Jump to content
  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Review: 2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited

      Bringing Back Some of the Magic

    Hyundai had set itself a high bar when it launched the sixth-generation Sonata for the 2010 model year. It stood out from a crowded field of midsize sedans with an exterior shape that resembled a Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class. The Sonata also boasted a comfortable interior, loads of technology features, a good selection of engines, and a nice balance between comfort and sport. Replacing this model would be a tough task and one Hyundai wasn’t able to meet. When the seventh-generation model rolled out at 2014 New York Auto Show, you could hear the cry of a sad trombone. The new Sonata had gone conservative in its design. Compared to Chevrolet, Honda, and Toyota that rolled out bold styling on their sedans, the Sonata went backwards with a conservative look.

    Hyundai realized they need to make some drastic changes to Sonata to give it a fighting chance not only against other sedans, but from the growing demand for crossovers of all sizes. This brings us to the 2018 Sonata Limited. It was time to find out if Hyundai had found that magic once again.

    This being a refresh, Hyundai couldn’t go completely crazy in terms of the design language, however the updates really help the Sonata have more presence. Up front is bolder with a new hexagonal grille surround, chrome grille slats, new sculpting on the hood, and deep cuts in the bumper for LED fog lights. The side profile retains the chrome trim that runs through the headlights and around the windows. Hyundai made some drastic changes for the rear by smoothing out the trunk lid and moving the placement of the license plate to the bumper. 

    The Sonata’s interior retains the basic shape of the outgoing model, but changes have been made to freshen it up. The center stack boasts a revised control layout and all trims get a three-spoke steering wheel. Previously, only the Sport trim got this wheel design. It would have been nice if Hyundai was a little bit more adventurous with the design, but I’m willing to forgive some of this feeling as the controls fall easily into hand. Interior materials are about average for the class with a mix of hard and soft plastics.

    The front seats were designed with long-distance comfort in mind with a fair amount of seat padding and just the right amount of firmness. Power adjustments for both driver and passenger are standard on the Limited and offer a generous range of adjustments. Space in the back is quite roomy and there are some nice touches such as manual window shades. The Sonata has one of the largest trunks in the class with 16.3 cubic feet of space on offer.

    All Sonata’s come with a 7-inch touchscreen featuring Hyundai’s BlueLink infotainment system. Our test Sonata Limited had the optional 8-inch screen with navigation. The current BlueLink system has been with us for a few years and its interface is beginning to look somewhat dated, but the system is still one of the best when it comes to overall usability with large touchscreen buttons, bright screen, and a simple interface. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all Sonatas except the base SE.

    Sonata offers one of the widest range of powertrains in the segment with three gas engines, a hybrid, and plug-in hybrid. Our Sonata Limited came with the base 2.4L inline-four producing 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic routing power to the front wheels. The engine provides adequate power for around town and rural driving. You will need to step on it when making a pass or merging onto a freeway as torque resides higher in the rev band. The six-speed automatic goes about its business smoothly and always knows what gear it needs to be in. Hyundai does offer an eight-speed automatic, but only if you opt for the turbocharged 2.0L.

    EPA fuel economy figures for the 2018 Sonata Limited are 25 City/35 Highway/28 Combined (SE models see a one mpg increase in highway and combined figures). My average for the week landed around 28.5 mpg.

    Hyundai did make some tweaks to the 2018 Sonata’s suspension including a revised rear suspension setup with thicker trailing arms and revised steering system. The end result is a Sonata that handles much better than the previous car. Body motion has noticeably decreased and the steering provides decent weight when turning. Thankfully, the tweaks made to the suspension haven’t affected the Sonata’s ride quality. Bumps and other road imperfections are soaked up before reaching passengers. Some of the credit has to go to Hyundai not going crazy on offering large wheels - the Limited seen here rides on 17-inch wheels. Road and wind noise are kept to near silent levels.

    My first impression seeing the 2018 Sonata was that Hyundai had improved it, but was still a bit short when compared to the work done by other automakers. Spending a week with the Sonata caused me to change my train of thought; It surprised me how much work Hyundai put into this mid-cycle refresh and brings the Sonata up to the point where I would say it is fighting for best-in-class honors. 

    While the 2018 Sonata may lack most of the pizzazz found in the sixth-generation model, it does show that Hyundai has learned from its mistake and worked to reclaim some of the magic.

    Disclaimer: Hyundai Provided the Sonata, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2018
    Make: Hyundai
    Model: Sonata
    Trim: Limited
    Engine: 2.4L GDI DOHC D-CVVT Four-Cylinder
    Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic. Front-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 185 @ 6,000
    Torque @ RPM: 178 @ 4,000 
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 25/35/28
    Curb Weight: N/A
    Location of Manufacture: Montgomery, AL
    Base Price: $27,400
    As Tested Price: $31,310 (Includes $885.00 Destination Charge)

    Ultimate Package - $2,900.00
    Carpeted Floor Mats - $125.00

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Cool review, learned some good things and it is nice to see that it has visually improved over the last gen. Not as snappy looking at the 6th gen as you point out, but way better than it could have been for a mid cycle refresh.

    Hyundai, needs to really step up their own styling and bring it to the game if this car is still here for the next generation version.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I would get one over a Camry.  And its an ok choice and not bad.  But if I look at 2019 models, I would get a Malibu, Fusion, Accord, Mazda6, Altima, maybe even Passat before this.  Hyundai's draw is easy credit and bigger warranties.  

    If we look at Hyundai's development long term, its that they are fully accepted as a mainstream middle of the road vanilla device, so their cars don't look out of place and have no big flaws.  If they continue to prove out as reliable as the mean average, which they likely are, then over time they wipe away any stigma of being cheaper end.  All they want is to be mainstream and volume and each successive year they just perform to mainstream market factors is just the greater chance they survive and can over time leverage more and more their corporate advantages....cheaper to develop and build vehicles than some other more established makers.  When the thinning of the auto herd happens again, Hyundai will likely be one of the 5-7 automakers / brands that survives.  That's why volume and market share matter as much as profitability per unit.

    Edited by regfootball
    • Upvote 2
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    The one thing that surprised me about @William Maley's review is his statement that the car is super quiet inside. I haven't driven this version of Sonata, but prior versions had some road and engine noise issues.  So assuming Will's observation is correct, then Hyundai has gone on a quiet tuning quest. 

    • Like 1
    • Upvote 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Thorough review ... I rented one on the heels of a Nissan Altima for a few days after an exchange and liked it much better than the Altima.

    I was able to get over 41 mpg (after converting kilometers and liters) on a jaunt from Quebec City back to Montreal in an Altima and thought they were great.  Then, the Sonata told me how much more definition there is with a step-gear transmission.  And, like you said, it shifted beautifully.  I believe the highway mileage may have been about 35 or 36 mpg.

    I think they worked wonders with the mid-cycle refresh.  The placement of "Sonata" in slanted letters across the rear has worked wonders for the car, albeit a small change.  Usually, I don't like that. 

    I also know that the current vernacular is to slope the rear back lite to the point of almost eliminating the trunk lid.  I wish it wasn't as sloped, but it works with the car.

    I have test sat in the new model at both the auto show and in show rooms and, while Hyundai dashboards tend to be very practical, I can't say I like how horizontal the buttons are laid out in the center stack.  I believe one salesperson referred to it as the "piano key" design/layout.  That's a good way to put it.  I prefer things a little more compact in the center stack.

    However, if I was buying in this segment and buying foreign, the Sonata and the Passat would be the only ones I'd consider. The price point of the Limited is too high.  In lower grade trim, they are a good value.  I would pass on the Camry and the Altima.  Hopefully, GM can amp up its game in this segment.

    • Thanks 1
    • Upvote 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    On 7/14/2018 at 6:41 AM, Drew Dowdell said:

    The one thing that surprised me about @William Maley's review is his statement that the car is super quiet inside. I haven't driven this version of Sonata, but prior versions had some road and engine noise issues.  So assuming Will's observation is correct, then Hyundai has gone on a quiet tuning quest. 

    Last time i was in a Sonata it was buzzy and loud and vibrated through the seats

    • Thanks 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Similar Content

  • Posts

    • Yeah, not my favorite era of full size Chevy...but a restomodded '71-73 Impala would be more to my taste..  
    • Cadillac has announced new details in the brand’s transformation to an electric future and a transformative EV customer experience, including ordering information, pricing and EPA-estimated range for the 2023 LYRIQ RWD. Cadillac also announced a special charging offer, designed to simplify the charging experience for LYRIQ customers. “These are important steps for Cadillac, as we make good on our promise to deliver an EV offering more than 300 miles of range and move toward an all-electric portfolio by 2030,” said Global Cadillac Vice President Rory Harvey. “Cadillac will define the future of luxury transportation through its range of forthcoming EVs, and it all begins with LYRIQ.” Ordering for the 2023 LYRIQ RWD and AWD models will open on May 19, with RWD deliveries expected starting this fall. Deliveries of the 2023 LYRIQ Debut Edition, which was available through reservation only, will begin this summer. The LYRIQ RWD model offers an EPA-estimated 312 miles of range on a full charge1 and has a starting MSRP of $62,9902. The AWD model, which will start at $64,9902, adds a second drive unit, placed at the front of the vehicle to enhance vehicle dynamics and performance even further for drivers. When orders open, customers will now have the option to select from two new exterior colors: Opulent Blue Metallic3 and Crystal White Tricoat3. Initial deliveries of the AWD model are expected to start in early 2023, with EPA-estimated range expected to be announced closer to the start of production. Creating a Seamless Charging Experience All 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ customers will receive the option to choose either two years of unlimited public charging credits at EVgo charging stations or a credit of up to $1,500 toward home charger installation through Qmerit4. Customers who select the home charger installation credit will receive up to $1,500 that can be applied toward an eligible professional installation of a Level 2 (AC) charger or at 240-volt outlet at home through Qmerit, for convenient, quick charging of the LYRIQ’s battery5. For customers looking to install a home charger, Cadillac can help throughout the process. Every Cadillac LYRIQ comes with a portable dual-level cordset charger, which enables customers to charge their vehicles from both 120-volt and 240-volt outlets. Through Cadillac accessories, customers will be able to purchase faster 11.5 kilowatt or 19.2kW wall-mounted charging stations. By installing a 240-volt outlet or wall charger, customers can reduce the time it takes to charge a depleted battery from 3 days to overnight6. For installation assistance, Cadillac is working with Qmerit, a nationwide network to help owners find qualified, experienced Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment installers. “This unique offer will elevate our customers’ experience with the LYRIQ, helping them make a smoother, more transparent transition to all-electric driving,” said Harvey. “Like the LYRIQ itself, the charging experience will set the standard for customers’ EV experiences.”    LYRIQ Drives the Future The all-new LYRIQ elevates an iconic brand, building on a century of Cadillac’s design and technology innovations to usher in a new era in electric luxury vehicles. It is designed with premier technologies and stirring performance capabilities, enabled by the vehicle’s dedicated electric architecture. A 12-module, 100 kWh battery pack delivers a Cadillac-estimated 340 horsepower and 325 lb-ft (440 Nm) of torque in the RWD model, while the AWD model amps up the output, with the addition of a second drive unit that raises capability with an estimated 500 horsepower. The AWD model is further distinguished with performance-oriented driving dynamics with power flowing through all four wheels, along with a 3,500-pound trailering capacity7. The LYRIQ RWD model offers an EPA-estimated range of 312 miles with a full charge1. That range is optimized with the Ultium Platform’s energy recovery system, which can capture and repurpose waste energy from the battery. In addition to optimizing range, the system can also help reduce battery energy needed for heating, increase charging speed and even contribute to the vehicle’s performance driving dynamics.   When it comes to charging, LYRIQ offers at-home Level 2 (AC) charge rates of up to 19.2 kW, which can add up to 52 miles of range per hour of charge8. It also features DC fast charging rates of up to 190 kW, enabling an estimated 76 miles of range in about 10 minutes6 of charging time. Artfully Integrated Technology Cadillac’s user experience9 system and 33-inch-diagonal advanced LED display, artfully integrate the driver information center, navigation and infotainment systems to communicate information to customers in an organic, intuitive way. Additional technologies are designed to immerse the driver and passengers and enhance their journey. Highlights include: AKG Studio 19-speaker audio system, including headrest speakers, is a Cadillac-exclusive feature that employs advanced technologies, including Adaptive Volume and Surround Technology, to create an immersive listening experience Google Built-In10 compatibility offers a helpful and personalized way to enhance the in-vehicle experience, with Google Assistant, Google Maps, and Google Play delivering access to hands-free help, live traffic updates, favorite apps and more Next-generation Active Noise Cancellation helps cancel out undesirable sounds coming from the roadway. This technology, when combined with LYRIQ’s Electric Vehicle Sound Enhancement, which balances and blends the propulsion system’s sounds, creates a luxurious and quiet cabin. The Cadillac LYRIQ is produced at GM’s Spring Hill, Tennessee assembly facility11, which received a $2 billion investment to support electric vehicle production. An additional $2.3 billion is being invested in an all-new battery cell manufacturing plant at Spring Hill, by Ultium Cells LLC, the joint venture between GM and LG Energy Solution.   Interior Images Exterior Images Press Release Source 2023 Cadillac LYRIQ Drives Closer to Delivery (gm.com) View full article
    • My "random" 10,000th post. (some 16 1/2 years later)
    • Spotted two days ago, VW's Passat has come a long way and is now a fairly substantial car ... Spotted yesterday around the Houston Galleria, I also saw another Porsche (Panamera 4 door, maybe) in this exact same new color (a lot of enamel paint jobs on expensive cars lately) some 5 minutes earlier ...
  • Social Stream

  • Today's Birthdays

    1. jessypaul
      (34 years old)
    2. mr2dsm
      (48 years old)
    3. rthigdon
      (43 years old)
    4. Screaming Trees
      Screaming Trees
      (42 years old)
    5. THawkey71
      (51 years old)
  • Who's Online (See full list)

  • My Clubs

About us

CheersandGears.com - Founded 2001

We ♥ Cars

Get in touch

Follow us

Recent tweets


  • Create New...