2018 Hyundai Sonata Review
- Original MSRP$22,050 - $32,450
- Fuel Economy (MPG)25/36 City/Hwy
- Body StylesSedan
By Jim Sharifi (Last Updated 4/18/2018)
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata may not be the most polished entry in the midsize-car segment, but that doesn’t mean that you should avoid giving it a second look. The Sonata meets all the requirements of a dependable family car, with strong safety ratings and an exceptional powertrain warranty. It also offers impressive style, a great list of standard features and a lower starting price than its key competitors.
The Hyundai Sonata is a midsize sedan that’s offered in seven trims: SE, Eco, SEL, Sport, Limited, Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T. Hyundai also offers a Sonata Hybrid and a Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, which are reviewed separately. All Sonata models seat five and come with front-wheel drive. Three engine choices are offered, with most models featuring a naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine. A smaller turbocharged engine is standard with the Sonata Eco, while Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T feature a turbocharged four-cylinder that provides the most power in the lineup.
The Sonata receives updated interior and exterior styling for 2018. A few useful technologies also become standard equipment, such as blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
Midsize cars typically prioritize function over form, but the 2018 Sonata features an athletic exterior design that should resonate with buyers who want a bit more visual interest than the typical family sedan offers. Its revamped front end showcases a large, angular grille, while sleek headlamps and triangular fog-light pockets contribute to its muscular appearance. A strong character line and standard 16-inch wheels can be seen in the Sonata’s profile, while the rear fascia features a prominent Hyundai logo that’s flanked by wide taillight assemblies.
One of our favorite exterior features on our test Sonata Sport was the available hands-free trunk. Simply stand near the trunk and the Sonata will beep three times to let you know that the hands-free feature is activated. The trunk opens on the third beep, providing easy access to the cargo area when your hands are full.
A few more conventional exterior upgrades are available, too. Buyers can choose from options that include larger wheels, heated sideview mirrors, a moonroof and a full complement of LED exterior lights.
The Sonata features a cabin that is both spacious and modern. The materials used throughout are acceptable for the class, but we noticed more hard plastics than you’ll find in competitors like the Mazda6, Volkswagen Passat or the redesigned 2018 Honda Accord. The dashboard and center stack feature an asymmetrical design that provides some visual interest, and you’ll find ample head- and legroom in both rows. Cargo volume also comes in at a competitive 16.3 cubic feet, and a 60/40-split folding rear seat allows you to expand that space for bulkier items.
The base Sonata SE comes with the interior features you’d expect for the class, such as full power accessories, air conditioning, cloth upholstery and a tilt-and-telescoping steering column. Higher trims can add to the feature content with dual-zone automatic climate control, rear side-window sunshades, power-adjustable front seats, leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel and heated and ventilated front seats.
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata meets the expectations of the typical family sedan with good fuel economy and a reasonably controlled and comfortable ride. It’s not as refined as the Accord or as athletic as the Mazda6, but the Sonata remains composed in tight turns, with steering that’s responsive enough to provide a little fun on more spirited drives. Front-wheel drive is standard on all trims.
SE, SEL, Sport and Limited models come with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. That engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The Sonata Eco is equipped with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 178 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque, while Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T trims feature a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is standard with the Sonata Eco, while 2.0T models come with an eight-speed automatic.
The base Sonata SE delivers an EPA-estimated 25/36 mpg city/highway. The Sonata Eco gets the best fuel economy estimates in the lineup with 28/37 mpg.
Midsize cars like the Sonata aren’t necessarily known for their sporty demeanor, but our test Sonata Sport’s 2.4-liter engine was a willing companion on both city streets and longer highway drives. There’s no surplus of power, but the Sonata gets up to speed quickly enough for most buyers in this segment, and the standard six-speed automatic should please buyers who are looking for an alternative to CVT-equipped sedans like the Accord and Nissan Altima.
Even the base Sonata offers a rich set of tech features, with a six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, a 7-inch touch screen, USB and auxiliary input jacks and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration listed as standard equipment. The touch screen might seem a little small when compared with what you’ll find in some other midsize cars, but it earns points for its user-friendliness and straightforward on-screen menus.
Higher trims bring in features such as wireless smartphone charging, an 8-inch touch-screen navigation system, satellite radio and a 10-speaker Infinity audio system.
The 2018 Sonata provides the assurance of strong crash test ratings from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS awarded the 2018 Sonata with top scores of Good in all crashworthiness categories. The Sonata also earned a second-highest rating of Acceptable in headlight tests, as well as a top Superior score for front crash prevention.
In NHTSA crash tests, the Sonata earned a top five-star rating for its overall performance in crash tests.
Every 2018 Sonata comes with a rearview camera and a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist. Lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, automatic emergency braking, adaptive headlights and automatic high-beam assist are among the Sonata’s available driver-assistance features.
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata starts at $22,050, excluding an $885 destination charge. Eco and SEL trims are priced at $22,650 and $23,700, respectively, while Sport and Limited models start at $25,200 and $27,400, in that order. If you want the more powerful 2.0-liter turbo, consider a Sport 2.0T ($27,600) or Limited 2.0T ($32,450) trim.
Unless you want more power, our pick within the Sonata lineup would probably be the SEL trim. That model adds desirable standard features, such as larger 17-inch wheels, the hands-free trunk, keyless entry/ignition, heated front seats and satellite radio. It’s also available with an optional Tech package ($1,000) that you cannot get on the base or Sport trims, bringing in automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist. Expect a Sonata SEL with these features to carry a suggested price of $25,585, including destination.
The Hyundai brand has made a reputation for itself as a value leader, and that tradition continues with the 2018 Sonata. That said, providing exceptional bang for the buck does not mean that Sonata cuts corners with a limited feature set, a pedestrian design or less assurance for potential owners. The 2018 Sonata continues to offer the support of an exceptional powertrain warranty, and even buyers who are shopping the base model should be pleased to find features like blind-spot monitoring and the latest smartphone mirroring technologies listed as standard equipment.
Those features come at a starting price that significantly undercuts competitors like the Accord and Toyota Camry. That makes the Sonata a smart choice for frugal buyers who want to stretch their car-buying dollars.
Specs & Features
- Quartz White Pearl
- Symphony Silver
- Lakeside Blue
- Electric Blue
- Phantom Black
- Scarlet Red
- Machine Gray
Available exterior features
- Door Handle Color: Body-color
- Exhaust Tip Color: Chrome
- Front Bumper Color: Body-color
- Grille Color: Metallic
- Mirror Color: Body-color
- Rear Bumper Color: Body-color
- Window Trim: Chrome
Wheel and tire type
- Wheel Diameter: 16.0 X 6.5 Inches
- Tire Type: P205/65r16
- Ground Clearance: 5.3 Inches
- Width: 73.4 Inches
- Length: 191.1 Inches
- Height: 58.1 Inches
- Wheelbase: 110.4 Inches
- Rear Track Width: 63.8 Inches
- Curb Weight: 3250 Pounds
- Front Track Width: 63.5 Inches
- Armrests: Rear Center With Cupholders/Rear Folding
- Air Filtration
- Power Locks: Auto-locking
- Shift Knob Trim: Urethane
- Front Air Conditioning
- Steering Wheel Trim: Urethane
- Interior Accents: Metallic-tone
- Door Sill Trim: Scuff Plate
- Front Air Conditioning Zones: Single
- Floor Material: Carpet
- Driver Assistance App: Roadside Assistance
- Electronic Messaging Assistance: Voice Operated/With Read Function
- Wireless Data Link: Bluetooth
- Radio Data System
- Auxiliary Audio Input: Bluetooth/USB/IPod/iPhone/Jack
- Total Speakers: 6
- Antenna Type: Mast
- Speed Sensitive Volume Control
- Radio: AM/FM/Touch Screen Display/Voice Operated
- Internet Radio App: Pandora
- Infotainment: Android Auto Ready/Apple CarPlay Ready
- 6-Way Manual Driver Seat Adjustments
- Bucket Front Seats
- 6-Way Manual Passenger Seat Adjustments
- Split-Folding Rear Seat
- 60-40 Split Rear Seat
- Upholstery: Premium Cloth
- Passenger Volume: 106.1 Cubic Feet
- Max Seating: 5
- Front Hip Room: 55.3 Inches
- Front Shoulder Room: 57.9 Inches
- Rear Hip Room: 56.1 Inches
- Interior Volume: 122.4 Cubic Feet
- Rear Legroom: 35.6 Inches
- Front Legroom: 45.5 Inches
- Front Headroom: 40.4 Inches
- Rear Headroom: 38 Inches
- Standard Seating: 5
- Seating Rows: 2
- Cargo Volume: 16.3 Cubic Feet
- Rear Shoulder Room: 56.5 Inches
- Axle Ratio: 2.90
- Drive Mode Selector
- Fuel Type: Gasoline
- City (MPG): 25
- Highway (MPG): 36
- Combined (MPG): 29
- Engine Type: 4 Cylinders
- Displacement(liters): 2.4
- Horsepower: 185
- Torque: 178
- Transmission Type: 6-speed Shiftable Automatic
- Type: A
- Gears: 6
- Aerodynamic Drag: 0.27
- Turning Circle: 35.8
- Rear Suspension Type: Multi-link
- Front Suspension Type: Lower Control Arms
- Rear Suspension Classification: Independent
- Front Stabilizer Bar: Diameter 23 mm
- Front Shock Type: Gas
- Rear Spring Type: Coil
- Rear Stabilizer Bar: Diameter 17 mm
- Front Suspension Classification: Independent
- Rear Shock Type: Gas
- Front Spring Type: Coil
- Front Struts: MacPherson
- New Car Basic Warranty: 60 Months/60,000 Miles
- Powertrain: Drivetrain/Powertrain: 120 Months/100,000 Miles
- Corrosion Perforation: Rust: 84 Months
- Small Overlap Front - Driver SideG
- Small Overlap Front - Passenger SideG
- Moderate Overlap FrontG
- Side ImpactG
- Roof StrengthG
- Head Restraints and SeatsG
- Front Crash PreventionSuperiorwith optional equipment
- HeadlightsGonly certain trims
- Child Safety Door Locks
- Electronic Stability Control: Standard
- Energy Absorbing Steering Column
- Rearview Monitor: in Dash
- Side Impact Airbags: Standard
- Blind Spot Safety: Sensor/alert
- Child Seat Anchors: LATCH System
- Crumple Zones: Front/rear
- Camera System: Rearview
- Hood Buckling Creases
- Body Side Reinforcements: Side Impact Door Beams
- Anti-lock Brakes Four Wheel: Standard
- Front Driver Airbags: Standard
- Daytime Running Lights: Standard
- Front Passenger Airbags: Standard
- Cross Traffic Alert: Rear
- Emergency Interior Trunk Release
- Brake Assist: Standard
- Side Curtain Airbags: Standard