This week, we’re driving the redesigned 2018 Hyundai Sonata, arriving in Limited trim and featuring an additional $3,025 in options. With an attractive entry price of just $20,050 for the entry SE, prospective consumers can find a proper Sonata fit for their respective budget concerns.

Entry price: $20,050
Price as tested: $31,310

This week, we’re driving the redesigned 2018 Hyundai Sonata, arriving in Limited trim and featuring an additional $3,025 in options. With an attractive entry price of just $20,050 for the entry SE, prospective consumers can find a proper Sonata fit for their respective budget concerns.
 
Competing in the highly competitive mid-size market, the Sonata debuted outside North America in 1985 although it took four model years and a new generation to appear on North American shores. Introduced in America back in late 1988 as a 1989 model, the second generation Sonata sold well and officially began the “keep improving” corporate dogma through seven distinct generations. With impressive upgrades and solid consumer satisfaction the last 10 years, Hyundai automobiles have become one of the best selling cars in the world.

Built in Montgomery, Alabama, Sonata is Hyundai’s popular four-door sedan with room for five. Following the entry SE is the Eco at $22,650; SEL at $21,700; Sport at $25,200; and our tester Limited that starts at $27,400. Two Turbo models are available, the Sport Turbo at $27,600 and the Limited Turbo at $32,450.

New for 2018 is upgraded front and rear design, improved steering wheel layout and a new eight-speed automatic if you choose the Sport or Limited turbo versions. This latest generation features an overall roomier interior with extra rear legroom while an independent suspension is modified a bit for both comfort and handling. Hyundai designers did not go overboard on changing the overall Sonata look with the new exterior design, much to the liking of 2017 Sonata owners. 

Powering all non-turbo models is a 2.4-liter inline-four that develops 185-horsepower and 178 lb. ft. of torque coupled to a six-speed automatic Shiftronic transmission. The resulting EPA fuel mileage is very good at 25-city and 35-highway while the Shiftronic feature allows for driver select modes for better RPM control and driving fun (at the cost of a few MPG numbers).  

The turbo models utilize a 2.0-liter four with 245 horses and 260 torque that deliver EPA numbers of 23 city and 32 highway for both Sport and Limited models. Hyundai’s most economical Sonata stands alone as the aforementioned ECO model, powered by an even smaller 1.6-liter turbo that develops 178-horses and 195-torque hooked to a seven-speed automatic. Although not yet rated, the ECO is expected to deliver in the neighborhood of 29 city and 39 to 40 highway EPA numbers.  

Hyundai Sonata continues as a direct competitor to mid-size heavyweights  Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, Toyota Camry, Kia Optima, Honda Accord, Mazda 6, VW Passat and Nissan Altima.

On the road, expect solid performance, quiet interior and secure handling as the suspension works in tandem with 17-inch Kumho Solus tires on lightweight alloy wheels for optimum road grip. The result is good steering feedback and a pleasant driving experience. 

Limited standard features are many and include enhanced rear safety camera, power sunroof, dual zone air, USB, input jacks, 7-inch touchscreen, Sirius/XM/HD/CD/Bluetooth six-speaker stereo, power trunk, push button start, cruise, power driver and passenger seat, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, tilt/telescoping, LED headlights, steering wheel controls, electronic stability, traction control, electronic brake assist, six-airbags, daytime running lamps, fog lights, Blue Link telematics and much more. See your Hyundai dealer for full details on this long list of amenities and any current buyer incentives.
    
Options include a $2,900 Ultimate Package that adds excellent high end safely ala automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, smart cruise, lane departure, forward collision, automatic high beam, and electronic park assist. A navigation system with eight-inch display, three years of Blue Link Multimedia/Maps, smartphone charging, Infinity Premium stereo system with 10-speakers and subwoofer, heated steering wheel, and SiriusXM Travel Link with real time traffic round out this highly recommended option.

Carpeted floor mats at $125 and $885 delivery pushed the final tally to $31,310, but remember no one pays retail anymore.
 
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 110.4-inches, 3,355 lb. curb weight, 16.3 cu. ft. of cargo space, 18.5 gallon fuel tank and a 35.6 ft. turning diameter.  

Hyundai Sonata continues to be a modern day success story. Along with sibling Kia Optima, this duo takes a huge share of sales in the mid-size class. Notable, too, are impressive, trouble-free consumer publication owner ratings and the notable 10-year, 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, the latter still the best in the industry. 

In summary and regardless of model, the American-built 2018 Hyundai Sonata is still a Test Drive Best Buy, hands down. If you opt for a 2017 leftover, you’ll save thousands and still receive the same mechanicals as the only major 2018 difference is the new front and rear designs. 

Likes: New exterior tweak, interior room, low entry price, comfort.
Dislikes: Depreciation still a concern, high-end safety options unavailable on SE, Eco and Sport models.     

— Greg Zyla writes weekly on cars for More Content Now and GateHouse Media.