Hyundai is bringing back style to their Sonata for 2018. It has a new cascading grille, revised profile, and a much cleaner rear end. Those aren't the only changes, with the Sonata getting improved safety technology, new additions to its Blue Link infotainment system, and an eight-speed automatic for 2.0T models.
When the sixth-generation Hyundai Sonata debuted in 2009, it was praised for its bold styling. The long, narrow headlights and swooping shoulders were a radical departure from the brand's previous cars. But then when the seventh-generation car was revealed in 2014, the styling had gone back to bland. Sales showed that the company's home market preferred the more conservative styling.
Now Hyundai is taking a chance on design again. The new cascading grille is a look that will extend across the Hyundai line in the next few years. The hood is more sculpted, and the front bumper holds chrome accents and LED running lights. In the rear, the license plate holder was moved to the bumper, with a Sonata logo taking centre stage on the cleanly styled trunk lid. Sport and 2.0T models change the horizontal grille slats for a mesh grille.
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Inside, the controls have been redone and have piano-key style buttons to make the Sonata look more upscale. The appearance has been improved, but they've also stepped up the quality of the materials used. There is a new instrument cluster and a three-spoke steering wheel rounding out the restyling.
Hyundai is also adding more active safety to the Sonata. Hyundai USA vice president of product planning Mike O'Brien said that only one percent of driving is done in reverse, but that's where 25 percent of accidents happen. That's why they are making blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alerts standard on all trims, in addition to a rear camera, he said. Cars equipped with lane-departure warnings will get lane-keep assist added.
Hyundai's Blue Link infotainment system uses a 7.0-inch touchscreen and has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard. The system has been improved for faster response times and smoother operation.
Hyundai said that the 2.0T model's turbocharged four-cylinder will have the same power output at 245 hp. It gets a new eight-speed automatic to help improve response and economy. They didn't give any information about the 2.4L base engine.
Hyundai didn't say when exactly it would arrive at dealers but expect the revised 2018 Sonata some time later this year.