The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide

The gorgeous city of Charleston, S.C., served as the backdrop for our one-day test drives of the 2018 Elantra and Sonata. Here is a roundup of both the vehicles, which we will review at length in the near future.

According to Product Planning Manager Mike Evanoff of Hyundai, the compact car now has a lower and wide stance that shows off a cascading hexagonal grille with standard vertical LED daytime running lights. The rear acquires a standard spoiler, dual exhaust, and LED tail and brake lamps. Larger than main competitor, VW Golf, the Elantra goes up 1.6 inches in length and .6 in width from its predecessor. The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine still puts out 161 horsepower @ 6200 rpm and 150 pounds-feet of torque @ 4200 rpm. The 1.6-liter 4-cylinder turbo powertrain in the Sport cranks out 201 hp @ 6000 rpm and 195 pounds-feet of torque @ 4500 rpm. Depending on the trim, they can be mated to a 6-speed manual or auto and a 7-speed auto transmission.

The cabin sports a horizontal dash layout of a standard 8-inch display audio, 60/40 rear seat, rearview camera, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Available comforts include dual a/c, wireless charging, cooled front seats, 8-inch nav screen, Infinity audio, blind sport monitor, smart cruise control, lake keep assist and driver attention alert. Cargo volume is up by 8 percent, now 55.1 cubic feet.

Base-priced at $19,350 and peaking at $28,200, the fuel-sipping but delightful Elantra is solid value for the money.

Tires: P245/R17
Wheelbase: 104.3 inches
Length: 170.9 inches
Suspension: MacPherson strut front; multilink rear
Steering: rack-and-pinion power
Weight: 2,901 pounds
Fuel capacity: 14 gallons
City: 28 mpg
Highway: 37 mpg

More than 2.8 million Sonatas have been sold. That is 30 percent of all Hyundais sold in the United States. With the 2018 refresh, the Korean carmaker will unload even more of these midsize sedans. The Sonata undergoes an exterior model change with a reimagined front and rear. The cascading grille will once again catch your attention along with the Catamaran shape on its lower bumper. And yes, the license plate has been moved into the bumper. A revised interior means a fresh look to the center stack and instrument dials. A new 8-speed auto gearbox has been inducted into the 2.0T model while the rear suspension is much firmer. Added standard goodies are blind spot monitor and hidden trunk release button. Available are Qi wireless and rear USB charge port, and lane keep assist with driver attention alert. However, the power trains have been retained. The 2.4-liter inline-4 cylinder still offers 185 hp @ 6000 rpm and 178 pounds-feet of torque @ 4000 rpm; and the 2.0T puts out 245 hp @ 6000 rpm and 260 pounds-feet of torque @ 4000 rpm.

The exterior and interior overhaul and affordable pricing (based at $22,050 and tops at $32,400) will only mean more Sonatas will hit the road come 2018. Its competitors Camry, Accord, Mazda6 and Altima have plenty of reasons to worry.

Tires: 205/65R16
Wheelbase: 110.4 inches
Length: 191.1 inches
Suspension: MacPherson strut front; multilink rear
Steering: rack-and-pinion power
Weight: 3,250 pounds
Fuel capacity: 18.5 gallons
City: 25 mpg
Highway: 36 mpg
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