What is It?
2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
What's New About This Model?
Hyundai launched the all-new Hyundai Sonata for 2015, but only with a conventional gasoline engine, while the Sonata's hybrid variant continued with the mechanicals of the outgoing Sonata. Hyundai now squares up everything, as the 2016 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid are part of the new-generation Sonata lineup.
When Does It Go on Sale?
Hyundai says the 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will show up at Hyundai dealerships in the spring, while the Sonata Hybrid follows in the summer.
How Much Does It Cost?
Pricing for both 2016 Sonata Hybrid models will be released closer to their on-sale dates.
How Many Body Styles and Trim Levels Are There?
The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid are four-door sedans only. They are both based on the Limited trim level of the standard model.
What Kind of Engines and Transmissions Does It Have?
The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine coupled with an electric motor integrated with the car's six-speed automatic transmission. The engine develops 154 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque, while the electric motor generates 39 hp for a total system power of 193 hp.
With 13 percent more capacity from its lithium-ion battery pack than before, Hyundai says the 2016 Sonata Hybrid is 10 percent more efficient than the previous Sonata Hybrid. The company expects a fuel economy rating of 42 mpg combined (39 city/44 highway).
For the 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, the first plug-in model for the Sonata lineup, the same 2.0-liter gasoline engine and transmission-integrated electric motor as the Sonata Hybrid are employed, but a 9.8-killowatt-hour battery pack provides as much as 22 miles of electric-only driving range. Once the onboard battery power is depleted, the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid operates essentially as a standard hybrid.
For the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, Hyundai projects fuel economy at 40 mpg combined (38 city/43 highway) once the battery power is depleted. Operating on plug-in power, the car is expected to achieve a 93 MPGe rating.
Fully charging the 2016 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid should take about five hours with a standard 120-volt outlet and about half that time with Level II 240-volt charging.
What Unique Features Does It Offer?
Both hybrid models feature revised front and rear styling to optimize aerodynamic performance; Hyundai claims the Sonata Hybrid's coefficient of drag, a standard measure of aerodynamic efficiency, is 0.24, a class-leading figure that matches the much-touted Tesla Model S.
The Sonata Hybrid models also get a unique instrument cluster to provide detailed information about hybrid operation, as well as unique body colors and interior trim. Hyundai's BlueLink app enables all manner of interaction with the Sonata Hybrid models.
What Models Will It Compete Against?
Ford Fusion Hybrid/Fusion Energi: Ford's hybrid twins offer fine handling and high-tech interiors to go along with their enhanced economy. The plug-in Energi model has about 20 miles of electric-only driving range.
Honda Accord Hybrid/Plug-in Hybrid: After dropping the ball with the first-generation Accord Hybrid, Honda came back strong with this duo that makes hybrid operation almost transparent, while the Accord's fine packaging is barely compromised.
Toyota Camry Hybrid: Toyota squeezes serious economy from the generously sized Camry Hybrid, and its refinement is hard to beat. There's no plug-in version, though; for that, you have to move to the Prius Plug-In.
Should You Wait for It?
When Hyundai revised the Sonata for 2015, some of the previous model's avant-garde styling went by the wayside, but in most respects it was notably improved. But those shopping for a hybrid were left with the previous-model Sonata, a lapse Hyundai has fixed.
By integrating the electric motor into an otherwise conventional automatic transmission, Hyundai's hybrid design differs a little from most competitors by eliminating the continuously variable transmission that many think compromises refinement. If this difference appeals to you — or you simply like the style of the revised Sonata — waiting a few months for the 2016 Sonata Hybrid models is a good idea.