2018 Hyundai Sonata Review
2018 Hyundai Sonata Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Director, Vehicle Testing
Jonathan Elfalan has worked in the automotive industry since 2005. As a director of vehicle testing at Edmunds, Jonathan has tested and reviewed thousands of cars and written thousands of car-related articles over the course of his career. Jonathan got his start testing cars for Road & Track magazine as a newly minted mechanical engineer grad from University of California, Irvine, and has also contributed to Motor Trend and the Associated Press. He likes to say he learned to drive a manual transmission in a rear-wheel-drive mid-engine vehicle but often omits it was his family's 1991 Toyota Previa minivan.
- Solid list of standard features and tons of available tech
- Spacious interior accommodations and generous trunk space
- Excellent user interface receives a more upscale redesign
- 10-year powertrain warranty offers peace of mind
- Lackluster power from base engine
- Top turbocharged engine trails performance of its competitors
- Slightly less rear legroom than the segment leaders
- No options available on Edmunds' recommended Eco model
- Restyled inside and out
- New standard safety features
- New eight-speed automatic transmission on 2.0T models
- Part of the sixth Sonata generation introduced for 2015
The current-generation Sonata is already one of Edmunds' highest-rated midsize sedans, so the updates it receives for 2018 will only help fortify its position alongside the all-new Toyota Camry and Honda Accord at the top of the class.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2018 Hyundai Sonata SE 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 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
$130/mo for Sonata SE
Avg. Midsize Car
While we feel the new models will pose some stiff competition, it's understandable why Hyundai hasn't fully overhauled the Sonata. The cabin is still very comfortable and spacious by today's measures, and it looks even more upscale with the design changes to the center console and transition to a three-spoke steering wheel. The Sonata's smooth ride quality and large trunk (16.3 cubic feet) also make it pleasantly practical for both weekend and daily duty.
The Sonata also has highly flexible configurations — seven trim levels to be exact — ranging from a value-driven SE to a fully loaded Limited 2.0T that comes with just about every convenience you can imagine. We aren't huge fans of the base four-cylinder engine that comes in the SE, and would recommend any of the turbocharged engine options, but rest assured even the SE trim packs in a generous number of features. You really can't go wrong.
Notably, we picked the 2018 Hyundai Sonata as one of Edmunds' Best Midsize Sedans for 2018.
Edmunds' Expert Rating7.7 / 10
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata looks like an all-new car thanks to significant updates it receives this year. The Sonata is a well-rounded midsize sedan that's generous on space and fortified with tech and features. Add in competitive pricing, and its value proposition is very hard to ignore.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of a (turbocharged 2.0L inline-4 | 8-speed automatic | FWD).
|Overall||7.7 / 10|
Power in the top-of-the-line 2.0-liter turbo engine is plentiful for a midsize family sedan, and the driving dynamics are spirited but not sporty. On the whole, it drives in a manner that the typical buyer will find satisfactory, but it doesn't change the game in any way.
In everyday driving, the 2.0-liter turbo engine is pleasantly responsive and smooth. It's also plenty quick. In our testing it hit 60 mph in 7.4 seconds, which is about half a second quicker than its chief rivals.
The pedal is reassuringly firm and easy to modulate in routine driving. Under heavy braking, there is some noticeable nosedive but the car remains very controllable. In our panic-brake test, it came to a stop from 60 mph in 118 feet, which is a pretty good result for midsize sedans in this class.
The amount of steering effort is appropriate throughout the speed range — suitably light at parking-lot speeds and weighting up nicely on the highway. There's not a lot of feedback to the driver, favoring isolation over involvement.
Though it doesn't exactly encourage sporty driving, the Sonata is surprisingly capable on a challenging twisty road. The well-managed body roll certainly instills confidence. And despite its low-rolling-resistance tires, there's not much screeching when cornering aggressively.
It's easy to drive the Sonata in any condition, and it doesn't require the driver to adapt to any quirks or shortcomings. The turning circle is small enough that multipoint turns are a rarity and maneuvering in tight quarters is stress-free. Its transmission behaves as expected.
The newly updated suspension is a big improvement over past Sonatas. There's the right dose of compliance to smooth out road imperfections yet body roll isn't excessive — a good balance of comfort and control. The front seats deliver long-haul comfort and very effective ventilation.
The front seats are supportive and well-cushioned for long-distance comfort. There's a good range of lumbar adjustments and the ventilated seats do an excellent job of keeping you cool. The rear seats are flatter in shape but still comfortable for the average-size adult.
Given how well the Sonata handles, the ride quality doesn't suffer. Small to moderate bumps and undulations are smoothed over gracefully with no residual motions afterward. This improvement in damping is a definite step in the right direction for Hyundai.
Noise & vibration7.0
Wind noise is limited to a little bit of white noise by the mirrors at highway speeds, but it's really only noticeable if you turn off the stereo. Road noise is comparable to other cars in this class in its intensity.
The layout of controls is simple and effective. Once you set the dual-zone automatic climate control, there's little need for subsequent adjustments. The ventilated front seats are particularly effective.
The cabin does the basics well, from accommodating various driver shapes to facilitating easy entry and exit. The placement of displays and controls is intuitive and easy to use. Even though this cabin isn't all-new, it still asks for fewer sacrifices than some newer sedans.
Ease of use8.0
All of the controls are logically placed and easy to operate. Rather than rely solely on a touchscreen, the Sonata has physical buttons that are well-suited to accessing the information you need in an efficient manner.
Getting in/getting out8.0
The big door openings and sensible ride height make getting in and out of the Sonata a breeze, even in tight spots. The sloping rear roofline does require rear passengers to stoop a little to clear it, but it's no worse than in other cars in the segment.
The wide range of adjustability, especially with the telescoping steering wheel, allows short and tall drivers to quickly find their optimal position. Unlike some of its competition, we never felt as if we had to compromise to get comfortable.
The Sonata conveys a spacious and airy feeling, with a decent amount of physical space in the front seats. The rear seats are also roomy, but the rear roof pillar does cut down the view a bit, yet it's far less confining than some other sedans.
Forward visibility is about average, as is the view out the back. A standard backup camera takes the guesswork out of backing into a space. The high-mounted touchscreen helps to keep your eyes on the road.
The interior materials aren't quite as nice as some other sedans, but everything has a good sturdy feel about them. We never noticed any creaks or squeaks while driving, and all features functioned as they should.
There's little to complain about when it comes to the Sonata's everyday usability, which is aided by solid cargo capacity and no shortage of in-cabin storage options. It's as good as or better than what you'd get with the typical car in this class.
The smart placement and sensible sizing of bins and pockets mean there are plenty of places to store your personal items. A grippy wireless charging pad is another example of smart design.
The Sonata's 16.3-cubic-foot capacity beats rivals by a small margin. Remote seatback releases make for easier loading of large items. Its hands-free trunk opener is a nice touch, but we wish it would open completely. The trunk release is hidden in the badge; we had to consult the manual to find it.
While its infotainment isn't cutting-edge, the execution is sound and well thought through. The premium audio system might leave audiophiles wanting. It's decent but not exceptional. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard features, a nice attribute that's not universal in the segment.
Audio & navigation7.5
The on-screen buttons are well spaced out for easier and less distracting to use while on the move. Graphics are sharp and the system is fairly quick to respond. The Infinity audio system is good, but we expect more performance from a premium feature like this one.
With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard equipment throughout the Sonata lineup, you'll have a familiar interface and more advanced music and texting features than Hyundai's system. It's not all that unusual, but it's worth noting that Toyota does not offer them.
Voice control for the navigation and phone systems is accurate and easy to use. Apple CarPlay remains our preferred voice-controlled system because it more readily accommodates natural speech and has more features that benefit from it.
Which Sonata does Edmunds recommend?
You could go many routes configuring the Hyundai Sonata depending on your preferences. One approach is to splurge on the fully loaded Limited 2.0T model with all the fixings, affording you creature comforts such as heated and ventilated seats, an 8-inch touchscreen navigation system and a comprehensive suite of advanced driver aids. However, we feel the value pick is the Eco model, which comes with plenty of standard equipment and is powered by Hyundai's torquey and efficient turbocharged 1.6-liter engine and a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission.
2018 Hyundai Sonata models
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata is a midsize sedan available in SE, Eco, SEL, Sport, Limited, Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T trim levels. There are three four-cylinder engines available: a base 2.4-liter (185 hp, 178 lb-ft) paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that powers the SE, SEL, Sport and Limited trims; a turbocharged 2.0-liter (245 hp, 260 lb-ft) that features a new eight-speed automatic powering the two aptly named 2.0T trims; and a turbocharged 1.6-liter (178 hp, 195 lb-ft) with a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic that's specific to the Eco trim.
The SE, which was a step up from the base trim last year, is the new entry-level trim, yet it still undercuts the segment with the exception of the Chevy Malibu. Its list of standard equipment includes automatic headlights, power-folding front mirrors, power windows and door locks, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a 7-inch touchscreen display, a six-speaker sound system with Bluetooth and USB/auxiliary jacks, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, a rearview camera, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. The price jump to the Eco model is just $600, which comes identically equipped save for the engine.
The next trim up is the SEL, which is a new addition to the Sonata line and an attractive trim if you don't mind the base engine. It adds larger 17-inch wheels, keyless entry and ignition, LED daytime running lights, hands-free smart trunk access, heated side mirrors, a 10-way power-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 4.2-inch color trip computer, satellite and HD radio, and a rear USB port. Also included is Hyundai's subscription-based Blue Link telematics system with three years of complimentary service. You can also add advanced driver aids such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist with the optional Tech package.
Following the SEL is the Sport trim, which isn't available with the SEL's Tech package but does come with unique Sport styling front and rear, including a front grille, rear diffuser, chrome rocker panels and a chrome-tipped dual exhaust. Inside, you get a power sunroof, which is smaller and lighter than last year's panoramic unit, a flat-bottom steering wheel with paddle shifters, a leather-wrapped shift knob, leather sport seats with cloth inserts, and Sport-specific interior trim.
You don't get any of the Sport-specific items stepping up to the Limited trim, though the sunroof remains and you gain dynamic LED headlights, LED taillights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, full leather seats, a six-way power passenger seat, driver-seat memory settings, front-seat ventilation, dual climate control and woodgrain appearance trim. You also have the option of upgrading to the Ultimate package, which adds helpful driver aids such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-start capability, automatic high beams, an electronic parking brake with auto hold, and rear parking sensors. It also adds comfort items such as a heated steering wheel, rear side window shades, an 8-inch touchscreen navigation system, wireless smartphone charging, a premium audio system, HD real-time traffic, a trial subscription to SiriusXM Travel link (weather data, fuel prices, sports, etc.), and a three-year subscription to Blue Link multimedia/map updates.
The Sport 2.0T model is configured very similarly to the regular Sport trim, but it includes the more powerful engine and the eight-speed transmission, as well as a sport-tuned suspension, sport-tuned steering, larger front brakes and 18-inch wheels.
Topping out the Sonata line is the Limited 2.0T model, which includes everything from the Sport 2.0T model and everything else that is standard and available on all other models. Yes, you get everything with this model.
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Tall Guy in a Hyundai
Geoff Alderson, 09/20/2017
2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 5/18 (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A)
I’m 6’ 3”, lots of headroom in this car. Easy to exit as the driver’s seat moves rearward when the engine in turned off and the shift lever is in Park. Driver’s seat also has adjustable lumbar support. Has adaptive headlights – front lights turn when steering wheel is turned. Trunk is large, plus the back seats fold down for additional room. The Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) uses … radar signals and camera recognition. AEB has many limitations, be sure to read the Owner’s Manual for more info on this. Quite cabin on city streets. As Edmunds noted, some tire noise at freeway speeds. With the turbocharger, lots of power for entering the freeway and for passing. No heads up display, but speed is displayed in a large font in instrument cluster. Looks beautiful in quartz white pearl.
4 out of 5 stars
Very good, Excellent value
Joe the delivery man, 11/30/2017
2018 Hyundai Sonata SE 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
I got this car to replace my 2015 Sonata. Not sure the new style is better, I kind of liked the 2015 better, especially the rear with the plates on the trunk. But overall this is a terrific car for your money, save for a few drawbacks. The car drives well, nice quite ride and respectable handling, but ride is not as smooth as a Camry and handling not as good as an Accord, Mazda6, or as … precise as a Fusion. Pros include: Slightly better ride/steering over my 2015. Better interior, smart controls (w/ non-auto climate), tuning knob, custom button. Overall is exemplary, very intuitive designed with nice big clearly labeled buttons and knobs. Touch screen is responsive, although some corners don't respond like it's supposed to. The interface is also quite easy to use. LCD Shows date (wish it would also show exterior temperature). Car doors make a satisfying thud when they close. Still a fully printed owner's manual! Cons include: Brakes still too touchy, it makes too abrupt stops. Steering is still too feather-light. Heated mirrors are no longer included in the base model - something Hyundai used to offer all these years. No CD player. I know many cars today omit them, but I really miss it. Home screen should be more customization. Would like to get rid of the AV Off message. Some settings are confusing. Ugly gauges (miss the 2015 Elantra). Only 1 USB for music & Android Auto. Bluetooth makes problems (I have a basic phone). No gap-less music player. Headlight delay is 5 min or none! Overall interior is not too pretty (2018 Accent is nicer). Can't turn off the LCD between the gauges.
4 out of 5 stars
Great bang for the buck
Benjamin A., 01/15/2018
2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 5/18 (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
As much as I want to say that my new car is great in every way... It isn't. But it's extremely GOOD and very well priced. The interior materials use hard plastics in very unfortunate places (hurts to rest elbow or side of knee on door panel!), the seat bolsters aren't big enough for slippery leather, and winter traction has been downright alarming. On the other hand, the stereo has … absolutely fantastic sound, the car has a very comfortable suspension and steering, and while it is on the slow side, it's great for cruising once you're up to speed. Fuel economy has also been better than expected. The place where it really shines though, is price. It was a full $4000 less than similarly outfitted midsize sedans. While it isn't the best car I've ever owned, it's not far off, and the value-for-money is outstanding. UPDATE (2.5 years later): My initial impressions have pretty much stayed the same. My initial impressions of comfort have gotten better after a few months of tinkering with the seat adjustments. I don't really have any complaints there. Fuel economy is consistently better than expected, especially on the highway-- on long solo highway trips, I've had over 40 mpg. It's still woefully slow, but then-- it's not really for people who like driving fast. One strange thing is that some gas pumps trigger their automatic stops almost immediately with this car. Never had it happen before, and it only happens with specific pumps, so I'm guessing there's something about this car that trips it for some reason. Not really a problem though. As far as durability goes, I've had exactly 0 thing break, and literally everything has been smooth sailing. I think my final opinion is that this is NOT a car that you love. The emphasis is on creature comforts (Sound system, Android Auto, Ventilated Seats) rather than driving performance. This is NOT a car that anyone falls in love with driving. This is for someone who wants a car to get them from point A to point B in nice, boring comfort. This is not a car your children want to drive, this is the car your mother wants to drive. It's a fantastic car if you car more about getting to your destination than the journey to get there.
5 out of 5 stars
Loving my 2018 Limited Ultimate
Mike B., 07/02/2018
2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
So far about 4600 trouble-free miles. Very nice ride, quiet on the highway, and the extra bells and whistles with the Ultimate package come in handy. The adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist took some getting used to, but I've found I really like them. This is my first car with the "cooled" seats (they just blow cabin air though them) and with the A/C on it's very nice. … Another feature I'm very happy with is the side mirror blind spot detection. The car is very comfortable and the controls are intuitive and well placed. I'm getting good mileage, but as others have mentioned, performance in the "Eco" mode is lackluster. I generally use the sport mode to get on the highway and any other times I need better performance, then switch it back to Eco for cruising. The only thing I don't like about the car is that every once in a while the key fob in my pocket will open the trunk. I guess the button must hit against something else (keys, change?) in my pocket. I think it's too sensitive. I've owned several Hyundai's (and Kia's) and must say that as time goes by the just get better and better.
2018 Hyundai Sonata videos
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2018 Hyundai Sonata Features Rundown
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata looks like an all-new car thanks to significant updates it receives this year. The Sonata is a well-rounded midsize sedan that's generous on space and fortified with tech and features. Add in competitive pricing, and its value proposition is very hard to… ignore. In this video, we highlight the key features that matter most. From mpg, interior space and technology to design and comfort - these pros and cons will help steer you toward a perfect car.
2018 Sonata Highlights
|Combined MPG||29 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$130/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||5 years / 60,000 miles|
Our experts like the Sonata models:
- Blind Spot With Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
- Assists the driver by warning of cars in the blind spot of an adjacent lane and if vehicles are approaching from the side when reversing.
- Smart Cruise Control With Stop-Start
- Detects vehicles in front of you and automatically adjusts cruise speed to maintain a preset distance, and can even bring you to a stop.
- Lane Keep Assist
- Applies corrective steering assistance to help keep your vehicle 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