2018 Hyundai Sonata: Video Review and Road Test
While rivals like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry have been totally redesigned for the 2018 model year, Hyundai took a more conservative approach with more of a facelift of its midsize Sonata. Sporting a new grille and updated interior, the sum of the 2018 Hyundai Sonata makeover is greater than the parts. This Korean entry has plenty of room, style and value to make it a serious contender in the segment. Micah Muzio takes an in-depth look at the 2018 Sonata in this Video Review and Road Test.
2018 Hyundai Sonata Video Transcript
As Americans increasingly choose SUVs over cars the traditional midsize sedan category has gone from competitive to even more competitive. With, like, a zillion alternatives, give or take, is there a good reason to choose the Hyundai Sonata?
Sure, legroom, while less generous than the Accord, is still fantastic. My head barely brushes the headliner in the outboard seats but with a slight slouch, the rear quarters make a lovely place to pass the time. Your stuff also won't mind spending time in the spacious 16.7 cubic foot trunk. It sure is a great time to be a camera bag.
Pro tip: the external trunk release is completely invisible. I dare you to find it. It's actually hidden right here at the top of the H. Push it. An even simpler solution is a hands-free release included on all but the base trim that, with the fob in your pocket, opens the trunk after three seconds.
Overall, the Sonata's interior strikes a nice balance between function and style. There's unambiguous separation between the audio and climate controls, all those controls are easy to reach from the driver's seat. Soft materials make meaningful cameos where it counts, and the general aesthetic is upscale and modern. Statements that also apply to the exterior.
The Sonata looks good in motion and it feels good from the driver's seat. It rides in controlled and comfortable fashion. Put another way, your mother-in-law will not complain about bumps. Mine will...she won't, actually, she's a lovely woman. Hi, Paula!
Pick up some speed and the Sonata turns competently with minimal body roll. I suppose the steering could be a little more communicative but middling steering feel still ranks lower than man buns and the phrase “Spooktacular” on the list of things that absolutely drive me crazy. Steering so average, it's scary! It's not clever people.
Visibility from the driver's seat is fantabulous thanks to rear quarter windows that break up the C-pillars. One other thing I like about the Sonata are the brakes. It's very easy to come to a smooth stop though I've noticed when you apply the brakes hard, the sunroof closes. At least a little cover there. Maybe that's a feature.
On the powertrain front there are several choices. Settle in. There's a base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and 6-speed automatic combo offering good power and decent fuel economy, a hearty 2.0-liter turbocharged engine paired with a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission, and in the Eco trim, a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder combined with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission that to be honest, is only marginally more efficient than the base engine and is actually less efficient than basic versions of the Accord and Camry. Efficiency concerns should be addressed by the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid but annoyingly they weren't revealed prior to me typing the sentence I just read.
Regardless of engine, all Sonatas offer Eco, Comfort, and Sport drive modes that alter throttle steering and transmission behavior. Meanwhile a smart mode that varies vehicle feel depending on driver input is added to the mix in cars equipped with the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine.
For a little less than $23,000, destination included, a base Sonata SE trim comes with seven airbags including a driver's knee airbag, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind spot monitoring, all features that usually cost extra, and a 7-inch touchscreen featuring a USB input, a backup camera, and the convenient smartphone integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which Toyota simply doesn't offer on the Camry, in case you were wondering.
Versus the competition, the Sonata is competitively priced with decent resale values. We should also mention that all Hyundai's include a 5-year, 60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a long 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Climb your way to the higher trims and option packages and you can enjoy rear seat vents and sun shades, a second-row USB port, rear parking sensors, power, ventilated and heated leather seats, a heated steering wheel, wireless phone charging, and a navigation-equipped 8.0-inch touchscreen. Optional driver assist features are adaptive cruise control with stop/start capability, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, and forward collision alert. Choose a nicely appointed Sonata Limited trim with the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and it’s a little higher than $33,000. Oh, and there's also a Sport trim with a flat-bottom steering wheel and sportier styling. Just so you know.
Midsize sedan shoppers are faced with a vast array of choices. The Chevy Malibu and Nissan Altima are comfortable and accommodating. The Toyota Camry has a reputation for reliability and now it kinda looks cool. The Ford Fusion looks cool too and offers some compelling features. The Mazda 6 is a pleasure to drive, and the Honda Accord is just plain excellent top to bottom. I've said it before, depending on your tastes, any of those midsize sedans could be the right choice but the Sonata does have its pluses. It's an eye-catching, comfortable value of a sedan with a long warranty and a big trunk. For most midsize sedan buyers that's really all you need.