The 2018 Hyundai Sonata is getting its stateside debut at this week’s New York Auto Show. It’s not earth-shatteringly different, but you can tell Hyundai made an effort to make some design tweaks on the exterior with more sculpting. It’s also more connected, but there aren’t any big overall changes on the interior.
The new Sonata is an important car for the brand. It received a complete redesign in 2010 and led to a U.S. sales surge. The facelifted 2018 model is about “looking good along the way.” At least according to Mike O’Brien, Vice President, Product Corporate & Digital Planning Hyundai Motor America. Explaining the more exciting exterior, O’Brien says the new package is what really makes the new model, well new.
The two Hyundai designers, Chris Chapman and Edward Lee, say the “mission” behind the Sonata’s new design is simple. To create a strong impact striking lines. They accomplish their goal with a more forward leaning feel from a longer hood. The front fascia gets a shark nose feel. The rear gets a cleaner look with a lower license plate. A larger trunk badge also hides the trunk lift handle.
The handling is also supposedly better in the new model. The recalibration to steering stiffens its torsion bar 12 percent. The rear suspension also gets 21 percent thicker trailing arms. Turbo models will be the first Sonatas to receive a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Turbo also gets you the fancy twin-exhaust system.
Hyundai is yet to give us a full list of the engine choices. We do know the top turbo trim will carry a 2.0-liter with 245-horsepower and 18-inch wheels.
Another big design feature is Hyundai’s new signature cascade grille, inspired by the imagery of pouring molten metal.
As for safety, O’Brian shares how we only drive in reverse one percent of the time. Meanwhile, 25 percent of accidents happen in R gear. This prompts blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert to now come standard. It also combines with the already standard rearview camera. Other safety tech includes lane departure warning system and Lane Keeping Assist.
Other safety improvements are optional full LED head lights with curve bending.
The cabin keeps the same dash design, but the steering wheel does get a sportier three-spoke design. Connectivity is where you really see a difference. There’s a new standard seven-inch infotainment touch screen. You can charge your smartphone on a wireless pad. Rear passengers gain not one, but two, USB charge ports.
No word yet on pricing, fuel economy and sale date.
You can check out the reveal below, just fast forward to about 4:18.