Competes on value
“All-around good in terms of performance, spaciousness, safety and fuel economy.”
“Remarkable value without sacrificing quality.”
“Looks glitzier than before but still looking for a character,” said Issam.
Here I am driving the redesigned 2018 Hyundai Sonata which competes in the highly reasonable mid-size market. Speaking with honesty, yes I can admit that Hyundai vehicles are among the best selling cars in the world. If we have look a few years backwards there’s no doubt that crossovers/SUVs are rapidly replacing sedans as the approved car of Lebanese families. But car manufacturers won’t give up on this sedan market as easily. For instance, Hyundai has a different standpoint, either in Lebanon or the whole Middle East: sedans are still the biggest sellers.
How was my drive of the 2018 Hyundai Sonata 2.4 Limited?
When I look at the Sonata from the exterior I can immediately see a fresher, bolder and glitzier look. The redesigned 2018 Sonata has a stronger, more distinct fascia, and that includes Hyundai’s modern signature cue, its flowing hexagon front grille. The five-slot LED lights in the lower fascia add more distinction too. When I moved to the rear of the Sonata, I noticed that the license plate moved from the trunk down to the end fascia. That’s a WOW thing because this change gave the Sonata a good-looking tail with the “SONATA” lettering. Rear lights were updated too, with more rectangular LED taillights.
The interior hasn’t been changed (if I want to compare it with the exterior). Minor twists were made to the center stack and center console area to generate a cleaner, more solid layout with reviewed buttons and switches. Even the trim I took looks better on this new Sonata!
This is the part that really pushes the Sonata up in the air. Driving the Sonata is simply a soft and accommodating ride. Relaxing and comfortable, the ride is almost magnificent in quality. Sport mode is lacking, but it still feels well balanced. Admirably responsive electric power steering conveys a natural feel, while striving to suppress most surface flaws. The 2.4-liter engine is pretty acceptable in terms of performance. The automatic transmission shifts punctually, without gear chasing.
Just to let you know one thing and to keep it in mind, Genesis is a standalone brand now and the Azera is almost discontinued in a few markets so the Sonata is now Hyundai’s most high-end sedan. Despite all this, I felt there is a missing soul in the Sonata. I didn’t know what it was exactly. Although the car is wonderfully well equipped, comfortable, practical and spacious, its character is the missing fragment. In other words, it’s like the Sonata is wearing a tuxedo that doesn’t belong to it. Starting price in Lebanon is USD $29,500 and the fully equipped version is $35,000 on the road.
Pros: Spacious interior, clean and solid center console, fresh and bold exterior looks, fuel consumption, user-friendly infotainment system
Cons: Lacks character, minor noise and vibration during acceleration
Rivals: Toyota Camry, Mazda 6, Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Kia Optima, Chevrolet Malibu, Volkswagen Passat
one word: value
3.5 / 5 stars
2.4L MPI, 4-cylinders, 185 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 230 Nm @ 4,000 rpm
FWD, 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters
0-100 km/h: 7.2 secs, top speed: 209 km/h, fuel consumption: 9.8 L/100 km (city) & 6.9 L/100 km (highway)
Weight: 1,474 – 1,610 kg