What is it: A midsize sedan looking to impress with a fresh face and high-tech in a crowded segment
Key competitors: Honda Accord, Mazda6, Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry
Base Price: $33,335 As-Tested Price: $33,460
Highlights: Hyundai’s new family face finds itself plastered on the new Sonata, and it looks quite handsome for it. Loads of standard tech is always nice, plus the Sonata drives admirably as well.
Complete review: Read our comprehensive 2018 Hyundai Sonata first drive here
Remember when Hyundai redesigned the Sonata for 2010 and then, all of a sudden, you saw them wherever you went? Well, the Korean carmaker certainly enjoyed that success, and now it’s going back to the well for more.
Enter the 2018 facelifted Sonata, with styling meant to remind you of before — and, ideally, make you forget about the bland successor, its strong-selling sixth-gen car. It looks better, but this car’s drivetrain is much improved, too. The combination of a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder and eight-speed automatic make this a smooth operating sedan. Shifts are well-timed, smooth and impressively quick when put in manual mode.
There’s more than enough power on tap at 245 hp, and all 260 lb-ft of torque is available starting at 1,350 rpm. Throttle tuning feels like it needs some work, however. When you come off the throttle quickly after having it fully depressed, the car lunges forward for a split second as though you were still telling it to accelerate before reacting to what you actually want it to do. Slight delays of input might not bother most buyers, but other manufacturers’ cars don’t exhibit behaviors like this.
The space above where the H is crossed in the Hyundai logo is actually a hidden trunk release button. Press in that space and the trunk pops open.
The ride is comfortable, but the interior isn’t as plush as we expected from a $33,460 sedan. Electrically adjustable seats offer satisfactory support, but Hyundai might want to re-evaluate the quality of plastics it uses on the interior. A final complaint is the door elbow rest — or rather the absence of a usable one. For some reason, Hyundai felt it necessary to place a hard-plastic cubby/storage hole in the exact location where most drivers rest their left elbow. You end up with your elbow in this extremely uncomfortable hole and cursing the person who decided this was ergonomic.
Overall, though, the 2018 Sonata is a big step in the right direction for Hyundai. It feels solid on the road, and it comes with most of the tech goodies you desire and more from a family sedan — the “push the Hyundai logo to open the trunk” gimmick is kind of cool, too.
On Sale: Now
Base Price: $33,335
As Tested Price: $33,460
Drivetrain: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 8-speed automatic, FWD
Output: 245 hp @ 6,000 rpm; 260 lb-ft @ 1,350 rpm
Curb Weight: 3,483 lb
Fuel Economy: 23/32/26(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)
Options: Carpeted floor mats ($125)
Pros: Good power, attractive styling in a roomy family sedan
Cons: Some questionable interior materials and ergonomic choices