Chicago Auto Show: Hyundai debuts makeovers for Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in

By David Undercoffler | February 8, 2018

Less than a year after Hyundai gave its regular Sonata a light design makeover, the automaker is adding the same changes to the greener side of the Sonata family.

Hyundai unveiled the 2018 Sonata Hybrid and Sonata Plug-in Hybrid models Thursday at the 2018 Chicago Auto show. The duo is aimed at drivers who haven’t yet been seduced by crossovers and are looking for an efficient family sedan.

The big changes are cosmetic, inside and out, while the guts of the cars (engine, transmission, electric motor and battery pack) remain the same.

Outside, the Sonatas get a sleeker design at the front and the rear of the car; the headlights are now LED units that turn according to the steering wheel position and the 16-inch and 17-inch wheels are new.

Better handling is promised thanks to a revised suspension and better steering feel.

Inside the changes are minor, highlighted by a new navigation system and instrument panel.

As mentioned, the cars’ powertrains remain the same.

The Sonata Hybrid has 193 horsepower from the four-cylinder gas engine and the electric motor. It gets 38/43/40 MPG city/highway/combined, just as the earlier model did.

The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid has 202 total horsepower and can travel up to 27 miles on electric power alone before switching to the gas engine. The batteries recharge fully in less than three hours with a 240v outlet.

The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid also lets users check the car's status through the charging schedule, its charging status, time left until fully charged and fuel range right from their smartphone using Hyundai’s BlueLink app.

The 2018 Sonata Hybrid goes on sale in the coming weeks while the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid hits the market later this spring. Pricing hasn’t been announced but they will likely be close to their predecessors; the outgoing Sonata Plug-in starts at $35,485 while the outgoing Sonata Hybrid starts at $26,885.

Not only are hybrids like these Sonatas more efficient at the gas pump, they’re also a savvy investment. An Autolist analysis last year found that hybrids now depreciate slower than their gas counterparts. You can check out that study here.