2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review
2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Dan spent many years covering the go-fast, look-good, get-loud corners of the automotive universe. First, he served as editor of enthusiast magazines AutoSound and Honda Tuning, then as executive editor at SEMA News, the publishing arm of the trade group that produces the annual SEMA Show (yes, that show). As a contributor to Edmunds, he now likes to keep the volume low and the speed limit legal, providing expert car-shopping advice to drivers looking for the perfect match.
- Spacious interior with seats that are good for the long haul
- Smooth highway ride with minimal road noise
- Infotainment interface is easy to understand and use
- Crash test ratings are excellent
- Rear headroom is a little tighter than in some competitors
- Brakes feel grabby and can make it hard to stop smoothly
- Automatic emergency braking restricted to optional package on top trim
- Restyled front and rear end
- Recalibrated suspension and steering settings
- New standard safety features
- Part of the sixth Sonata generation introduced for 2015
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is the gas-electric hybrid counterpart to the regular Sonata sedan. It has all the typical Sonata traits we like, such as a roomy interior and a generous list of standard features, and then adds great fuel economy of more than 40 mpg.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid SE 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.12 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$91/mo for Sonata Hybrid SE
Sonata Hybrid SE
Avg. Midsize Car
For 2018, the Sonata Hybrid receives a broad swath of updates, too. They include updated front and rear styling, new LED headlights, new wheel designs, and a fresh look for the dashboard and instrument panel. There's also a host of new driver aids such as standard blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist, and automatic emergency braking, along with new wireless phone charging and a USB charge port for rear passengers.
From a mechanical standpoint, Hyundai says it has retuned the suspension and steering to improve the Sonata Hybrid's handling and feel. The hybrid powertrain is unchanged, though. While an EPA-rated 42 mpg is quite good, it still comes up a little short of some rivals' figures. The new Toyota Camry Hybrid LE, for example, gets 52 mpg combined.
Overall, though, the Sonata Hybrid presents its own compelling case of features and value, and we think it's worth checking out if you're shopping for a sedan with strong green-car cred.
Notably, we picked the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid as one of Edmunds' Best Used Cars.
Edmunds' Expert Rating7.5 / 10
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is the gas-electric hybrid counterpart to the regular Sonata sedan. It has all the typical Sonata traits we like, such as a roomy interior and a generous list of standard features, and then adds great fuel economy of more than 40 mpg. Some rival hybrid sedans can get even better mpg, but overall we think the Sonata Hybrid is a solid pick.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited (2.0L inline-4 hybrid | 6-speed automatic | FWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted in 2016, the current Sonata Hybrid has received some revisions, including improved touchscreen displays, Apple and Android smartphone integration, and additional driver aids. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Sonata Hybrid, however.
|Overall||7.5 / 10|
The Sonata Hybrid's performance is unremarkable, but the six-speed automatic transmission is a delight compared to CVT automatics found in most hybrids. Handling is decent, but braking action is nonintuitive.
It's smooth leaving a stop thanks to initial electric-only power. The gas engine-electric motor combo gives strong midrange, but with our measured 0-60 mph acceleration run of 8.5 seconds, the Sonata Hybrid is slower than main rivals. The traditional six-speed automatic shifts nearly imperceptibly.
The brake feel is disappointing. Blame it on the regenerative braking. The pedal is initially grabby, especially at highway speeds, followed by a long, disconcerting dead period within the pedal stroke. Panic stops from 60 mph in our testing were decent, needing just 119 feet.
The Sonata Hybrid goes pretty much where you point it. We noticed little difference between the Eco and the Sport steering modes. It errs on the light side of assist, which drivers will appreciate around town.
The Sonata Hybrid has a surprisingly willing chassis; this thing doesn't hate corners. It worked well at our test track and on twisty roads, where it proved hospitable to driver inputs. The low-grip tires do squeal early in corners, though.
If not for the "even-horrible-for-a-hybrid" brakes, this car would rate higher. The electric-only start-off gives smooth getaways, the transmission makes subtle shifts, the steering is light and easy, and the outward views are decent.
The front seats are comfy. The ride is decently smooth until you hit a big bump. Wind, engine and tire noise is well-damped, except the tires are quite loud over surface changes.
The front seats are quite good. The cushions are on the firm side, but the side bolsters are soft and don't dig in. The leather could be more supple. The rear seatbacks have a near-perfect angle.
In most situations, the Sonata Hybrid feels like it's softly sprung. The ride is unobtrusive, and it soaks up smaller pavement ripples easily. But in contrast to other Sonatas we've tested, big bumps upset the cabin dramatically.
Noise & vibration8.0
Levels of wind and road noise are well-controlled, though the tires can get noisy when the road surface changes. The engine is restrained, both in power and sound. There's some suspension noise when driving over larger bumps.
The Sonata Hybrid's interior isn't as stylish as some in the class, but the controls are easy to learn and use. Entering and exiting the car are easy enough, and outward visibility is better than most.
Ease of use9.0
The controls are simple yet logical, with easy-to-read gauges. The flat, expansive center stack has large buttons and grippy knobs. The optional touchscreen is user-friendly. The audio tuning knob, though, is far away from the driver.
Getting in/getting out8.0
The wide-opening front doors make things easy. The seats' side bolsters don't hamper entry and exit. The rear doors have a large entryway. You only need to duck your head slightly to avoid the roof.
Front headroom is hampered by the optional panoramic sunroof, but it's still good enough for average-size adults. There's excellent elbow room. The back seat is roomy, although headroom is tighter than in some rivals.
The Sonata Hybrid has excellent outward views. Blind-spot detection and rearview camera come standard for 2018. Lane departure warning and rear parking sensors are optional.
Hyundai knows how to make nice-looking interiors. The Limited's leather upholstery, though not overly supple, feels high-quality. The only weird issues on our test car were a creaky rearview mirror and some squeaks from trim pieces over big bumps.
While most hybrids inevitably sacrifice some trunk or interior space to make a home for the battery pack, the Sonata Hybrid still manages to retain a good bit of usable space. It doesn't give up much trunk space to the regular Sonata, and it's a bit better than many hybrid sedans.
Hyundai's infotainment system is one of the better and easier ones to use. Colors and graphics are sharp and clear, virtual buttons are large, and the system responds quickly to touch and voice commands. For 2018, the navigation system adds a bird's-eye map view.
Audio & navigation
A six-speaker audio system comes standard, but the 10-speaker Infinity system is an excellent sonic upgrade. Shame it's only available in the Limited's optional Ultimate package, as is the larger 8-inch touchscreen. The nav system now features a bird's-eye map view.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard features. Wireless device charging is available, but only in the Limited's Ultimate package. Rear passengers will be pleased to see a USB port available for charging a phone or device.
Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert now come standard, but a key feature such as automatic emergency braking is limited to a top-trim option package. This isn't good enough when some competitors offer a full suite of driver aids as standard equipment.
Which Sonata Hybrid does Edmunds recommend?
Fuel economy is nearly the same for SE and Limited trims, so it's really about getting desired features and options. We recommend the SE. Its long list of convenience and safety features makes it a great value. Tech lovers might prefer the Limited, but we think the SE will satisfy most buyers.
2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid models
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is available in SE and Limited trim levels. The regular Sonata and the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid are reviewed separately.
Both trim levels are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor for a combined 193 horsepower. Power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Energy captured from regenerative braking is stored in a trunk-mounted battery pack.
Standard equipment on the SE includes 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, heated side mirrors, a hands-free trunk, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, push-button start, cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rearview camera, a 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and a six-speaker audio system with USB and auxiliary inputs. Driver aids include blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
Stepping up to the Limited adds 17-inch wheels, LED headlights that bend in the direction of turns, a panoramic sunroof, power-adjustable front seats with heating and ventilation, driver-seat memory settings, 60/40-split folding rear seats, leather upholstery, wood-grain-look interior accents, rear-seat climate control vents, HD and satellite radio, and a three-year complimentary subscription to Hyundai's Blue Link remote services.
The Ultimate package for the Sonata Hybrid Limited includes additional driver aids such as automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and rear parking sensors. Other upgrades include a heated steering wheel, rear window shades, an 8-inch touchscreen navigation system, wireless phone charging, and a premium 10-speaker Infinity sound system.
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid redefines Luxury
2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A)
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid We were owners of 2 Hyundai Elantras and have had zero problems with them and so when the 8 year old got totaled in a crash we decided to go Hybrid for our next car. We had hoped to wait 2 years and go Hybrid with a small SUV but none out there getting the MPG’s yet. So we went shopping. Honda Accord Hybrid had the best MPG’s but no trunk—really no trunk so if you … want it exclusively for around town—well even then why buy it—go electric. The same was true with the Ford Fusion. Both companies sacrifice trunk space to fit the battery in and render the car impossible for long family trips. Bigger Hybrid cars had $$$ and were not dealing. We wanted to look at Hyundai’s cousin the Kia Optima Hybrid but they were selling fast and not discounting. So we settled on the Toyota Camry Hybrid and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. Both companies got into a bidding war for our bucks and this was a boost for us. We got steep discounts and thanks to Edmonds and Consumer Reports we knew the real starting point. Edmunds makes it great because the dealerships knew the price you got and thus took off from there. What surprised us with both car companies was that the price continued to drop! Both cars are a nice drive and because we wanted all the latest safety features we were hitting the top of the line Limited Editions for both cars. Thus both came fully loaded. The Sonata had a quieter ride, faster pickup, a huge trunk, and both rear seats fold down for added space. Both were equal in safety features but Sonata added the little things like a door handle light that comes on as you approach the car. The interior was way more luxurious with leather along the side doors as well! We also got lucky this year as Hyundai gets to make Genesis their Lexus/Infiniti Luxury car company, Thus Sonata now becomes the top of the line car and is decked out that way. Simply put you get a whole lot more car for your money. My friend who drives a Lexus found my Sonata Hybrid a quieter ride! My other friend could not get the sound system on his BMW 3 series unless he went up to the BMW5! My 1,000 mile review. The 8 way and 6 way power front seats are the best I’ve ever sat in and they are both cooled and heated! Driver's side has memory for 2 drivers! The headrest fits us both perfectly and this rarely happens. We are in love with the memory seats. The driver seat settings are set for us both and switch at the push of a button adjusting not only the seat but the mirrors! Oh, and the mirrors on both sides dip down slightly when you put it in reverse so you can see the lines in the road! Just too many features to name here but what you get IS more than the competition. Two things I must note. The side mirrors are the absolute best in any sedan. I can see 2 lanes –either side and of course it comes with the blinder yellow caution lights in the mirrors on both sides. Rear view mirror is also amazing in that it gives you a near complete view with the smallest blind side and auto darkening at night is very cool. The footprint and ride of this car is amazing but there is very little that we notice going from electric engine to gas—smooth and the regenerative breaks are hardly noticeable too! Turning radios is one of the best in class. Finally by the numbers—at 1,000 miles we surpass easily the 38 city—getting 40+ most trips, combined is slightly higher too at 43 and highway runs 46-48. The center dash screen is huge and does so much I have yet to get thru it all but the smaller screen for the driver—centered above the steering wheel can tell you how you are doing in ECO mode and this gentle reminder really helps. BUT—stomp on the gas of the Sonata Hybrid to go and it takes off because Hyundai did something real cool by joining the electric with the gas engine—having both run to give you a huge boost in horses without eating up a lot of gas! Nice. We are now at over 55K and the only issues were all updated and fixed with Hyundai updates and corrections and all free of charge. My wife and I still love this car. We love the luxury of it and riving it and the fact that we get so much car for a great price. AND--in this day and age we fly under the radar as people do not look at the car as see a luxury model even though my friends who drive BMW's and Lexus find the drive and feel of this car as good and most of the time better than their own! I wish--this time of year--the steering wheel was heated! The spacious trunk is so appreciated along with the back seats folding forward. Our friends with the Honda Accord Hybrid constantly complain about space as their trunk is so small. We can take a trip with friends and fit their luggage and ours in the back. Our friends cannot find the room for a simple trip of 2 without throwing stuff in the back seat! The car still looks near new, rides so nice on all surfaces, and gets city 38-42 and highway 47-52 at 72 mph! We did put on new Michelin tires for hybrid cars at 49K and it made for a much better ride. It did not improve the mpg as much but made stopping so much better as these tires grip the road better than the cheap tires that came with the car and will last a lot longer. We also added blue link which is way cool and allows us to do so much more on trips by interacting with our phone we can go anywhere and do most things quickly by locating the place via the phone and blue link. Six years old next month and over 65K on the car and she runs like a top. We updated the computer programing via blue link and Hyundai extended the warranty from 100K to 110K and years from 10 to 12! Who does that these days. By doing so we got the computer software updates that made it seem like a 2019 with all the computer stuff, maps, and advanced blue link that goes with it! All for free. The minor problems we have had they have fixed with new parts and at no charge. People still ask what kind of car this is due to the quiet ride and how old it is=looks near new! Only small gripe I have is I wish the passenger windshield blade did not come so far over to the driver's side. A bit of a distraction in the rain.
5 out of 5 stars
After One Year Update
Happy Hyundai Owner, 09/02/2018
2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid SE 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A)
Updating review - After almost 19K - my thoughts - Engine/Electric Motor/Transmission work flawlessly together. Seamlessly and efficiently changes modes and the 6 speed transmission is far preferable to a CVT even at the cost of a few MPGs. No droning noisiness. Drive in Eco mode most of the time. When sport mode is on the combined torque and HP turn the car into a pretty nice … sport sedan. (The suspension is supposed to tighten in Sports mode but I found it to be a very modest tightening.) Speaking of MPG, averaging 44 MPG over the course of 12 months living in NE USA. All batteries lose efficiency in the winter months but make up for it in the summer. Interior is laid out to easily navigate the controls. Seats are excellent with good thigh support. One fail is the Halogen headlights in the SE edition. Low beams do not produce enough light. All cars at this point should have LED headlights standard. (I installed aftermarket LEDs and they work flawlessly.) After one year I think I made the right decision going with the Sonata Hybrid. I expect my next car will be fully electric. And at this point I would choose a Hyundai.
2 out of 5 stars
I used to love this car.
Jake C., 03/04/2018
2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A)
I purchased this car in October 2017 and as of early March 2018, I have put about 3,200 miles on the vehicle. I purchased the car to be my daily commuter, but still large enough to carry the family around (2 kids and spouse) when we didn't want to take out our family SUV. I loved this car for the first three months I owned it. The fuel economy is great - I am getting about 42 mpg … combined driving 80% highway in a mountainous location. The car is very comfortable and fits my family of 4 comfortably. I am able to fit our big double stroller in the trunk, which was a must for my new car. The infotainment center is intuitive and easy to use. The climate control panel is also simple and easy to use. Over the six months that I have owned the car, it has had to be returned to the shop 4 times. The first time was the day after I bought car and all four tires went flat and the dealer didn't remove some of the wrapping tape that was around the car when it shipped. Then in January, three months after purchase, it was very cold and I loaded up my two kids and the car wouldn't start. I got the car jumped and drove it around for about 30 minutes. Once I turned the off when I got home the car once again bricked. I had to get the car towed to the dealership and they told me it was an issue with the battery. So they replaced the battery and things worked well for about a while. In February, I was contacted about a factory recall. The dealership told me that it would take less than 1 hour to complete, so I took a long lunch break. The repair ended up taking 4 hours and I was forced to take leave for my job due to their miscommunication. The inhibitor switch was replaced, but to this day I have not been able to track down the recall on this part of the car. In late February I was driving home around 10pm and all of the lights on the car - the headlights, dome lights, dash lights started flashing and strobing very intensely. The flashing was so intense the car is pretty much unable to be driven at night. I took the car to the dealership, which was an ordeal in itself, where they told me that the hybrid drive on the vehicle had gone out. It was explained to me that this piece acts like the alternator in a hybrid, but again I can't find any information online about this part. They are still waiting for the part to be delivered, but it looks like the car will be in the shop for at least 1 week. While I hope this resolves the problem, I have low expectations. I have contacted Hyundai USA HQ, but the case manager has not reached out to me yet. I am hoping they offer to buy the car back. I need a reliable vehicle and I purchased this car due to the supposed reliability of Hyundais. I have never been so disappointed and wish I could go back in time and not buy this car.
5 out of 5 stars
A nice hybrid I would buy again
2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid SE 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A)
I love my Sonata. I was a bit skeptical at first but it has held up really well. Very low maintenance cost and good cost savings. When on highway I get 47-49 mpg. In city I get around 38 mpg. Overall, the average is about 42-46 mpg for an average driving style depending on the weather and where I drive. I always drive in eco mode and haven't felt the need to switch to other modes. I … have regularly driven up Mount hood, Helens and a few other hilly areas near Portland and still drive in eco mode without any issues. Love this vehicle! I would definitely buy this again given a chance. Fuel economy and gas emissions are one of my primary decision parameters and this vehicle does decently well in these two parameters. Based on my experience with Sonata Hybrid I wouldn't buy the regular fuel cars ever again. Only electric or high economy hybrid.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, so we've included reviews for other years of the Sonata Hybrid since its last redesign.
2018 Sonata Hybrid Highlights
|Combined MPG||42 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$91/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||5 years / 60,000 miles|
Our experts like the Sonata Hybrid models:
- Blind Spot With Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
- Warns driver of cars in the blind spot of adjacent lane, or when cars are approaching from the side while in reverse.
- Smart Cruise Control With Stop-Start
- Detects vehicles in front of car and automatically adjusts cruise speed to maintain a preset distance. Can even bring car to a full stop.
- Lane Keep Assist
- Applies corrective steering assistance to help keep car positioned in its lane if it senses the vehicle drifting.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover10.5%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestGood
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood