Facelifted 2018 Hyundai Sonata almost goes unnoticed in New York

The exterior design tweaks hide a refined chassis and new content

Hyundai may call the 2018 Sonata a "redesigned" model, but the truth is the mid-sized sedan is just a facelifted version.

It couldn't have been an all-new model since the seventh-generation Sonata arrived in the U.S. in 2014 as a 2015 model. For 2018, the Sonata gains a new face dominated by a larger "cascading grille," a more focused profile, and an entirely new rear end featuring redesigned, slim taillights and an enlarged Hyundai badge which now houses the trunk release button.

At the front, the 2018 Sonata also gains new LED DRLs, while the headlamps are now available with LED and dynamic bending technology. Other exterior changes include additional chrome trim and fresh wheel designs.

On the inside, the Sonata sports refreshed center stack and instrument panel, as well as a new three-spoke steering wheel and piano key buttons for audio and HVAC controls. All models get a standard seven-inch color display audio touchscreen with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. A second row USB charge port is now added.

Besides the cosmetic surgery, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata features a refined chassis that is said to improve ride and handling. A 12 percent stiffer torsion bar and new steering calibration contribute to that. The Sonata also features an updated rear suspension with 21 percent thicker trailing arms for added stiffness, as well as new bushings that allow for more ride compliance.

Another change regards 2018 Sonatas equipped with the range-topping 245 hp 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, which now gets a new eight-speed automatic transmission.

New safety features include standard Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) and an available Lane Departure Warning system with an enhanced Lane Keep Assist function.

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