather and suede combination. This is also the first step to receive the LED interior lights. Both SEL's get one USB in the front and one in the rear, but the SEL Plus adds one to the center armrest, making a total of 4 USB charging ports. This too comes with rear seat heating, but it's the first model in the line with a $31,980 sticker price. Both models have a 6-speaker sound system and are eligible for a status of 12-speaker Bose sound system in the package bundle with all Sonatas past. All in all, the SEL Plus received some substantial upgrades, but the SEL already has a great starting point, and both models are great value.

1.3. Safety technology

Hyundai's attention to feature content and a 'more of what they asked for' strategy continues with advanced safety and convenience technologies. A key enhancement to the 2021 Sonata SEL is the addition of Hyundai's SmartSense package – adding a suite of active safety features and capabilities often reserved for luxury vehicles or vehicles with a higher price tag. SmartSense technologies add confidence to the drive and tend to the safety of the driver and all passengers. These systems include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Following Assist, Rear Occupant Alert, Safe Exit Warning and the new-to-Sonata Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (activating the vehicle's inner rear electronic parking brake to mitigate a collision). Sonata SEL's new 2021 standard convenience features include a proximity key with push button start, dual automatic temperature control and a chrome and leather-wrapped shift knob. Sonata SEL offers an optional 2.5L Turbo engine with 290 horsepower. Customers should check with their local Hyundai dealer for the most up-to-date availability and total package content for the Sonata SEL+ and Limited models in the 2021 model year.

1.4. Performance specifications

The Sonata is a front-wheel-drive vehicle. No all-wheel-drive version is available. Weight distribution between its 17", 18", and 19" rims yields a pleasant balance of fuel efficiency and cornering prowess. It is possible that the lighter weight of smaller rims will offset any increased friction and air resistance in higher RPM ranges. Drum and wind noise are well-contained with isolated instances of road noise on coarse surfaces. Hydraulic bump stops and a multilink suspension lend to a controlled and compliant ride. The optional 1.6-liter turbo engine with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic has been dropped from the lineup. Step up to the Hyundai Sonata SEL Plus and Limited models, and your performance will be marginally improved by the 180-horsepower, 180 lb-ft torque, 1.6L turbo engine with an 8-speed automatic. The throttle feels more responsive, and the eight-speed is appreciably smoother. Other benefits include increased torque at lower RPMs, increased EPA efficiency ratings, and higher performance potential due to reduced weight and lower rotating mass. This engine allows the SEL Plus to reach 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, which are times competitive for its class. Dynamic tuning for all turbo variants makes for better handling and traction in adverse conditions by means of brake and throttle intervention to the inside wheels.

Under the hood, the 2021 Hyundai Sonata in Sel trim sports the 2.5-liter, 191-horsepower naturally-aspirated inline-four coupled with an eight-speed automatic transmission and the following fuel economy ratings. The engine feels responsive and delivers power surprising for a vehicle in this class. It is not quick but it is faster than most of its rivals. Variable drive modes are available that adapt shift patterns for differing conditions. Aside from the base SE trim, top of the line Limited includes steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. No engine upgrades are available.

"1.4. Performance specifications"

2. Advantages of Hyundai Sonata Sel Plus

Advanced technology integration Newly standard Hyundai Digital Key allows Sonata to be unlocked, started, and driven without a physical key, via a smartphone. Digital Key also allows secure sharing of virtual keys with family and friends. Sonata's Digital Key capability is enabled via Near Field Communication (NFC) and using a dedicated smartphone app, includes three years of complimentary Blue Link services. Digital Key is compatible only with phones using the Android operating system. This may be a downfall for iPhone users. All models have the base 8.0-inch audio display standard as well as the rearview camera with dynamic guidelines. An interesting safety feature is the rear occupant alert, which is a visual and audible alert to combat children and animals being left in the vehicle unattended. The alert activates when the rear passenger door is opened and closed before the vehicle being turned on. This is a great safety feature as well as a buy-up for the SEL or a SEL Plus coming with a family. The SEL Plus on factory install has the smart park system that is an exclusive feature for the Plus and Limited models. This is an exciting feature for the Plus and Limited models. With someone still in the vehicle, it allows the vehicle to park or pull out of a parking spot with the driver standing within 10 feet of the vehicle outside. This is all controlled by the key fob and is a great feature to impress friends or onlookers as well as provide assistance to a driver in tight parking spots. With other drivers constantly driving by texting or checking their phones, this is a great safety feature as well because it reduces the risk or contact with other vehicles or pedestrians in busy parking spots. With driving, the safety ratings remain outstanding and to the top of the class. This vehicle will have up-to-date crash prevention features, which include adaptive cruise control, forward collision avoidance (vehicle, pedestrian, cyclist), and parked vehicle detection, lane keep assist and lane follow assist, heads up display, and a highway drive assist. These features make the Sonata a truly complete sedan.

Additional comfort features The 2020 Sonata SEL Plus gains a ten-way power-adjustable driver's seat with power-adjustable lumbar support and a spacious leather-wrapped steering wheel. Finally, it has a six-way manual passenger seat and three-stage heated front seats. This is progress for a mid-level trim. Closing the door behind me, I leave the power seats where I adjusted them and check out the rear seat. The best part is that the SEL Plus now has a power sunroof standard as part of the package. This could have attracted a lot more people to the SEL Plus and have them pay extra for the sunroof in previous generations of Sonata. The raised roofline allows for great headroom. The thinking that most people have when buying a midsize sedan is that they will have great rear passenger space for when friends or family are riding with them. This mindset is true for the Sonata in many aspects. As a whole, the vehicle has a smooth and quiet ride. The quality of the ride is compared to that of luxury vehicles, and it has ample space for all occupants. The backseat is appealing as it has ample leg, hip, and shoulder room, and the headroom is even more spacious due to the heightened roofline. Combined, this allows for a comfortable ride for those in the back and a more luxurious feeling but at a standard price. This makes the SEL Plus and all other versions of the Sonata a great buy for the sedan. The SEL Plus gives great initial driving features as well as great upgrades and features from the standard SEL.

2.1. Additional comfort features

Firmer, more comfortable premium seats make life behind the wheel of the SEL even better, and the convenience of a memory system for the driver's seat can be a lifesaver if someone else has been at the helm. Both driver and front passenger seats have power controls, which now includes power adjustable lumbar support for both persons for the SEL Plus. This feature may seem minor, but for those with chronic back pain or a history of back surgery, being able to adjust seat stiffness and cushioning can make a huge difference in comfort and long-term back health. This is an often overlooked, yet cherished feature for those who have it in their vehicles. As the saying goes, "it's the little things." This phrase is the epitome of the SEL Plus' attention to detail in the realm of enhancing comfort in basic driving tasks. "Why is it that key memory for the driver's seat, side mirrors, and climate settings is only considered a luxury feature?" queried Doug Richart, vehicle line planning manager for Sonata. It's hard to argue with a statement like that, as the frustration of artwork crushed when adjusting the side mirror after a friend borrows the car is an all too familiar scene.

2.2. Advanced technology integration

The parking collision-avoidance assist operates the rearview camera when the vehicle is in reverse or for forward gear vehicles, it will automatically activate when the vehicle speed is below 7.5 mph and the ultrasonic sensors will be monitoring for potentially moving, static, and/or hidden objects around the vehicle. If the system detects a potential collision, it will provide a warning, and if there is a risk of collision, the system will automatically control the vehicle to avoid that collision. This system can be especially helpful for consumers in tight living situations or in an urban environment.

The Sonata SEL Plus received a huge upgrade in technology. The SEL Plus has been upgraded from a 7-inch display audio to a 10.25-inch navigation display. The premium features were added, such as a 12-speaker Bose audio system, wireless device charging, parking collision-avoidance assist, and a heads-up display which will help you keep your eyes on the road using a digital image projected on the windshield.

The Sonata SEL Plus incorporates some of the best technology and comfort features available in the entire lineup. The technology and comfort features have been improved upon and for just $650 more than the SEL, offer an optional luxurious feel for a reasonable price.

2.3. Enhanced convenience options

Finally, the eight-way power adjustable passenger seat with power lumbar support provides added comfort options in comparison to the base model and even the SEL model. This system is a highly useful option for passengers of varying sizes and also provides a more comfortable method of maximizing lumbar posture support.

The auto-dimming rearview mirror is a fix for a highly irritating inconvenience. During nighttime driving, headlights from cars in the rearview can cause a highly distracting glare from the rearview mirror. This system uses a camera on the front windshield to detect light and glare from the headlights and then dims the mirror to reduce the distraction. This system is also in place to dim the mirror in instances where the user is driving in traffic underground.

The hands-free smart trunk is also a highly useful feature. This system detects when the user is standing within three feet of the rear with the key fob in a purse or pocket for longer than 3 seconds. At this point, the trunk will automatically open, providing a highly convenient method of opening the trunk when the user's hands are full.

The proximity key with push button ignition is highly convenient, allowing the driver to unlock the doors and start the car while the key fob is in the user's pocket. This system provides an added level of security in comparison to traditional key systems and also saves the user time.

In addition to the improved comfort features, the Sonata SEL Plus also offers many more convenience options than the base model. Some of the key features of the SEL Plus worth mentioning are: proximity key entry with push button ignition, hands-free smart trunk, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and an eight-way power adjustable passenger seat with power lumbar support.

2.4. Upgraded audio and entertainment system

While the Sonata SEL offers a 6-speaker system, the Sonata SEL Plus offers premium audio with a 12-speaker system. Another large difference in the entertainment system is the size of the screen and the availability of touch screen capabilities. The SEL offers an 8-inch color touchscreen, while the SEL Plus offers a larger 10.25-inch color touchscreen. This larger touchscreen would prove to be much easier to use for navigation or when reversing, as the screen also has a rearview camera. The SEL Plus further offers the option of a navigation system, while the SEL does not. The lack of touch screen capabilities may prove to be more frustrating, as the trend in technology is moving away from utilizing buttons to control the screen. With the 10.25-inch touch screen, the SEL Plus also includes the ability to implement the system by voice or through the BlueLink connected car system. This will allow drivers to control the system with more ease while reducing the potential for driver distraction. The ability to connect up to two devices at a time through Bluetooth also makes the system more user-friendly, especially in scenarios where children or passengers in the car may want to use their device to control the system. Overall, the system offered in the SEL Plus is generally easier to use and more technologically advanced than that of the standard SEL model.

3. Pricing and value comparison

Cost to upgrade from the SEL to the SEL Plus is estimated to be around three to four thousand dollars. That is quite a significant increase, so now we must evaluate whether the additional features are enough to justify the cost. If one were to seek out the same features that they are provided in the SEL Plus for a similar car that has more of a luxury feel, one would expect to be paying quite a bit more than the lifetime cost difference between the two trim levels. The reason being, luxury cars are high quality and come with additional features, and repairs/maintenance come at a high cost. The typical price of a new luxury car in 2019 is around $40,000 and can often exceed $60,000, and the price of the SEL Plus over the SEL would only add an estimated $4000 to the lifetime cost of the car, bringing it to $28,400 or $31,400. This large discrepancy in base cost and with the small difference in lifetime cost suggests that one will be getting great value purchasing a SEL Plus over the SEL because they are secured a similar long-term cost, and many other potential vehicles at a similar long-term cost are of much higher cost and lower quality. This would mean that the price of the SEL Plus, lifetime cost considered, is a budget-friendly avenue to obtaining a car with plenty of features, reliability, and great quality.

3.1. Cost difference between Sel and Sel Plus

The SEL Convenience Package is an inconceivable strategy at $1100 for a power driver seat with lumbar adjustment, Smart Cruise Control, power sunroof, cowhide coordinated managing wheel, and one of Hyundai's mysterious Smartstream/Highway Driving Assistant feature suites which we acknowledge is a mix of course with clarification updates to diminish potential clumsy course changes. With no mechanical assemblies to move the SEL Plus to some degree over the SEL, it is then quote minded to simply consider helping the SEL to go with the SEL Plus.

The cheapest 2020 Hyundai Sonata, the SE, has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $23,600. A $940 goal cost brings that to $24,540. Any paint shading other than the essential white costs an extra $300. The SEL begins at $25,700. The SEL Plus is $27,650. These models and the EX have the 1.6T motor, so you don't get value for the money tuning down to the better and continuously moderate four motor for the SEL and SEL Plus. The $27,750 EX is a successor to the 2018 Sport 2.0T, so the rising in esteem is justified considering the way that it fuses greater degree ordinary features like a power driver seat with lumbar change, warmed front seats, twofold zone auto air control, proximity key, tenant passage alert, remote start, etc.

3.2. Value for money analysis

- 18" wheels – Larger wheels are generally known for decreasing ride quality and increasing road noise. They are also more expensive to replace. - Panoramic sunroof – Another feature that comes with potential future problems due to the increased likelihood of leaks. - LED interior lights – Very minimal power consumption compared to a standard globe, meaning power usage on the battery is very minimally reduced. The overall lifespan and reliability of LED globes compared to a standard globe would not justify in any means installing them into a vehicle if priced individually. - Leather seats – This is generally known to be heavier and more hot/sticky compared to cloth. Leatherette tends to have better longevity in comparison to real leather.

The features you get from the additional $2500 spent on the top end model are numerous, and some may argue them to be well worth the extra money spent. However, these features do not directly contribute to the performance or reliability of the vehicle, which is rather disappointing when considering their overall pricing. Some of these features include:

When comparing the Hyundai Sonata models, the comparison of value to money is somewhat conflicting to its overall pricing. The value difference between the base model and top end model is around $2500. The conflict arises when noting the price difference between the models largely comes down to additional features, rather than a clear difference in build quality, reliability, or driveability.

3.3. Long-term cost considerations

Typically, higher range vehicles require less maintenance over time compared to a more basic counterpart. It could be due to a better engine, turbo, or more advanced transmission, which is not evident in most Japhy cars, with the exception of, let's say, a Toyota. But then again, the difference between, say, a Levin and a Levin Apex in terms of maintenance costs is also quite similar. Higher range models also tend to get better built-in quality to prevent minor problems in the car. In this case, it's very hard to determine an exact numeric amount of money the Sel Plus would save compared to a Sel. But on a general comparison of cars in different ranges, the amount is quite substantial and may even exceed the price difference between your vehicle and a higher range model in the long run.

B. Less maintenance

Sel and Sel Plus have a difference in features, with the latter being more advanced. Hence, the comparison between Sel and Sel Plus would be similar to a lower range vs higher range model comparison. Typical cars of a higher range lose their value at a lower rate compared to an entry-level vehicle. This is due to the more advanced model having more features and relatively better build quality compared to the more basic variant. The difference in the value drops of a higher range model and an entry-level vehicle can be more than 5% of the purchase cost over 3 years. Hence, Sel Plus would retain more of its value than a Sel, effectively offsetting the initial price difference and making it a better deal compared to its brother, the Sel model.

A. Longer depreciation period

4. Choosing the right model for you

When choosing the right model for you, personal preferences and priorities must be taken into consideration. If comfort and luxury are at the top of your list, you will want to lean towards the Limited. The Limited model offers leather seating, heated front and rear seats, dual climate control, power passenger seat, and a power tilt-and-slide sunroof. If you want a Sonata that has a sporty look and feel without breaking the bank, the SE may be the best fit for you. The SE comes with standard 18-inch alloy wheels, side mirror turn signal indicators, chrome-tipped dual exhaust, and a sport-tuned suspension. If cost efficiency is the most important factor, the GLS model would be the best fit. All three models of the Sonata comfortably seat 5 passengers and have plenty of leg and headroom. The interior and exterior of all three models have plenty of color options to choose from and have a sleek, stylish, and modern look. All three models also come equipped with an easy-to-use touchscreen that can make or take phone calls, reply to text messages, use your favorite music streaming apps, and utilize navigation all while keeping your hands on the wheel. The exterior color options and the touchscreen can appeal to those that enjoy being able to personalize their car and those that want to stay technologically connected. The GLS, SE, and Limited each have their pros and cons, but the differences between the three make for an easy decision based on personal preferences and priorities.

When choosing a car that comfortably meets all of your needs and wants, it can be confusing to try and determine which model of the car will be the best choice for you. This article will explore the differences between the three models of the Hyundai Sonata: the GLS, the SE, and the Limited.

4.1. Identifying personal preferences and priorities

It is important to carefully examine your personal preferences and priorities at this stage. Clarify the initial impressions given by each of the two different models. What did you associate with the GLS? And what initially attracted you towards the premium version? It is now necessary to internalize these ideas and evaluate their worth. It is essential to eliminate any doubts about which model you would prefer. It is likely that certain additional features present in the premium model will be tempting. Are these extra features going to add to your satisfaction with the vehicle long-term and are they worth the extra money over the base model? These are features that must be compared with the GLS equivalent to identify whether the gap in quality and performance is significant enough to warrant choosing the premium model. In this case, it is highly probable that this will be the decided model, but the comparison exercise is still necessary to justify the decision and reaffirm the value of choosing the higher priced option. By comparing the two models to the two of another vehicle make that you were previously more familiar with, significant points will become apparent. For instance, in my own case, a comparison between the Hyundai models and a similar comparison with Nissan Sentras has made it clear that the basic model is not of great worth. This has led to an avoidance of all base level models viewed since that time and has made the comparison exercise with the premium model of even greater significance. Make sure that the reasons for choosing the two different models are recorded as there is a tendency to forget the points and simply go with the higher priced option without good reason.

4.2. Evaluating budget and financial constraints

The Sonata Sel Plus is a fantastic car that has a lot to offer. What the Sel Plus has to offer than the standard Sel is a lot of added features and perks. This car is a very reasonable mid-size car that has a lot of practicality and eye-catching features. The Sel Plus has a little more power and handling than the standard Sel but the overall performance of both cars is pretty much the same. Both cars have 4 cylinders, 191 horsepower at 6100 RPM and IDFC 29/39. The main contrast is in the fuel economy and the 6-speed automatic with the Sel Plus and the Sel's 8-speed automatic with SHIFTRONIC. A big difference or the main difference between the two vehicles is the fuel economy of 29/37 for the Sel Plus and the fuel economy of 25/35 for the standard Sel which might make a huge impact for someone looking for a car with better mileage. The fuel economy and the variance in the transmission can heavily factor into someone's decision mainly if it was a decision decided by an interior choice. The climate control for both cars is a dual automatic temperature control and both cars have heated front seats. An added bonus for the Sel Plus is the option of ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel. This can be a really nice added extra feature that is quite needed for different individuals but for a person with less necessity towards those features, the standard Sel will still be as efficient. This can, in the end, make return different results according to the person looking into either vehicle. Consumer report gave the 2020 model a 5 out of 5 for predicted reliability. This can heavily impact someone looking for either car as it can be an everyday use car or something for the long term. The decision on the type of car can be heavily impactful on the decision for the model of the car.

4.3. Considering future needs and requirements

Considering your personal circumstances and looking at the mid-size segment of the market is what you need to do if you are planning to drive a large number of kilometers in your next car. Requirements for a medium family car in the year 2009 simply mean a car that is cost-effective, safe, somewhat fuel-efficient, practical, reliable, and can comfortably fit the family and carry a load. Future requirements in terms of a car being a long-term investment mean this needs to be reliable and have a reasonable resale value down the track. Back in 2009, as a young fella on a tight budget, my sights led me to the Hyundai Sonata. This review may be geared towards prospective i45 buyers, yet I am comparing the old and new of the Sonata. If you are between generations of this car or pondering to buy a Sonata/I45 and do not quite have as much money to spend, consider whether or not a new car is truly necessary and be on the lookout for a low kilometer second-hand Sonata. As a guide, a 2006 Sonata with under 100,000 km can be found at around $7,000-$10,000 and, in general, represents excellent value for money. This may leave money to spare to dedicate towards future study costs or buy you peace of mind for that around the world cruise you have always wanted to do.