Hyundai and the other Korean manufacturers have demonstrated in recent years that they produce cars worthy of competing with long-established rivals, especially in the U.S. They’ve had a rapid climb up the automotive social ladder coming a long way from the near-comical presence they once held in the U.S. market.
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited makes a case for this point by being a car that is simply good at being a car. The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder makes an adequate 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque powertrain. Its brakes provide plenty of stopping power, making for a pleasant everyday driving experience. It’s also loaded with features that make modern life bearable. Here are three takeaways from our time with the near-luxury mid-size sedan that won’t break the bank.
1. The Pillowy Ride
The Sonata does not operate on the pretense that it is sporty in any regard, and instead doubles down on comfort. Bumps and creases in the road are negated by the forgiving suspension.
Fortunately enough of the road texture makes it through to the steering wheel so the ride still offers a modicum of driving sensation.
The body yields to some roll during cornering but road holding exceeds what most drivers will need in their day-to-day. It’s a compliant ride that takes the edge off the daily grind.
2. Automatic Trunk & Proximity Key
Proximity keys have their issues but in our time with the Sonata the key worked without issue. The best use of the feature is the hands-free trunk. An armload of groceries won’t get in the way of trunk access, since the lid pops open automatically when the key is detected behind the car.
The trunk closes manually, however, and the absence of an interior handle means fingerprints on the paint. It also feels a hell of a lot more luxurious to walk up to the car and open with the press of a button than to dig through pockets.
3. It’s Loaded
Our Sonata came in at $31,310, stuffed with well-executed standard features and additional options. Heated and ventilated seats are standard, as is the dual-climate control. In L.A. driving, anything that helps beat the heat is welcome. Our car also came with the Ultimate Package, which adds features such as lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, and a premium audio system.
The Sonata’s native infotainment system also gets a bigger screen as part of the Ultimate Package, but even in its upgraded form the unit is only passable at best. This makes the standardly equipped Android Auto and Apple CarPlay all the more valuable given that they entirely overhaul the user interface.
All together the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited’s standard features and options tick the vast majority of boxes for what make an excellent daily driver. It’s an enticing package for those looking to move into something luxury-adjacent without having to let go of too much cash.
2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited Specifications
|PRICE||$27,485/$31,310 (base/as tested)|
|ENGINE||2.4L turbocharged DOHC 16-valve I-4/185 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 178 lb-ft @ 1,350-4,000 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, FWD sedan|
|EPA MILEAGE||25/35 mpg (city/hwy)|
|L x W x H||191.1 x 73.4 x 58.1 in|