Celebrating the beginning of their seventh generation and 30 years of operation in North America, Hyundai has redesigned its flagship sedan for 2018. The new 2018 Hyundai Sonata lineup, with a new design expression, more features and the introduction of technology updates and refinement along with added hardware as standard fare.
Key highlights for the 2018 Hyundai Sonata include a $1,000 Tech Package for SEL trim vehicles with Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Smart Cruise Control with stop/start capability, and Electronic Parking Brake with Automatic Vehicle Hold. On Limited models, there’s a $2,900 Ultimate Package that comes with Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Smart Cruise Control with stop/start capability, Electronic Parking Brake with Automatic Vehicle Hold, Automatic High Beam Assist, rear parking sensors, a heated steering wheel, rear side window sunshades, an 8-inch touchscreen navigation system, an Infinity audio system with Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology (400 watts), wireless device charging for compatible smartphones, HD Traffic (Real-time traffic service), and 3 years of complimentary Blue Link Multimedia/Map Updates.
The Hyundai Sonata stable comprises seven trim levels that define content and purpose. Your options start with the base model SE and move progressively upward through the ECO model, SEL, Sport, and Limited. The Sport or Limited trim levels come with a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated engine or a 2.0-liter turbo. Base pricing ranges from $22,050 to $32,450 for the 2018 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T Limited. Each model costs $885 more than the next lowest trim level.
My test vehicle was the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T. It wore a Quartz White Pearl metallic exterior finish, with the interior executed in Black with Blue stitching on the seats and steering wheel. Metalgrain appearance trim accented the dashboard and the doors. The base price for the 2.0T Limited is $32,450. That base price rose to $33,460 after adding for the optional carpeted floor mats and destination charges.
The redesigned 2018 Hyundai Sonata was created at the company’s California design studio. They focused on catering to American aesthetic tastes with a new look all around. The fresh appearance leads off with Hyundai’s trademark “cascading grill,” and continues with a bold and assertive profile and an entirely new rear fascia. Everything blends to display a clean and contemporary approach, finishing with sharply restyled, slim taillights and an enlarged Hyundai badge that now houses the trunk release button. Chrome accents surround the cabin glass and fresh wheel designs cap off its new look. The overall effect is elegantly daring.
There are three four-cylinder engine choices, depending on which model you choose. The least powerful is a 178 horsepower, 1.6-liter on ECO models. A 185 horsepower 2.4-liter sits under the hood of SE, SEL, Sport and Limited models. Finally, Sport and Limited models can house an optional 2.0-liter turbocharged unit that delivers 245 horsepower at 6,000 rpm along with 260 pound feet of torque in a range from 1,350-4,000 rpm. All engines feature Gasoline Direct Injection.
There are also three available transmission choices depending on the model. SE, SEL, Sport and Limited trims get a 6-speed automatic box. ECO models have a 7-speed EcoShift dual-clutch transmission. To complement the most powerful engine option, Sport and Limited 2.0T models get an 8-speed ShifTronic automatic. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters are available on Sport, Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T models.
The 2.0T turbocharged motor is relatively quiet, delivering more dynamic performance than the 2.4 liter engine. The 8-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, while the paddle shifters were more enjoyable for manually changing gears than the lever. User-selectable drive modes deliver varying levels of vehicle performance. There’s Efficient, which is your well-balanced option. Then there’s Dynamic mode, governed by Eco, Normal, and Sport options.
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata doesn’t just showcase a more dynamic appearance. Its ride and handling also benefit thanks to a more refined, stiffened chassis that offers a better feel all round. Hyundai has also recalibrated the steering with a focus on better on-center feel. They’ve also updated the rear suspension, utilizing thicker, stiffer trailing arms with more compliant new bushings. 2.0-liter turbo models roll on 235/45 R18 94V Michelin Primacy MXM4 rubber mounted on 5-stylized“U”-spoke silver painted alloy wheels.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
The cabin’s cockpit features a renewed center stack and instrument panel that augment the exterior’s revised appeal. The theme carries down to gauge dial design and a substantial three-spoke steering wheel. Piano key buttons for audio and HVAC controls provide not only a premium look but feel as well.
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata comes standard with a seven-inch color display audio touchscreen with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Qi wireless charging for your smartphone also comes as standard. The Sonata now also adds a second row USB charge port, allowing everyone to stay charged up on a trip. Available navigation systems now come with a bird’s eye view feature as well as traffic flow and incident data, without having to pay a subscription fee.
Convenience features offered include: Smart Cruise Control with Stop/Start, an electronic parking brake with auto vehicle hold, a memory seat for the driver, rear side window sunshades, a heated steering wheel, a 60/40 split folding rear seat, and a hands-free Smart Trunk.
Interior amenities include heated front and rear seats, accent stitching, and a 4.2” color multi-info display in the gauge cluster. Other standard features include a remote keyless entry and alarm system, power heated mirrors, LED Daytime Running Lights, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise control and a Bluetooth hands free phone system. Premium features such as HID Xenon headlights, panoramic sunroof and the 10-speaker Infinity 400watt premium audio system with subwoofer are options on lower trim level vehicles.
Safety features on the 2018 Hyundai Sonata include seven standard airbags (dual front, side, and curtain, as well as driver’s knee), a host of safety systems (VSM, ESC, TCS, ABS, EBD, BA, and TPMS), and Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. The Sonata is currently the only mid-size car sold with this level of safety technology as standard equipment. There’s also a new Lane Departure Warning system with an optional, enhanced Lane Keep Assist function.
Hyundai’s Blue Link connectivity system continues to provide more additional features, now including Amazon Echo support. That allows owners remote car control from inside their home, or wherever their Amazon device is located.
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata, regardless of trim level and respective propulsion options, bolsters driving confidence with its impressive host of safety features. Hyundai tops many of its competitors in terms of price advantage and feature content by an average of nearly $2,000 while also offering a superior Basic Warranty, Powertrain Warranty and Roadside Assistance program.
All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by Hyundai’s Assurance program, which includes a 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle limited warranty, a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, and five years of complimentary Roadside Assistance. That program includes Automatic Collision Notification, Vehicle Diagnostic Alerts, Monthly Vehicle Health Reports, and in-vehicle service scheduling.
Bottom line, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata lineup raises the bar in terms of design, performance and feature content in the mid-size sedan segment.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T Limited
|Price as Tested:||$33,460|
|Engine:||2.0-liter, twin-scroll turbo inline-4 w/ Dual VVT|
|Horsepower:||245 hp @ 6,000 RPM|
|Torque:||260 lbs.-ft. @ 1,350 – 4,000 RPM|
|0-60 Acceleration:||Not tested|
|Transmission:||8-speed “Shiftronic” automatic w/ paddle shifters, drive mode select|
|Drivetrain:||Transversely-mounted front-engine, FWD|
|Suspension:||Front: MacPherson strut w/ coil springs, Mando Dual Flow Dampers (DFD) and 24mm stabilizer bar
Rear: Multi-link w/ coil springs, Mando Dual Flow Dampers (DFD) and 18mm stabilizer bar
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel discs w/ ABS, EBD, ESC and TPMS|
|Tires:||Michelin Primacy MXM4 235/45R18 94V|
|Fuel capacity:||18.5 gallons|
|Fuel economy (EPA):||23 City/32 Highway/26 Combined MPG|
|Passenger Volume:||106.1 cubic feet|
|Cargo Volume:||16.3 cubic feet|
|Turning Circle:||35.6 feet|
|Curb Weight:||3,527 pounds|