The Hyundai Sonata is a very well-rounded midsize sedan, offering a range of trim options for most tastes, it enters 2018 with a redesigned interior and exterior. Changes have been made under the sheet metal too with updates to the suspension and steering and now there are even more standard safety and convenience features.
The Sonata had a high quality interior even in pre-updated form and now with the new dashboard and redesigned center console it is even better. Material quality is very good for its class too and buttons and switchgear are laid out in a logical and easy-to-use fashion. The comprehensive level of equipment on higher trim levels is a cut above most of the other vehicles in this segment.Front row occupants will appreciate the comfortable seats and while the rear row offers enough space in the leg and knee room department, head room for taller passengers is restricted by the sloping rear windshield. Trunk space is generous too and overall the Sonata is as roomy and easy to get in and out of as any of its competitors.
With a redesigned suspension and a quiet cabin, the Sonata flattens distressed road surfaces and provides for a very relaxed drive. While steering accuracy is good and the car does not pitch around when cornered with enthusiasm it is not a sport sedan and others in its class provide a more engaging drive. In most normal driving conditions though the Sonata is very capable although base trim models make do with a somewhat lackluster engine.
The Hyundai Sonata is front-wheel drive and available with a range of engine options. The power unit fittest to the lower trim levels is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine which produces 185 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque. Equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission this engine posts acceleration figures that trail the majority of vehicles in this class. Fuel economy is acceptable, offering a claimed 25 mpg in the city but if that is a priority then the Eco trim model offers 3 mpg more and has a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with 178 hp and 195 lb-ft. It feels more lively than the 2.4-liter unit and is equipped with a faster shifting 7-speed dual clutch transmission.The 245hp, 260 lb-ft 2.0-liter turbocharged engine is used on the 2.0T trim offerings and it provides much stronger acceleration and overtaking capability. It is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The SE base trim is equipped with the 185 hp 2.4-liter engine and offers 16-inch alloy wheels, cloth seats, cruise control, 7-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility as well as Bluetooth functionality and a rearview camera. The Eco Trim is the only one offering the 178 hp 1.6-liter turbo motor and features the same basic specifications as the SE trim.Standard safety devices include automatic headlight control, blind spot detection, lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert. SEL trim adds a power drive seat, proximity key entry, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, leatherette interior door panels, HD radio and Blue Link Telematics system.Sport trim adds a sunroof, sport styling details both inside and out, sport seats and LED interior lights.
Limited trim models add to the SEL trim and also features a sunroof, leather seats with power passenger operation, dual temperature controls, LED dynamic headlights and rear air vents. The Sport 2.0T trim includes all of the Sport trim items and adds the more powerful 245 hp engine, 18-inch wheels, sport suspension and larger front brakes. The Limited 2.0T trim is something of a misnomer as it includes virtually everything from the other trim levels as well as all available options. Tech and Ultimate Packages are available depending on trim level and include items such as an 8-screen touchscreen navigation system, Infinity premium audio system, autonomous braking, high beam assist and smart cruise control.
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata further strengthens its position among the top midsize sedans. With very generous standard and available specification levels, a comfortable ride and a well-built interior it is only let down by an underpowered base engine which is remedied by opting for higher trim levels.