“2016 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T Limited Sedan”
Redesigned Sonata Sets New mid-sized Sedan Benchmark
Celebrating the beginning of their seventh generation and 30 years of operation in North America, the Hyundai Sonata was debuted in 1988. The Sonata lineup bows with the 2018 model year lineup, with a new design expression, more features and the introduction of technology updates and refinement along with added hardware as standard fare.
Key highlights for 2018 model year include: a $1,000 Tech Package for SEL trim vehicles with Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Smart Cruise Control with stop/start capability, and Electronic Parking Brake with Automatic Vehicle Hold; and a $2,900 Ultimate Package for Limited trim models that comes with Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Keep Assist, Smart Cruise Control with stop/start capability, Electronic Parking Brake with Automatic Vehicle Hold, Automatic High Beam Assist, Rear parking sensors, a Heated steering wheel, Rear side window sunshades, 8-inch touchscreen navigation system, Infinity® Premium Audio System with Clari-Fi™ Music Restoration Technology (400 watts), Wireless Device Charging for compatible smartphones, HD Traffic (Real-time traffic service), SiriusXM Travel Link® (Complimentary trial), and Blue Link® Multimedia/Map Updates (3-year complimentary service).
The Hyundai Sonata stable will consist of seven trim levels that define content and purpose, starting with the base model SE and moving progressively through the lineup with an ECO model, SEL, Sport, Limited, 2.0T Sport and 2.0T Limited. Base pricing ranges from $22,050. (SE) to $32,450 (Limited 2.0T). Add $885. for each model.
There are three transversely front mounted DOHC, 16-valveinline four-cylinder engine choices with D-CVVT that are model specific: a 178 horsepower 1.6-liter for the ECO; a 185 horsepower 2.4-liter for SE, SEL, Sport and Limited trims; and a Twin-scroll turbocharged 2.0-liter that delivers 245 horsepower at 6,000 rpm along with 260 pound feet of torque in a range from 1,350-4,000 rpm. All engines feature Gasoline Direct Injection.
There are also three available transmission choices, again – model specific: a 6-speed automatic with SHIFTRONIC® standard for SE, SEL, Sport and Limited; a 7-speed EcoShift® Dual Clutch Transmission with SHIFTRONIC® for ECO models; and an 8-speed SHIFTRONIC® automatic for both Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T models. Steering wheel mounted paddle shifters are available on Sport, Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T models.
My test vehicle was the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T. It wore a Quartz White Pearl metallic exterior foinish, with the interior executed in Black with Blue stitching on the seats and steering wheel, with metalgrain appearance trim accents on the dash and doors. The base price was set at $32,450., which rose to $33,460 after adding for the optional carpeted floor mats and the Inland Freight and Handling charges.
The redesigned 2018 Sonata was created at Hyundai’s California Design Studio focusing on American aesthetic tastes with a new look from the front, side and rear, leading off with a “cascading grill,” and continuing with a bold and assertive profile and an entirely new rear; all blending to display a clean and contemporary approach, finishing with sharply restyled, slim taillights and an enlarged Hyundai badge that now houses the trunk release button. Chrome accents surround the cabin glass and fresh wheel designs cap off its new look. The overall effect is elegantly daring.
The cabin’s cockpit features a renewed center stack and instrument panel that allude to the exterior’s revised appeal. The theme carries down to gauge dial design and a strong, substantial three-spoke steering wheel. Piano key buttons for audio and HVAC controls provide not only a premium look but feel as well.
The 2018 Sonata comes with a seven-inch color display audio touchscreen as standard with both Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto® integration. Smartphones, can be kept charged without a plug, using the available Qi standard wireless charging pad. Sonata now also adds a second row USB charge port, accommodating rear-seat passengers. Available navigation systems now come with a bird’s eye view feature as well as traffic flow and incident data, without having to pay a subscription fee.
Not only does the new Hyundai Sonata showcase a more dynamic appearance, the ride and handling also benefit from a more refined chassis with an increase in the torsion bar stiffness within the steering system of 12 percent that results in a better response and feel under virtually all conditions. The steering calibration is also enhanced with the focus on a better on-center feel. The rear suspension is updated, utilizing thicker, stiffer trailing arms with more compliant new bushings. The 2.0-liter turbo models roll on 235/45 R18 94V Michelin Primacy MXM4 rubber mounted on 5-stylized“U”-spoke silver painted alloy wheels.
2018 safety features include: seven standard airbags (dual front, side, and curtain, as well as driver’s knee); a host of safety systems (VSM, ESC, TCS, ABS, EBD, BA, and TPMS); Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert;. The 2018 Hyundai Sonata is currently the only Midsize car sold with this safety technology as standard equipment. There’s also a new Lane Departure Warning system with an enhanced Lane Keep Assist function available.
Hyundai’s Blue Link connectivity system continues to provide more additional features, now talking to Amazon Echo™, allowing remote car control inside one’s home, or wherever the Amazon device is located.
SUMMARY: The 2.0T turbocharged motor is relatively quiet, delivering a higher overall performance level than the 2.4 liter engine. The 8-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly, while the paddle shifters were more enjoyable for manually changing gears than the lever. The user-selectable Drive Modes deliver varying levels of vehicle performance: Efficient; well-balanced; and Dynamic, governed by Eco; Normal; and Sport respectively.
This latest iteration Hyundai Sonata, regardless of trim level or propulsion chosen bolsters driving confidence with its impressive host of safety features.
Convenience features offered include: Smart Cruise Control with Stop/Start, Electronic Park Brake with auto vehicle hold, Driver memory seat, Rear side window sunshades, heated steering wheel, 60/40 split folding rear seat and Hands-free Smart Trunk.
Interior amenities include: Power front seats and 4-way driver lumbar Ventilated front seats, Heated front and rear seats, accent stitching, 4.2” color multi-info display and interior lights. There are also available audio and Navigation features including various entertainment and connectivity links. Other standard features include: a remote keyless entry with alarm, body color heated exterior power mirrors, LED Daytime Running Lights, steering wheel mounted audio and cruise control and Bluetooth hands free phone system. Premium features such as HID Xenon headlights, panoramic sunroof and 10-speaker Infinity® 400watt premium audio system with subwoofer are options on lower trim level vehicles.
Hyundai tops many of its competitors in terms of price advantage and feature content by an average of nearly $2,000., while also offering a superior Basic Warranty, Powertrain Warranty and Roadside Assistance program.
All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by Hyundai’s Assurance program, which includes a 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle limited warranty, Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, and five years of complimentary Roadside Assistance that includes: Automatic Collision Notification; Enhanced Roadside Assistance; Vehicle Diagnostic Alert; Monthly Vehicle Health Report; and in-vehicle service scheduling.
Bottom line, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata lineup raises the bar in terms of design, performance and feature content in the mid-size sedan segment.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T Limited Sedan
Base Price: $32,450.
Price as Tested: $33,460.
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, Twin-scroll turbo GDI inline four-cylinder with Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing.
Horsepower (bhp): 245 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 260 @ 1,350-4,000 rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed electronic automatic with Shiftronic®, paddle Shifters and Drive Mode Select.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-Wheel Drive.
Suspension: Sport-tuned suspension
Front – MacPherson strut with coil springs, gas-charged Mando Dual Flow Damper (DFD) shock absorbers and 24-mm stabilizer bar.
Rear – Independent multi-link design with stiffer coil springs, gas-charged Mando Dual Flow Damper (DFD) shock absorbers and 18mm stabilizer bar.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with Dual diagonal, split circuit with proportioning valves, 4-wheel, 4-channel and 4-sensor with ABS, EBD, ESC and TPMS.
Tires: Michelin Primacy MXM4-235/45 R18 94V mounted on 5-stylized “U”-spoke silver painted alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 110.4 inches
Length Overall: 191.1 inches
Width: 73.4 inches
Height: 58.1 inches
Curb Weight: 3,527 lbs.
Turning Circle: 35.6 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 18.5 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 23 mpg city / 32 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.27
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.