What Is It?
The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is the long-awaited next-generation version of Hyundai’s hybrid-powered midsize sedan. Last year, the new Sonata debuted with sharper styling and a revamped interior, but the Hybrid carried on with preexisting architecture and hardware. Here at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, we can reveal that the Sonata Hybrid has finally caught up, having migrated to the updated platform and added some notable capability, too.
On the outside, the new Sonata Hybrid largely mirrors its conventional siblings, which means a crisp, upscale look that sets it apart from the family-sedan crowd. Naturally, there are hybrid-specific tweaks, as well, including unique front and rear fascias (which incidentally yield a remarkably low 0.24 coefficient of drag), special front fenders and exclusive wheels. Inside, the latest Sonata dashboard layout is perfect for high-tech hybrid duty, since it’s already a leader in terms of design and technology. The Sonata Hybrid also gets its own instrument cluster and various hybrid-specific displays. Thanks to a relocated battery pack, trunk capacity swells to 13.3 cu ft., an impressive figure for a hybrid.
Under the hood, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid downsizes from a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder gas engine to a 2.0-liter unit, losing 5 horsepower and 14 lb-ft of torque in the process. But it makes up for this with a 38-kW electric motor that’s about 7 percent more powerful than its predecessor. Peak output drops by a modest 6 hp, from 199 to 193. The transmission remains a responsive 6-speed automatic that stands out in a segment known for continuously variable transmissions. Hyundai says that the Sonata Hybrid can operate purely on electric power at speeds up to 75 miles per hour.
Preliminary fuel economy estimates are 39 miles per gallon in the city and 44 mpg on the highway, easily besting the outgoing model’s 36 mpg city/40 mpg hwy rating but still trailing the segment-topping Honda Accord Hybrid’s 50/45 rating.
When Can You Get It?
Early summer 2015
Add It to Your Shopping List Because…
The current Sonata is a top contender in this class, and now the Hybrid model has gotten on board with the car’s current platform. All systems are go.
Other Cars to Consider
2015 Honda Accord Hybrid — The late-arriving Accord Hybrid has wowed the market with its superb fuel-economy ratings.
Used Lexus GS 450h — The performance-oriented GS 450h delivers well over 300 hp along with 30-plus mpg in mixed driving.