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2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

$25,500 - $38,850
Price Range (MSRP)
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review

by Roger Biermann

For 2018, Hyundai has refined the 6th generation Hyundai Sonata Hybrid with a fresh façade, revised suspension and a range of new safety features. The hybrid mid-size sedan rivals the Toyota Camry Hybrid and is priced from $25,500 in its most basic SE trim to $30,500 in Limited trim. Power comes from a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine, paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission housing an electric motor and a clutch setup rather than a torque converter. The combined output of the system is 193 horsepower and estimated MPG is a combined figure of 42, with electric speeds of up to 75 mph. Two trims are offered, with the Limited being the luxurious one, boasting such features as a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, and heated leather front seats.

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Changes: What’s the difference vs 2017 Sonata Hybrid?

For 2018, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid receives the stylistic upgrades the rest of the Sonata range received for the 2017 model – this includes revisions to the front and rear styling, upgraded LED headlights, new wheel designs, and a new look for the dashboard and the instrument panels. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert has been added to the standard safety features, with other new safety and convenience features optionally available. As part of the update, the Sonata Hybrid also receives updated suspension and steering tuning.

Pros and Cons

  • Spacious Interior
  • Comfortable seats for long distance drives
  • Easy to use infotainment system
  • Exceptional safety standard
  • High levels of technology
  • Lots of standard features
  • Blind spot monitoring now standard
  • Uneven brake modulation
  • Top safety features only available optionally on Limited trim
  • Rear headroom tighter than rivals
  • Fuel economy could be better for a hybrid
  • Engine could be more potent – especially at high speeds

Sonata Hybrid Exterior

With the updates to the Sonata Hybrid for 2018, you'd be hard pressed to tell it apart from the regular Sonata siblings upon which the Hybrid is based. A reshaped front end features upgraded LED headlights, Hyundai's 'cascading grille', more defined sculpting, and new vertical LED daytime running lights.

The redesign continues to the sides where the skirts below the doors have been remodeled, as has the rear end of the Sonata Hybrid. The Hybrid does without the standard model's tailpipes but does receive special 16- and 17-inch wheel designs with aerodynamic benefits. Aside from wheels and tailpipes, or lack thereof, badging, clear taillamp lenses and blue bezels in the headlights are all that sets the Hybrid apart from non-hybridized versions of the Sonata. The revisions haven't altered the drag coefficient either, which remains at 0.23 compared to the 0.27 of the standard models.

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Three Quarter Front Left Side View
2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Three Quarter Rear Right Side View
2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Three Quarter Top Front Left Side View
See All 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The Sonata Hybrid borrows many of its dimensions from the standard model, with a length of 191.1 inches and a 110.4-inch wheelbase. It measures 57.9-inches tall and 73.4-inches wide, while it rides with five-inches of ground clearance. But due to the addition of batteries and electric motors, the Sonata Hybrid tips the scales heavier than the regular model, with curb weights ranging between 3,497 lbs and 3,560 lbs.

Exterior Colors

Seven exterior paint colors are available to choose from, expanding from last year's limited palette. Subtle color choices include Hyper White, Ion Silver, Metropolis Gray, and Nocturne Black, while the more vibrant palette consists of Skyline Blue, Astral Blue, and Cosmopolitan Red. All colors are available on all trims, and none carry any extra cost.

  • Hyper White
  • Nocturne Black
  • Cosmopolitan Red
  • Metropolis Gray
  • Ion Silver
  • Skyline Blue
  • Astral Blue

Sonata Hybrid Performance

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Badge
2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Front Wheel Closeup
2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Engine

Engine and Transmission

The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid pairs a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder Nu engine developing 154 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque with a 51 hp/151 lb-ft electric motor sandwiched between the engine and the six-speed automatic gearbox. Total system outputs of 193 horsepower are sent to the front wheels only, with the electric motor's energy supplied by a 1.76-kWh lithium polymer battery located in the trunk of the Sonata Hybrid. The battery is recharged via brake energy regeneration.

Power is lower than that of rivals such as the Camry Hybrid and Honda Accord Hybrid with 202 hp and 212 hp respectively, but the Sonata Hybrid still manages to accelerate from 0-60 mph in the mid-eight second range with strong performance courtesy of the torque fill from the electric motor. That electric fill also greatly benefits overtaking performance with power when you need it, though higher up in the power delivery range the Sonata Hybrid feels a little asthmatic.

  • Engines
    2.0-liter Inline-4 Hybrid, 2.0-liter Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The revised suspension and steering for the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has transformed it into a far more enjoyable drive than before. The firmer suspension manages the extra weight of the rear-mounted battery and ensures vastly better support when cornering, and even in a straight line, where the firmer setup offers more support and makes the Sonata Hybrid feel more on its toes and more alive. It's firmer than before, but still not overly so and the overall bias is one of comfort, soaking up bumps in the road with great aplomb. It's vastly more comfortable than a Fusion Hybrid and comparable to the composure offered by the Camry. The steering has been revised too, and though more responsive, it's still light enough to be hand around town and around parking lots.

But one problem that is yet to be resolved is the brake feel. Of course, the Sonata Hybrid relies upon brake energy regeneration to recharge its battery, which often results in poor brake feel. But the Sonata Hybrid is by far the worst of a bad bunch, with a grabby feel that deteriorates to mush mid-way through the pedal travel without smooth progression to full braking force. At high speeds, this feels particularly prominent and worrying, and the distinct lack of feel places the Sonata Hybrid last in its class in this regard.

Sonata Hybrid Gas Mileage

The EPA rates the base Hyundai Sonata SE Hybrid with economy figures of 40/46/42 mpg for city/highway/combined, while the higher-equipped Limited model is rated at 39/44/41 mpg. Both models feature a 15.85-gallon fuel tank. In the mid-size hybrid sedan segment, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid offers consumption on par with the Ford Fusion Hybrid, but it is thirstier than the Camry Hybrid's 52 mpg and the Accord Hybrid's 48 mpg figures. For reference as to how much of an improvement the Sonata Hybrid's consumption is over a regular model, a non-hybrid Sonata offers a combined consumption figure of 29 mpg in base trim.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    15.9 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 40/46 mpg
* 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid SE

Sonata Hybrid Interior

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Driver And Passenger Seats
2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Central Console Navigation System
2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Central Console Navigation System
See All 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid offers a less stylish interior than many of its counterparts but is big on practicality, perceived quality, and ergonomics. Revisions for the 2018 model see the touchscreen brought into easier reaching distance, with all buttons and knobs large and distinct enough for ease of use. Seating is comfortable, with leather upholstery, eight-way power adjustment for the driver with lumbar support, six-way passenger power adjustment, heating and ventilation, and memory function thrown into the mix on the Limited model. Rear seats offer ample space, even for adults, though only the Limited model offers split folding seats. LATCH anchors feature in the rear as well (two lower, three upper tethers), and the rear is spacious enough to easily affix a child safety seat.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Sonata Hybrid Trunk and Cargo Space

The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid offers 13.3 cubic feet worth of cargo volume in the trunk – which is less than the 15.1 cubic feet of the Camry Hybrid and the huge 16.7 cubic feet on offer in the Accord Hybrid, but it still offers more than the 12 cubic feet of the Ford Fusion Hybrid. In Limited trim, the 60/40 split folding rear seats do allow for longer item storage and expansion into the cabin. Getting items in and out isn't all too difficult either, and when you have the standard proximity key on you, the hands-free power trunk lid standard on all Sonata Hybrid models makes for convenient loading when you've got your hands full and doesn't require treacherous one-foot endeavors.

Inside too, storage is generous, with a large center console, glove box, and door bins all offering great storage, and many other small storage areas located throughout the cabin.

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Rear Passenger Seats
2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Gear Shifter
2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Rear Passenger Seats
  • Trunk Volume
    13.3 ft³

Sonata Hybrid Infotainment and Features

Features

Between the two trim levels and additional packages, the Sonata Hybrid can be had with an array of features. Standard on the entry-level trim you'll find automatic headlights, a hands-free trunk, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, push-button start, a rearview camera, and driver aids such as blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Meanwhile, the Limited adds a panoramic sunroof, power adjustable front seats, heating and ventilation for the front seats, and, with the addition of the Ultimate Package, you'll get automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel, rear park sensors, and wireless device charging.

Infotainment

A seven-inch touchscreen system is standard on both derivatives of the Hyundai Sonata, though the Ultimate Package on the Limited model upgrades the system to an eight-inch unit in size. The standard seven-inch setup features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality, a rearview camera system, auxiliary input jacks, and six speakers on the SE, and equips HD Radio and SiriusXM satellite radio on the Limited model, while the Ultimate Package on the Limited model equips the eight-inch unit with a ten-speaker Infinity audio system with amplifier and subwoofer, navigation, and three years complimentary service to BlueLink Connected Car Services which respond to Alexa and Google Assistant. Also included with the Ultimate Package is wireless device charging for compatible smartphones and devices, while a USB port is standard in the rear of the cabin.

Sonata Hybrid Problems and Reliability

According to the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid was rated 3.5 stars out of five, placing it marginally better than average, but below the hybrid class leader, the Camry Hybrid. Furthermore, there have been no recalls for this generation of Sonata, across both hybrid and non-hybrid models. Hyundai offers a range of warranties, covering various parts, including a five-year/60,000-mile limited warranty, a seven-year/unlimited miles anti-perforation warranty, a ten-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty with a matching one for the hybrid system components, and a lifetime warranty on the Hybrid's battery. Hyundai also offers five-years worth of 24-hour roadside assistance.

Sonata Hybrid Safety

The NHTSA gave the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid a 5-star overall safety rating, with only rollover protection scoring less than full marks. Meanwhile, the IIHS picked the Sonata as a 2018 Top Safety Pick+ due to extensive safety features onboard and superior crash ratings. Seven airbags are standard in the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, but it's only when upgrading to the Limited trim with the Ultimate Package that the Sonata becomes even safer with automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and driver attention alert.

Verdict: Is the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid a good car?

If outright comfort in the hybrid mid-size segment is what you're after, then the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is well worth having a look at, though the Camry Hybrid might be a better option. The Sonata Hybrid might be down on cargo volume compared to rivals, particularly the class-leading Honda Accord Hybrid, and might not have the best economy figures in segment, but it is well appointed, spacious, and supremely comfortable. The styling upgrades received for 2018, along with the ergonomic refinement make it more user-friendly than ever before while the improved list of standard features makes the Sonata Hybrid great value for money. The brakes are an annoyance, but one you'll learn to live with as they ultimately do work, and are the only real fault in an otherwise comfortable and luxurious drive.

What's the Price of the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?

The base price for the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is $25,500 for the base Hybrid SE trim, before incentives, tax, license, registration, and an $885 destination fee applicable on all models. The second of two trims, the Sonata Limited Hybrid, is the luxurious option, priced at $30,500. The Limited model also offers the only optional features package available, the Ultimate Package, for an additional $3,850.

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Models

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Hybrid SE
2.0-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$25,500
Hybrid Limited
2.0-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$30,500
Plug-In Hybrid
2.0-liter Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$33,250
Plug-In Hybrid Limited
2.0-liter Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$38,850
See All 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Trims and Specs

What Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Model Should I Buy?

Though the SE may be the cheaper of the two options - and a great vehicle in its own right with standard features including cloth upholstery, a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, AM/FM/MP3 audio system with six speakers and a reverse camera, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality, dual-zone climate control, and keyless entry - if you can afford to splash out, the Limited is well worth the price premium. Upgrading gets you leather upholstered seats with heating and ventilation and multi-way power adjustment, LED headlights, 17-inch alloys, a power sunroof, 60/40 split folding rear seats, HD Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, BlueLink connected services, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 2nd-row air vents, and woodgrain appearance dash inserts. The Limited also allows for the extra safety features from the Ultimate Package, making a compelling case for you to load it up completely.

Check out other Hyundai Sonata Styles?

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Comparisons

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid vs Toyota Camry Hybrid

The Camry Hybrid has been recently redesigned and is one of the best sedans in the segment. The hybrid boasts an impressive 52 mpg combined mileage estimate compared to the Sonata's 42 mpg. The Camry also drives better and feels peppier, and it has more engaging handling dynamics. It offers more in terms of comfort, too, with greater cargo space and better interior room for rear occupants. The Sonata boasts the more intuitive infotainment system, however, as the Camry doesn't cater to Android Auto or Apple CarPlay integration. But the Camry boasts higher standard levels of safety features with collision warning, pedestrian detection, and lane departure warning, all only available on a fully loaded Sonata Hybrid. The Camry is more reliable too, making it a straight-forward pick - the Camry Hybrid is substantially better in most metrics.

See Toyota Camry Hybrid Review

2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid vs Honda Accord Hybrid

As is the case with the Camry, the Accord has also been fully redesigned for 2018. The Accord is the better pick between the Honda and Hyundai, bagging higher safety scores and better predicted reliability ratings too. Both cars are comfortable and offer impressive driving dynamics, but the Accord is more driver-focused. Inside, the Accord boasts more rear seat room and a larger trunk, as well as generally high material quality. It may not edge the Sonata on ease of use - particularly when it comes to the infotainment system, but in most aspects, it's marginally better than the Hyundai.

See Honda Accord Hybrid Review

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Popular Comparisons