Hyundai has rolled out the redesigned 2018 Sonata enters that has a new look from the front, side and rear thanks to a “cascading grill,” a more assertive profile and an entirely new rear.
“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.”
Sonata now has LED daytime running lights and when night falls, available LED headlamps with dynamic bending light illuminate the path. In the rear a sharp taillight design and enlarged Hyundai badge 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 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.
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.
Underneath, engineers increased the torsion bar stiffness within the steering system by 12 percent, which improves steering response. 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 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.
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.
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