What’s new for 2018
In the fourth year of the Sonata’s seventh generation, which began with the 2015 model, Hyundai has given its best-selling U.S. market car a face-lift and a laundry list of mechanical, interior, multimedia, and safety changes. There are also two new colors: Machine Gray and Electric Blue.
The Sonata’s exterior redesign includes a newly designed hood, front fenders, trunk, front and rear fascia, headlights, taillights, and front grille. Three new wheel designs, a switch from panoramic to the conventional sunroof, and LED headlights instead of Xenon headlights for the Limited and Limited 2.0T trims complete the 2018 Sonata’s appearance makeover.
Mechanical changes include thicker rear suspension trailing arms for heavier loads, more responsive steering, and an eight-speed automatic transmission for Sonatas with the 2.0L turbocharged engine. The engines and powertrain remain the same as 2017.
Inside, the Sonata’s steering wheel and dashboard center stack have new designs; the available navigation system is more powerful. Wireless phone charging and rear USB charge ports are available on select trims.
Keeping up with the worldwide emphasis on safety, all 2018 Sonatas have blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist as standard equipment.
Engines and transmissions
The seven Sonata trims each use one of three four-cylinder engine and transmission combos. The Sonata SE, SEL, Sport, and Limited trims all have a six-speed automatic transmission and a 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter engine that produces 178 pound-feet of torque.
The top-of-the-line Sonata Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T each have a 2.0L engine with a twin-scroll turbo rated at 245 hp and 260 lb-ft. The 2.0T engines use an eight-speed automatic transmission.
In addition to the newly added Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert standard safety feature, all Sonatas have vehicle stability management systems, electronic stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, and tire pressure monitoring.
With the sole exception of the Limited 2.0T trim, which includes all available safety and driver assist features, otherwise, the extra features are only available in option packages for the SEL and Limited trims,
The SEL trim’s $1,000 Tech includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, smart cruise control with stop/start capability, and the electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold feature.
The Sonata Limited trim with the 2.4L non-turbo engine is available with the $2,900 Limited Ultimate package which includes all the features in the Tech package plus automatic high beam assist, rear parking sensors, a heated steering wheel, rear side window sunshades, an 8-inch touchscreen navigation system, and a 400-watt Infinity Premium Audio System with Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology. The pricey package, which looks like a must-have, also includes wireless device charging, HD Traffic real-time traffic service, a complimentary SiriusXM Travel Link trial, and Blue Link Multimedia with map updates complimentary for three years.
How to choose a 2018 Hyundai Sonata
There’s a $10,400 range between the starting prices of the base trim Sonata SE ($22,050) and the fully loaded Limited 20T ($32,450). We’ve divided the seven trim levels by starting price into three base trims, the SE, Eco, and SEL and four upgraded trims, the Sport, Limited, Sport 2.oT, and Limited 2.0T.
2018 Sonata base trims: SE, Eco, SEL
As we’ve mentioned, all 2018 Sonatas, including the base SE trim, starting price $22,050, now have blind-spot detection with rear cross traffic alert and lane change assist. Other features that add to the SE’s value include a 7-inch color display for audio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. The display is also used with the standard rearview camera and as the interface for the AM/FM/MP3 audio system with iPod, USB, and aux input jacks.
The Sonata SE includes Bluetooth smartphone connectivity with phonebook transfer. The additional features standard with the Sonata SE, and therefore all higher trim levels, include automatic headlight control, projector headlights, remote keyless entry and alarm, a 3.5-inch OLED trip computer, power door locks, power windows, and steering wheel-mounted controls for audio, Bluetooth, and cruise control. No option packages are available for the SE.
2018 Sonata Eco
The Sonata Eco, starting price $22,650, has the same feature complement as the SE trim except for its engine and transmission. The Eco’s 1.6-liter Turbo GDI engine with 178 hp and 195 lb-ft and seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission are positioned to give the best gas miles of the ICE Sonata trims, but unfortunately, as of this writing, the EPA ratings are unavailable. We’ll update when the figures are released. No option packages are available for the Eco.
2018 Sonata SEL
The Sonata SEL, $23,700 to start, bumps up the features list with significant upgrades and additions including a 10-way power driver seat with lumbar support, proximity key with push-button start, heated seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, and LED daytime running lights.
The SEL has heated side mirrors with turn signal indicators, a super-convenient hands-free smart trunk, a 4.2-inch color LCD trip computer, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. In addition to a rear charging USB port, the SEL also adds SiriusXM Satellite Radio, HD Radio technology, and a complimentary three-year subscription to Hyundai’s Blue Link Connected Care and Remote Package.
While the $1,000 Tech Package upgrade option doesn’t include all possible safety and driver assist goodies, it’s a relative value to get automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, smart cruise control with stop/start capability, and an electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold.
|Trim||2018 Sonata SE||2018 Sonata Eco||2018 Sonata SEL|
|Base engine||2.4L GDI 4-cylinder||1.6L Turbo GDI 4-cylinder||2.4L GDI 4-cylinder|
|Base horsepower||185 hp @ 6,000 rpm||178 hp @ 5,500 rpm||185 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Base torque||178 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm||195 lb-ft @ 1,500-4,5000 rpm||178 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm|
|Transmission||6-speed automatic||7-speed EcoShift Dual Clutch with Shiftronic||6-speed automatic|
|Fuel||Regular gas||Regular gas||Regular gas|
|Fuel Capacity||18.5 gallons||18.5 gallons||18.5 gallons|
|Fuel economy||25 city/36 highway/29 combined||N/A||25 city/35 highway/28 combined|
|Base wheels||16-inch alloy||16-inch alloy||17-inch alloy|
|Body style||4-door sedan||4-door sedan||4-door sedan|
2018 Sonata upgraded trims: Sport, Limited, Sport 2.0T, Limited 2.0T
The upgraded Sonata Sport and Limited trims are differentiated by their level of luxury, their trim styles, and their engines. The Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T get their designations from the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine under the hood.
For $1,500 more than the SEL, the Sonata Sport trim, $25,300 starting price, adds a power tilt-and-slide sunroof, a sport grille, special front fascia and rear diffuser, a leather D-cut steering wheel, sport shift knob, dual exhaust, and a sport instrument cluster. The Sport also has aluminum pedals, sport seats with leather bolster and cloth inserts, unique 3D tech interior trim, LED interior lights, and a black headliner. There are no option packages for the Sport. The Sport trim’s engine and transmission are identical to the SE and SEL, so in this case, the “sport” designation is largely a style statement.
The Sonata Limited, starting price $27,400, is the first of two luxury trims. The Limited has leather upholstery with heated and ventilated front seats, power front driver seats with memory, and a six-way adjustable front passenger seat. Other notable standard upgraded features above the SEL trim include LED headlights with Dynamic Bending Light, a power tilt-and-slide sunroof, LED taillights, and dual automatic temperature control.
If you want all the luxury and safety features you can get without increasing power (and fuel consumption) with the 2.0-liter turbo engine, the Ultimate Package for Limited is your best choice. This $2,900 package includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, smart cruise control with stop/start capability, and an electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold feature.
Other Ultimate Package upgrades include automatic high beam assist, rear parking sensors, a heated steering wheel, rear side window sunshades, an 8-inch touchscreen navigation system, and a 400-watt Infinity Premium Audio System with Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology. Also, the package adds wireless device charging, HD Traffic real-time traffic service, a complimentary SiriusXM Travel Link trial, and Blue Link Multimedia with map updates complimentary for three years.
If you want your Sonata to not only look sporty, but to perform better as well, the Sport 2.0T, $27,600 to start, has the Sport upgrade features plus a 245-hp 2.0L turbocharged engine with 8-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension, and larger front brakes. There are no option packages for the Sport 2.0T, so if you want the added safety and driver assist technologies, the Limited 2.0T has the same upgraded engine, transmission, suspension, and brakes, so that’s your path.
The Sonata Limited 2.0T, starting $32, 450, is the top of the trim hierarchy. The most luxurious Sonata has all the features of the Limited and most of the features of the Sport 2.0T (lacking the sport-design tweaks but not the performance upgrades).
The Limited 2.0T has no option packages because all possible options are already included in this trim. The Limited 2.0T has the 245-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission, larger brakes, sport-tuned suspension, and sport-tuned steering.
The Limited 2.0T has automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and smart cruise control with automatic start/stop. The infotainment system has 8-inch touchscreen navigation with the Blue Link Guidance Package for three years and a SiriusXM Travel Link trial subscription. The 400-watt Infinity premium audio system is also standard.
Other upgraded features include wireless device charging, automatic high beam assist, rear parking sensors, LED headlights, and an electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold. Comfort and convenience features include sport leather seating, memory for the driver seat and outside mirrors, a heated steering wheel, rear side window sunshades, and finally, an auto-dimming mirror with HomeLink universal garage door control and compass display.
|Trim||2018 Sonata Sport||2018 Sonata Limited||2018 Sonata Sport 2.0T||2018 Sonata Limited 2.0T|
|Base engine||2.4L 4-cylinder||2.4L 4-cylinder||2.0L Turbo 4-cylinder||2.0L Turbo GDI 4-cylinder|
|Base horsepower||185 hp @ 6,000 rpm||185 hp @ 6,000 rpm||245 hp @ 6,000 rpm||245 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Base torque||178 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm||178 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm||260 lb-ft @ 1,350-4,000 rpm||260 lb-ft @ 1,350-4,000 rpm|
|Transmission||6-speed automatic||6-speed automatic||8-speed automatic with ShiftTronic||8-speed automatic with ShiftTronic|
|Fuel||Regular gas||Regular gas||Regular gas||Regular gas|
|Fuel capacity (gallons)||18.5 gallons||18.5 gallons||18.5 gallons||18.5 gallons|
|Fuel economy||25 city/35 highway/28 combined||25 city/35 highway/28 combined||23 city/32 highway/26 combined||23 city/32 highway/26 combined|
|Base wheels||17-inch alloy||17-inch alloy||18-inch alloy||18-inch alloy|
|Body style||4-door sedan||4-door sedan||4-door sedan||4-door sedan|
|Seat upholstery||Sport seats with leather bolsters and cloth inserts||Leather||Sport seats with leather bolsters and cloth inserts||Sport leather|