2020 MERCEDES-BENZ GLS PREVIEW
Debuting at the 2019 New York International Auto Show, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS showcased an expanded interior and a series of premium upgrades, which is no small feat considering the GLS has consistently been one of the most luxurious 3-row SUVs on the market. Mercedes likens the new GLS to the S-Class, the automaker’s extravagant flagship sedan that is packed with comfort, convenience, and technology features in every corner. The 2020 model year marks the beginning of the third generation for the GLS, bringing with it a brand-new body style, more interior space, and a range of standard and available technologies to improve power, entertainment, and comfort for drivers and passengers. The GLS is marked for sale toward the end of 2019.
Although the GLS has always been on the larger side, for 2020 it comes with even bigger dimensions. Built upon the Mercedes Modular High Architecture, which it shares with the GLE Crossover, the new GLS gains 2.4 inches in wheelbase length. The exterior design of the 2020 GLS is noticeably different, with its large front grille and bold hood, subdued side panels, and a somewhat boxy rear end. A unique headlight design houses multi-beam LED lights and the taillights get chrome accents. The redesign is more than just for show; Mercedes-Benz lauds it as giving the Suv car cover better aerodynamics and reduced wind noise, mostly in part to its improved underbody flow and high ground clearance.
The second row is where passengers in the new GLS will see the most significant difference, thanks to the added interior space made possible by the longer wheelbase. The increase in wheelbase combined with versatile seating designs makes for a roomier feel all around. Mercedes-Benz gives the new GLS standard seating for up to seven, but owners can swap the second-row bench seat for two captain’s chairs, thus sacrificing one seating position but allowing for more space and easier access to the third row. For additional cargo space, the third-row seats fold into the floor and the second-row seats fold flat, all with one-touch features to make the process as quick and simple as possible. The 2020 GLS comes standard with tri-zone automatic climate control, while 4- and 5-zone are available on upper trim levels. The base model will also get the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system with two 12.3-in. screens with voice- and hand gesture-recognition. Heated front seats, second-row reclining seats, and USB charging ports are a few other features that will be included in each new GLS.
While the complete model lineup for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS has yet to be announced (currently, only GLS 450 and GLS 580 versions have been disclosed), it’s clear that the automaker is saving some of its best features and equipment for the upper trim or trims, although the base model certainly won’t be lacking in luxury. Available add-ons include the aforementioned second-row captain’s chairs, E-Active Body Control suspension, and 4- and 5-zone automatic climate control. A Driver Assistance package can add Active Stop and Go Assist, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and other important driver-focused technologies. An Executive Rear Seat package boosts entertainment and comfort with rear-seat tablets, seat cushions, headrests, a center console that’s easily accessible from both rows, and wireless phone charging. By adding the Plus option to this package, passengers get lumbar massaging seats and more climate controls.
Under the Hood
The new GLS will feature one of two powertrains. Standard on the GLS 450 is a turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine producing 362 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. An upper-tier GLS 580 will include a turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 with 483 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. Both are mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission and come standard with 4Matic all-wheel drive. Optional on the GLS 580 is a low-range transfer case that adds torque-on-demand and reduced gears for those who seek off-road adventure. Also, the 2020 GLS gets a standard air suspension that continuously senses the conditions of the road and adjusts as necessary for a smoother, more secure ride.
The new GLS comes with a variety of standard and available driver-assistance technologies, including Active Stop and Go Assist, which helps keep the vehicle in its lane while driving a safe distance behind other cars. Active Distance Assist Distronic and traffic sign detection will also be a part of this driver-assistance suite.
One of the features added to the GLS for 2020 is aimed at making car washes easier than ever. When activated, the Carwash function automatically folds in the side mirrors, activates a front camera to ensure the driver’s visibility inside the carwash, stops rain-sensing wipers from activating, closes the windows and sunroof, and deactivates the setting upon reaching 12 mph. The suspension also adjusts to its highest position for optimal wheel cleaning. The MUX system has been updated for the new model year to offer drivers convenient controls right at their fingertips. Two 12.3-in. touch screens provide drivers with driving information as well as access to climate, comfort, audio controls, and more. With the Executive Rear Seat package, passengers in the rear seats can also access the MBOX system with a 7-in. Android tablet.
2020 HYUNDAI SONATA PREVIEW
Hyundai’s popular midsize sedan, the Sonata, is all-new for 2020, built on a newly designed vehicle architecture that will be shared with several other upcoming models from both Hyundai and Kia. In addition to allowing for an influx of new tech features, the new vehicle platform is intended to provide better occupant crash safety. Rear-collision braking and a blind-spot view feature that shows a video in the digital gauge display are available. Additionally, the new Sonata is longer and lower than the outgoing model.
The fastback-style roofline is one of the most eye-catching features of the 2020 Hyundai Sonata. Also of note is the redesigned grille and front headlights. Hyundai designers went in a daring direction by stretching the daytime running lights onto the Sonata’s hood. When the vehicle is stopped, these lights remain hidden, but they activate once the car is on. The new Sonata, which features a coupe-like profile, has a longer wheelbase than the outgoing model. Also, the front wheels are pushed out to the corners for a shorter overhang. Another distinctive exterior feature is the chrome trim strip that graces the headlights and runs up along the hood, encircling the window frame of the car.
The interior of the 2020 Sonata is sleek and exceptionally modern. The dashboard design features a mix of rounded-off angles, and that includes the frame of the touch screen, vents, and the chrome trim on the steering wheel. Even the interior handles have a modernized edge to their rounded-off appearance. And while the roofline has a sleek profile, there is still ample headroom in the rear.
Optional in the 2020 Sonata is a 12.3-inch digital cluster as well as a 10.3-inch center screen, similar to what you’d find in the Audi A7. For an added touch of luxury, Nappa leather is an available upgrade in the 2020 Sonata. The new Sonata also may be optioned with remote smart parking assist, or RSPA, which is designed for small parking spaces and tight garages. Once activating RSPA, the driver can direct their vehicle into the close-fitting space, then exit the car and stand clear. The driver then utilizes arrows on the key fob and can “drive” their vehicle into the parking spot and turn the car off, all from the outside. The same thing can be done when it’s time to leave.
Under the Hood
The new Sonata gets a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine as standard for both the SE and SEL trim levels. A turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder is standard in SEL Plus as well as Touring models. While the larger 2.5-liter engine has more horsepower than the 1.6 turbo, the latter has more torque (195 lb.-ft. versus 181), thus providing better acceleration and excellent fuel economy. Both engines are mated with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Though official numbers from the EPA aren’t yet available for the 2020 Sonata, Hyundai says that customers can expect combined fuel economy of 33 mpg from the 2.5-liter engine and 31 mpg from the 1.6-liter turbo. This is an improvement over the 28 combined mpg for the 2019 Sonata with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and the 6-speed transmission.
According to Hyundai, the Sonata’s new design is meant to improve driver and passenger safety and utilizes super-high tensile steel and hot stamped parts to stop the distortion of the passenger area if a collision does occur. The Sonata’s new platform also implements a multi-load structure that increases the car’s capacity to absorb a crash’s energy. The tires are now designed to move outward in a minor frontal collision to prevent spinning and possible secondary accidents. A robust array of driver-assist features are available on the new Sonata thanks to its three radar sensors, five cameras, and 13 ultrasonic sensors. Standard features include forward-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-following assist (sensors track the car ahead even if the sight of the lane lines are lost). Available on the premium Touring trim level is a blind-spot-view monitor, which is more advanced than Honda’s Lanewatch, taking the concept one step further. Whereas Honda’s system only shows on a center-stack display what’s behind and to the right, the system on the 2020 Sonata displays on the video screen either the left- or right-side blind spots, depending on which turn signal has been activated. It also displays the video images in place of the speedometer on the left and tachometer on the right. Additionally, there is a new safety feature that alerts the driver if a vehicle approaches from the rear when a door is opened.
Tech highlights for the upcoming Sonata include a digital key, which allows the vehicle to be unlocked and driven using just a smartphone through the app that controls this functionality. Owners will be able to permit temporary access to others via the app, as well. There is also a wireless charging pad that circulates air over the user’s phone to help keep it from overheating. This charging pad also enables charging at around twice the previous rate, Hyundai says. Noteworthy standard technology features include automatic high-beam assist, auto-on headlights, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. While blind-spot monitoring is not a standard feature, forward-collision warning paired with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, smart cruise control, as well as lane-following assist come on every new 2020 Sonata.