We might be living in an era where crossover SUVs have become the new family vehicle of choice, but that doesn't mean you should overlook excellent midsize sedans like the 2017 Hyundai Sonata. The Sonata earned our "A"rating two years ago upon its redesign and it still holds up today.
For 2017, the Sonata remains unchanged, save for a slight reshuffle of some standard and optional features. And it's fine that Hyundai has left the Sonata well enough alone. The cabin is still cavernous and comfortable, with loads of room in the backseat for when you need to ferry the kids, their friends or adult friends. The Sonata also drives confidently, with a smooth ride quality and precise control that avoids that floaty big-sedan feel out on the highway.
You also get plenty of features for your money. Even if you pick the base model, you're not going to feel as if you're getting the short end of the stick, while the top-of-the-line Limited 2.0T has luxury-car levels of equipment.
The Sonata's technology features are impressive, from available driver safety aids like blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking to large, crisp touchscreen displays for navigation and entertainment functions.
Remember, however, that the midsize sedan segment is full of strong competitors. The Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are the long-running standard-bearers in this class for near flawless value and execution. But there are other excellent choices as well, including the handsome and well-rounded Ford Fusion, the stylish Mazda 6, the sporty Nissan Altima. and the Chevrolet Malibu. Despite this formidable company, the Sonata offers plenty of comfort, performance and value to make it a standout.
Standard safety features on the 2017 Hyundai Sonata include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag.
All Sonatas except the base model also come with a rearview camera and Blue Link, Hyundai's emergency telematics system (includes roadside assistance, crash response, remote door lock control and monitoring features for parents with teenage drivers that include speed, geo-fencing and curfew limits).
Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are standard on the Limited and Limited 2.0T models. Lane departure warning, automatic forward collision emergency braking and rear park assist are standard on the Limited 2.0T, optional on the Limited.
In Edmunds' simulated panic-stop testing from 60 mph, the Sonata Sport 2.0T stopped in 125 feet, an acceptable distance for midsize family sedans. The Eco and Sport models did the job in an even more impressive 119 feet.
In government crash testing, the Sonata earned a perfect five-star overall rating, with five stars overall for its performance in frontal- and side-impact crash tests. In crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Sonata earned the top rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact test and a second-best "Acceptable" in the small-overlap frontal-offset impact test. The Sonata posted a "Good" rating for the remaining side-impact, roof-strength and whiplash protection (seats and head restraints) tests.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Hyundai Sonata is a midsize sedan available in Base, SE, Sport, Eco, Limited, Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T trim levels. The Sonata Hybrid is reviewed separately.
Standard features on the base model include 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear lip spoiler, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, heated mirrors, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, and a 60/40 split-folding seatback. Technology features include Bluetooth connectivity, a CD player, satellite radio, a USB port and an auxiliary audio input.
Moving up to the SE adds automatic headlights, a rearview camera, a 7-inch touchscreen display, the Blue Link telematics system (with smartphone integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay) and Bluetooth audio streaming.
The Sport and Eco trims add LED daytime running lights, side mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators, simulated leather cabin trim and an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar). The Eco differs with a special fuel-economy-focused engine, while the Sport gets 17-inch alloy wheels, dual exhausts with chrome tips and unique body styling tweaks.
A Value Edition package for the Sonata Sport bundles a sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, a hands-free remote opening trunk, partial leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
The Limited includes the Sport's features, but trades the sporty chrome and carbon fiber styling accents for a more refined look. It also adds unique 17-inch alloy wheels, LED taillights, leather upholstery, wood grain trim, a six-way power passenger seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear seat vents, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Driver aids include blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems.
The Sport 2.0T adds a more powerful engine, 18-inch wheels, sport-tuned suspension and steering, a rear diffuser with quad exhaust tips, sport seats, aluminum pedals, a flat-bottom sport steering wheel and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The range-topping Limited 2.0T includes unique 18-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, adaptive xenon headlights, automatic high-beams, rear parking sensors, a lane departure warning system, an automatic pre-collision braking system, automatic engine stop-start, driver memory settings, a heated steering wheel, rear window sunshades, ventilated front seats, an 8-inch touchscreen display, a premium Infinity nine-speaker audio system and technology features from the Limited trim and the Sport's Tech package.
Many of the features from the Limited 2.0T are available as part of options packages on the lower trims.
All Sonatas are front-wheel drive, and all engines except the Eco are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
A 2.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque powers the base, SE, Sport and Limited models. At the Edmunds test track, a Sonata Sport sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds, an average result for this class.
The 2.4-liter four-cylinder Sonata returns an EPA-estimated 29 mpg combined (25 mpg city/36 mpg highway).
The 2.0T models come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, producing 245 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. We recorded zero-to-60-mph acceleration in 8.3 seconds, a poor result considering its power advantage over the standard engine.
On the other hand, the 2.0T models return an EPA-estimated 26 mpg combined (22 city/31 highway), and we managed to earn an impressive 28 mpg on our diverse 120-mile evaluation route.
The Eco features a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 178 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard.
Oddly, the Eco recorded an impressive 7.5-second zero-to-60-mph run, beating the 2.0T model by almost a full second. The EPA says the Eco will achieve 31 mpg combined (28 city/36 highway). We validated those figures with our own 32-mpg trip on the Edmunds evaluation route.
One of the most striking characteristics of the 2017 Hyundai Sonata is the hushed way it goes down the road. This is a seriously quiet car. Dispatching road irregularities with smooth damping is this sedan's biggest strength, with well-controlled ride quality that's never harsh, regardless of trim.
Though the Sonata feels balanced in quick turns, it's not a very engaging driving experience. Even the Sport 2.0T trim isn't very thrilling, and it's especially hard to understand the disappointing engine performance given its impressive power output.
Oddly enough, the Eco model provides the most excitement. The smaller engine packs more punch than the base 2.4-liter engine and quicker acceleration than the underperforming turbocharged 2.0T. The Eco is actually our pick of the trio.
The Sonata SE's interior is fairly basic, but materials and build quality are on par with the class. The higher trim levels get plusher door trim and additional cabin accents for a more premium feel. Not surprisingly, the Limited trim, with its available two-tone color schemes and convincing wood grain trim, is particularly appealing. The Sport 2.0T features more thickly bolstered sport seats for added lateral support during spirited maneuvers.
What the interior design lacks in flash, however, it makes up for in clean, logical layout and controls. We appreciate dedicated buttons for primary functions like navigation, phone, radio and media, rather than burying those functions in a touchscreen menu system.
The 7-inch standard touchscreen is large enough to make selecting functions easy and fairly free of distraction while in motion, while the attractive 8-inch screen used with the navigation system features uncluttered, clearly labeled maps with easily readable text and crisp graphics.
The Sonata has more than ample passenger room for four adults. The front seats are well padded, supportive, and perfect for long-distance cruising. There's slightly less rear passenger room than some competitors, but only larger than average adults will notice.
At 16.3 cubic feet, the trunk is a little more generous than average for this segment, and the standard 60/40 split-folding rear seat is at the ready to add more cargo capacity should the need arise. Models equipped with the hands-free "smart" trunk opener automatically pop the trunk if the person with the key fob stands behind the car for more than three seconds.
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.