Hyundai Plays It Safe with Refreshed 2018 Sonata


Hyundai has lofty goals for its popular Sonata and has debuted the refreshed sedan at the New York Auto Show.

The Korean automaker is aiming to “define the benchmark” for the mid-sized family sedan segment, which isn’t easy when you’re going up against such strong sellers as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

Addressing one of the biggest complaints with the previous Sonata, the topline powertrain option, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 245 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, now gets paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission (two more gears than before). Sport trim models get slightly different exterior styling, a mesh grille, and bigger wheels to differentiate it from the regular Sonata.

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Full Coverage of the 2017 New York Auto Show

Even Sonatas with the carryover naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine should still be better to drive. Engineers have made refinements to the chassis to improve ride and handling. Hyundai says the recalibrated steering should be more responsive, the suspension has been made a bit stiffer without affecting ride comfort, and, in general, the Sonata should be more nimble and comfortable.

The updated 2018 Hyundai Sonata has a fresher look all around. The sedan gains a new and much more prominent grille design, LED daytime running lights, available adaptive LED headlamps, a sharper taillight design, a bigger rear badge that now hides the trunk release button, chrome accents and new wheel designs.

Inside, Hyundai tried to make the sedan look more upmarket, but the new technology is the main attraction. A seven-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert are now standard equipment. The second row now gets USB charging ports, wireless charging is available up front, and the navigation system can get traffic updates without a subscription. Lane departure warning and lane keep assist are also available.

Availability and pricing have not yet been announced.

  • The Sonata has become progressively more bland over time. Now it’s become exceedingly bland except for the big, ugly grille.

    No thanks.

  • Hyundai Owner

    I own a 2010 Sonata and will be in the market for a replacement come
    2018. I was leaning towards the new Sonata. But it appears that the
    2018 Toyota Camry will come with auto braking as standard equipment,
    which probably means that the Camry will once again be the sales leader
    in the midsize class. If Hyundai wants to overtake the big boys it must
    at least match what they are offering.

  • Sia

    this looks like a bigger Elantra, its less elegant

  • Tom Tiedman

    This trend lately of huge, extremely ugly grilles has got to stop! These grilles make every car look like a buck-toothed hillbilly banjo-boy named Spivey.

  • stevedonato

    Lexus has had this feature since at least 2003, maybe as far back as 2001. It uses Radar sensors in the bumper. So Toyota is adding a new feature that is 14 years old, which thy invented 14 years ago.

  • Shawn White

    No way I’d buy one with all of the recent engine failures they’re having.

  • Steve Smith

    into my fifth Hyundai, no engine problems no problems at all really. great warranty, super mileage, comfortable, Engine failures, Shawn,,,,prove it!

  • Robert Willem Jan Maassen

    Not talking about VAG here.

  • Shawn White

    Just look at the class action lawsuits and recalls. I own a 2012 Sonata, and my dealer always has at least a few in having their engines replaced. There’s no reason for me to believe the new ones are any better. The 2.4 and 2.0T engines are pure junk!

  • Steve Smith

    ok, I’ll buy the. so then I checked the big three, each and every maker has engine problems at one time or another. cool to each his own

  • James R.

    My 2011 Sonata with the 2.4L engine seized up on me 3 years ago on the interstate going about 70 mph. My car was one of the very first to be hit with this problem as the dealership was going to hit me with a $7500 repair bill for the engine. Luckily my car sat on their lot long enough for Hyundai to issue the recall. Since then my engine as been solid.

    Anyway…I feel if Hyundai is going to be competitive with some of their competitors, they need to offer a performance variant of the Sonata…something that’s pushing into the 280 – 300 horsepower range. Ford now offers a 300 plus horsepower Fusion in a price range that is not too shabby at all. I would love to see that one day. Get rid of the slow selling Azera and add this as a new trim line for the Sonata.

  • localhistorywriter

    A Hyundai? You actually drive one of those Korean POSs? Why not try driving a MAN’S car — like a BMW or a Porsche? Oh, sorry: forgot that McDonald’s is still paying the minimum wage.

  • localhistorywriter

    Actually, the Honda Accord is in the same price range as the Toyota Camry, but is better-made. Take a look.

  • Steve Smith

    Your forgiven my son: I realize your condition is painful and causes you delusional thoughts and a loss of grasp on reality. Cheer up Chump! There is hope for you. Cranial Rectal Inversion is treatable.

  • localhistorywriter

    If Cranial Rectal Inversion were treatable Hyundai would be out of business by now. Oh, by the way, NEVER confuse a possessive pronoun (such as “your”) with a contraction (such as “you’re”). Terminal semi-literacy is, alas, still UNtreatable.

  • Steve Smith

    your Sad Sack, is that the best you have? You have already attempted to show your superiority and have dismally failed….Boston General specializes in removing head from ass of liberals.

  • localhistorywriter

    See! That’s what I’m talking about!

    1. A new sentence should always begin with a capital letter.

    2. The word “your” which precedes “Sad Sack” is a possessive pronoun, and entirely out of context unless you are referring to my “sack” which, I assure you, is in very good spirits most of the time.

    3. BOTH sentences that comprise your 31-word missive are run-on sentences. They can be corrected thus:
    a. Try capitalizing the “y” and eliminating the “r” in “your,”
    adding an exclamation point after “Sack,” and capitalizing the
    “i” in “is.” Emphasizing “that” would make the statement less
    bland. Your opening would then read: “You Sad Sack! Is
    *that* the best you have?” A semi-colon between “Sack” and
    “is,” would also work, although I think the exclamatory form
    would have a more dramatic effect on the reader.
    b. A single period and a space should follow “failed.”

    3. The adverb “dismally” would be better placed after “failed.”

    While such lapses hardly qualify anyone for mention in Guinness’ Record Book of Grammatical Atrocities, two of them in a statement only 31 words long is certainly noteworthy. Who knows? With only minor effort you may be in there next year.

  • Steve Smith

    have a great day..

  • localhistorywriter

    Always do. That’s the way it goes when rich relatives leave you money.

  • localhistorywriter

    The new Lexus grille reminds me of that alien’s mouth in the Predator movie.Unfortunately it found its way to the Camry and Corolla. Only thing that’s missing from it is a big set of incisors.