More of everything without sacrificing the value proposition
More extensive than your typical mid-cycle refresh, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata receives a host of improvements to get it ready to compete with the redesigned 2018 Toyota Camry and 2018 Honda Accord. These changes lead to a better-rounded car that should continue to offer compelling value in its segment. Here are seven significant changes that make the 2018 Hyundai Sonata worth consideration for those wanting a midsize sedan.
Read our 2018 Sonata First Drive review here.
Eight Speeds Comes Standard on the Most Powerful Engine
More power now comes with more gears, thanks to a new eight-speed automatic gearbox replacing the old six-speed unit on the 2018 Sonata 2.0T Sport and Limited trims. Compared to the transmission it replaces, the eight-speed unit features an optimized oil pump with 43 percent reduced capacity for improved efficiency, a multi-plate torque converter with an expanded direct coupling area to improve responsiveness, dual ball bearings for lower frictional losses, and less control valves (down to 12 from 20).
A Front Grille Inspired by Molten Steel
Chris Chapman, chief designer at Hyundai’s Irvine design center explained that the new grille is inspired by molten steel being poured, resulting in a cascading effect when you look at it. The car’s new front fascia, on the other hand, took inspiration from the sixth-generation Sonata, giving the refreshed model a more aggressive look that’s distinctive and eye-catching.
New Rear Suspension Improves Ride and Handling
Hyundai improved the 2018 Sonata’s ride and handling by increasing the rear trailing arm’s thickness to 3.5 mm from 2.9 mm, and the bushings now have aluminum inserts instead of steel ones. This gives the car a firmer rear suspension that helps improve body control. On the Sport and Limited trims with the 245-hp 2.0-liter turbo-four, a sport-tuned suspension comes standard, which further improves the 2018 Sonata’s dynamic capabilities.
Improved Steering for Better Control
All 2018 Sonatas receive an improved steering system with a column-mounted steering gearbox to make it feel more direct. The torsional stiffness of the steering gearbox has also been improved to 2.8 nm per degree from 2.5 nm, resulting in a steering system that has better weighting and feels more secure, especially in Sport mode.
Better Value on the Most Expensive Model
The range-topping Limited 2.0T trim costs $1,900 USD less than before at $33,335 USD. At that price you get features such as a navigation system with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, an Infinity premium audio system, full LED headlights, ventilated front seats, and a full suite of active safety features that includes automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control with stop and go function.
More Power Gets You More Rubber and Better Stopping Power
Opt for the more powerful 245-hp 2.0-liter turbo-four, and you also get larger disc brakes up from measuring 12.6 inches in diameter. Additionally, all 2018 Sonatas with the 2.0-liter turbo-four receive 18-inch wheels shod in 235/45/R18 tires, giving it better grip than variants powered by the base 2.4-liter I-4 or the 1.6-liter turbo-four.
Blind-Spot Warning Comes Standard
Blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert are now standard equipment across the 2018 Sonata lineup, but it doesn’t come at the cost of a massive price increase. In fact, the base SE trim’s price tag only went up by $100 USD to $22,935 USD, and that trim also comes standard with a rearview camera, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Although there’s lots of value in the 2018 Sonata — which is covered by Hyundai’s basic 5-year/60,000-mile (97,000 km) warranty — the 2018 Toyota Camry comes with a full suite of active safety tech as standard, but carries a higher starting price.
Don’t miss our 2018 Hyundai Sonata First Drive right here.