2018 Hyundai Sonata
Test Drive & Review
With a trim level for everyone the 2018 Hyundai Sonata brings it – especially in the Sport 2.0T that The Professor, Clinton Quan, picked up from our friends at Glendale Hyundai. Check out his complete analysis along with his Top Three Things in this episode of iDriveSoCal.
Recording date – March 28, 2018
Clinton Quan: Love the ergonomics, love the design, especially in that three spoke flat bottom steering wheel, it gives it a really sporty look. The paddle shifters, the gauges, everything’s right where you want it to be. So that’s definitely number one for me. The features and that’s what I love about the Sonata. You’re getting a lot of features for the price.
Tom Smith: Welcome to iDriveSoCal, the podcast all about mobility from the automotive capitol of the United States – Southern California. I’m Tom Smith and joining me today for another vehicle review is our good friend, “the professor” Clinton Quan. Say hello Clinton.
Clinton Quan: Hi Tom, it’s great to be back for another automotive review.
Tom Smith: Thanks so much for coming back. Always a pleasure to have you, my friend. So what do you have for us today.
Clinton Quan: I test drove the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T.
Tom Smith: So to clarify, this is the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0T, of course from our good friends at Glendale Hyundai. But not long ago, a couple of months ago or a month-ish ago, we did a review of another Sonata, but that was a hybrid.
Clinton Quan: Yes, it was the hybrid.
Tom Smith: And that was actually the 2017.
Clinton Quan: Correct.
Tom Smith: Because the hybrids come out a little bit after the gas powered vehicles, typically.
Clinton Quan: That’s correct for not only Hyundai, but for…
Tom Smith: All manufacturers…
Clinton Quan: I wouldn’t say all, but most manufacturers.
Tom Smith: Okay.
Clinton Quan: So the 2018 and the 2017, it’s the same generation, but the 2018 is a refresh.
Tom Smith: Okay, the 2018’s a refresh. So then when the 2018 hybrid comes out, is that going to be refreshed as well?
Clinton Quan: Yes, it will be refreshed and it will have the same body style as the 2018 gasoline engine.
Tom Smith: Got it. And now you were telling me off mics there’s quite a number of trim options in the gas powered Sonatas.
Clinton Quan: Correct. There are a total of seven trims. The base trim is the SE, which starts at about $22,000 and that trim has a 2.4L inline four producing 185 horsepower at 178 pound feet of torque. The next trim is the eco, which is about $23,000, and as the name implies it is the most fuel efficient Sonata and that one features a 1.6L inline four turbocharged engine and that produces 178 horsepower, however the torque goes up to 195 pound feet of torque. And then there’s the mid-level SEL trim, that’s about $24,000. Then there’s the sport trim at $25,000. Then you have the top of the line limited trim. After that we move up to the 2.0L turbo charge engine.
Tom Smith: Which is in the realm of what you drove.
Clinton Quan: Yes, and those are also four cylinders, producing 245 horsepower and 260 pound feet of torque. I drove the sport model. There’s also the limited. The sport starts at about $28,000. And the top line trim, the limited starts at about $32,000.
Tom Smith: Okay, thank you very much Professor. I’m giving Clinton a little bit of a look right now, folks, because he is literally just talking to me. That all just came off the top of his head, there’s no notes in front of him. There are notes in front of me actually, but I do not know the granular detail that he just rattled off the top of his head. So that is why we have nicknamed Clinton “the professor.” Thank you so much for that very granular detail on the 2018 Hyundai Sonata. Now again you drove the Sport 2.0T and tell us about it. You actually drove this for a little bit, right?
Clinton Quan: Yeah, I did quite an extensive test drive. I had for a couple of days. I took it up to Santa Barbara, in the Santa Ynez valley, took it up to the charming town of Los Olivos.
Tom Smith: Yeah, the pictures that you brought back are beautiful.
Clinton Quan: Yeah, well I took some photos with a new camera, or a new phone I should say.
Tom Smith: New camera, new car, taking pictures, cruising around wine country. Nice, nice little time for you.
Clinton Quan: So I got to spend quite a bit of time driving on the freeway, on the highway, and some surface street driving as well. And this car has plenty of power with the 245 horsepower engine. It has an 8 speed automatic transmission.
Tom Smith: Eight speed.
Clinton Quan: Yeah with the 2.0 liter engine, the bigger engine, it has the 8 speed automatic. The other engines feature a 6 speed automatic transmission. And you use the paddle shifters, and you can manually shift the gears. It also has a comfort mode, eco mode, sport mode, and a smart mode. So you can really step on this and it will really accelerate, especially with this bigger engine.
Tom Smith: Does the smart mode kind of adapt to you, the driver?
Clinton Quan: That’s exactly what it does. Basically, it will look at how you drive and it will adapt to your driving situation.
Tom Smith: And now what kind of technology do we have inside? In and outside, for that matter, if it applies.
Clinton Quan: Well, it has the blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert in the sport. If you want to move up to the limited trim, you can get the forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection. It will have lane departure warning. Lane keep assist. So it’s got a number of the safety features that you would find in a lot of other cars in this class as well.
Tom Smith: Now we already talked about pictures, and it’s beautiful scenery, but also a great looking car as well. That new grill, front end that we were talking about looks absolutely fabulous.
Clinton Quan: Yeah, it’s got a really bold look in front. It has the, what I would call the hexagonal grill. It’s a more prominent feature on this car. That’s part of the refresh for 2018, whereas the previous generation had a very flashy look to it. I would say this is a more mature look. They’ve also redesigned the headlights and I like what they’ve done with it. It gives it a more natural organic shape to it. And I would say the best angle of this car is to three quarter rear.
Tom Smith: You know, is it just me or does the vehicle kind of give you a feel of European styling a little bit?
Clinton Quan: A little bit, especially the interior. That’s definitely one of my favorite parts of this car. It’s got a three spoke flat bottom steering wheel with paddle shifters. Very well designed, it looks great and it’s got the sporty gauges, symmetrical tachometer and speedometer, a center console stack that slightly angled towards the driver with the audio and the climate controls that are very well laid out. Excellent ergonomics, the buttons are the right size. It’s very user friendly.
Tom Smith: Okay, perfect. And plenty of room, back seat, trunk space?
Clinton Quan: Oh, there’s plenty of space. This car has over 106 cubic feet of passenger space. It is actually the most spacious car in the midsize segment among all the cars in this segment.
Tom Smith: Wow, it’s a deep field too, right?
Clinton Quan: In terms of trunk space, cargo space, it’s also the most spacious. A little over 16 cubic feet. So both passenger and cargo are over 122 cubic feet.
Tom Smith: Isn’t that amazing how they’re getting more space inside, but seemingly the cars, it doesn’t show it really on the outside, you know? It just seems kind of universal across all manufacturers.
Clinton Quan: Yeah, I think they’ve done a really good job of pushing the wheels to the corners and giving more interior space. And they’ve done just a great job of designing the interior.
Tom Smith: That’s one of the really exciting things about cars these days is that even though, as you say they’re creating more interior space and still keeping a beautiful exterior, but still they’re getting safer and safer. And they’re and they’re getting more and more fuel efficient. The technology of it all, the innovation constantly, it’s really… it’s a fun thing to be on the sidelines for.
Clinton Quan: Yeah, speaking of fuel efficiency, the 2.0T, it has an EPA combined rating of 26 miles to the gallon. The 2.4L engine averages 28 combined, and the eco model goes up to 31 combined.
Tom Smith: Wow.
Clinton Quan: I drive more aggressively so…
Tom Smith: You know this.
Clinton Quan: I was still able to maintain about 24 miles to the gallon on my total trip, which is quite impressive because I drove mostly in sport mode.
Tom Smith: Of course. Okay, excellent. We talked tech, we talked exterior, interior we talked drive. Is it that time?
Clinton Quan: Yes, it’s that time.
Tom Smith: All right let’s do it. Top three things.
Clinton Quan: My top three things. Again, I would definitely go with the interior. Love the ergonomics, love the design, especially in that three spoke flat bottom steering wheel, it gives it a really sporty look. The paddle shifters, the gauges, everything’s right where you want it to be. So that’s definitely number one for me. Number two, the features and that’s what I love about, not only the Sonata, but other Hyundai vehicles. You’re getting a lot of features for the price.
Tom Smith: Yeah, great value.
Clinton Quan: You’re also getting a moon roof, the sport model even though it’s not the limited it still had a combination of leather cloth. So you’re getting a lot from the money, great bang for the buck. And then third would have to be the price, you know?
Tom Smith: You know one other thing that we didn’t touch on, who’s this really for? I mean it sounds pretty universal from the price point. It’s accessible to lots and lots of people, but at the same time mid-level or even senior execs that want to be… mid-level execs, senior exec, this is a car that’s going to be fine for rolling up to a valet and toss in the keys and probably sitting right there in the front row, right?
Clinton Quan: Yep. I think this is a car that’s great. It could be for anyone. It could be singles. It could be for couples, families with one or two kids, maybe even three, because with the space in this car, 106 cubic feet, that’s a lot of space. So whether you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, I think this is the car that’s great for everyone.
Tom Smith: Thank you so much for another great vehicle review, the Professor, Mr. Clinton Quan. Thank you so much to our friends, Glendale Hyundai, Mr. Jae Park is the owner/general manager of the store out there, and RB always sets up Clinton and Bernadette when they go out to pick up cars and take them for drives. So thank you guys. When you are ready to make a move on a new vehicle, definitely give our friends at Glendale Hyundai a call, stop by, go to the website, tell them you’re an iDrive listener and you will be taken very well care of. You’re going to be taken very well care of regardless, but tell them you’re an iDrive listener and it’ll help us. So thank you again, Clinton.
Clinton Quan: Thank you, Tom.
Tom Smith: For iDriveSoCal, I’m Tom Smith. Thanks for listening.