Recently I spent some time in the beautiful Southern city of Charleston, South Carolina checking out new features on 2018 Hyundai products – the Elantra GT and the Sonata. Both are part of this growing manufacturer’s newest lineup, and yet each serves a particular demographic. Some of the new model year changes are subtle while others are much more dramatic. Thoughtful spaces and amenities have been added. And, tech-savvy consumers will be thrilled to see what innovative features are now available on both the Elantra GT and the Sonata.
2018 Hyundai Elantra GT and GT Sport
The hatchback segment of vehicles is growing, and in fact the Elantra makes up about 27% of total volume sales (in 2016) for Hyundai. Folks who love and drive this car regularly are outdoor enthusiasts, commuters and young couples. That makes even more sense after seeing the incredible price tags that accompany the new 2018 models. A base Elantra GT starts at $19,350 and the Sport model starts at $23,250.
New exterior designs on both the GT and the GT Sport leave consumers with a more aerodynamically-efficient, European-influenced car sporting sleek lines, wraparound tail lights, a new cascading grille on the front fascia and more! The Elantra GT Sport offers a rear spoiler, dual exhausts and 18” alloy wheels – a step up from the 17” alloy wheels standard on the Elantra GT. LED headlights are available (both low and high beam) and cargo capacity is more than most competitors in the hatchback segment.
The 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT is powered by a 2.0-liter GDI 4-cylinder engine producing 161 horsepower with your choice of a six-speed manual or automatic transmission. Ramping up to the Elantra GT Sport gives you 201 horsepower in a 1.6-liter Turbo GDI with a six-speed manual or seven-speed Dual Clutch Transmission with paddle shifters.
Moving inside the car, an 8-inch audio display sits at the helm of the stacked center dashboard. The display interfaces with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ for ultimate connectivity. There is a rearview camera for added safety precautions. Heated and ventilated seats, navigation and Blue Link (start your car or set temperature from a remote location) all show a commitment from Hyundai to offer more premium features on a lower priced vehicle.
I’m digging the use of negative space across the horizontal dashboard giving a less fussy, less crowded appearance on the Elantra GT as well as the new Sonata. Hyundai’s attention to detail and fun-to-drive attitude will propel the Elantra to sell its 3,000,000th unit in 2017.
2018 Hyundai Sonata
The mid-size car segment is making a comeback as vehicles in this space begin offering more interior roominess and premium features that most thought only afforded in a crossover vehicle. The 2018 Hyundai Sonata, residing in this segment, received a design refresh by Hyundai’s California-based design team. You’ll quickly notice the sculpted hood, the cascading grille (as seen also on the Elantra GT), the rear redesign and the center stack silver piano key buttons.
“It’s all about making an impact,” said Chris Chapman, chief designer, Hyundai North American Design Center. “We wanted to deliver an exciting expressive car to our customers and show the world how passionate Hyundai is about design and craftsmanship. The objective was to make an impact, this design provides the visual excitement and unique identity our customers associate with Sonata.”
Trim levels include nine choices ranging from the entry level SE and the new SEL trim to Sport and Limited models. The placement of chrome accents and dual exhausts make the Sport models easy to pick out in a crowd.
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata has all the bells and whistles that grace the Elantra GT in terms of technology and interior amenities. Families will appreciate that a car seat for a baby or toddler can fit in the backseat without taking away coveted passenger room in the front. Also, important to note, Hyundai offers the first three years of navigation service including downloads complimentary.
When thinking of safety, Hyundai now offers Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert as standard features on the Sonata. Peace of mind comes with these two amenities as with most safety features. There’s no price tag you can put on that.
Summary of the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT and Sonata
Sophisticated new Hyundai products offer consumers choices in their vehicle purchases that allow them to drive fun, responsive vehicles that look super sharp and provide human-focused technology. The new designs are thoughtful, catering specifically to American tastes and preferences. Rides are smoother than previous models and driving is a dream.
Have you driven a Hyundai lately? I think you’ll be impressed.
I was hosted by Hyundai for the press launch of the new 2018 Elantra GT, GT Sport and the Sonata. I drove the vehicles at the event, but received no payment for this review. Opinions are my own. Photos are courtesy of Hyundai Motor America.