2018 Hyundai Sonata Review: First Impressions and Photo Gallery
Hyundai's reveal of the refreshed 2018 Sonata at the 2017 New York International Auto Show featured two designers creating a beautiful rendering of the 2018 Sonata's design on paper. The car they drew hugged the ground, had a long wheelbase and fastback roofline looking like something off the design table of a luxury automaker. The 2018 Hyundai Sonata appeared on stage and it has elements of that drawing but clearly after it was pounded into shape by the reality hammer.
More 2017 New York Auto Show Coverage
Hyundai crafted a more interesting mid-size sedan by restyling the front and rear of the Sonata, though not quite as interesting as what the designers put on paper. The front styling is sculpted with lines rippling across the hood that flow downward into the front grille. There's more definition compared with the 2015-17's molded cookie cutter look, which was conservative compared with the outgoing Sonata's bold looks.
The Sonata's midsection is unchanged, and on the inside, there are new climate and stereo controls that look better and feel of higher quality than the 2017 model. Little has changed overall, however, in sprucing up the interior even on the upscale Limited and 2.0T turbo trims shown at the auto show. The Sonata remains a bit short on luxurious trimmings compared with the plush dashboard padding and metallic-like highlights inside higher trims of the Mazda6 or the warm, inviting interior of the Volkswagen Passat.
The rear styling is all-new and repositions the license plate lower on the bumper rather than mid-height on the trunk lid. In its place is a sculpted rear lip spoiler molded into the trunk lid and "Sonata" classily positioned across the back of the car. The taillights are more intricate than the outgoing car and give the rear end a defined shape.
Hyundai hasn't totally re-engineered the Sonata for 2018, but its updates add dimension previously lacking from the exterior and make it more interesting than the car that was redesigned in 2015. It's still not as boldly designed as the 2011 Sonata that set such a high bar for future model years, though perhaps the next full redesign recaptures the magic.