2018 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid

2018 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Review

The Sonata looks pretty traditional, but fuel efficiency falls well short of plug-in benchmarks.
author
by Mark Takahashi
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

When it comes to plug-in hybrid vehicles, fuel efficiency and electric-only range are vitally important. Unfortunately for the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, those are some of its weak points. With an electric-only range of 28 miles and EPA-estimated 39 mpg combined rating, it's well below what alternatives such as the Honda Clarity Plug-in, Toyota Prius Prime and Chevrolet Volt deliver.

The Sonata may gain favor with shoppers seeking a more traditional-looking sedan, though, and we like its easy-to-use tech. This year the styling gets a refresh to match the rest of the Sonata lineup and gains more advanced safety features and interior conveniences. Combined with Hyundai's generous warranty, it certainly has its appeal, but those probably aren't enough to overcome its efficiency shortcomings.



What's new for 2018

The 2018 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid gets the same styling refresh as the other Sonata models. The EV range has extended to 28 miles (an improvement of 1 mile), and advanced safety features now include automatic braking and lane keeping assist. In addition to a new dash, instruments and a heated steering wheel, the Sonata also gains adaptive LED headlights, a driver attention monitor, a wireless charging port, and a USB port for the rear seats.

We recommend

The base Sonata Plug-in Hybrid comes with a generous number of standard features that will likely satisfy most shoppers. You get a lot of comfort and convenience items with the Limited trim, as well as more advanced safety features, but the $5,600 jump in price may be difficult to justify.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is a midsize family sedan offered in two trim levels: base and Limited. Under the hood is 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a 50-kilowatt (67-horsepower) electric motor. Total system output is 202 horsepower, delivered to the front wheels by way of a six-speed automatic transmission. It has an EPA-estimated EV range of 28 miles on a full charge.

Standard base model features include 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, a hands-free trunklid, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat, a manual height-adjustable passenger seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems, Hyundai's Blue Link emergency communications, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone app integration, a 7-inch touchscreen and a seven-speaker sound system with satellite and HD radio, and two USB ports (one front, one charge-only in the rear).

If you are looking for more, though, step up to the Limited. You'll get adaptive LED headlights, rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a power front passenger seat, a heated steering wheel, driver-seat memory functions, a wireless charging pad, an 8-inch touchscreen, a navigation system and an upgraded nine-speaker Infinity sound system. The Limited also comes with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, a drowsy driver warning system, and automatic high beams.



Driving

The Plug-in accelerates to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds, which is average for a hybrid sedan. We like the six-speed automatic transmission since it provides a more traditional shifting experience than a CVT. Less impressive is the grabby feel of the Sonata Hybrid's brake pedal.

Comfort

The Plug-in Hybrid's ride is smooth on all manner of pavement, and the cabin is quiet at highway speeds. This is a car that will get you to your destination without wearing you out. It's not an exciting car to drive, certainly, but the Sonata Hybrid heads where you point it.

Interior

The Plug-in Hybrid's cabin is roomy and comfortable. The seats are supportive and nicely padded, and the cabin itself is remarkably quiet. There's generally plenty of head-, legroom and shoulder room, but backseat headroom is nevertheless tighter than in the hybrid's competitors.

Utility

The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid's trunk is smaller because of the larger battery pack, leaving just 9.9 cubic feet of cargo room compared to the Sonata Hybrid's 13.3 cubic feet. The Honda Clarity and Toyota Prius Prime also have considerably larger trunks.

Technology

Both the 7- and 8-inch touchscreens have crisp graphics and straightforward menus. But some drivers might find that it's a bit of a stretch to reach the screen comfortably. A unique gauge cluster displaying various hybrid system readouts is one of the few visible indicators that you're driving a gas-electric car.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.