The 2018 Hyundai Sonata receives a much-needed injection of style.
Like its competition, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata mid-size sedan is hiding in plain sight. With three engine choices and a long list of trim levels, the Sonata is right-priced for buyers and looks sharp.
The Sonata's demerit? It's not a crossover. Whether buyers will come around again, we can't say.
We can say the Sonata is a compelling, high-value package that may be a little light on personality but is a pleasure to drive and has a roomy interior. We’ve rated it a 7.3 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
This year, the regular Sonata has a new look outside, some minor tweaks inside, an available 8-speed automatic transmission, and a new Sport trim level. It’s not an all-new car, but it builds on the redesigned-for-2015 Sonata with a small injection of passion that should help it stand out once again. The Sonata is available in SE, SEL+, Sport+, Eco, and Limited trim levels, with a choice of three 4-cylinder engines.
The plus designation is a mid-year update that adds few creature comforts including dual climate control and wireless phone charging. Sport+ models add automatic emergency braking when equipped with the Tech package.
Sonata SE, SEL+, Sport+, and Limited versions all come standard with a 2.4-liter inline-4 rated at 185 horsepower. Optional on Sport and Limited models is a 2.0-liter turbo-4 rated at 245 hp. The Eco, which we haven’t driven for the 2018 model year, has its own 178-hp 1.6-liter turbo-4 and a unique 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that helps it achieve the lowest fuel consumption of the group.
Even in Sport trim, the Sonata is quiet and composed; it’s certainly not a corner-carver, but it handles day-to-day tasks exceptionally well. Responsive steering and a plush ride help it stand out.
All trims are well-equipped, and this year Hyundai has significantly sliced the price of its range-topping Limited by deleting a formerly standard panoramic moonroof in favor of a smaller, traditional moonroof, and by dropping heated rear seats. We doubt too many buyers will miss those features, but they’ll probably appreciate the high-value SEL. Intended to be the most popular Sonata, it’s priced aggressively with desirable features such as a power driver’s seat, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and optional automatic emergency braking.