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    • By Drew Dowdell
      Hyundai has been trying hard with the Sonata in the crowded mid-size segment for at least 2 decades. When the 2015 Sonata debuted at the 2014 New York Auto Show, it was largely received with a yawn.  Despite being a competent vehicle (read our review of the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T), it just wasn’t enough to fully challenge the Accord, Camry, and Fusion for love from the automotive press. As early as the following year, Hyundai had already announced a redesign for Sonata.
      Here we are back at the 2017 New York Auto Show with the redesigned 2018 Sonata.  A quick shake of the magic 8-ball says… “Outlook Not So Good”.  You can read the press release for the 2018 Hyundai Sonata here.
      The first and biggest sin in the mid-size segment is not having a Honda or Toyota badge on the hood.  The Sonata, like Optima, Malibu, and Altima, suffers from that sin.   Any car without that badge must then seriously overcome the sin in other ways.  The Subaru Legacy does it with its AWD system. The Malibu tries with a more stylish interior and useful infotainment systems.  The Fusion offers a large variety of powertrain options including a powerful turbo-charged V6 in the Fusion Sport or the more fuel sipping hybrid.
      The refreshed 2018 Sonata does not bring much new to the table. The engines are carry-over from the current model, though a new 8-speed auto is available on the top turbo model.  The interior is largely carry-over as well except for new gauges and center stack. The exterior gets a freshening with a new trapezoidal grille and new rear end treatment.  Neither of those updates feel strong enough to give the 2018 Sonata the visual distinction it needs to move the needle in the marketplace.
      For comparison sake, I spent some time poking around the 2018 Sonata and then immediately went to the Toyota, Honda, Chevy, and Kia stands.  The interior of the new Sonata just isn’t up to the task of taking on the big guns and still feels as dated as the Optima.
      In the end, the Sonata will still sell for people who want the warranty, but it’s not going to be to anyone who actually wants a Sonata… they’ll just be buying it for the deal. Is it better than the 2017 model?  Shake the Magic 8-Ball and see if you come up with a different answer. 
       

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    • By Drew Dowdell
      Hyundai has been trying hard with the Sonata in the crowded mid-size segment for at least 2 decades. When the 2015 Sonata debuted at the 2014 New York Auto Show, it was largely received with a yawn.  Despite being a competent vehicle (read our review of the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T), it just wasn’t enough to fully challenge the Accord, Camry, and Fusion for love from the automotive press. As early as the following year, Hyundai had already announced a redesign for Sonata.
      Here we are back at the 2017 New York Auto Show with the redesigned 2018 Sonata.  A quick shake of the magic 8-ball says… “Outlook Not So Good”.  You can read the press release for the 2018 Hyundai Sonata here.
      The first and biggest sin in the mid-size segment is not having a Honda or Toyota badge on the hood.  The Sonata, like Optima, Malibu, and Altima, suffers from that sin.   Any car without that badge must then seriously overcome the sin in other ways.  The Subaru Legacy does it with its AWD system. The Malibu tries with a more stylish interior and useful infotainment systems.  The Fusion offers a large variety of powertrain options including a powerful turbo-charged V6 in the Fusion Sport or the more fuel sipping hybrid.
      The refreshed 2018 Sonata does not bring much new to the table. The engines are carry-over from the current model, though a new 8-speed auto is available on the top turbo model.  The interior is largely carry-over as well except for new gauges and center stack. The exterior gets a freshening with a new trapezoidal grille and new rear end treatment.  Neither of those updates feel strong enough to give the 2018 Sonata the visual distinction it needs to move the needle in the marketplace.
      For comparison sake, I spent some time poking around the 2018 Sonata and then immediately went to the Toyota, Honda, Chevy, and Kia stands.  The interior of the new Sonata just isn’t up to the task of taking on the big guns and still feels as dated as the Optima.
      In the end, the Sonata will still sell for people who want the warranty, but it’s not going to be to anyone who actually wants a Sonata… they’ll just be buying it for the deal. Is it better than the 2017 model?  Shake the Magic 8-Ball and see if you come up with a different answer. 
       
    • By William Maley
      When Hyundai unveiled the current Sonata at 2014 New York Auto Show, it landed with a bit of thud. Compared to the previous-generation model that stood out from the crowd with a sharp design, the new model was a bit dull. Hyundai is addressing this with a heavily refreshed Sonata that made its debut today in New York.
      The 2018 Sonata has a bit more personality thanks to new pentagonal grille (Sport and 2.0T models get a mesh insert), reshaped hood, smaller headlights, new trunk lid, and LED taillights. For the interior, Hyundai has redesigned the center stack, updated the instrument cluster, and added a USB port for rear seat passengers.
      Engines are the same as the current Sonata - 2.4L four-cylinder, 1.6L turbo-four, and 2.0L turbo-four. However, the 2.0L turbo gets a new eight-speed automatic transmission that is said to improve acceleration and fuel economy. Hyundai has also worked on improving ride and handling with thicker trailing arms, new rear bushings, and a revamped steering system. 
      As for safety, all Sonatas will now come with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert as standard.
      The 2018 Sonata hits dealers later this year.
       
      Source: Hyundai
      Press Release is on Page 2


      2018 SONATA: DEFINING THE BENCHMARK FOR MID-SIZED SEDANS
      New Features, Technology and Hardware  Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert Now Standard Equipment NEW YORK, April 12, 2017 –The redesigned 2018 Sonata enters the market with a new look from the front, side and rear thanks to a “cascading grill,” a more assertive profile and an entirely new rear; showcasing a clean and handsome approach with reimagined, slim taillights. 
      “It’s all about making an impact,” said Chris Chapman, chief designer, Hyundai North American Design Center. “We wanted to deliver an exciting expressive car to our customers and show the world how passionate Hyundai is about design and craftsmanship. The objective was to make an impact, this design provides the visual excitement and unique identity our customers associate with Sonata.”
      Created at Hyundai’s California Design Studio with American aesthetic tastes in mind, the new Sonata is bold, daring and beautiful. The 2018 Sonata made its North American debut today at the New York International Auto Show.
      ELEVATED ELEGANCE
      Supplementing the bodywork, the 2018 Sonata now lights the way with LED daytime running lights. When night falls, available LED headlamps with dynamic bending light illuminate the path and add to Sonata’s already radiant posture. The same standout style continues in the rear with sharp taillight design and enlarged Hyundai badge, which now cleverly houses the trunk release button. Chrome accents surround the daylight opening (DLO) and fresh wheel designs cap off its new look.
      Inside, the renewed center stack and instrument panel echo the exterior’s catching new looks. The trend carries down to gauge dial design and a strong three-spoke steering wheel. Piano key buttons for audio and HVAC controls give a premium look and touch.
      “The moment the pen left the drafting paper I knew we had something special in this re-imagined Sonata,” says Chapman, “Dynamic lines, strong graphics, and our new signature cascading grille come together in an athletic way.”
      BEAUTY BENEATH THE SKIN
      The new Sonata has a refined chassis with improved ride and handling. To achieve this feat, talented engineers increased the torsion bar stiffness within the steering system by 12 percent, which improves steering response and feel in all conditions. They then enhanced that improvement further with new steering calibration, focusing on responsiveness and on-center steering feel. Previous ratings for ride, handling and NVH showed customers were quite satisfied, so engineers just reset an already high bar.
      In addition to these steering changes, the Sonata received an updated rear suspension. The trailing arms are 21 percent thicker, making them stiffer and better able to manage heavy suspension loads. New bushings work with the new suspension arms to allow for more ride compliance and yet quicken response time to control all other wheel motions. The result is a communicative, nimble and comfortable sedan. 
      For the top-of-the-line powertrain, there’s even more. The 245 horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine now includes an eight-speed automatic transmission, which adds ratio range at both the top and bottom of output speeds. The eight-speed allows for extra thrust off-the-line and a quieter, more fuel-efficient dash down the interstate. The 2.0-liter turbo models roll on 18-inch wheels, now with Michelin tires.
      COMPELLING COMFORT AND SAFETY
      The 2018 Sonata features a standard seven-inch color display audio touchscreen with both Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto® integration. Speaking of smartphones, driver and passenger alike can keep them charged without a plug using the available Qi standard wireless charging pad. Sonata now adds a second row USB charge port, a nod to today’s connected rear-seat passengers. Available navigation systems now come with a bird’s eye view feature as well as traffic flow and incident data, without ever having to pay a subscription for the service.
      The Sonata offers more safety features in 2018. In addition to seven standard airbags (dual front, side, and curtain, as well as driver’s knee) and a battery of safety systems (VSM, ESC, TCS, ABS, EBD, BA, and TPMS) comes Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA). The Sonata is the only Midsize car sold with this safety technology as standard equipment. Despite drivers spending a tiny amount of time in reverse, one-quarter of all accidents happen when someone is backing up. BSD with RCTA gives drivers peace of mind that the road behind them is clear. Furthermore, there’s also a new Lane Departure Warning system with an enhanced Lane Keep Assist function available. 
      BETTER BLUE LINK
      As our cars become a mobile extension of the connected world, Blue Link continues to add more features to integrate your life. Blue Link now talks to Amazon Echo™, allowing you to control your car inside your home, or wherever the Amazon device is located.

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    • By William Maley
      When Hyundai unveiled the current Sonata at 2014 New York Auto Show, it landed with a bit of thud. Compared to the previous-generation model that stood out from the crowd with a sharp design, the new model was a bit dull. Hyundai is addressing this with a heavily refreshed Sonata that made its debut today in New York.
      The 2018 Sonata has a bit more personality thanks to new pentagonal grille (Sport and 2.0T models get a mesh insert), reshaped hood, smaller headlights, new trunk lid, and LED taillights. For the interior, Hyundai has redesigned the center stack, updated the instrument cluster, and added a USB port for rear seat passengers.
      Engines are the same as the current Sonata - 2.4L four-cylinder, 1.6L turbo-four, and 2.0L turbo-four. However, the 2.0L turbo gets a new eight-speed automatic transmission that is said to improve acceleration and fuel economy. Hyundai has also worked on improving ride and handling with thicker trailing arms, new rear bushings, and a revamped steering system. 
      As for safety, all Sonatas will now come with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert as standard.
      The 2018 Sonata hits dealers later this year.
       
      Source: Hyundai
      Press Release is on Page 2


      2018 SONATA: DEFINING THE BENCHMARK FOR MID-SIZED SEDANS
      New Features, Technology and Hardware  Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert Now Standard Equipment NEW YORK, April 12, 2017 –The redesigned 2018 Sonata enters the market with a new look from the front, side and rear thanks to a “cascading grill,” a more assertive profile and an entirely new rear; showcasing a clean and handsome approach with reimagined, slim taillights. 
      “It’s all about making an impact,” said Chris Chapman, chief designer, Hyundai North American Design Center. “We wanted to deliver an exciting expressive car to our customers and show the world how passionate Hyundai is about design and craftsmanship. The objective was to make an impact, this design provides the visual excitement and unique identity our customers associate with Sonata.”
      Created at Hyundai’s California Design Studio with American aesthetic tastes in mind, the new Sonata is bold, daring and beautiful. The 2018 Sonata made its North American debut today at the New York International Auto Show.
      ELEVATED ELEGANCE
      Supplementing the bodywork, the 2018 Sonata now lights the way with LED daytime running lights. When night falls, available LED headlamps with dynamic bending light illuminate the path and add to Sonata’s already radiant posture. The same standout style continues in the rear with sharp taillight design and enlarged Hyundai badge, which now cleverly houses the trunk release button. Chrome accents surround the daylight opening (DLO) and fresh wheel designs cap off its new look.
      Inside, the renewed center stack and instrument panel echo the exterior’s catching new looks. The trend carries down to gauge dial design and a strong three-spoke steering wheel. Piano key buttons for audio and HVAC controls give a premium look and touch.
      “The moment the pen left the drafting paper I knew we had something special in this re-imagined Sonata,” says Chapman, “Dynamic lines, strong graphics, and our new signature cascading grille come together in an athletic way.”
      BEAUTY BENEATH THE SKIN
      The new Sonata has a refined chassis with improved ride and handling. To achieve this feat, talented engineers increased the torsion bar stiffness within the steering system by 12 percent, which improves steering response and feel in all conditions. They then enhanced that improvement further with new steering calibration, focusing on responsiveness and on-center steering feel. Previous ratings for ride, handling and NVH showed customers were quite satisfied, so engineers just reset an already high bar.
      In addition to these steering changes, the Sonata received an updated rear suspension. The trailing arms are 21 percent thicker, making them stiffer and better able to manage heavy suspension loads. New bushings work with the new suspension arms to allow for more ride compliance and yet quicken response time to control all other wheel motions. The result is a communicative, nimble and comfortable sedan. 
      For the top-of-the-line powertrain, there’s even more. The 245 horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine now includes an eight-speed automatic transmission, which adds ratio range at both the top and bottom of output speeds. The eight-speed allows for extra thrust off-the-line and a quieter, more fuel-efficient dash down the interstate. The 2.0-liter turbo models roll on 18-inch wheels, now with Michelin tires.
      COMPELLING COMFORT AND SAFETY
      The 2018 Sonata features a standard seven-inch color display audio touchscreen with both Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto® integration. Speaking of smartphones, driver and passenger alike can keep them charged without a plug using the available Qi standard wireless charging pad. Sonata now adds a second row USB charge port, a nod to today’s connected rear-seat passengers. Available navigation systems now come with a bird’s eye view feature as well as traffic flow and incident data, without ever having to pay a subscription for the service.
      The Sonata offers more safety features in 2018. In addition to seven standard airbags (dual front, side, and curtain, as well as driver’s knee) and a battery of safety systems (VSM, ESC, TCS, ABS, EBD, BA, and TPMS) comes Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA). The Sonata is the only Midsize car sold with this safety technology as standard equipment. Despite drivers spending a tiny amount of time in reverse, one-quarter of all accidents happen when someone is backing up. BSD with RCTA gives drivers peace of mind that the road behind them is clear. Furthermore, there’s also a new Lane Departure Warning system with an enhanced Lane Keep Assist function available. 
      BETTER BLUE LINK
      As our cars become a mobile extension of the connected world, Blue Link continues to add more features to integrate your life. Blue Link now talks to Amazon Echo™, allowing you to control your car inside your home, or wherever the Amazon device is located.
    • By William Maley
      The Infiniti QX80 SUV is already a brazen SUV in terms of its looks. If the QX80 Monograph concept that debuted on the eve of the New York Auto Show is any indication, it seems that next-generation will become more brazen.
      With measurements of 16 feet long and 6.5 feet tall, the QX80 Monograph is an imposing vehicle. The girth is further accentuated by the gold paint and chrome accents. A set of 24-inch wheels feature a design that overlaps the tires, making them look larger than they really are.
      The front end is reminiscent of the QX50 Concept shown this year at Detroit with a tall and wide version of Infiniti's double-arch grille and a prominent bumper with deep chiseling. The slim headlights extend into thin light bars along the front fenders. Along the side is some sculpting for the doors and handles pop out whenever you want to get in. At the rear, thin taillights and extended exhaust outlets help underline the width of the concept.
      “The QX80 Monograph is an exploration of how we plan to take a step forward in the large SUV segment. This is an important initiative for INFINITI, as the QX80 is popular with buyers in a number of markets — particularly in North America and the Middle East,” said Francois Bancon, Infiniti Vice President of Global Product Strategy.
      Source: Infiniti
      Press Release is on Page 2


      INFINITI QX80 Monograph: a design study exploring 'upscale luxury' with commanding presence
      QX80 Monograph is the ultimate expression of futuristic luxury SUV design New design study signals INFINITI's intention to evolve its presence in the large SUV segment "Monograph" – a detailed study into a single area of expertise NEW YORK – INFINITI has unveiled the QX80 Monograph, a new design study exploring upscale luxury and signaling INFINITI's intention to further develop its standing in the large SUV segment.
      The QX80 Monograph combines luxury with a commanding presence, and demonstrates the high levels of space and utility for which the QX80 production car is renowned. It illustrates how the design of INFINITI's large SUV could evolve in future. Originating at INFINITI's design studio in Atsugi, Japan, and unveiled for the first time in New York, the QX80 Monograph is the ultimate expression of futuristic luxury SUV design.
      "The QX80 Monograph represents a detailed study into our expertise of exterior design. QX80 Monograph shows our concept of luxury and style on the road, and is an exploration into how we could enhance our future INFINITI offering in the luxury SUV segment."
      Roland Krueger, President, INFINITI
      The ultimate expression of futuristic luxury SUV design
      Hints at a forward-looking new design for INFINITI's large SUV Applies INFINITI's latest signature design cues on a new scale "The QX80 Monograph provides the opportunity to reimagine INFINITI's signature design DNA on a totally different scale. We sculpted our body pure, straight and horizontal, the muscularity both brute and sensual; part Rodin's Thinker, part Michelangelo. INFINITI 'carrozzeria' used svelte satin copper skin, set off by an ultra-powerful double arch grille with abstract structural mesh, distinctive and focused human eye signature headlamp, and iconic fender vent. Our designers continue to impress by finding new avenues for INFINITI artistry."
      Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President, Global Design
      The QX80 Monograph hints at a forward-looking new design for INFINITI's flagship large SUV. The concept applies the brand's latest design language in a sculptural and artistic way, incorporating a mix of geometric and organic shapes to combine power with elegance, creating a commanding and sophisticated presence.
      The QX80 Monograph is over five meters long, almost two meters tall (including roof rails), and more than two meters wide (door mirrors folded). It appears longer thanks to defined character lines, in particular the strong, straight shoulder line that runs from the grille all the way to the rear of the car.
      The headlamps extend into thin lights that wrap around the front corners of the hood and run along the wings, for a unique light signature from the front and in profile. The light bars running along the front wings end in sculptured rear-view cameras at the leading edge of the two front doors.
      The face of the QX80 Monograph appears more powerful and purposeful, with large, functional fender vents delivering more air to the engine, flanking an aluminum chin guard. Enhancing its SUV credentials, an underbody cover runs the length of the floor, protecting the car's undersides and aiding aerodynamic performance.
      A thin strip of aluminum below the grille emphasizes the car's width and incorporates razor-sharp LED fog-lamps at each end for a modern, high-tech appearance. At the rear, defined horizontal lines highlight the car's wide and powerful aura. The appearance of the sharper, thinner tail-lamps are mirrored in the wide twin exhausts, which feature a gloss-black aerofoil in between to encourage smoother air flow off the back of the car.
      The doors open to reveal an integrated, brushed aluminum sill step to ease ingress and egress, while vents aft of the front and rear wheels provide a further distinctive metallic accent to the design. These vents could also perform a valuable aerodynamic function, evacuating turbulent and drag-inducing air from the wheel arches.
      The QX80 Monograph's design details express INFINITI's approach to high quality, high precision car manufacturing. Notably, the QX80 Monograph's blacked-out A-pillar sits flush with the side windows and windscreen, while the pop-out door handles are also flush with the bodywork. These elements give a cleaner appearance and help to minimize drag and wind noise.
      Unmistakable INFINITI signature design elements are taken from the company's latest concept and production vehicles. QX80 Monograph features the latest incarnation of INFINITI's hallmark "human-eye" headlamps, raised high up in the front of the car, as well as slimmer, sharper rear combination lamps. The unique piano key design of the head- and tail-lamps enables individual LED elements to light up independently, providing an artistic application of the latest adaptive lighting technology.
      The new interpretation of INFINITI's double-arch grille is taller and wider, giving it a powerful new face, while a new grille mesh suggests a highly sculptural and technical form. The new mesh adds greater visual depth with a series of individual sculptures that appear linked together in a lattice. The crescent-cut D-pillar has been reshaped, its sharper and higher trailing edge enhancing the horizontal aspect of the QX80 Monograph's upper body.
      The QX80 Monograph features a frosted-effect paint finish, following positive feedback from recent INFINITI concepts completed with a similar effect. The desaturated color and satin-like surface each suggest an unusual treatment of the metal beneath, providing a textured contrast to the gloss chrome and brushed aluminum elements around the concept.
      Straight-spoke, two-tone wheels – 24 inches in diameter – are finished in chromium black with contrasting brushed copper elements. The outer edges of the wheels overlap the tires, presenting the appearance of a 26-inch wheel and low profile tires to complement the scale of the QX80 Monograph.
      "Earlier INFINITI show cars have started conversations with our customers, which gives us the chance to talk about the brand's future direction. We have listened to our customers to discover their expectations for a large SUV from INFINITI in 2017 and beyond. The QX80 Monograph illustrates how INFINITI's 'powerful elegance' design language could be used to develop our luxury SUVs in future."
      Alfonso Albaisa, Senior Vice President, Global Design
      Evolving INFINITI's presence in the luxury SUV segment
      INFINITI QX80 Monograph: a modern interpretation of luxury SUV design "The QX80 Monograph is an exploration of how we plan to take a step forward in the large SUV segment. This is an important initiative for INFINITI, as the QX80 is popular with buyers in a number of markets – particularly in North America and the Middle East."
      Francois Bancon, Vice President, Global Product Strategy, INFINITI
      The INFINITI QX80 Monograph is a forward-looking interpretation of the QX80's exterior design, offering the size, utility and luxury appeal expected of cars in this segment.
      As the brand's largest SUV, the QX80 makes an important statement for INFINITI, combining supreme space and utility with luxury and sophistication. INFINITI's full-size SUV serves as a private jet for the road; it meets the uncompromising needs of a target buyer who wants for nothing.
      "Monograph" – a focused and detailed study
      QX80 Monograph represents a focused examination of a singular theme – exterior design in the luxury SUV segment INFINITI defines a "monograph" as a detailed study into a single area of expertise. In this context, the INFINITI QX80 Monograph is a detailed examination of how the exterior design of the QX80 may evolve in the future.
      The QX80 Monograph is the first model from the brand to bear the "Monograph" nomenclature. Monograph studies explore ways INFINITI can develop specific elements of its cars. 

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