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Handsome Sonata enhances Hyundai lineup with refreshed look

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The wholly redesigned 2018 Hyundai Sonata was a pretty great looking sedan in 2017, a design that had stood the test of time, but the 2018 re-work is definitely an improvement and it has enhanced this award-winner, raising the bar a couple notches up.

The Hyundai Sonata has a new look from every angle but it’s the special emphasis on the all-new cascading grill that impresses me. This Sonata has a distinct attitude that is not as subtle as previous generations. Whether it’s the aggressive stance and streamlined profile, or the entirely new rear, the 2018 Sonata is handsome and athletic.

The new features are a long list on the Sonata, including an available 8-speed automatic transmission and a laundry list of great safety and technology upgrades. Of course the warranty on Hyundai cars is still class leading and it still is an indication of how committed the Korean manufacturer is to the quality of its products.

I recently tested the premium-slot Limited trim level of the Sonata ($31,310), but it also comes in other levels, including base SE ($27,400), Eco, SEL, and Sport. This is a base price point that should open a lot of eyes.

Powertrain Options

There are three four-cylinder engine choices, including a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, a 1.6-L turbo 4-cylinder, and a 2.0-L turbo (245) 4-cylinder. The SE, SEL, Limited, and Sport trims get the 2.4-L engine, while the 1.6-L turbo-four goes in the Eco model. Available transmissions include a 6-speed automatic, a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic, and an 8-speed automatic.

My tester featured the 2.4-L engine, offering up 185 horsepower and 178 lb.-ft. of torque, which was adequate for the maneuvers I asked of it – though more pop would have been appreciated.

Cabin

My Sonata Limited offered up a roomy, refined space that was comfortable and quiet. Headroom and legroom are better than average and the featured heated and ventilated leather seats created very cozy seating.

Power seat adjustments and a tilt/telescope steering wheel made it easy to find the perfect driving position. The new-age dash treatment keeps with the handsome refinement prevalent throughout the cabin and the split screen 8-inch touchscreen was a joy to work with from day one.

At 16.3 cubic feet, the Sonata has a pretty nice size trunk that easily handles a couple golf bags and a load of groceries. A very cool hidden pushbutton trunk release is located inside the big “H” logo on the rear deck lid.

New Suspension

I found the steering on my Limited Sonata to be very precise. Part of that enhancement is due to the new rear suspension. The trailing arms are 21 percent thicker, making them stiffer and better able to manage heavy suspension loads. New bushings work with the new suspension arms to allow for more ride compliance and yet quicken response time to control all other wheel motions. The result is a nimble and responsive sedan.

Safety

When it comes to safety, the Sonata boasts seven standard airbags and a host of sophisticated safety systems like blind spot monitors, rearview cameras, and rear cross-traffic alerts. Automatic emergency braking is included with adaptive cruise control.

My Sonata was rated at 25 miles per gallon in city driving, 35 mpg on the highway, and 28 mpg combined. This is a sedan that promises outstanding value and an even more enjoyable ride for the dollars being plopped down.

This auto review was researched and written by SteinPro Content Services and provided to the Sun-Times for publication