The 2018 Hyundai Sonata is a sensible family sedan

The Sonata excels by keeping things simple.

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata features updated exterior styling.
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata features updated exterior styling. –Hyundai

The Hyundai Sonata has been redesigned for 2018 with more pronounced headlights, an updated grille, and revised rear taillights. The result is a modest visual evolution that will keep this family sedan looking fresh long into ownership.

There are very few changes inside the Sonata, and the updates are subtle. Only a keen eye could spot the differences, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Hyundai knows better than to mess with a good thing, and the cabin layout of the Sonata did not need fixing.

Hyundai knew not to mess with the interior layout when updating the Sonata. —Hyundai

At a time when other automakers are offering family sedans with futuristic-looking cockpits, the traditional layout of the Sonata is a welcome relief. And the Sonata’s tech is not dated, in fact, it’s far from it.

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The base model comes with Bluetooth hands-free calling, a USB port, and a 7-inch touchscreen, which is standard on all trims. Our Limited test model came with the available 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. This 8-inch system also comes with navigation that provides real-time traffic updates.

This screen has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, too. Drivers can access music, and send or receive text messages through voice control. The real benefit of CarPlay and Android Auto is the ability to use a smartphone’s native navigation apps, like Apple Maps or Google Maps. This circumvents the need to spend more on an optional navigation system.

Boston.com Dealer Specials:

The rear seat provides adequate head and legroom. In the Sonata Limited, all five passengers are treated to plush, supportive leather seating.

The Sonata is powered by a 2.4-liter inline four cylinder making 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission with tap-shift function.

The Sonata has multiple drive modes for your preferred driving style. —Hyundai

Acceleration is decent for a family sedan. A Drive Mode button allows for Comfort, Eco, and Sport modes. Sport mode quickens throttle response and holds shifts longer, allowing for even brisker acceleration. It’s not sports-car-quick, but you’ll never want more pickup when merging onto the highway.

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Steering feels well-weighted, but it’s a bit numb at times and doesn’t provide much feedback. This should not be an issue for most drivers, and the average commuter will be pleased with the Sonata’s driving feel.

Fuel economy for the Hyundai Sonata is 25 miles per gallon in the city, 35 on the highway, and 28 combined. In our week of mixed driving, we observed a fuel economy of 29.5 miles per gallon.

The Sonata comes with a full array of front- and side-impact airbags, traction control, backup camera, and LATCH child seat anchoring system. The available Ultimate Package adds forward emergency braking, lane-departure warning, blind spot monitoring system, and adaptive cruise control.

The Sonata packs a lot of content for the price. —Hyundai

Base MSRP for the 2018 Hyundai Sonata is $22,050 for an SE trim. An SEL trim starts at $23,700, while a Limited starts at $27,400. Our Limited test model came with the $2,900 Ultimate Package. In addition to the advanced safety features and larger infotainment screen, the Ultimate Package also comes with rear parking sensors, Infinity sound system, heated steering wheel, and a wireless charging pad. Factoring in options and fees, our test model came in at $31,310.

Under the Hood:

Engine: 2.4L inline four-cylinder
Transmission: Six-speed automatic transmission
Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
Power: 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque
MPG (city/highway/combined): 25/35/28
Also Consider: Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Kia Optima, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion