2018 Sonata New Car Test Drive
After its redesign for 2015, Hyundai's midsize family sedan faced some criticism for lack of passion and distinction in its design. For the 2018 model year, the Sonata gets a fresh look, atop a refined chassis, along with a few minor interior revisions.
In addition to applying a welcome helping of style to the Sonata body, Hyundai has introduced an SEL trim level. An 8-speed automatic transmission is available on 2018 Sonata Sport and Limited trim levels with the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine.
All 2018 Sonata models now come with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, in addition to a rearview camera. Automatic emergency braking is available, grouped with adaptive cruise control and active lane control in an option package. It's standard on the 2.0T Limited. Newly available lane-departure warning is enhanced with lane keep assist.
Hyundai offers five trim levels, with a choice of three four-cylinder engines. SE, SEL, Limited, and Sport trim levels come with a standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, developing 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. The direct-injected engine mates with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Sport and Limited models also are available with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which produces 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet. The new 8-speed automatic is tuned to provide crisper shifts than the 6-speed used with the larger engine. Turbo models have 18-inch wheels.
Limited and Sport trim levels have specific suspensions and steering systems, and roll on Michelin tires. Sport models get special styling touches, inside and out.
To achieve the best fuel economy, the Eco has its own 178-horsepower, 1.6-liter turbo four, developing 195 pound-feet. Ecos use a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. All Sonatas have front-wheel drive and are assembled in Alabama.
Crash-testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Sonata a five-star overall rating, with five stars for both frontal and side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated Sonata Good in each crash-test element, and Superior for frontal crash protection (when equipped with automatic braking).
Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid versions of the reworked 2018 Sonata will debut during the 2018 model year. Hybrids have been part of the Sonata lineup since 2011.
Sonata SE ($22,050) has the 2.4-liter engine and is fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels, power windows/locks, air conditioning, Bluetooth, and a 7.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (Prices are MSRP and do not include $885 destination charge.)
Sonata SEL ($23,700) adds 17-inch wheels, heated mirrors with turn-signal indicators, keyless ignition/pushbutton start, a 10-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. A Tech Package for SEL includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and electronic parking brake.
Sonata 2.4L Sport ($25,200) includes a moonroof, black headliner, and leather/cloth sport seats.
Sonata 2.0T Sport ($27,600) substitutes the 2.0-liter turbo engine and dual-clutch automatic.
Sonata 2.4L Limited ($27,400) gets the 2.4-liter engine, plus leather seating surfaces, ventilated front seats, LED headlights, and a memory driver's seat.
Sonata 2.0T Limited ($32,450) substitutes the 2.0-liter turbo engine. An Ultimate Package for Limited adds all safety features in the SEL's Tech Package, plus navigation with an 8.0-inch screen, heated steering wheel, rear side window sunshades, and 400-watt Infinity audio.
Sonata 1.6T Eco ($22,650) features a 1.6-liter turbo-four engine, tuned for fuel economy, but is otherwise equipped similar to SE trim.