The 2018 Hyundai Sonata Premium is all that, and a packet of crisps. The oft-overlooked mid-sized family sedan is probably the most underrated car on the market, but this new model could change everything.
You already know about the base model in the Sonata range, the Active, but the Premium takes the features list next level, adding alloy pedals, 18-inch alloy wheels, blind spot monitoring, intelligent active cruise control and driver awareness alerts.
Plus there’s also groovy little touches like chrome door handles, embossed door sills, exterior mirrors with puddle lights, heated front seats, an electric parking brake and a 12-way power driver’s seat.
On the safety front, you can expect things like lane change warnings, lane departure warnings, parking distance monitoring, and bright LED headlights. What is missing is autonomous emergency braking.
Now, if that amazing list of standard features doesn’t impress you, we reckon nothing will, but drive it, trust us, you’ll be blown away. The car will default to Comfort mode and, if we’re honest, in traffic, in the city and in peak hour, it is probably all you need.
For a standard drive mode, Comfort has plenty of take-off ability whilst remaining smooth and refined, and the 180kW 2.0-litre turbo charged petrol engine, coupled with an 8-speed auto, is, in a word, delightful.
We put it through its paces in the pouring rain, and it was very well behaved, and the automatic wipers are a really nice addition too. In the dry, it drives like it’s on rails – a pleasant surprise for a family sedan.
There’s some road noise on rough surfaces, but it’s not so much that it takes away from the fun and enjoyment of cruising around in the new Sonata Premium. The other drive modes on offer by the way, Eco, Sport and Smart.
We were surprised to find Eco and Comfort pretty much inseparable from a performance and drive perspective, giving the same smooth-as-silk experience. Smart mode is of course a combination mode that uses on-board intelligence to best control the car.
Sport mode though, that’s where it’s at for pure performance. It’s like the Sonata got a whiff of some special fuel. It’s twitchy off the line, it’s quick to find the speed limit, and it’s happy to push beyond it at ease. And it’s a bucket load of fun.
Get out on the highway, and the drive is effortless. Kick in intelligent cruise control, and let the Sonata find its place in the flow of traffic, matching the speed of the car in front, absolutely brilliant for a long drive.
Don’t panic about getting caught for speeding as you roll into a country town with a 50km/h speed limit, you can quickly drop the cruise control system in 10km/h increments. Oh and it holds speed downhill too.
Couple all that with the lane guidance and various driver warning systems and you can trust you’ll arrive at your destination feeling relaxed and ready to enjoy the world.
We have to say, we were really impressed by the power plant in the new Hyundai Sonata Premium; it’s smooth and gutsy, drawing on its 353Nm of torque to provide plenty of grunt when you need it, while still remaining quite economical.
Hyundai claims fuel economy of 8.5-litres/100km and that’s pretty much on the money. It’s the kind of car that puts a smile on your face when you put your foot down while still looking classy and elegant.
It handles exceptionally well, and there’s not a lot of engine noise in the cabin either, making for a complete package, and a good quality family car. It’s got a real note to the exhaust too, which is nice in a mid-sized sedan.
The outside also features Hyundai’s newest grille design. We’re not sure why, but we don’t really like it. It sort of looks like it belongs on a small car. Inside though, everything is high quality, tasteful and comfortable.
The leather appointed seats are heated and cooled (a very nice feature in our climate), and all of the seating in the Sonata is super comfortable. There’s plenty of head and leg room, even for adults, in the back too.
The dash has a really nice layout, and the 8-inch infotainment system is simple and easy to use. It’s got Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and the Bluetooth system is easy to pair with, as well as being crisp and clear.
the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Premium also features well, our favourite feature, wireless phone charging – the greatest invention of all time if your phone supports it. There’s SatNav too and it’s a good quality mapping system to boot.
For old school charging, there’s a USB socket in the front and two 12v charging ports, one in the front and another in the back, along with dual zone climate control to keep everyone comfortable.
Finally, there’s a 462-litre boot, which expands to 510-litres when you drop the 60/40 split fold rear seats, ensuring there’s ample room for family luggage when you get away on holidays, or loads of room for the shopping.
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata Premium hits the road at $50,375 drive away. It comes with a 5-year warranty, and right now Hyundai is offering 5-years/50,000km of free scheduled servicing to go with it.
And for the fashion conscious, or really anyone who likes to choose the colour of their shiny new ride, it comes in Sapphire Blue, Lunar Grey, Midnight Black, Pantera Grey, Valentine Red and White Cream.
Our 2018 Hyundai Sonata Premium was provided by Hyundai Australia. To find out more, contact your local Hyundai dealer.