Overview

2017-09-14-13-18-30

Overview (Final Score: A-)

The Hyundai Sonata is a midsize sedan. By default that means it is a refined, roomy five-passenger vehicle with great value. The segment demands it. This Hyundai lives up to that expectation, but it tops the class-leading Camry in some interesting ways.

Our Sonata Sport came with zero options but was very well-equipped for just $26,210. We found only one thing was missing, and our overall opinion of this vehicle is that it is an amazing value for a mid-trim car with this much room.

What We Love About the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Sport:


  • Comfortable ride balanced with great handing

  • Smooth drivetrain and competitive fuel economy

  • High value for the price


 

What We Don't Love About the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Sport:


  • Lacks active safety now standard on Toyotas, Nissans and Mazdas

  • Sport name is on a trim with the model's least powerful engine


 

2018 Sonata

Exterior View (9/10)

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata Sport looks smaller than it is, which is a compliment. The Sonata looks sleek and does not offer a bad angle.

Up front, the sport grill is now bold, as are all the grills on every car in this segment. In back, the Sonata has a blunt appearance and seems to be unremarkable except for its twin sport chromed exhaust tips. Overall, it is hard to find a fault in this car's looks, but it also doesn't stand out the way the Kia Optima did when its design was a hit a few years back.

sonata-18-inside-my-pic

Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (10/10)

Inside, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Sport we tested was finished in black with modern gray and silver accent trim. The heated front seats were a combination of cloth and leather. At just $26,000 this impressed us. The dash trim avoided wood, which we appreciate. Nothing screams old-fashioned more than wood trim in a modern car.

The infotainment system is easy to operate with touch or via the steering wheel controls. We love the location of the USB and power ports in the lower front of the dash. Hyundai also left ample room in the center dash and console for a large phone, a pair of sunglasses and two cup holders. The armrest is just right for cruising, as is the flat-topped door. Ergonomically, Hyundai did a fantastic job with this Sonata.

In back, the rear seats are large and spacious. Room like this used to be considered large. Indeed, the EPA does classify the 2018 Sonata as a large car since it has more than 120 cubic feet of combined cargo and passenger volume. The large trunk has a spare under the floor and a low load height. With 16.3 cubic feet of volume, it is larger than the Camry's 14.1. cubic feet by a pretty substantial margin. The Sonata's 106 cubic feet of passenger space also tops the Camry's 100.4. More space in a family sedan is always a benefit.

2018 Sonata Sport

Technology (10/10)

Our $26,000 Sonata Sport was a perfect example of how Apple Car Play and Android Auto should be used by automakers. Rather than a built-in navigation that would add $1,200 or more to the cost, Hyundai wisely chose to offer Apple Car Play and Android Auto, and we used it most of the time we drove. It works better than any in-car Nav and since it is actually your phone doing the work, it will never need updating. Brilliant.

2018 Sonata

The information from the phone (limited to what makes sense in terms of safety) is displayed and can be interacted with via the in-dash display. In our Sport, that display was just 7 inches (measured diagonally). It was clear from the plastic trim that Hyundai left space for a larger screen in more expensive trims. Truthfully, our display seemed fine size-wise. The maps were clear and the audio station presets had ample room for all the station info, including what song was playing.

Our Sport trim also avoided the added cost of auto heating and cooling. Like many owners, we don't like auto heating and cooling in cars anyway, so the logical layout was easy to use. Hyundai didn't shy away from using buttons in the new Sonata and we quickly learned to use them without looking. The modern trend is to put everything in the infotainment screen. We liked that Hyundai didn't.

sonata-mileage-18

Fuel Economy (9/10)

The Sonata Sport uses a 2.4-liter non-turbo engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Its 29 mpg combined fuel economy rating is a bit lower than the 2018 Camry's equivalent engine, but that translates to just a $150 per year difference in fuel costs according to the EPA.

In a mix of city, highway, and suburban driving we achieved the promised 29 mpg combined rating measured at the pump. On a highway trip of 85 miles, we zeroed the average fuel economy display before starting and saw a 39.7 mpg estimate on the in-dash display at the end of the trip. Even with gas at $2.60 due to the recent weather impacts, that still translated to just $6.5 cents per mile on the highway. The EPA estimated range of the Sonata is a long 536 miles, more than the length of Florida from Miami to the Georgia border and then some.

Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (8/10)

Consumer Reports projects the Hyundai Sonata will have a 3 out of 5 score for predicted reliability. JD Power ranked Hyundai well above average in its most recent Vehicle Dependability Study. In sixth place overall in the entire industry, Hyundai tops Honda, BMW, Kia and Audi.

Safety (8/10)

Our Sonata Sport tester had a great backup camera, blind spot monitoring and cross traffic alert. Surprisingly, our Sonata Sport did not have forward collision prevention with automatic emergency braking. It's available in packages on trims above and below the Sport trim on Sonata, but costs thousands to add.

For 2018, every midsize Toyota, Nissan and Mazda has this technology at no added cost. The Accord also has this technology included at this trim level. Hyundai has fallen behind. The omission would also mean that this trim cannot earn the IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus rating that almost every mainstream vehicle in this size now does.

2018 Sonata

Performance (9/10)

Performance is always relative, and in this segment, the Hyundai Sonata Sport has about the same pickup and passing power as its four-cylinder rivals. Honda is now using a great new small turbo engine at this price point, and the Camry now has over 200 hp at this trim level. However, with 184 hp the Sonata Sport is not slow, just poorly named.

Pricing and Value (10/10)

At just a smidge over $26,000 this 2018 Hyundai Sonata Sport is an amazing value. Particularly for those owners who will put Apple Car Play and Android Auto to good use. Toyota's Camry does not offer this technology on any trim for 2018.

With leather-trimmed heated seats, a moonroof and power adjustment for the driver's seat, every important box is checked. All midsize cars offer great value due to the maturity and vast volume of the segment, but this Sonata still impresses.

Total Score and Competitive Comparison (73/80, 91%)

There are no bad cars in this segment. The new Toyota Camry raises the bar in every area except infotainment. The Honda Accord is always a favorite. Then there is the Sonata, which is incredibly refined, drives like a Lexus and has looks that are hard to fault.

With its size, quality ratings and smart choices for content, Hyundai has inserted itself in the top three options in this segment. We used Hyundai's online configurator and found that the Sport cannot be equipped with active safety technology. Oddly, the lower-trim SEL and higher trim Limited can be. Our suggestion would be to check out one of those two trims.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Sedan - FWD
SE SE 2.4L 4 Cylinder FWD 22050
SE SE 2.4L SULEV 4 Cylinder FWD 22050
Eco Eco 1.6L 4 Cylinder FWD 22650
SEL SEL 2.4L *Ltd Avail* 4 Cylinder FWD 23700
SEL SEL 2.4L SULEV *Ltd Avail* 4 Cylinder FWD 23700
SEL+ SEL+ 2.4L 4 Cylinder FWD 23700
SEL+ SEL+ 2.4L w/SULEV 4 Cylinder FWD 23700
Sport+ Sport+ 2.4L 4 Cylinder FWD 24800
Sport Sport 2.4L *Ltd Avail* 4 Cylinder FWD 25200
Limited Limited 2.4L *Ltd Avail* 4 Cylinder FWD 27400
Limited Limited 2.4L SULEV *Ltd Avail* 4 Cylinder FWD 27400
Limited Limited 2.4L 4 Cylinder FWD 27400
Limited Limited 2.4L w/SULEV 4 Cylinder FWD 27400
Sport Sport 2.0T *Ltd Avail* 4 Cylinder FWD 27600
Limited+ Limited+ 2.0T 4 Cylinder FWD 31900
Limited Limited 2.0T *Ltd Avail* 4 Cylinder FWD 32450

Comparison of 2018 Hyundai Sonata with Similar Cars

2018 Hyundai Sonata MSRP Invoice
2018 Hyundai Sonata $22,050 $21,141
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2018 Nissan Altima $23,260 $21,683 2018 Hyundai Sonata VS 2018 Nissan Altima
2018 Toyota Camry $23,645 $21,635 2018 Hyundai Sonata VS 2018 Toyota Camry
2018 Ford Fusion $22,215 $21,215 2018 Hyundai Sonata VS 2018 Ford Fusion
2018 Honda Accord $23,570 $21,573 2018 Hyundai Sonata VS 2018 Honda Accord
2018 Chevrolet Malibu $21,680 $21,572 2018 Hyundai Sonata VS 2018 Chevrolet Malibu

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2018 Hyundai Sonata ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2018 Hyundai Sonata rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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