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Family Value: 2018 Hyundai Sonata SEL


Life isn’t always what its crackup to be. The forty-thousand dollar family commuters we see come across our driveways are always a nice treat, but aren’t consumers reality. The most common purchased family sedan costs around $25,000 and that’s exactly what Hyundai has provided. A sedan with all the latest common features at an affordable economy price.


Along with the Sonata’s fresh new face for 2018, comes along a new trim level to their line-up, SEL. The SEL is nestled right above the base SE ($22,050) and Eco ($22,650) at a starting price of $23,700. After a long and positive outcome of the Sonata’s sales numbers before its 2015 redesign, the corporate, unadoring characteristic of 2015 lost many perspective buyers in the process. And; therefore, we see some dramatic changes to the Sonata for 2018. Incorporating a new, more aggressive front face with an enhanced muscular look and cascading grille. The Sonata expresses sharper lines than before with LED daytime running lights and LED accent lights. The refresh continues onward to the back incorporating a new trunk lid design with new taillights and bumper reconfiguration. Higher trim levels of the Sonata will endure LED head & taillights as well as larger 18-inch wheels over our base 17-inchers.


Additional transformation takes place on the interior with a reconfigured center stack and higher quality materials used throughout. Fit and finish feels more tighter and properly improved. All the buttons have a tactile presence with a higher quality application to them. The redesigned center stack is a lot more user friendly with most of its application being surrounded by the 7-inch touch screen display that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.


Despite our tester being a lower end model, its features are something we tend to see on higher grade trim levels. The SEL here features heated seats, a leather wrapped steering wheel, smart key access with Push Button Start and Smart Trunk Access (approach the truck from behind and after 5-seconds the trunk opens without pushing a button), and Hyundai’s emergency BlueLink system that offers 24-hour assistance. Hyundai is also incorporating Blind Spot Monitoring as a standard feature across all trim levels of the Sonata. Unfortunately, Hyundai has done something rather strange, where we’d usually find $1000 Tech Package that includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep assist on the higher trim levels, its being offered only on the SEL along side the Limited and Limited 2.0T, no other trim level has this option available. Whereas these features are now standard on both the new Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.


Carried over from 2015, our base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is a sufficient motor for the day-to-day operations. With zero to 60 mph in less than 8 seconds, its 185-horsepower powerplant does the job just fine through its six-speed automatic transmission. While the turbocharged variants with its 2.0-liter engine maintains its steady 245-horsepower, it has been upgraded from a six-speed to now a witty eight-speed transmission.


For 2018 however, Hyundai has done some minor tweaking to the chassis and boosted the electrically assisted steering. While the results are for a better riding and handling sedan, the overall outcome remains a smooth operator. Despite having a sport mode that adjust throttle responsiveness and gearing position, the Sonata upheld a promising 28 mpg combined while averaging over 31 mpg of mixed city and highway driving.


Its no surprise that Hyundai has taken strong measures to develop a car that that can be provide a comfortable safety zone for ones family while also helping to keep a few bills in the wallet. While there are several options to shuffle through on the car market for $25,000, at least Hyundai has its consumer in their best interest with this valued family sedan.


Vehicle Specifications:
2018 Hyundai Sonata SEL: $23,700
As Tested (including Options & Destination): $25,710
Performance Specs:
2.4-liter Four-Cylinder -185-Horsepower, 6-Speed Automatic Transmission – 0-60MPH: ±8.0 seconds
EPA MPG: 25/35/28 (City/Highway/Combined) – SSB Average:  30.7 MPG’s – Fuel Range: ±570 Miles


  1. This is an attractive car for the price. Hyundai has a good eye for design and they tend to build cars that look more expensive than they really are. The Smart Trunk feature is kind of quirky. I suppose it could be disabled, but I wouldn’t want the trunk randomly opening if I’m just standing behind the car with the key in my pocket.

    • The smart trunk is surprisingly smarter than one would think – it works mostly as its being approached than if you were to stand directly behind it. Kinda hard to describe, more of demonstration.

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