Hyundai Sonata sedan reveals new body design, more features

2018, Hyundai, Sonata

Hyundai of South Korea offers three powertrain variations for the redesigned 2018 Sonata 4-door and 5-seat front-wheel-drive mid-size sedan that comes together at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, a $1.7 billion automotive assembly plant located in Montgomery, Ala.

Sonata for 2018 reveals a bold new sculpted body with a streamlined and strafed front hood framing a deep hexagonal grille, and narrow corner lamp clusters with boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights. The body features a raked windshield leading over the arching roof to a fast-sloping rear window and blunted rump with LED taillight assemblies wrapping around rear corners and a body-colored bumper swooping low with chrome-tipped exhaust pipe tucked beneath.

Sonata in this seventh-generation treatment employs a unibody structure with chassis refinements to improve the vehicle's ride and handling. The sport-tuned sedan has a MacPherson strut-type front suspension with gas-charged Mando Dual Flow Damper shock absorbers and 23-mm stabilizer bar and an independent multi-link design in the rear using coil springs and gas-charged Mando shocks and 17-mm stabilizer bar. Within Sonata's independent suspension the rear trailing arms are thicker and stiffer to manage heavy suspension loads better as new bushings bring more ride compliance.

Steering, firm and precise due to a rack-mounted dual-pinion arrangement with Motor-Driven Power Steering assist, brings engine-RPM-sensing and seems comparable to a pricy Euro touring sedan. Hyundai engineers increased the torsion bar stiffness within the steering system and also affected new steering calibrations.

For active safety, Sonata has a disc brake at every wheel with electronic linkage to a 4-channel anti-lock brake system with electric brake force distribution and traction control system. Also, a vehicle stability management device directs the electronic stability control and MDPS.

Further, all trim versions of the 2018 Sonata list as standard the Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert electronic gear.

Three powertrains define three Sonata variations - Sonata 2.4, Sonata 2.0T and Sonata Eco.

Sonata 2.4 -- trimming as SE, SEL, Sport, and Limited -- draws from Hyundai's Theta II dual-cam 4-cylinder engine which displaces 2.4 liters and has direct fuel injection plus Hyundai's dual continuously variable valve timing equipment and variable induction system. The plant generates 185 hp at 6000 rpm plus torque of 178 lb-ft at 4000 rpm, and it links to a 6-speed electronic automatic rigged with Hyundai's Shiftronic manual mode.

Sonata 2.0T -- trimming as Sport and Limited -- gets Hyundai's Theta II 2.0-liter twin-scroll turbocharged engine with dual overhead cams, gasoline direct injection and dual continuously variable valve timing equipment. The turbo delivers 245 hp at 6000 rpm plus 260 lb-ft of torque spread between 1350 and 4000 rpm operating with regular unleaded (87 Octane) fuel. It employs Hyundai's new 8-speed electronic automatic with torque converter, shift lock, and Shiftronic manual mode.

Sonata Eco carries Hyundai's 1.6-liter turbo-boosted in-line-4 Gamma engine which musters 178 hp at 5500 rpm and torque of 195 lb-ft between 1500-4500 rpm while running with regular unleaded (87 Octane) fuel. It links to Hyundai's innovative 7-speed EcoShift dual-clutch automatic transmission with electronically actuated gear changing.

Fuel-burn scores for Sonata powertrains look good:

Sonata 2.4: 25/36 mpg city/highway Sonata 2.0: 23/32 mpg city/highway Sonata 1.6: 28/37 mpg city/highway

The layout of the Sonata cabin shows a pair of bucket seats up front flanking a floor-mounted console and a broad bench in back with two articulated seat positions but room for three. The rear seatback splits 60/40 into sections, and both sides fold forward to expand room in the trunk, which amounts to more than 16 cubic feet of cargo.

Stock gear for Sonata Sports 2.0T includes 18-inch alloy wheels, HID xenon headlamps. Rear diffuser chrome exhaust tips, rocker panel extensions with chrome molding. Side mirror-mounted turn signal indicators, heated side mirrors, heated front seats, Proximity key with push-button start, leather-wrapped D-cut steering wheel. Sport shift knob, Sport leather seats with piping, dual automatic temperature control, and metal door sill plates.

We estimate MSRP figures for the 2018 Sonata series will stretch from $22,000 to $35,000.

By Bob Plunkett

More Hyundai car reviews?

Images of the 2018, Hyundai Sonata

2018 Hyundai Sonata exterior color selections
2018 Hyundai Sonata exterior color selections
2018 Hyundai Sonata grill sculptured design
2018 Hyundai Sonata grill sculptured design
2018 Hyundai Sonata cockpit
2018 Hyundai Sonata cockpit
2018 Hyundai Sonata rear 3/4
2018 Hyundai Sonata rear 3/4