Often, a new or updated Hyundai or Kia product will appear first in the Korea home market before—typically—making its way to the United States later. So it goes with Hyundai’s mid-cycle refresh for the Sonata sedan now being revealed in Korea with the promise that it is due in “global markets” later this year.
The current Sonata went on sale here in the U.S. nearly three years ago, so it’s due for a facelift. While Hyundai won’t confirm the Korea-market model’s changes are headed our way, we’re betting they offer a good peek at what changes to expect for our 2018 Sonata.
The updated version’s headlights are slimmer than on today’s car, the grille is sleeker, and the car takes on a pair of pinched dimples that bend away from new cheekbones molded into the front bumper. The look is unmistakably similar to that of the latest Elantra sedan—itself newer than the Sonata—as well as the just-revealed 2018 Elantra GT hatchback. Hyundai also jumbled the Sonata’s taillight internals for a new lighting signature. For the turbocharged top-of-the-line 2.0T model, an eight-speed automatic transmission replaces the six-speed unit currently used. Externally, the 2.0T’s grille is now a sporty black mesh design versus the regular model’s horizontal slats, the headlights wear darkened bezels, and black chrome is used for the rest of the exterior trim.
Although no photos were provided of the revised interior, Hyundai says the dashboard buttons have been freshened and that there is a new steering-wheel design. The 2.0T model gains a fourth drive mode, an adaptive Smart choice in addition to the Sport, Eco, and Comfort settings in today’s Sonata.
When might the revised model appear in U.S. dealerships? Probably by the end of the year, so look for the U.S.-market 2018 Sonata to make its debut sometime between now and then, possibly as soon as April’s New York auto show or as late as the Los Angeles auto show in the fall.