The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has been on sale in America for about four and half years, and shares its drive train and some design elements with the KIA Optima Hybrid. The two cars combine to occupy second place (in America) in hybrid sales to Toyota’s Prius. The Hyundai has more conventional styling than a Prius, and in fact is an attractive sedan. I received one for testing last week; a Starlight Silver unit with a gray leather interior.
The M.S.R.P. for my 2016 test unit was $35,765.00, freight included, and it was the top-of-the-line Limited model. The options on the loaded Limited were a panoramic sunroof package ($4,500.00), carpeted floor mats ($125.00), and first aid kit/floor mats/wheel locks ($215.00). Standard equipment on this model included heated front and rear seats, the leather (seating, steering wheel, and shift knob), 400-watt Infinity 8-speaker stereo, backup camera, navigation with 8” screen, power driver’s seat and eco-spoke alloy wheels. Also on hand was tilt/telescope steering column, satellite radio, radar cruise control, power windows/locks/mirrors, pushbutton starter, keyless entry, Bluetooth/USB connectivity, navigation system, blind spot monitor, and heated mirrors with lighted signal stripes.
The hybrid power setup in the Sonata starts with a 2.0 liter, four cylinder gas engine and adds a permanent-magnet AC electric motor (total system power is 193 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm). The car accelerates from zero to 60 in 8.4 seconds. A six speed automatic transmission with a manual mode delivers power to the front wheel drive sedan. EPA mileage ratings for the Sonata are 39 city/43 highway, 41 overall, and the fuel tank holds 15.85 gallons of regular gasoline.
As I mentioned, the Limited Hyundai is rather good-looking, with bold chrome strips on all four sides, chrome door handles, racy lighting on all corners, and two-toned “eco-spoke” gray alloy 17” wheels fitted with P215/55R17 Kumho Solus KH25 all season radials. The Starlight Silver paint had some metallic in the finish, and the panoramic sun roof was evident from outside the car.
I spent a lot of time driving the Sonata around northern Colorado, and the ride was great. Wind noise was minimal, and passing and accelerating from a light was a snap. One thing that was quite balky was the gas gauge, which barely moved in a downward direction.
Weight of the Sonata is 3,560 lbs., not much for a hybrid. The company uses a 270 volt lithium-polymer battery pack (warrantied for life), something normally found employed in a plug-in vehicle. Thus, it is in the trunk, yet the trunk holds 13.3 cubic feet of luggage. Wheelbase of the car is 110.4”, length is 191.1”, width is 73.4”, and the height is 57.9”. With the battery in the trunk, the passenger volume is maintained at 106.1 cubic feet, like the Hyundai gas-powered sedan.
At the asking price of $35,765.00, I feel the Sonata Hybrid deserves a hard look from a perspective hybrid car shopper. It’s attractive, roomy, fuel efficient, and well-appointed.