Tuesday, October 24, 2017

2018 Hyundai Sonata SEL: A Refreshed Midsize Vehicle

Highlight: Hyundai’s Blue Link feature talks to Amazon Echo, which allows the owner to control the Sonata inside their home or wherever the device is located.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $25,710 (Base Model: $22,935)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: ABS; airbags; traction control system; a rear camera; a vehicle stability control system; electronic brake distribution; a blind spot detection system; a rear cross traffic alert system; a temporary spare tire; and a tire pressure monitoring system

Standard Equipment (Base SE Model): 16-inch wheels; a 7-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay/Android integration; a remote keyless entry system; a manually operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; air condition; a leather steering wheel; a leather-like interior door panel trims; HD radio; USB ports; and Hyundai’s Bluelink telematics

Standard Equipment (SEL): 17-inch wheels; LED Daytime; a hands free smart trunk; chrome exterior door handles; a push button start system; a power driver’s seat; heated front seats; a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; Blue Link Connected Car system; a second row USB charge port; and SiriusXM satellite radio                                                                                                                                                 
Options On Test Vehicle: a tech package, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian protection, a lane keep assist system, a radar activated cruise control with a start/stop capability, an electronic parking brake with an automatic vehicle feature (at traffic lights); and carpeted floor mats

Other Trim Level:

SE, Sport, and Limited

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker AM/FM with a satellite radio

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder/185-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage:

What’s New: In an unusual move, Hyundai has done an extensive makeover of their midsize family sedan. The vehicle now wears a new fascia and a rear tail lights and new wheel designs. In addition to content changes, the 2018 Sonata improves its riding and handling capabilities

Why: After a lackluster design and dismal sales with the previously styled Sonata and a tumbling midsize car market, where consumers are vying for crossovers and SUVs, Hyundai executives pushed forward some major design changes with the 2018 Sonata.

The 2018 Sonata not only wears a much needed modified exterior design, depending upon the trim, the vehicle is now available with a heated steering wheel, a wireless charging system, HD traffic for the navigation system, and a new interior design for the infotainment system.

Also a blind spot detection system, with a rear cross traffic alert system and lane change assist system, is standard for the 2018 model year.

The mildly redrafted Sonata can currently be outfitted with a variety of powertrains: a 2.4-liter engine, a 1.6-liter turbo engine, a 2.4-liter engine and a 2.0-liter turbo engine. A plug-in and a hybrid model will be joining in within the near future.

The Sonata is a roomy five seater vehicle that is available in a variety of trims. Not only does the vehicle continue to offer one of the best in the segment, it’s a great riding road vehicle too.

But: While the mild exterior update is a visual improvement from the 2016 model, it still does not make the Sonata a head turner, as was the case with the 2011 model. Also, while our vehicle was outfitted with a smart trunk system, the design team should include a touch pad sensor to open the trunk without use of a key.

Furthermore, Hyundai's engineering team drops the Sonata's panoramic roof, reverting back to the conventional, smaller roof, because of design concerns.

Verdict: While consumer tastes have shifted from cars to crossovers, SUVs and trucks, this current mid-cycle is welcomed. While the 2018 Sonata does not push the styling envelope, like its successful predecessor, the 2011 Sonata, which took both consumers and the auto industry by storm, the 2018 model is a much better vehicle in terms of ride, handling and performance capabilities. Not only is the interior larger than most of the vehicles in its segment, Hyundai, like its sibling, Kia, continues to offer one of the best bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties in the industry at an affordable price point.

Competition: 2018 Toyota Camry; 2017 Chevy Malibu; 2017 Ford Fusion; 2017 Honda Accord; 2017 Nissan Altima; 2017 Kia Optima; 2017 Mazda5; 2017 Subaru Legacy; and 2017 Volkswagen Passat

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