Hyundai’s 2018 Elantra GT hatchback is lower, wider and longer than the previous version. (Mary Lowry photo)

Hyundai’s 2018 Elantra GT hatchback is lower, wider and longer than the previous version. (Mary Lowry photo)

Safety, space and pizzazz mark Hyundai’s 2018 Sonata, Elantra

Two new arrivals from Hyundai are generating automotive heat this summer: an updated Sonata sedan and an all-new Elantra GT. Both cars are 2018 models.

The 2018 Sonata has a remodeled exterior moving away from its previously conservative appearance to one with more pizzazz. The look is highlighted by Hyundai’s new cascading grille.

Interior design has been refreshed to make a suitable match for the new exterior.

Less visible but more significant changes for 2018 include mechanical enhancements that improve ride, handling and steering responsiveness, and reduce the cabin’s NVH (noise, vibration and harshness).

Sonata’s available 245-horsepower turbo engine now comes paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

A blind spot detection system with rear cross-traffic alert is standard equipment on the 2018 Hyundai Sonata — the only midsize sedan about which this can be said, according to Hyundai.

In another safety update, a new lane departure warning system with enhanced lane keeping assistance is available.

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata is available now at local dealerships. The manufacturer’s pricing starts at $22,935 for the base SE model and tops out at $33,335 for the Limited 2.0T version.

Hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the 2018 Hyundai Sonata will be introduced at a later date.

The completely redesigned 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT has a more aggressive stance that is lower, wider and longer. Interior volume is more generous, including almost 25 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats.

Other notable updates include standard vertical LED daytime running lights, the newest generation of Hyundai’s infotainment system with standard 8-inch audio display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and newly available dual-zone climate control, high and low beam LED headlights, wireless smartphone charging, and Amazon Alexa Blue Link remote starting.

A bird’s eye view has been added to the navigation system, and traffic information and incident data are available without a paid subscription, via HD radio.

Two versions of this five-passenger hatchback are available, both with a four-cylinder engine. The Elantra GT’s 2.0-liter engine provides 162 horsepower and can be paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. The Elantra GT Sport has a 1.6-liter turbo with 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. Its running mate can be a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, your choice.

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT is available now at local dealerships. Manufacturer’s pricing starts at $19,350 for the GT trim with manual transmission.

Author’s note: This is an overview of the 2018 Hyundai Sonata and Elantra models based on an introductory event held by the manufacturer. Although the vehicles were driven during the event, automotive reviews that include driving impressions and other opinions appear only after a vehicle has been given the standard weeklong test-drive.

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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