2018 Sonata New Car Test Drive
The 2017 Hyundai Sonata is a midsize family sedan with front-wheel drive and a choice of four-cylinder engines. Sonata delivers plenty of interior space, well-controlled ride/handling qualities, and fuel efficiency.
Sonata carries over unchanged for 2017 except for a new safety feature: Dynamic Light Bending is available for the Limited trim level. Sonata was last redesigned for the 2015 model year and is currently in its seventh generation.
Sonata comes with a choice of three four-cylinder engines plus hybrid versions. A 2.4-liter engine that makes 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque comes standard on Sonata SE, Sport, and Limited trim levels. A twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is available with Sonata Sport and Limited trims that produces 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Fuel-efficiency leader is the Sonata Eco, with a small 178-horsepower, 1.6-liter engine.
Each engine mates with a 6-speed automatic transmission, which yields smooth, prompt shifts. Paddle shifters are included with Sport models. A three-mode driving selector (Sport, Eco, and Normal), standard on all Sonatas, affects shift tuning, throttle, and power-steering assist. Turbocharged and Sonata Limited models have an electric parking brake; others retain a foot-activated brake.
Relatively light in weight compared to other midsize sedans, all Sonatas have front-drive. (All-wheel drive is not offered.) Although Sonatas are marketed as midsize sedans, the Environmental Protection Agency classifies them as large cars.
Sonatas score highly in safety, earning five-star crash-test ratings overall, and for frontal and side-impact, from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Sonata a Superior score and Top Safety Pick+ award, when it was equipped with an optional forward-collision warning system.
Seven airbags are installed, including a driver-side knee airbag. Sonatas may be equipped with several active-safety features, which are standard on upper trim levels and optional for others. They include forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control, and rear parking sensors.
The 2017 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L ($21,600) gets the 2.4-liter engine, cloth upholstery, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, split-folding rear seat, AM/FM/CD/MP3 radio, satellite radio, USB port, Bluetooth, a lip spoiler, and 16-inch alloy wheels. Sonata SE ($21,950) adds a rearview camera, automatic headlights, a 7-inch Display Audio screen, HD radio, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, and Blue Link telematics. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
Sonata Sport ($23,400) features 17-inch wheels and distinctive exterior trim, as well as a power driver's seat, dual exhaust, and LED daytime running lights. Sonata Limited ($27,150) adds leather upholstery, heated front seats, sunroof, hands-free trunk opener, LED taillights, pushbutton start, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. A Technology package for the Limited adds navigation, dynamic bending light, Infinity premium audio, xenon headlights, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and memory. The Ultimate package adds adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and rear parking sensors.
Sonata 2.0T Sport Turbo ($26,600) contains the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, paddle shifters, a sports suspension, bigger front brakes, dynamic bending light, 18-inch wheels, aluminum pedals, and sport seats. Sonata 2.0T Limited Turbo ($34,350) comes with the hands-free trunk, automatic climate control, dynamic bending light, panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats, Infinity audio, and navigation. Safety features include lane-departure warning, rear parking sensors, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.
Sonata 1.6L Eco Turbo ($23,125) holds a 1.6-liter engine and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Hyundai also offers Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid versions of the Sonata.