After being originally revealed at the New York Auto Show in April of 2017, the facelifted Hyundai Sonata is now on sale in Australia, with new styling, added technology and revised drivetrains.
Hyundai has also chosen to limit the number of variants offered in Australia to just two, with the entry model remaining the Active, and higher-end model remaining as the Premium, with both models receiving more equipment as standard. Pricing starts from $30,990 for the Active, an increase of $400.
“Previous Sonata models have shown themselves to be exceptional competitors in the medium car segment and this latest version is no exception,” said Scott Grant, Hyundai Motor Company Australia Chief Operating Officer.
“With suspension tuned for Australian roads, a powerful turbo engine available in the Premium model and, of course, this striking new design, the new Sonata is now more competitive than ever.”
The 2018 model year of Hyundai Sonata is most distinguishable from former models, with a rather significant refresh of the exterior – particularly in the sportier Premium model. Gone is the old model’s classy but rather anonymous styling, replaced by a new exterior featuring Hyundai’s new corporate cascade grille – also seen on the new i30 and Kona small SUV. Hyundai says that the Sonata’s new styling “aligns it with Hyundai’s design philosophy, with precise lines and distinctive styling cues creating an eye-catching look that is new from front to rear.”
The rear of the Sonata has also been heavily revised for the 2018 model year, with an all-new rear design now featuring. In particular, new tailights supposedly give a more premium and sporty look, whilst the rear number plate positioning has been moved down to the rear bumper to enhance the car’s sportiness, according to Hyundai.
The Sonata’s interior has also undergone some revisions for the 2018 model year, with lightly revised elements such as interior buttons gaining a more ‘premium feel’. The infotainment system is now a larger 8.0-inch unit with inbuilt satellite navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, and is better integrated into the dashboard for a more streamlined look. The steering wheel designs have also been revised, with the Premium spec now gaining a sporty flat-bottomed unit.
As expected, the Sonata’s 510-litre bootspace has been retained for the 2018 model year, with a 60:40 split folding rear seat opening up more space for those who need it, though Hyundai does not offer a figure for that.
Under the skin, the Hyundai Sonata remains largely unchanged for the 2018 model year. Still available with a 138kW/241Nm 2.4-litre four cylinder petrol engine in the Active model, and a 180kW/353Nm 2.0-litre turbo four cylinder petrol engine in the Premium, the biggest change mechanically is a new eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters for the Premium. This helps the 2.0-litre turbo engine’s fuel economy, with a combined rating of 8.5L/100km down 0.7L/100km from last year’s model – the 2.4-litre engine in the Active consumes 8.3L/100km on the same cycle and it is still mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. CO2 emissions, something of a Hyundai weakness, remain high at 194g/km for the 2.4-litre and 198g/km for the 2.0-litre turbo.
Aside from styling and a new transmission for the Premium, the biggest change to the 2018 Hyundai Sonata range is improvements to the value equation. Whilst the price of entry has climbed $400 to $30,990 plus on-road costs for the entry-level Active, buyers now earn much more standard equipment, including the aforementioned 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, inbuilt satellite navigation, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, a keyless boot system and chrome exterior door handles.
The Sonata Premium’s pricing remains unchanged at $45,490 – a big jump between the two – and now includes the same infotainment system, the aforementioned eight-speed automatic, LED headlights, driver attention alert and Qi wireless phone charging.
Otherwise, standard equipment for the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Active includes six airbags, 17-inch alloy wheels with Continental Conti Premium Contact 5 tyres, automatic headlights with LED daytime running lights, a reversing camera with reverse parking sensors, cruise control, paddle shifters, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearknob and a six-speaker audio system.
Disappointingly, no forms of active safety equipment are available for the Sonata Active – a $32,490 Mazda 6 Sport features autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and rear traffic alert as standard, yet Sonata buyers must step up to the Premium for the two latter items. AEB is unavailable on any Australian-delivered Sonatas.
Step up to the Sonata Premium and you earn the 2.0-litre turbo four, larger 18-inch alloy wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tyres, LED headlights and tailights, rain sensing wipers, heated and auto-folding exterior mirrors, heated and cooled electric front seats with driver’s memory functionality, a panoramic glass sunroof, an electric handbrake and a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel.
Sonata Premium models also receive the HyundaiSense active safety suite, including adaptive cruise control, driver attention alert, blind spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, lane departure warning and lane change assist – still no autonomous emergency braking, however.
2018 Hyundai Sonata pricing (plus on-road costs):
Active 2.4-litre: $30,990
Premium 2.0-litre turbo: $45,490
Metallic paint: $595
Stay tuned to Chasing Cars for news regarding the Hyundai range. Read our review of Hyundai’s all-new Kona small SUV here.