Returns up to 44 mpg on the highway

The Sonata nameplate may be 29 years old as of 2014, but Hyundai’s midsize sedan made little impact on the U.S. market until 2009, when the sixth-generation model was introduced. Developed over four years in a process that cost Hyundai $372 million, the YF Sonata became the first of its kind to receive an assembly line on North American soil. It received a couple of brand-new Theta engines, as well as a hybrid drivetrain that returned 38 mpg combined. The non-hybrid Sonata received yet another makeover for the 2015 model year, which brought exterior and interior styling based on the all-new Genesis. Handsome to look at and more upscale on the inside, the new Genesis was received with enthusiasm in the U.S. As the seventh-gen sedan arrived in dealerships for the 2015 model year, Hyundai revealed a brand-new Hybrid model in South Korea that follows the styling of the non-hybrid models.

With the United States being Hyundai’s most important market in terms of hybrids and plug-in hybrids, the redesigned Sonata Hybrid also received its yankee baptism at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. With rather slim differences in terms of styling compared with the non-hybrid model, the new 2016 Sonata Hybrid comes with an entirely new drivetrain and improved fuel economy. The previous generation’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder has been replaced by a downsized, direct-injection, two-liter four cylinder, while the electric motor brings the total power output to a not-to-shabby 193 horsepower.

Updated 01/12/2015: The all-new Sonata Hybrid made its North American debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show and will be put on sale later this year. Click past the jump to find out the new details.

Continue reading to learn more about the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

  • 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    six-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    153
  • Torque @ RPM:
    139
  • Displacement:
    2.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    8 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph
  • Price:
    27500
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Exterior
- image 599325
Hyundai made sure the greenest member of its midsize lineup can stand out in a crowd by adding a unique inner-grille pattern to the sedan's front grille, while extending the latter further down into the apron.

As expected, the Sonata Hybrid’s exterior design is nearly identical to the standard, gasoline-powered sedan’s. This means it benefits from the company’s new Fluidic Sculpture 2.0 design language, with more angular body lines, large hexagonal grille, and reshaped light units, making it the sportiest Sonata yet. In addition, the sedan is longer and wider than its predecessor.

But that’s not to say you won’t be able to spot a Hybrid model in a pack of conventional Sonatas. Hyundai made sure the greenest member of its midsize lineup can stand out in a crowd by adding a unique inner-grille pattern while extending the grille farther down into the apron. On the sides, the Sonata Hybrid showcases a distinctive chrome molding at the bottom of the doors and "blue drive" badges on the front fenders.

Noticeable differences are found around back as well. The taillights feature a revised cluster configuration, while the standard diffuser-like element has been replaced by a low-drag piece unique to the Hybrid model. The exhaust tip is concealed behind the bumper. Naturally, the trunk lid comes with "hybrid" lettering in additional to the mandatory "Sonata" badge.

New For 2017

The exterior of the sedan carries over unchanged for 2017, which isn’t surprising given that the vehicle is still fresh, but Hyundai introduced an all-new color palette. Customers can pick between Hyper White, Nocturne Black, Metropolis Gray, Ion Silver, Cosmopolitan Red, Astral Blue and Skyline Blue. Granted, most hues still revolve around the dull yet popular black, gray, white, and silver, but Cosmopolitan Red, Astral Blue, and Skyline Blue are pretty good if you want something a bit more flashy on your car.

Interior

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid High Resolution Interior
- image 599333
Step inside and you'll find the same cabin layout that debuted with the regular Sonata earlier in 2014.

Step inside and you’ll find the same cabin layout that debuted with the regular Sonata earlier in 2014. Changes are limited to the instrument cluster and the center stack display, which have been updated to include information about the vehicle’s hybrid drivetrain and the all-new Eco mode.

Other than that, expect to find each and every convenience and safety feature available with the standard Sonata. Convenience amenities include Smart Key entry with Smart Trunk function, ventilated seats with four-way lumber support, a heated steering wheel, and Smart Cruise Control among many others. Moving over to safety features, the Sonata Hybrid is equipped with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Parking Sensors, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, and a knee airbag.

New For 2017

The new exterior color palette comes with new upholstery colors too. Choices now include gray and beige in cloth or leather seating and an additional Blue Pearl option for leather seats only. Models equipped with Blue Pearl leather seats will also include contrast stitching and trim accent pieces.

In additional to the new upholstery options, the Sonata Hybrid received a number of audio and multimedia enhancements. There’s a larger seven-inch color touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which have become the norm on most vehicles, and the company’s next-generation Blue Link Connected Care. The navigation display offers a map and music split-screen and the ability to record SiriusXM presets 1-6. Users can rewind up to 22 minutes to listen to a previous song or catch up on a sports broadcast, while SiriusXM Travel Link provides access to traffic information, weather, fuel prices, and local movie times.

The iPod/USB and auxiliary input jacks, SiriusXM satellite radio, and Bluetooth phone connectivity with phonebook transfer and voice-recognition all continue as standard features, while the nine-speaker Infinity premium audio system with subwoofer and external Infinity amplifier remains optional.

Drivetrain

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 599331
Instead of carrying a 2.4-liter, four-banger under the hood, this sedan is equipped with a smaller, 2.0-liter unit mated to a 38 kW electric motor.

This is where the Sonata Hybrid is completely different when compared to its siblings. Instead of carrying a 2.4-liter, four-banger under the hood, this sedan is equipped with a smaller, 2.0-liter unit mated to a 51 horsepower electric motor. The gasoline mill churns 154 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque, making it 4-percent more powerful and 5.5-percent torquier than its predecessor. Also, at 51 ponies and 151 pound-feet, the electric motor gains an 8.6-percent increase.

Total system output is 193 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, but the exact torque figures are still a mystery for the moment. Hyundai has yet to post performance figures, but we expect the new Sonata Hybrid to sprint from naught to 60 mph in about eight seconds, a decent figure for the hybrid midsize segment. Power travels to the wheels through a brand-new, six-speed automatic transmission. The unit houses a highly-efficient traction motor, a lighter torsion damper and a new clutch with fewer clutch discs for reduced drag. As far as the fuel economy goes, the new 2016 Sonata Hybrid is expected to offer a 10 percent improvement compared with the 2015 model, with Hyundai saying it achieves up to 39 mpg in the city, 44 mpg on the highway and a combined EPA rating of no less than 42 mpg.

Type 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder GDI engine
Output 154 HP
Torque 140 LB-FT
Electric motor 38 kW (51 HP)
Electric torque 151 LB-FT
Combined output 193 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Fuel economy 39 mpg city/ 44 mpg highway/ 42 mpg combined

Prices

Pricing for the 2017 Sonata Hybrid starts from $26,000, meaning it remains unchanged from the 2016 model year. The same goes for the Hybrid Limited trim, which retails from $30,100 before options. Although Hyundai lists the Limited versoin with the Blue Pearl interior as a separate model, pricing is identical to the standard Limited variant. That’s obviously good news if grey interiors aren’t your thing.

Competition

Honda Accord Hybrid

2014 Honda Accord Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 515249

The Accord Hybrid received a brand-new drivetrain for the 2014 model year consisting of a 2.0-liter, Atkinson-cycle, gasoline engine rated at 140 horsepower, a twin-motor electric unit that makes 55 ponies, and a compact Li-Ion battery pack. Total output sits at 196 horsepower and enables the sedan to hit 60 mph from a standing start in about 7.5 seconds, more than a half second quicker than the our estimate or the Sonata. Besides possibly being a lot quicker, the Accord Hybrid is also more fuel efficient, with EPA estimates quoting 50 mpg in the city, 45 mpg on the highway and 47 mpg combined. That’s over four mpg more on the combined cycle for the Honda compared to the estimated rating of the Sonata Hybrid. The Accord is priced from $29,305, likely a bit more expensive than its Hyundai-badged competitor.

Find out more about the Honda Accord Hybrid here.

Ford Fusion Hybrid

2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 512556

The Fusion is yet another midsize sedan that can be had in a hybrid configuration. Just like the Accord, the Fusion uses a 2.0-liter gasoline Sixtythat runs the Atkinson cycle for efficiency while pumping 141 horses and 129 pound-feet of twist to the wheels. When the electric motor kicks in, output increases to 188 ponies. Sixty mph comes in 8.5 seconds, but what the Fusion lacks in quickness it makes up for in agility and smooth and quiet ride. As far as fuel efficiency goes, the Fusion is rated at 44 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway, which puts on par with the Sonata Hybrid. On the other hand, the Fusion Hybrid is cheaper with a sticker set at $26,990.

Learn more about the Ford Fusion Hybrid here.

Conclusion

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 599330

We drove the redesigned Sonata earlier in 2014 and came away impressed with the improvements Hyundai has made with this new generation. And since all these improvements, including the handsome exterior design, the premium, Genesis-like interior, and its good road-holding characteristics, have been transferred to this model as well, we are confident that the redesigned Hybrid will rise above its predecessor and draw more hybrid customers into Hyundai dealerships. With the new direct injection 2.0-liter four-pot having replaced the 2.4-liter unit and a 10-percent increase in terms of fuel efficiency, the Sonata Hybrid represents a big step forward for Hyundai’s green car department.

  • Leave it
    • Hyundai still suffers from the lack of brand cache
    • The Honda Accord is the more efficient choice

Press Release

Hyundai Motor Company, South Korea’s largest automaker, today unveiled its all-new Sonata Hybrid in Seoul, Korea. The all-new Sonata Hybrid features a unique hybrid design, advanced safety and convenience features, a spacious interior and trunk, and an upgraded powertrain that delivers class-leading fuel economy of 18.2 km/ℓ.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 599331

The launch event, held at the Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas hotel, was attended by around 250 media members and company executives including Jin Kwak, Hyundai Motor’s Executive Vice President, responsible for sales in the domestic market.

“The launch of our all-new Sonata Hybrid, with its class-leading fuel economy and powerful driving performance, comes at a time when eco-friendly vehicles are becoming established as a mainstream car,” Mr. Kwak said during his welcome speech today. “Our latest offering, based on one of our best-selling models, underscores our efforts to meet the growing popularity of eco-friendly vehicles around the world.”

The all-new Sonata Hybrid, the result of 27 months of development and an investment of approximately 180 billion Won (KRW), is scheduled to launch in major markets outside Korea, starting in the first half of 2015. Hyundai Motor targets to sell a total of 55,000 units (Korea: 18,000 / Overseas: 37,000) next year.

In line with Hyundai Motor Group’s target to become a global top 2 automaker in the eco-friendly car market by 2020, Hyundai Motor will expand its eco-friendly line-up in all segments by this time, all launched under the Blue Drive™ sub brand. As part of this initiative, the all-new Sonata Hybrid will be joined next year by a Plug-in Hybrid variant of the Sonata, which will be Hyundai Motor’s first Plug-in Hybrid. The company also plans to introduce its first dedicated Hybrid model in the second half next year.

With the addition of the Plug-in Hybrid version, Hyundai Motor will offer a complete range of eco-friendly models, further boosting the model’s popularity. While the all-new Sonata Hybrid will make its North American debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, detailed information of the Plug-in Hybrid version will be also released at the show in Detroit, U.S.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 599330

Upgraded Hybrid Power System

The all-new Sonata Hybrid is powered by an efficient Nu 2.0-liter GDI hybrid engine mated to a 38 kW electric motor. The gasoline engine delivers maximum power and torque of 156 ps and 19.3 kg.m, up 4 percent and 5.5 percent respectively, compared to the previous model. The 38 kW electric motor also delivers 8.6 percent improved maximum power, with maximum torque of 20.9 kg.m (205 Nm).

With the upgraded engine and electric motor, the new model achieves a significant improvement in fuel consumption: a class-leading combined rating of 18.2 km/ℓwith 16-inch wheels (17.7 km/ℓ with 17-inch wheels).

This engine transfers power to the road via Hyundai Motor’s innovative six-speed automatic transmission. The new unit – launched in October 2014 at the company’s annual International Powertrain Conference – houses almost all of the hybrid powertrain components within the transmission, minimizing energy losses and maximizing fuel economy.

The transmission is fitted with a highly-efficient traction motor, while the torque converter has been removed. A lighter torsion damper, and new engine clutch, which features fewer clutch discs, reduce drag and contribute to a more efficient transfer and use of power.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Exterior
- image 599325

The most significant change to the new transmission to improve fuel efficiency is within the oil pump system. By removing the mechanical oil pump, which causes hydraulic losses, and replacing it with a new electric oil pump, the transmission automatically optimizes operation according to the driving conditions.

The all-new Sonata Hybrid continues to utilize a lithium-polymer battery pack - which in 2011 made Hyundai Motor first automaker in the world to incorporate such efficient battery technology into production cars - now with a 13.3 percent higher capacity of 1.62 kilowatt-hour (versus 1.43 kWh). The battery has been relocated under the floor of the trunk, allowing for a flat trunk floor, creating a more useable cargo area, 10.5% larger than that of the previous model, with 60/40 split-folding seats.

As implemented in the first Sonata Hybrid, the new model is based on a full parallel hybrid architecture. The advantages of a full parallel system allow Sonata Hybrid to generate electricity captured during low engine loads and regenerative braking system to power the electric motor. When the vehicle comes to a stop and the electrical load is low, the engine will shut down to eliminate idle fuel consumption and emissions.

Unique Hybrid Design

Compared to other mid-sized hybrid variants, the all-new Sonata Hybrid features a number of unique exterior design characteristics that distinguish it from non-hybrid Sonata models. As well as creating a unique design, these changes have a functional outcome, an exceptionally low drag coefficient of 0.24 Cd* for the all-new Sonata Hybrid, aiding fuel efficiency and stability (* Hyundai Motor’s own estimates).

At the front, the larger, more sharply-edged hexagonal grille has a unique inner-grille pattern. The hexagonal grille, a hallmark of Hyundai Motor design, aids cooling and aerodynamic efficiency, while the new, slimline LED daytime running lights and HID headlamps echo the high-technology image.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid High Resolution Interior
- image 599333

A distinctive chrome molding at the bottom of the doors helps to accentuate the Hybrid model’s sleek shape. At the rear, the revised, voluminous rear fenders flow into new, high-visibility LED rear lamp clusters. The design upgrades are completed with a unique, low-drag rear diffuser. New, streamlined 16-inch and 17-inch alloy wheels, together with a full underbody cover contribute to reduced airflow resistance.

Compared to the previous-generation Sonata Hybrid, the all-new Sonata Hybrid is longer (+35 mm) and wider (+30 mm), with a longer wheelbase (+10 mm), allowing more interior space for occupants. The belt line that runs the length of the car has been lowered, with a more sharply raked A-pillar to emphasize the generous proportions.

Like its base model, the all-new Sonata Hybrid benefits from improved interior ergonomics, resulting in a completely driver-focused cabin, intuitive interfaces and premium soft-touch materials to ensure a pleasurable journey.

Safety & Convenience Features

The all-new Sonata Hybrid also benefits from new, advanced safety systems including Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Parking Sensors, Blind Spot Detection and Lane Change Assist. In addition to the full suite of passive safety technologies, the car also incorporates a new knee bag to prevent injury in the event of a collision.

Access to the cabin is keyless thanks to a Smart Key, while the trunk can be entered ‘hands-free’ thanks to the Smart Trunk function. In addition, systems have been fitted to optimize driver comfort, including a powered and ventilated seat that has a four-way lumbar support, as well as Heated Steering Wheel and Smart Cruise Control for enhanced driving comfort on longer journeys.

Press Release - January 12, 2015

Hyundai launched its first plug-in hybrid vehicle today at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) is expected to travel up to 22 miles on electric power and can recharge in as little as two and a half hours with a Level 2 charger. Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will be built at the Asan, South Korea plant and will go on sale in select markets later this year.

PLUG-IN POWERTRAIN

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 610720

Although the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is very technologically advanced, it will behave much like the regular Sonata Hybrid from the driver’s seat. A 9.8 kWh lithium polymer battery pack, roughly five times larger than the Sonata Hybrid’s battery, is expected to give Sonata Plug-in Hybrid an all-electric range of up to 22 miles, farther than any other midsize PHEV sedan.

Sonata Plug-in Hybrid uses a six-speed automatic transmission with Hyundai’s Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device (TMED), a 50 kW electric motor, in place of a torque converter. The 50 kW electric motor is 32 percent more powerful than the motor used the in regular Sonata Hybrid and allows EV operation at higher speeds. A 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder GDI engine coupled with the electric motor allows the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid to operate just like the Sonata Hybrid once the onboard battery charge is depleted. Sonata PHEV’s Nu engine produces 154 horsepower and 140 lb. ft. of torque and the total system output is 202 horsepower at 6,000 rpm.

Sonata PHEV is expected to deliver 93 MPGe combined in EV mode based on internal estimates. In charge sustaining mode, the Sonata PHEV is expected to return 38 mpg in the city, 43 mpg on the highway and 40 mpg combined based on internal testing. Recharge time ranges from two and a half hours at a 240V Level 2 charging station to five hours using a standard 120V outlet.

AERODYNAMIC EXTERIOR

Sonata PHEV uses the same functional design changes as the Sonata Hybrid to improve its drag coefficient to a class-leading 0.24 as well as provide visual cues to distinguish the hybrid models from other Sonatas. Visual changes to the PHEV’s exterior include a charging port on the driver front fender, unique grille, front and rear bumpers, front fenders, front and rear lights, chrome side sill moldings, Hybrid badging and new wheels. A distinctive instrument cluster provides Plug-in Hybrid drivers with additional information about the PHEV system’s functions. A charge indicator is located on top of the dashboard to make it easy to see the state of charge from outside the vehicle.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 610721

Sonata Hybrid will offer two exclusive exterior paint options: Graphite Blue Pearl and Seaport Mist. Interior color choices include gray and beige in cloth or leather seating configurations and an all-new Blue Pearl option for leather seats. Sonata Hybrids equipped with Blue Pearl leather seats will include contrast stitching and trim accent pieces.

BLUE LINK APP

Owners can manage and monitor the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle remotely via an exclusive Blue Link smartphone app. With the app, owners can access real-time data from their Sonata PHEV and perform specific commands like starting the engine and locking doors. Plus, users can search for points of interest using Google with voice or text and have the directions when they start their Sonata PHEV.

The most useful feature of the app is managing the car’s charging schedule. The owners are given vehicle charging options that they can select while in the car, but users can also manage them remotely via smartphone. Immediate charge is the simplest option, as charging begins as soon as the Sonata PHEV is plugged in.

Individuals that have different electric rates at various times may want to schedule the charge. Users can do that with the new app based on time and date. For example, charging could be set to start at 10 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays on a weekly basis.

Remote Control Services:

Start or stop charging
Set up charging schedule with days of the week and time
Climate control and defroster

Connected Car Services:

Vehicle diagnostics/status
Existing battery level
Real-time electric range
Real-time fuel range
Charge status
Plug status (in/out)
Time left until fully charged
Refresh to retrieve status
VIN (Vehicle Selection) base availability of PHEV app features

SAFETY FEATURES

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 610722

2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid comes standard with seven airbags, including a new driver’s knee airbag. Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Traction Control, ABS and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System with individual tire pressure display, and a rearview camera are also standard. Projector headlamps are standard while HID headlamps are available.

Hyundai engineers implemented many active safety technologies for the 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid to assist drivers and help prevent accidents. No longer reserved for luxury cars, advanced safety technologies such as Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning are also available in this midsize sedan.

Sonata Plug-in Hybrid’s standard advanced Blind Spot Detection system is designed to alert drivers of an approaching vehicle in the next lane if the turn signal is activated. This Lane Change Assist technology is a segment-exclusive active safety feature. Drivers are first alerted of a vehicle in the blind spot by warning lights in the side mirrors. When the turn signal is activated, the Lane Change Assist system determines the closing speed of any vehicle in the adjacent lane to determine if the lane change is safe. If the system determines the vehicle in the other lane is closing too quickly, it sounds an audible alarm to warn the driver that the lane change is unsafe. The Lane Departure Warning System uses a forward-facing camera to recognize lane markers. If the system detects the vehicle is headed outside the lane markers, a warning light on the dashboard illuminates and an audible sound alerts the driver.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 610722

Rear Cross-traffic Alert (RCTA) is another feature derived from the 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid’s advanced Blind Spot Detection system. RCTA scans the areas to each side of the vehicle when drivers are backing out of parking spaces. If the system detects another vehicle is approaching from the side, the Sonata driver is given an audible alert. This system is another tool that helps Sonata drivers utilize the active safety technology.

CONVENIENT TECHNOLOGY

The 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid delivers the convenient technology one would expect in a luxury vehicle in an incredibly efficient mid-size hybrid sedan. Hyundai’s hands-free Smart Trunk is standard on the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid. An electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold, a driver memory seat, heated steering wheel, LED interior lights, ventilated front seats, power front seats with 4-way adjustable driver lumbar and Smart Cruise Control featuring full stop capability are all available on Sonata Plug-in Hybrid.

MULTIMEDIA

All 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrids come standard with iPod®/USB and auxiliary input jacks, SiriusXM® satellite radio and Bluetooth® phone connectivity with phonebook transfer and voice-recognition. Available upgrades include an 8.0-inch navigation system with downloadable apps, HD radio and Infinity premium audio system with next-generation Blue Link® telematics.

Hyundai’s 8.0-inch navigation system offers an enhanced display with improved touch sensitivity, a map and music split screen display and the ability to record SiriusXM presets 1-6. Switching to a preset station in the middle of your favorite song won’t be an annoyance any longer. Rewind up to 22 minutes to listen to the full song or catch up on a sports broadcast. SiriusXM Travel Link® provides access to traffic information, sports scores, weather, stock prices, fuel prices and local movie times. All 2016 Sonata Hybrids equipped with navigation will also support Pandora® and SoundHound applications as well as “Eyes Free” Siri integration, which allows drivers to perform a variety of functions without taking their eyes off the road. Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto will take smartphone integration to the next level on the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid later this year.

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