Hall and Oates’s “She’s Gone” was a minor hit when it was first released as a radio single in 1974. However, it wasn’t until the song was rereleased in 1976 that it finally made its way toward the top of the Billboard charts and sealed its place in popular music history. Similarly, one might consider Hyundai’s refreshed 2018 Sonata the brand’s rerelease of its seventh-generation mid-size sedan that was launched for the 2015 model year. That Sonata was a nice enough family four-door that failed to catch on with the buying public in the same way that its slinkier predecessor did; Hyundai is hoping this updated version will climb higher up the sales charts.
In Hyundai’s attempt to bolster the Sonata’s sales, the company reworked almost every exterior element forward of the A-pillars. The front end’s more muscular maw blends Hyundai’s new cascading grille design with an aggressive lower fascia, new headlights, and a reshaped hood. The rear is thoroughly reworked, too, with a new trunklid, taillights, and rear bumper.
Meanwhile, Hyundai lightly retouched the Sonata’s interior. A new center stack retains its intuitive layout but employs knobs and controls of a higher-quality feel, while the driver grips a new three-spoke steering wheel.
Along with last year’s SE, Eco, Sport, Limited, Sport 2.0T, and Limited 2.0T trims, the 2018 Sonata is also available in a new SEL trim. Positioned above the $22,935 SE and the $23,535 Eco, the $24,585 SEL comes standard with a proximity key and push-button start, a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, and a USB port for the rear passenger compartment. A 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, automatic headlights, and a blind-spot monitoring system are standard on all trim levels.
Opting for the SEL also opens up the options sheet to active-safety features such as automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control, all of which can be added as part of the reasonably priced $1000 Tech package. Previously these features were reserved for the pricey Limited and Limited 2.0T. Unfortunately, Hyundai still doesn’t offer these driver aids on the SE, Eco, Sport, or Sport 2.0T. Meanwhile, similar features are standard equipment on all versions of the 2018 Honda Accord and the 2018 Toyota Camry.
Nonhybrid 2018 Sonatas are motivated by the same trio of four-cylinder engines as before: a 178-hp turbocharged…