By Mauricio Lezcano / carsntravel.com / Photos Hyundai Motor America
The redesigned 2018 Sonata enters the market with a new look from the front, side and rear thanks to a cascading grill a more assertive profile and an entirely new rear; showcasing a clean and handsome approach with reimagined, slim taillights.
Supplementing the bodywork, the 2018 Sonata now lights the way with LED daytime running lights. When night falls, available LED headlights with dynamic bending light illuminate the path and add to Sonata’s already radiant posture. The same standout style continues in the rear with sharp taillight design and enlarge Hyundai badge, which now cleverly houses the trunk release button. Chrome accents surround the daylight opening and fresh wheel design cap off its new look.
Inside, the renewed center stack and instrument panel echo the exterior’s catching new looks. The trend carries down to gauge dial design and a strong three-spoke steering wheel. Piano key buttons for audio and HVAC controls give a premium look and touch.
Beauty Beneath the Skin
The new Sonata has a refined chassis with improved ride and handling. To achieve these feat engineers increased the torsion bar stiffness within the steering system by 12 percent, which improves steering response and feel in all conditions. They then enhanced that improvement further with new steering calibration, focusing on responsiveness and on-center steering feel.
In addition to these steering changes, the Sonata received an updated rear suspension. The trailing arms are 21 percent thicker, making them stiffer and better able to manage heavy suspension loads. New bushings work with the new suspension arms to allow for more ride compliance and yet quicken response time to control all other wheel motions. The result is a communicative, nimble and comfortable sedan.
An all four-cylinder lineup continues to power the Sonata in 2018. The base, naturally aspirated engine, the 2.4-liter Theta II GDI, produces 185 peak horsepower and 178 lb. ft. of torque. The Sonata Eco comes with a 1.6-liter, turbocharged Gamma engine and delivers 178 peak horsepower and 195 lb. ft. of torque. It mates to an efficient seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The range topping 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharge GDI generates 245 peak horsepower and 260 lb. ft. of torque. Both Theta engines are paired with a six speed SHIFTRONIC automatic transmission.
Compelling Comfort and Safety
The 2018 Sonata features a standard seven-inch color display audio touchscreen with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Speaking of smartphones, driver and passenger alike can keep them charged without a plug using the available Qi standard wireless charging pad; In addition Sonata now adds a second row USB charge port, a nod to today’s connected rear-seat passengers. Available navigation systems now come with a bird’s eye view feature as well as traffic flow and incident data, without ever having to pay a subscription for the service.
For 2018, the Hyundai Sonata is the only Midsize car sold with this safety technology as standard equipment. Despite drivers spending a tiny amount of time in reverse, one quarter of all accidents happen when someone is backing up. BSD with RCTA gives drivers peace of mind that the road behind them is clear. Furthermore, there’s also a new Lane Departure Warning system with an enhanced Lane Keep Assist function available.
For years, the Sonata has stood out as the most well-known model in Hyundai’s lineup, and the 2018 design refresh builds on the success of previous generations while introducing a more aggressive and sporty look. A resculpted hood and cascading grille signal a shift in Hyundai’s evolving design philosophy, along with other dramatic design changes that result in a bolder, more sophisticated exterior.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price starts at $27,400.00 for the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited, the one I drove included the Ultimate Package, $2,900.00 (Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist System, Electronic Cruise Control with Stop/Start Capability, Automatic High Beam Assist, Rear Parking Sensors, 8-Inch Touchscreen Navigation System, Blue Link Multimedia/Map Updates, Infinity Premium Audio System, HERE HD Traffic, SiriusXM Travel Link, Wireless Device Charging for Compatible Smartphones, Heated Steering Wheel, Rear Side Window Sunshades) Carpeted Floor Mats $125.00, and it came at $31,310.00 including inland freight and handling $885.00. The EPA fuel economy estimates 25 MPG City and 35 MPG Highway with the 2.4L GDI 4 Cylinder Engine and the Six-speed Automatic Transmission with Shifttronic.