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"New Car Review: 2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited Review" By John Heilig +VIDEO

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited
ENGINE: 2.4-liter I-4
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with Shiftronic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 185 hp @ 6,000 rpm/176 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm
WHEELBASE: 110.4 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 191.1 x 73.4 x 58.1 in.
TIRES: P215/65R17
CARGO CAPACITY: 16.3 cu. ft.
ECONOMY: 25 mpg city/35 mpg highway/22.7 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 18.5 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,311 lbs. #/HP: 17.9
TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion
STICKER: $31,310 (includes $885 delivery, $3,025 options)

BOTTOM LINE: Hyundai has put together a nice package with the  2018 Sonata. It has good power, it’s good looking and it offers good comfort that should please almost everyone.

In the crowded mid-size car segment, the Hyundai Sonata should be on the short list for everyone considering a purchase.

Compared with the Toyota Camry, for example (and everyone who’s in the market for a mid-size compares with the Camry), the redesigned Sonata has more conservative styling, especially with regard to the front fascia and dash. Sonata’s exterior still has a fair assortment of hood sculpting, but the dramatic side sculpting is gone. The dash is conservative, but all the buttons and switches are conveniently located and within easy reach of the driver and passenger, with the exception of the BSM and LDA shut-off switches, which are on the far left.

There is good power from the 2.4-liter four rated at 185 horsepower. Acceleration is good when entering highways and when you want to have fun pulling away from stoplights. It’s also a fairly quiet engine for a four.

The shifter for the 6-speed automatic is located right at hand. The tranny has three drive modes - Eco, Sport and Comfort - that alter shift points for particular responses.

Next to the shifter is a small square cubby that is ideal for keys. Also on the console is the compulsory pair of cupholders, plus another large cubby at the base of the center stack that’s great for sunglasses. In this large cubby are two 12-volt plus USB and ALT outlets.

Besides a refreshed exterior, Hyundai “refined” the chassis for improved ride and handling. Engineers increased the torsion bar stiffness within the steering system by 12 percent, which improves steering response in all conditions. They also improved the steering calibration. The rear suspension was also updated with 21 percent thicker trailing arms and new bushings.

Overall ride quality is very good. We took the Sonata over some winding roads and it handled well.

We were blessed with some frigid weather in our test run. The HVAC system kept us cozy, along with the heated and cooled seats. Front seats are comfortable with minimal side support. Rear seats have excellent leg room. Our granddaughter noticed this when we picked her up from school. She also noticed the window shades. 

The audio is very good, although navigating among the various screens can be challenging at first. The default screen on the 8-inch infotainment touchscreen has a map on the left and audio on the right. This is convenient and not obtrusive. A row of buttons below the screen allows you to be more selective among radio, media, audio seek and track, map, navigation, and setup. 

Additional buttons below the main HVAC controls are for cooled or heated seats, heated wheel, front and rear defrosters, air conditioning and air direction. They’re all very clear, especially if you take the time to check when you first get in the car.

A few years ago, then Sonata had what I felt was knock-out side styling that set it apart from the competition. The 2018 version is more muted, but the styling and overall performance of the car still keep it among the main players in the mid-size field.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate

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