2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review

Sonata Hybrid

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2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Overview

While crossovers continue to dominate new car sales, family sedans prove they still have many merits as sensible daily drivers. What has made the midsize sedan more appealing is the proliferation of hybrid variants of those sedans. You don’t have to go for a dedicated hybrid, which might be too small or underpowered for your needs – a hybridized sedan can deliver efficiency without sacrificing any comfort. And the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid showcases the best of both sedans and hybrids.

The Sonata Hybrid features several subtle visual updates for 2018, including new headlights, a new grille, and new blue design elements below the headlights. Out back, the new rear deck lid results in a slightly more couple-like design, and the taillights feature clear outer lenses. The Sonata Hybrid rolls on distinctive 16-inch (or available 17-inch) “Eco Spoke” wheels that are designed for optimal aerodynamics.

At first glance, the Sonata Hybrid’s cabin looks to be carried over from the previous year, but closer examination reveals an updated instrument panel, center stack, and steering wheel.

Trims for the Sonata Hybrid are SE, Limited, and Limited with the Ultimate Package. No matter what trim you select, you get the hands-free smart trunk opening system.

The SE comes standard with daytime LED running lights, LED taillights, heated side mirrors, remote keyless entry. Inside, it comes standard with push-button start, dual automatic temperature control, Bluetooth connectivity, and USB input port. The SE also comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

For 2018, the Limited now comes with a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, and sharp LED interior lighting. The Limited also features 17-inch wheels, LED dynamic bending headlights, leather seating, heated and ventilated front seats, and 60/40 split-fold rear seats. The Limited also has small, upscale touches like high-gloss window trim, chrome side rocker panel moldings, and woodgrain interior trim inserts.

The Limited makes device charging more accessible to rear-seat passengers with the addition of a rear USB port, and improves the listening experience with HD Radio technology and a 90-day subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio.

The Limited with Ultimate Package is the range-topping trim of the Sonata Hybrid. Not only do you get the most luxury and content, but you get driver assistance features like Automatic Emergency Braking and Lane Keep Assist. The Ultimate Package features an upgraded 8-inch touchscreen with 360-degree reversing camera, and a integrated navigation system. This nav system features the new HERE HD Real-time traffic service, which is a non-paid subscription, as well as SiriusXM Travel Link

The Ultimate package model also features a Qi wireless charging pad, heated steering wheel, rear side window manual sun shades, and an electronic parking brake with auto hold. The Ultimate Package is rounded out with the BlueLink Guidance Package for the navigation system, and an Infinity premium stereo system.

The Sonata Hybrid’s powertrain starts with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, routing power through a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. The gas engine makes 154 horsepower and 140 pound feet of torque. It works with a 38 kW electric motor that delivers an additional 51 horsepower. The overall combined system output is 193 horsepower, put to the road through the front wheels.

Energy for the electric motor is derived from a lithium-ion battery pack. While most of the drivetrain and powertrain has been carried over from last year, the battery system capacity has been increased from 1.62 kWh to 1.76 kWh. This increase in battery pack will be barely noticeable to the driver, but actually yields fuel economy that is an improvement of an MPG in both city and highway driving. Fuel economy for the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is 40 mpg city, 46 highway, 42 combined.

In addition to the increased efficiency, Hyundai has updated the steering and suspension of the Sonata Hybrid for improved ride quality and handling.

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid comes standard with a full array of front and side airbags, and stability. Additionally, it now comes standard with rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist.

The Limited with the Ultimate Package adds Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keeping Assist System, Driver Attention Warning System, and automatic high beam assist. It also adds practical driver assistance features such as rear parking sensors and smart cruise control that can automatically stop and go with traffic.

Base MSRP for the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is $25,500. The Limited trim comes in at $30,500, while the Limited with the Ultimate Package costs $34,350. The Sonata Hybrid is just different enough to make it unique, but rides on the conventional Sonata sedan platform that makes it a far more usable daily driver than a dedicated hybrid.

Updated

From open-wheel racecars to specialty off-road vehicles, George Kennedy has driven it all. A career automotive journalist, George has been a contributor, editor, and/or producer at some of the most respected publications and outlets, including Consumer Reports, the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Autoblog.com, Hemmings Classic Wheels, BoldRide.com, the Providence Journal, and WheelsTV.

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