The 2018 Sonata has Hyundai’s new hexagonal mesh grille, new headlights and an expressive new front fascia. (Manufacturer photo)

The 2018 Sonata has Hyundai’s new hexagonal mesh grille, new headlights and an expressive new front fascia. (Manufacturer photo)

Hyundai Sonata sedan is restyled yet enriched for 2018

Abundant new safety and technology features are standard items at modest prices.

The sensible Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan has been perked up by some much-needed styling revisions for 2018. Up front it now bears the new Hyundai hexagonal mesh grille, redesigned headlights, a more expressive fascia and a new hood. Out back the taillights, rear bumper and trunklid are new and more attractive.

Some handiwork inside the cabin gives it an appearance boost but otherwise it’s much the same as last year’s model, intuitive and uncomplicated, and providing comfort and generous amounts of space for all passengers.

For 2018, Sonata is offered in SE, Eco, SEL, Sport, Limited, Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T trims, with pricing starting at $22,935 including destination charge ($885).

A mid-year update enhanced the feature content of SEL, Sport and Limited models, while keeping prices steady and in some cases even lowering them. Those updated models are labeled with a “+” symbol.

SEL+ and Sport+ models, for example, have added $500 worth of features, including dual automatic temperature control, console-mounted rear vents, Qi wireless phone charging, a heated steering wheel and an auto up/down driver window.

Safety and technology embellishments are also included on Sport+ and Limited+ models.

Now that you’ve memorized the trim level list, I have to tell you that Hyundai has dropped the “+” edition nomenclature for 2019. The enhancements and updates will remain, however.

My tester was the Sonata Sport model, whose appealing attributes include an impressive number of standard features at a modest total price, and a righteous fuel economy rating of 25 mpg city, 35 mpg highway and 28 mpg combined.

To mention just a few of the standard features on the Sonata Sport: power tilt and slide sunroof, heated front seats, power driver seat with lumbar support, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, blind spot detection system with cross-traffic alert, audio system with 7-inch touchscreen display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, SiriusXM satellite radio, and complimentary three years of Blue Link connectivity services and remote start.

Sonata Sport’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine provides 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque and is partnered with a six-speed automatic transmission. It isn’t the most dynamic duo, but there are paddle shifters and different drive modes to revs things up if you’d like a boost. Meanwhile, drivers who just want their car to get them somewhere and aren’t looking for fanfare will be perfectly fine.

All types will appreciate Sonata’s quiet interior, roomy trunk and 60/40 split rear seats that fold down for more cargo space when needed.

2018 HYUNDAI SONATA SPORT

Base price, including destination charge: $26,085

Price as driven: $26,210

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

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