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Hyundai introduces refreshed Sonata in Korea

Mid-size sedan keeps size and mechanicals but shows off new exterior

Published: March 7, 2017, 11:30 AM
Updated: March 11, 2017, 6:37 AM

2018 Hyundai Sonata Turbo

Half a world removed from the automotive industry gathering in Geneva, Hyundai has unveiled a refreshed Sonata for 2018 in South Korea.

Dimensionally, the car is identical to the 2017 model and most of the mechanicals are also carried over, with the changes coming inside and outside to point to Hyundai’s future design direction. Oddly, the current generation has been around since 2014, so it maybe has one or two years left, which makes us wonder why Hyundai didn’t go right to a complete redesign.

2018 Hyundai Sonata

The look is familiar (especially for those who witnessed the new Accent unveiled in Toronto last month), with the grille now cascading down below bumper level (reportedly to emulate the look of a Korean celadon vase), with its horizontal slats aligning with the stacked LED driving lights on either side. Headlamps are slimmer and run up the fender a bit farther. Chrome trim is used extensively, on the grille, the front fascia, and around the windows.

The top-of-the-line model powered by the 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, gets a mesh grille, black bezel headlamps, black daytime running light surrounds and black lower front bumper. Around the car, dark chrome is used on the lower body side, door handles, mirror housings and rear lamp mouldings, while the rear diffuser and exhaust tips are also highlighted in chrome.

The profile is balanced out by 17-inch wheels (18, optionally) and a larger trunk lid, with the Hyundai logo (which houses a trunk-release button) and Sonata lettering front and centre (or rear and centre, I suppose). The rear license plate is moved to the bumper, and the taillights feature distinctive graphics.

The engines are expected to carry over — 2.4-litre DOHC 4-cylinder and the 2.0 turbo “four” — with the 6-speed automatic carrying over with the 2.4, but a new 8-speed automatic available for the turbo.

2018 Hyundai Sonata Turbo interior

Inside, there is a new steering wheel (flat-bottomed on the 2.0T), revised controls for audio and ventilation, and a 7-inch touchscreen (8-inch, optionally) that hooks up with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. There is also wireless charging available at the bottom of the instrument panel, and a USB charging port for rear passengers,

The turbo model also gets sportier front seats and shift knob (with drive mode controls — Comfort, Eco, Sport and Smart, which shifts between the other three depending on real time driving dynamics).

Driving aids include Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist, High Beam Assist and Dynamic Bending Lights, Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

Deliveries are expected to start in summer 2017, in select markets.