2018 Hyundai Sonata Sport

The midsize sedan category is jam packed with worthy competitors from Honda, Toyota, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia and more. In fact, you can thank the two South Korean automakers for setting the bar high and offering vehicles that provide amazing value for the money. Hyundai and Kia models are usually loaded with features and tech while remaining budget-friendly. Other companies had to follow suit to keep their vehicles competitive.


The five-passenger Sonata is the best-selling sedan for Hyundai and gets refreshed for the 2018 model year with a more aggressive profile, cascading grill, new suspension, new eight-speed automatic transmission, and several standard features that were options on the 2017 model including blind spot monitoring and lane keep assist. All models are front-wheel-drive.


It’s available in SE, Eco, SEL, Sport, Sport 2.0T, Limited and Limited 2.0T trims. There’s a Sonata for just about every budget. Starting prices range from $22,050 to $32,450. There’s also the 2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid starting at $26,000 and the 2017 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid starting at $31,100.


The base engine is a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine that makes 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque paired with a six-speed automatic. The Eco trim gets a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 178 hp and 195 lb.-ft., mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The 2.0T trims get a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that generates 245 hp and 260 lb.-ft.


Other midsize sedans are more fun to drive, but the Hyundai is far from being a snoozer. The standard engine provides enough power for everyday driving. The new suspension provides for a smooth and comfortable ride. The Sonata stays planted when cornering and soaks up most road imperfections. It won’t get your blood pumping but it is a pleasant daily driver and commuter. Those who crave livelier performance can get one of the 2.0T models.


Fuel efficiency is good for the class. EPA mileage estimates for my tester are 25 mpg city and 35 mpg highway with a combined rating of 28 mpg. I got 27 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving. The Eco model gets 28 mpg city/37 mpg highway/31 mpg combined. The 2.0T trims get 23 mpg city/32 mpg highway/26 mpg combined.


The cabin is attractive with a clean design. Most materials are soft-touch and of good quality. Seats are supportive. Passengers in both rows enjoy good leg-room, but the sloping roofline eats into the headroom in the second row so taller passengers may feel cramped.


Standard features include cloth upholstery, rear view camera, seven-inch touch-screen display, Hyundai’s Blue Link infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, and USB port. Standard driver assistance features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane change assist.


Available features include leather seating, sport seats, power-adjustable front seats, heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, power sunroof, eight-inch touch screen with navigation, nine-speaker Infinity premium audio system, satellite radio, wireless device charging, adaptive headlights, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rear parking sensors, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.


Hyundai’s Blue Link infotainment system is still one of the most user-friendly. It responds quickly to touch and voice commands and you can customize the home screen to your liking. Integrating your smart phone is a cinch.


The trunk has 16.3 cubic feet of space which is large for the class. There’s even a hands-free power trunk which isn’t available on many competitors. It opens the trunk if you stand by the rear of the car with the key fob for a few seconds. The rear seats split fold 60/40 providing flexibility in hauling passengers and cargo.


The 2018 Sonata receives excellent safety scores. In NHTSA crash tests, it receives an overall rating of five out of five stars. It is rated a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.


The good:

Good value among midsize sedans

Available in several trims and powertrains, including a hybrid and plug-in hybrid

Pleasant daily driver

Attractive interior with clean design

User-friendly infotainment system

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard

Good fuel efficiency for the class

More trunk space than average for the class

Excellent crash test ratings


The not-so-good:

Performance not as athletic as some rivals

Sloping roofline limits headroom in the backseat


Pricing info:

My tester starts at $25,200. Carpeted floor mats are $125. Delivery fee is $885 bringing the grand total to $26,210.


Bottom line:

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata boasts good looks, an attractive cabin, comfort, technology and improved driving dynamics, with pricing that’s below average for the class. It remains a top contender in the crowded midsize sedan segment.

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