When economy, comfort, and practicality blend together into a nice package

When Hyundai introduced the eighth-gen Sonata in 2019, it essentially built on top of the already awesome styling that was brought with the seventh-gen’s mid-cycle facelift. Today, the car looks like it sits in a higher price bracket than it does and in hybrid form it delivers some pretty impressive fuel economy figures too. Does the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid have the looks, comfort, and driving experience to nudge itself above cars like the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Honda Accord Hybrid? Well, we just spent a week with the Sonata Hybrid, and we actually have a lot to say about it. Here’s what you need to know.

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid – Powertrain, Performance, Economy

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - Driven Drivetrain
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Underneath that sleek silhouette of Korean design sits a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s paired with a starter-generator and a very small battery pack of just 1.4 kWh. This powertrain features a six-speed automatic transmission (compared to a CVT, which is more common among hybrid cars) and all power is directed exclusively to the front wheels. Make no mistake, this system is highly efficient, but it’s also not the most efficient among its peers, part of which can be attributed to its curb weight of 3,505 pounds – more than both the Honda Accord Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid that it competes directly against.

How Much Power Does The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Have?

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - Driven Drivetrain
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The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has a combined output of 192 horsepower and 6,000 rpm and 139 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. While these numbers may seem frugal at best, it’s important to remember that this car is about delivering an economical family experience and not neck-breaking performance. On that note, it’s also a bit underpowered compared to the competition. The Honda Accord Hybrid, for example, delivers 212 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque from a similar hybrid powertrain. Meanwhile, the Toyota Camry outranks it as well at 208 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque.

What Kind of Transmission Does The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Have?

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - Driven Interior
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While competitors like the Honda Accord Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid are only offered with a CVT (continuously variable transmission) with a nearly infinite gear ratio availability, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid comes with a six-speed automatic transmission. While this might seem a little less modern, a lot of people don’t like the feel of CVTs or their simulated gear ratios so you might find the old-school six-speed auto more to your liking.

What Kind of Fuel Economy Does The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Get?

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - Driven Exterior
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The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid manages to deliver 45 mpg in the city, 51 mpg on the highway, and a respectable 47 mpg combined. While these numbers aren’t bad, they aren’t the best either. In fact, the Toyota Camry beats the Sonata Hybrid out in every category with 51 mpg in the city, 53 mpg on the highway, and 52 mpg combined. The Honda Accord reigns supreme in city and combined ratings at 48 mpg in both driving scenarios, but falls a little short on the highway at 47 mpg.

Does The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Drive On Electric Power?

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - Driven Drivetrain
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The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has a small, 1.4 kWh battery pack and offers no all-electric range. The Hyundai Sonata PHEV, however, offers up to 28 miles of all electric range, so if you have a short daily commute and want to cut down on your gasoline usage, then the Sonata PHEV might be a good fit for you.

Hyundai Sonata Interior Design

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - Driven Interior
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While the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid might come off as something of a premium proposition, the interior of the cabin isn’t quite up to the par offered by the exterior. It’s not bad or uncomfortable, mind you, but you can still tell that you’re in a Hyundai and not something that sits in a higher price bracket. The large infotainment display, digital instrument cluster, and semi-digital HVAC controller to help to ditch the feel of economy, though, so there are some niceties to be happy about. The good news is that the Sonata Hybrid does come with decent leather (or fake leather) upholstery and the fit and finish of most panels seems to be improved from the previous generation.

How Much Interior Space Does The Hyundai Sonata Have?

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - Driven Interior
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The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid sits nicely in the midsize sedan class, so passenger space doesn’t exactly come at a premium. Front passengers will find that there is ample head and legroom while rear passengers do kind of get the shaft on leg room, especially compared to the competition. Outside of this, however, the Sonata is very similar to the Honda Accord Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid in terms of passenger space. Check out the table below to see the specific dimensions

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid vs competition interior dimensions
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Honda Accord Hybrid Toyota Camry Hybrid
Front Headroom 40 39.5 38.3
Front Shoulder Room 57.9 58.3 57.7
Front Hip Room 54.6 55.3 55.4
Front Leg Room 46.1 42.3 42.1
Rear Headroom 37.8 37.3 37.6
Rear Shoulder Room 56.1 56.5 55.7
Rear Hip Room 54.4 55 54.6
Rear Leg Room 34.8 40.4 38

How Much Cargo Room Does the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Have?

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - Driven Interior
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The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid offered up 16.0 cubic-feet of cargo room in the trunk, which puts it just 0.7 cubic-feet below the Honda Accord Hybrid and 0.9 cubic-feet ahead of the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Technology

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - Driven Interior
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The 10.25-inch infotainment display in the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is downright gorgeous and fairly simple to use. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay work flawlessly and pairing both types of devices is as simple as one would expect. Apple and Android devices are also compatible with the wide-screen format is also a big plus here. You’ll also enjoy the available surround-view camera as well as the built-in navigation system. The driver aids are a bit overly sensitive but they don’t fall into the annoying range, so it’s only a small thing to get used to. The other big thing to take note of are the side-view cameras built into the instrument panel – something that you won’t find on the competition as of the time of this writing.

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Exterior Design

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - Driven Exterior
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The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has an impressive and very attractive exterior design that is akin to what you’d expect from a brand like Audi or BMW. In fact, you can almost see a little bit of Audi inspiration int the wide low-slung grille and sleek exterior lights. The most intriguing thing about the Sonata’s exterior design isn’t the sporty look, trim panels, or body line but the long, hood-length LED running lights that flank each side of the hood. These give the Sonata Hybrid a unique look among its peers and it’s almost cool enough to give the Sonata Hybrid a selling point of the Camry or Accord hybrids.

How Big Is The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - Driven Exterior
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The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid measures 192.9-inches long, 73.2-inches wide, and 56.9-inches tall. It also rides on a 111.8-inch wheelbase. These figures make the Sonata Hybrid bigger than both the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord hybrids, with exception of height, in which case the Honda Accord wins by 0.2-inches and the Camry runs dead even. In terms of garaging, the Hyundai Sonata is a midsized vehicle, so a 1.5-car garage is pretty much a necessity, but a two-car garage is more ideal. In terms of length, you shouldn’t have any problems as long as you don’t have a really shallow garage.

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid vs competition exterior dimensions
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Honda Accord Hybrid Toyota Camry Hybrid
Length 192.9 192.2 192.1
Width 73.2 73.3 72.4
Height 56.9 57.1 56.9
Wheelbase 111.8 111.4 111.2
Front Track 61.5 63 62.2
Rear Track 61.9 63.4 62.6
Curb Weight 3505 LBS 3327 LBS 3480 LBS

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Pricing

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The Hyundai Sonata offers a lot of value for a vehicle in its price bracket. You can start earning between 45 and 51 mpg by spending as little as $27,750 on the entry-level model. If you want more accessories, better interior materials, and more tech, you can move up the trim line to as high as $35,300. This pricing layout makes it very competitive with both the Honda Accord Hybrid, which retails between $26,370 and $36,240. Likewise, the Toyota Camry hybrid, with a starting price of $27,270 and a max price of $32,720 is also right in the same ballpark. If you’re really about getting the best fuel economy, you should probably look a little deeper at the Toyota Corolla Hybrid, though, as the range-topping model commands better fuel economy and a cheaper price tag.

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Competition

There are plenty of hybrid cars on the market, but there aren’t really quite so many midsize hybrid sedans. In this review, we’ve paid special attention to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, so let’s dig a little deeper into those.

Is the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Better Than The Honda Accord Hybrid?

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The Honda Accord Hybrid offers better all-around fuel economy and starts out around $600 cheaper than Sonata. The range-topping model, however, comes in nearly a grand higher. Like the Sonata, the Accord is powered by a 2.0-liter hybridized engine, but it offers up a bit of extra power with a total system output of 212 horsepower and 232 pound-feet of torque. The major downside here is that going with the accord means that you’re going to have to get used to a CVT as opposed to a tradition automatic transmission.

Interior space is on part for what you’d expect in a midsized sedan, and the accord offers up the most cargo room of all the cars we’ve talked about here today. Factor in the Accord’s well known and established reliability (it’s a Honda, after all) and you might find that the Honda is a better pick. However, it’s nowhere near as sporty as the Sonata, so if you want something that looks a little more luxurious and sporty, the Sonata might be more up your alley. Pricing for the Accord starts at $26,370 but maxes out at $36,240.

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Hyundai Sonata Hybrid vs Honda Accord Hybrid
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Honda Accord Hybrid
Engine 2.0-Liter Four-Cylinder Hybrid 2.0-Liter Four-Cylinder Hybrid
Horsepower 192 @ 6000 212 @ 6200
Torque 139 lb-ft. @ 5,000 232 lb-ft @ 0
Transmission 6AT CVT
Driveline FWD FWD
Fuel Premium Regular
Steering Electric Electric
Suspension Four-Wheel Independent Four-Wheel Independent
Tires P215/55R17 P225/50R19
Curb Weight 3505 LBS 3327 LBS
Fuel Economy 45/51/47 48/47/48

Read our full review on the Honda Accord Hybrid

Is the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Better Than The Toyota Camry?

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If your one of those people that puts fuel economy above anything else, then you’re going to love the Toyota Camry Hybrid. With extremely impressive figures of 51 mpg in the city, 53 mpg on the highway, and 52 mpg combined, the Camry is only more efficient than the Sonata (and Accord, for that matter), but it’s one of the most economical and efficient midsized sedans on the market today. Under the hood sits a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a starter-generator that combined deliver 208 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque. The downside here, as is the case with the Accord, is that you have to deal with a CVT.

The Camry is a bit shorter, too, which means you’ll have to deal with a little less leg room in the front. Toyota thought about rear passengers and cut down a bit on cargo room to ensure there’s enough leg room back there. Cargo room still isn’t bad at 15.1 cubic-feet, but that’s less that any of the other cars it competes with. Interior materials are decent for a car in this price bracket, and you should find that the Camry is very comfortable. The Camry hybrid starts out at $27,270, but if you want the best, you’ll have to pony up $32,720 for the range-topping model. Coincidentally, that price makes it nearly $3,000 cheaper than the range-topping Sonata and you still get the awesome fuel economy, so there’s a lot of value to be had here.

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Hyundai Sonata Hybrid vs Toyota Camry Hybrid
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Toyota Camry Hybrid
Engine 2.0-Liter Four-Cylinder Hybrid 2.5-Liter Four-Cylinder Hybrid
Horsepower 192 @ 6000 208 @ 5700
Torque 139 lb-ft. @ 5,000 163 LB-FT @ TBA
Transmission 6AT CVT
Driveline FWD FWD
Fuel Premium Regular
Steering Electric Electric
Suspension Four-Wheel Independent Four-Wheel Independent
Tires P215/55R17 P205/65R16
Curb Weight 3505 LBS 3480 LBS
Fuel Economy 45/51/47 51/53/52

Read our full review on the Toyota Camry

Final Thoughts

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - Driven Exterior
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At the end of the day, Hyundai’s design department should really be commended for its work in taking the Sonata to the next level. We were really impressed with the seventh-gen’s redesign and the eighth-gen push it beyond anything we expected. Hyundai can’t really push the Sonata into premium territory, though, so it’s only natural that you won’t find the nicest materials inside. For the price, though, you’ll find the Sonata hybrid offers up great interior amenities, a plethora of driver aids, modern and easy-to-understand tech, and an overall good family experience. After all, the the Sonata is all about being a family friendly, efficient car at its core, and it’s in this aspect that it excels. The only thing we could ask is for a little more fuel economy to bring it inline with the Camry, but for what you get, we can get over those 2 or 3 mpgs without thinking twice.

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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