When the seventh-generation Hyundai Sonata debuted here at theback in 2014, I complained that the midsize sedan had gone all “boring looking.” Well, I think it might have heard me, because the newly refreshed model debuting in NY today is making a sour face at me. The Sonata gets a midcycle refresh for the 2018 model year that includes an overhaul of both the front and rear fascias.
The new front end is much more aggressive and angry looking, drawing the old model’s tidy hexagonal front intake down on the front end creating what the Korean automaker is calling a “cascading grille.” Every element of the new front end — from the corner intakes to the hood bulges to the larger LED headlamps — all seem to draw in on this massive grille, which sort of draws from the design of the current Sonata Hybrid’s intake, but mostly just makes the front end look puckered, like the new Sonata just bit into something sour and didn’t like it at all.
I will say that the new look is already starting to grow on me. I see hints of the sixth-generation Sonata’s windswept design in the headlamps and the chrome elements that join them with the A-pillar. Out back, the rear end has been visually simplified, moving the license plate down onto the bumper and smoothing out the trunk lid with large Sonata lettering. It’s still a handsome car once you get past the knee-jerk reaction to the grille.
2018 Hyundai Sonata debuts new ‘cascading…
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However you feel about the new look, inside the Sonata looks better than ever. Joining the suite of features is standard blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and optional lane departure warning with steering assist. The interior also gets enhancements including more premium-looking audio and climate controls and revisions to the instrument cluster and steering wheel.
The standard 7-inch touchscreen tech package still features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but the phone integration technologies are now standard features right out of the box. Keeping passengers’ phones charged up are new USB charging ports on the second row and an available Qi wireless charging pad up front. The automaker also claims improved responsiveness for its onboard AVN 5.0 navigation software.
Of course, some of the most interesting technologies are the ones that extend beyond the dashboard. The latest generation of Hyundai’s Blue Link connectivity software now includes integration with both Amazon Echo and Google Home. The Sonata will feature a standard three-year subscription to the automaker’s Blue Link Connected Care, Remote and Guidance telematics packages.
Updated pricing for the revised and refreshed 2018 Hyundai Sonata has yet to be announced.
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