June 2020 What Drives Us

Toyota and Hyundai Target New and “Younger” Buyers

By Beverly & Steve Smirnis

Toyota believes there’s still life in the large car segment at least for one more generation of affluent, mature buyers. Hyundai also refuses to believe that the four-door car segment is dead.  Both share in the belief that sedans can still attract younger or younger-at-heart buyers, agreeing that “younger” is more about attitude than age.

With the primary buyer for the large sedan segment in their mid-sixties, Toyota has stated that the intent of the latest Avalon model is to make significant changes while not alienating the core Avalon customer.  They seem to get that many boomers do sport that “I want to stay young” attitude.  They’ve responded with appreciation for the Avalon’s smooth and quick acceleration while retaining the quiet comfortable ride and a roomy, well-appointed cabin they also seek.   The 2019 fifth-generation Avalon offered a sportier, quicker, more responsive, more comfortable vehicle with all the high-tech features, choice of a V6 or gas-electric hybrid – and multiple trim levels.  2020 adds the new TRD model with a sport-tuned suspension.  The top Touring trim is the way to go for an uncompromising blend of performance and comfort.  Press a button and the adaptive dampers soften the ride or sharpen handling.  Now that’s a unique feature for this vehicle segment!

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata is a serious contender among mid-size sedans with its significantly sportier physique.  And where it really shines is in tech features.  Remote parking assist allows you to stand outside of the vehicle and move it forward or backward using the key fob or Hyundai’s digital key, a phone app that acts as a key.  Inside, obvious thought went behind keeping the Sonata uncluttered with easy to use features–buttons for gear-shifting, common-sense climate controls and a high-mounted touchscreen.  Hyundai says it also designed the cabin with enough room for a 6-foot-tall passenger to fit comfortably behind a 6-foot-tall driver.

As many other automakers cut back on or drop sedans and coupes entirely from their line-ups, these major automotive brands are positioning themselves intentionally. While sedan buyers may be a narrower segment than truck and cross-over buyers, Toyota and Hyundai relish the fact that with fewer choices, car buyers will be driven to try new brands.

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