2018 Hyundai Sonata Review

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2018 Hyundai Sonata Overview

At one time, Hyundai was a dark horse, with its Sonata playing catch-up to the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. But the Sonata has fully matured into one of the best midsize sedans on the market today, and for 2018, Hyundai seeks to get a leg up on the competition with a fresh look and thoughtful new features that will make the daily commute that much safer and more enjoyable.

Incredibly, the Sonata has been sold in the North American market since the 1989 model year. The 2018 Sonata is a facelift of the seventh generation (the sixth sold in the U.S.), and its updates go beyond surface level.

The 2018 Sonata sports a new exterior look, with an updated grille, headlights, rear fascia, and taillights. The “cascading grille” is flanked by newly available LED headlights, which are connected visually to the A-pillar via a thin chrome strip—a design hallmark of the Sonata in recent years. The rear features a cleaner design, and the license-plate holder is moved to the lower bumper. In its place, the letters “SONATA” are spread across the rear, resulting in a more upscale look. The trunk release button is now neatly built into the rear Hyundai badge, as well.

Inside the Sonata’s cabin, the center stack features some design updates, including a new 3-spoke steering-wheel design. Climate and audio controls are in the same general layout as the outgoing model, so returning customers will feel right at home. The bottom of the center stack features a tray for smaller items like your phone, wallet, and keys. In past models this had a cover, but it’s now an open design for easy access to the USB and Aux audio ports.

Trims for the 2018 Sonata are the SE, Eco, SEL, Sport, and Limited. Standard features on the base SE and Eco trims include Bluetooth hands-free calling and music streaming, a 7-inch color touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The SEL gets a 10-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a second-row USB charging port, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a 4.2-inch color trip computer.

The Sonata Sport trim features a unique grille design, a sporty front bumper and side rocker panels, a chrome-tipped dual exhaust, leather sport bucket seats, and a leather-wrapped flat-bottom sport steering wheel. The range-topping Limited adds front-seat ventilation, leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, LED headlights and taillights, dual automatic temperature control, and memory settings for the driver’s seat and side mirrors.

Three engines are available on the Sonata, starting with the 2.4-liter GDI 4-cylinder engine. It mates to a 6-speed automatic transmission for an output of 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque and gets fuel-economy numbers of 25 mpg city, 35 highway, and 28 combined. For those seeking quicker acceleration, the turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is available on the Sport and Limited trims. Paired with a new 8-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode, it makes 245 hp and 260 lb-ft. Turbo models net fuel-economy figures of 23, 32, and 26 and feature special 18-inch wheels wrapped in Michelin tires.

Finally, the Sonata Eco trim features a turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 178 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. The Eco receives a 7-speed EcoShift automatic transmission and Michelin EnergySaver low-rolling-resistance tires, and it boasts EPA figures of 28, 37, and 31.

All Sonatas come with a host of safety equipment, including a reversing camera, a tire-pressure monitoring system, a LATCH child-seat anchoring system, and a full array of front and side-impact airbags. For 2018, blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist have been added as standard features. Available high-tech options include lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam assist, rear parking sensors, and automatic emergency braking.

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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