It doesn’t seem like all that long ago when we were first introduced for the all new Huyndai Sonata. Fast forward a few years and now we’re facing a fresh-faced Sonata. The big news is the face, if you haven’t gathered. For 2018, Hyundai’s corporate grille design is bolder, larger and much more accented on the front of our Limited trim tester. Around back, a single trapezoidal exhaust outlet to annoy anyone who prefers symmetry, and a new trunk and taillight design round out the changes.
Our Limited was fitted with the base engine; the 2.4L I-4 with 184 horsepower. It’s the same engine we first tested in the 2015 Sonata Limited. It’s not particularly fast and sounds belabored when you really need to get out into traffic, but it is acceptable. The transmission is a carryover six-speed automatic as well. Fuel economy, as you can imagine, was very good. Over mixed driving of highways, back roads and rush hour traffic, the Sonata netted over 31mpg for the week.
Inside, the new Sonata benefits from a freshening as well. All the touch points feel more expensive than the as-tested low 30s price tag might suggest. The infotainment system is still one of the best in the business, and it felt even better here. Inputs were sharp, navigation destinations were easy to enter, and the split screen mode was used almost the entire time. Heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, memory seats and wireless charging made the Sonata laden with extras that certainly make it feel upscale. Also worth nothing is that Apple Car Play and Android Auto are now standard features regardless of trim level.
Driving the Sonata is a fairly vanilla experience. This is not a bad thing, in fact it is rather refreshing. It does nothing to offend. The seats are comfortable, the suspension allows for ample compliance over bumps, and tire noise is kept to a minimum. The new steering rack programming felt more connected and offered a little more feel than the previous iteration.
Hyundai’s latest entry into the fray allows for them to compete and excel in some very important areas. Competitors such as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are both coming off fresh redesigns, making it even more important for Hyundai to make this a winner. It succeeds in many areas, and doesn’t really do anything poorly. We’ll have to drive the other members of the segment to see where this one fits in, but for now it’s first in our books.
|2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited
|Ultimate Package for Limited||$2,900|
|As Tested MSRP||$31,185|