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2018 Hyundai Sonata

$22,050 — $31,900 MSRP
Sedan
5 Seats
26-31 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 10 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Handling and steering
  • Optional 2.0-liter turbo's zip
  • Very quiet interior
  • Comfortable ride
  • Features for the money
  • Up-to-date, user-friendly media system

The Bad

  • Most safety tech not offered on all models
  • Panoramic moonroof no longer available
  • Base engine just adequate
  • Sport trim with base engine
  • Looks still bland versus restyled rivals
  • Mid-pack in interior quality
2018 Hyundai Sonata exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2018 Hyundai Sonata
  • Mid-size, front-wheel-drive sedan
  • Refreshed styling, interior for 2018
  • Seats five
  • Three gas engines, including two turbos
  • Hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions
  • New eight-speed automatic

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

With classy styling updates, improved driving dynamics and a comfortable interior, there's a lot to like about the 2018 Hyundai Sonata.

by Fred Meier - The Verdict:

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata is not a full redesign, but this quiet, comfortable sedan has significantly improved in looks, interior feel and driving dynamics.

Versus The Competition:

The 2018 Sonata is still mid-pack in many ways, but it’s hard to beat its value in features for the dollar and class-leading warranty coverage.

The mid-size sedan was once the bread and butter of U.S. car sales. That was especially true for Hyundai and its Sonata, which put the brand on the map in the U.S. Now, even scrambling to offer more SUVs, Hyundai hasn't forgotten the Sonata sedan, which has been updated for 2018 as it faces new competition.

One focus of this mid-cycle refresh of the Sonata was to put some pizzazz back into a design that was watered down in the seventh generation's 2015 debut. But the interior and chassis also got tweaks that make the car more satisfying as its competition heats up: The big dogs of the mid-size class, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, have both been redesigned for 2018.

Hyundai also reconfigured the Sonata's trims and equipment to double down on value — a core appeal of the Sonata and the No. 1 thing mid-size buyers look for, according to Hyundai research. But rivals have upped their game, too: While the Sonata's features for the buck helped the 2015 beat nine rivals in Cars.com's $27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge, just a couple of years later, it finished mid-pack versus eight rivals in the 2016 Midsize Sedan Challenge.

In a specific play to its value roots, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata adds a new, well-equipped SEL trim level priced for budget-minded families that's expected to become the best-selling trim. You can now also get the sportier looks and interior of a Sport model in a cheaper version without the turbocharged engine. The price for a fu...

by Fred Meier -

The mid-size sedan was once the bread and butter of U.S. car sales. That was especially true for Hyundai and its Sonata, which put the brand on the map in the U.S. Now, even scrambling to offer more SUVs, Hyundai hasn't forgotten the Sonata sedan, which has been updated for 2018 as it faces new competition.

One focus of this mid-cycle refresh of the Sonata was to put some pizzazz back into a design that was watered down in the seventh generation's 2015 debut. But the interior and chassis also got tweaks that make the car more satisfying as its competition heats up: The big dogs of the mid-size class, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, have both been redesigned for 2018.

Hyundai also reconfigured the Sonata's trims and equipment to double down on value — a core appeal of the Sonata and the No. 1 thing mid-size buyers look for, according to Hyundai research. But rivals have upped their game, too: While the Sonata's features for the buck helped the 2015 beat nine rivals in Cars.com's $27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge, just a couple of years later, it finished mid-pack versus eight rivals in the 2016 Midsize Sedan Challenge.

In a specific play to its value roots, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata adds a new, well-equipped SEL trim level priced for budget-minded families that's expected to become the best-selling trim. You can now also get the sportier looks and interior of a Sport model in a cheaper version without the turbocharged engine. The price for a fully loaded Sonata has also been cut.


Hyundai showed off a redone 2018 Sonata on freeways and winding mountain roads around San Diego (per company policy, Cars.com pays for its travel and lodging at such events). We drove new SEL and Limited versions with the base engine as well as a Sport 2.0T turbo model, all of which are for sale now.

A higher-mileage turbo 1.6-liter Eco model will also return late this year as a 2018 model, and updated 2018 versions of the Hyundai Sonata hybrid and plug-in hybrid will arrive early in 2018.

Trying to Recapture the Magic

Hyundai said one of its new car design goals was to recapture the magic of the swoopy 2011 Sonata. Its restyle raised the bar among then-appliance-like family sedans, but it was dialed back for 2015. For 2018, the front end is new from the windshield forward, and the lower side body and rear end are redone, as well. A new version of Hyundai's cascading grille — shaped to echo the pouring of molten steel — takes the Sonata's face in a more vertical direction, accentuated by vertical LED daytime running lights and stronger sculpting in the hood. A lower bumper that Hyundai calls a "catamaran" design pulls the eye down and away, while reshaped headlight pods stretch up and away. Reshaped LED taillights extend a character line running from the front wheel, while the lower rear bumper echoes the catamaran look, including dual chrome exhaust tips for the Sport and turbo 2.0-liter models. The overall effect may not be "wow," but it is stronger and more upscale than before.

Upgrades inside are subtler, but they make for a better cabin. A small but pleasing design change is a new center display and controls. The standard 7.0-inch touchscreen (8-inch with optional navigation) is slightly higher now, better positioned to see and reach while driving. Hyundai kept a welcome array of shortcut buttons and audio and climate knobs, but gave them a cleaner design and improved feel. It's a pleasing interior overall, though there's still a lot of grained plastic; it's not quite a match for the leaders in the pool of rapidly improving mainstream sedan interiors, such as the Mazda6 and (yes) the new Camry. Even the Subaru Legacy — no fashionista — has upped its game inside for 2018.

The front seats were quite comfortable as the miles rolled up; they're bolstered well for winding roads. The top Limited trim's leather looked and felt good, and the SEL's standard cloth is also of good quality, with interesting shaping and stitching (and the cloth was not unwelcome on a hot desert day).

The rear seat is comfortably padded and roomy, if not a match for the limo-like backseat of Volkswagen's Passat. The Hyundai Sonata's coupelike roofline left enough headroom for a 6-foot-2 adult. The rear seat folds in a 60/40 split for extra cargo space in addition to the large, 16.3-cubic-foot trunk. That rivals the 2018 Accord's 16.7 cubic feet and beats the redesigned Camry's 15.1.

The interior was impressively quiet, with little intrusion of engine or road noise in the city, on the freeway or even on the rough asphalt of rural desert roads.

Open-air fans take note: Gone for 2018 is the available panoramic moonroof that gave the Hyundai Sonata's interior a wide-open, airy feel. It's been dropped in favor of a smallish (and cheaper) conventional rectangle.

Improved Driving Dynamics

The Hyundai Sonata already combined a smooth ride with competent handling. Now, the 2018's upgraded rear suspension links and bushings improve dynamics while retaining a smooth ride and balance reminiscent of a premium car. Increased component stiffness and new tuning also deliver better steering response and on-center feel. The Sonata is no sports car, but it felt agile and confident while carving up twisting mountain roads.


Turbo models get added grip from new Michelin rubber on 18-inch alloy wheels; base-engine models get 16s or 17s. Handling doesn't quite match the tied-down feel of the benchmark Mazda6 or Ford Fusion sedans, but overall balance is better than most in the class. (We have yet to road-test the 2018 Camry and Accord.)

Both engines we drove were quiet even when pushed, and their transmissions went about their business competently. The Sonata's carryover 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder base engine, paired with a six-speed automatic, gets you around with no fuss (or thrills). It should satisfy most buyers and is easier on the wallet, with EPA-rated mileage of 25/35/28 city/highway/combined for most models.

But if you enjoy driving and are OK with a mileage drop to 23/32/26 mpg, your choice should be the 245-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that powers the Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T. Also a carryover engine, for 2018, it's mated to a new eight-speed automatic with manual mode and paddle shifters. A 34 percent greater gear ratio spread versus the former six-speed is a better fit for the turbo, giving it both more punch off the line and quieter high-speed cruising. Downshifts were quick and positive, and the middle ratios were well-spaced. It's a good mating of performance and value — though if you want more zip and are willing to pay for it, the new Camry, for example, offers a trim with a 301-hp V-6 that delivers comparable fuel mileage. The Fusion offers a thirstier but much sportier 325-hp, 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 with all-wheel drive. Compare mileage ratings here.

Sonatas offer drive modes that alter gas-pedal response, transmission settings and steering: Eco, Sport, Comfort and (in 2.0T versions) Smart, which mixes and matches based on your driving style. I kept the cars I drove in Sport most of the time; the others seemed too quick to shift up to higher gears — no doubt a nod to fuel economy.

If that's your priority, the highest-mileage Sonata models are still to come. The Eco with a turbocharged 1.6-liter will return for 2018 but was not yet available to test. I drove the previous Eco model and found it to be more fun than the base 2.4-liter engine thanks to more low-end torque and its seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. The Eco will continue to be just a niche model for budget buyers, Hyundai says, offered only in bare-bones form (it's the equivalent of an SE trim but with a different engine).

Early next year, updated 2018 Sonatas with hybrid and plug-in-hybrid powertrains will arrive.

Tech Excellence and Free Connectivity

The Hyundai multimedia system is fast and among the most user-friendly ones you can get; it's equal to or better than anything in this class. Either touchscreen is clear and sharp, and the Sonata has standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. A convenient device bin on the front console has USB connectivity and 12-volt power. A wireless charging pad is available, and a USB connection has been added for the rear seat. For 2018, Sonatas come with three years of free Hyundai Blue Link service for remote starting, locking and cabin conditioning via smartphones or smart home speakers (such as an Amazon Echo). Models with navigation also get free map updates for three years. These free services are a value boost from the 2017, which had just a three-month free trial followed by costly subscriptions and updates.

Safety Features at a Price

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata earned top ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety both for crashworthiness and collision prevention — but only with safety features available on SEL and Limited trims.


Blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert are now standard on all Sonatas. More sophisticated safety options include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking up to 37 mph, plus pedestrian detection, lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control, but these features are confined to option packages on the SEL ($1,000 for the Tech Package) and Limited trims (in a $2,900 package with other features). The features are standard only on the Limited 2.0T, and they aren't offered at all on SE and Sport trims. This seems behind the curve: Rivals such as the Camry and Accord make a forward collision system standard on all trims for 2018.

Also available on the Limited and Limited 2.0T are new, standard LED headlights that earned a rating of acceptable from IIHS, bringing the Sonata more in line with its competition. (Compare IIHS mid-size sedan safety ratings here.) The Hyundai Sonata's other headlight combinations still get a poor rating for 2018.

Raising the Value Play

Value is a core part of Hyundai's brand image, and while the Sonata might be just mid-pack in some ways, it's a leader in bang for the buck with its reconfigured pricing and trims for 2018. The SE model's base price rose $100 to $22,935, including destination, but now includes standard blind spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert. It still undercuts rival starting prices like the 2018 Camry ($24,390) and Accord ($24,445). At the top end, a check-all-the-boxes Sonata Limited 2.0T got a price cut of $1,900 from 2017, down to $33,335 with destination. That flies well under the fanciest versions of those rivals.

Likely even more important for shoppers, the new SEL trim is positioned squarely in a value sweet spot, boasting a bucket of features for $24,585. It includes 17-inch alloy wheels (no plastic covers), LED daytime running lights, a proximity key with push-button start, a hands-free smart trunk opener, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats and a 7-inch media display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. Spend another $1,000 and you can add advanced safety technology to the SEL, including a forward collision system. Plus, like all new Hyundai Sonatas, it includes three years of Blue Link app features and Hyundai's class-leading five-year/60,000-mile transferable warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.9
263 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.9)
Performance
(4.8)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(4.9)
Reliability
(4.9)
Value For The Money
(4.8)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Top of the line Hyundai Sonata "Limited"

by Lance L. from Sioux Falls, SD on November 7, 2018

the Sonata Limited is exactly what I enjoy driving. It has great comfort features; but most importantly, it has sensible, outstanding safety features. The road handling is by far the best experience I... Read full review

(5.0)

I love my Hyundai Sinata Sedan

by Eddie loves his Sonata from Burbank on November 5, 2018

My Hyundai Sonata is really fun to drive . Although its ab4 door Sedan my Sonata feels like a soorta car or luxury car all in one! Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata currently has 1 recall


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2018 Hyundai Sonata SE

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
marginal

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Headlights

Overall Rating
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
acceptable
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
acceptable
acceptable

Small Overlap Front - Passenger Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
acceptable
Structure and Safety Cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Hyundai

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    60 months / 60,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    Newer than 5 model years/less than 60,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    5 years/60,000 miles (from remainder of original)

  • Powertrain

    10 years/100,000 miles and 10 years/100,000 miles for hybrid/electric vechicle batteries.

  • Dealer Certification Required

    150-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

Latest 2018 Sonata Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Sonata received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Latch or Latch system

A

Infant seat

A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

A

Booster

(second row)

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker