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Hyundai Plays It Safe with Refreshed 2018 Sonata

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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.