Prologue: this is a bit long, but has a lot of insight into our 2015 Sonata Hybrid, I promise.
This is our second Sonata, and we're on our second Santa Fe. Let me start by saying I'm a car enthusiast. I'm also an engineer, and can tell where the quality was added or removed. That being said, overall, I think this is an excellent commuter car and good for long vacation drives with the family. It's by no means very entertaining to drive, though.
Engine: I've also witnessed the good two seconds or so lag between my smashing the gas pedal to get 100% "go" mode and when the car finally wakes up it's lazy electric hybrid slumber and becomes motivated. [Insert brown stain joke here.] NOTE: by turning off the Hybrid system (the bottom button on the right side of the steering wheel), you will get immediate use of all the torque in the electric motor. So, you can correct this acceleration issue. But, there's also a braking problem (more than one actually), too.
When you smash the brake pedal for 100% stop mode, you get a full second of lazy hybrid regen braking before the system goes "Oh, is this a panic stop?". At which point, you get a brief 100% brake lockup (haven't seen those since the 90's), and THEN the anti-lock brakes kick in. [Insert second brown stain joke]. This is just inexcusable. Note to Hyundai: if the computer registers 100% gas pedal, or 100% brake pedal, override all gas mileage software and either stop or go immediately. (Simultaneous brake and gas application should yield to the brakes, so no runaway Prius events occur).
Also related to the brakes... In normal mode, I like the brakes. They slow better than those on my Santa Fe. BUT, it's really hard to slowly roll the car in/out of your garage, or out of a parking spot, at a nice 2 MPH or so. The brakes just don't want to let you roll under 5MPH or so. Expect a lot of fast stops at lights and stop signs at the end of your rolls, too.
Steering: Hyundai electric steering needs work. Yes, you can steer with one finger (if you like that), but both this and my Santa Fe have an issue both staying in a straight line down even the smoothest of roads and when (sloooowly) returning to center after a turn. No "hands slipping" on the wheel after the turn to have it all re-center. You need to very directly unwind the wheel. Using "sport" mode exasperates the issue -- now it drifts and then quickly darts when I turn the wheel a smidge. And the return to center issue isn't resolved.
Cruise control: what century is this? Hyundai cruise control, to put it bluntly, sucks. On GENTLY rolling (undulating) roads, set the cruise for say 45 MPH. The car will slow to 40-41, then quickly accelerate to 48. Then the next hill arrives and the process repeats. Constant 7-8 MPH speed changes to make everyone seasick. My 2005 Nissan Quest minivan was able to keep a tighter range. Hyundai: check out the 2016 Malibu. I don't care about the vacuum and other sensors needed for cruise. I want to set the SPEED (in MPH here in the US). On the Malibu, you hit the cruise 'set' button and the speed is displayed in the little center LCD screen. And darn if it doesn't move more than 1 MPH below on those same rolling hills. I rarely saw it overshoot the set speed at all when going down the hills. (I rented the Malibu for a month after Santa Fe #1 was totaled.)
Spare tire: none.
And finally, the suspension. Hit a small depression in an asphalt back-road at even 35 MPH and you'll bottom out the car. Sometimes this will even cause the cruise control to shut down after the suspension bumps up against the stops. I know there is a few hundred pounds of battery under the rear seats, but it doesn't take much shifting to bottom out the vehicle, really.
Now, here's the crazy thing: overall, I like the car.... for commuting and long open highways.
I'm not looking for excitement during my commute (it's nice, but one can't do much in traffic). My commute is probably the worst possible for gas mileage: 3 minute stop light, then everyone gets back up to 55 MPH just as we hit the next stop light. Repeat for an hour. With this scenario, I am still getting between 33 and 34 MPG. That's 10 MPG better than my previous non-hybrid returned on the same route. For pure open highway road trips we see ~37 MPG. Some people may point out a few vehicles with better mileage, but the Sonata is a decent size (mid-size) car. There's much more space in it than a Prius or VW.
The trunk does shrink a bit due to the batteries, but we can still fit three large suitcases, two dozen water bottles, and squishy luggage in the trunk during road trips. Back seat is plenty roomy for two teens.
The seats are comfortable, the car is very quiet (even with the gas motor running), and reliability for us has been very high (high, but not perfect) for Hyundai's since 2011. As for pricing, buy a gently used Hyundai or one with rebates for the best deal. End of my $0.02.
This is a beautiful car. It gets great mileage, has a very comfortable ride and we got a very good deal on it. It is our 3rd Sonata and we have been very happy with Hyundai. I would like to give this car five stars but two times in less than 3000 miles it has stalled on acceleration. When we had our first dealer service I reported this but, of course, the mechanic could not duplicate the problem. Both times it has happened was when I was turning left across oncoming traffic with plenty of room if I accelerated. If I had been driving an old car I would have said it flooded out, which of course I know doesn't happen now. After pumping the gas pedal several times it finally got going but not without the oncoming cars honking and the drivers making rude gestures. I would guess the problem to be the electronics responsible for transferring power from the batteries to the gas engine.
We purchased our Sonata Hybrid last year around this time in Fall. We made a few local trips in Florida with some impressive gas mileage but nothing like what I just experienced... I should first start by saying we sold our Mercedes Benz to get into something fuel efficient. So, in city driving under conditions in Florida we get about 33-35 mpg. Highway we get about 38. Here is the amazing! We left 2 days ago from Port Orange, Florida just below Daytona Beach and drove to New York City.... We filled the tank one time in North Carolina and spent less then $48.00 dollars total in gas start to finish. I averaged 42 mpg. My wife couldn't believe it... I gave her the gas receipts and said, "you do the math". This car has full leather, duel sun roof/moon roof, blue tooth, navigation, and more.... 10 year drive train, lifetime hybrid battery warranty... I did my research before I bought this car over a Toyota Prius... All my research just paid off! You gotta consider this car when looking for your next purchase. T. Seger / Port Orange, Florida
First off.... this is far from a perfect 10 hybrid - but there is a pretty good upswing. I have owned mine about two weeks and have some notes on what I have seen so far. First off - I practically stole this from the dealership - due to the design change for next year they are dying to get these off their lots - to a tune of nearly 14k in discounts they threw my way (5k competitor cash and 9k off MSRP). I do a heavy mix of both highway and local roads - and have averaged 42 MPG so far - well better than anticipated. The handling and grippiness of the tires are terrible, but is no different than any other hybrid on the road, the standard feature list on this car far surpasses any "base" model at any other carmaker. Also - a lifetime warranty on the hybrid battery is a nice piece of mind to keep in the back pocket if you intend to drive this to it's death. The seats are comfortable (though the passenger seat is a bit low), and I find it utterly tacky that they do not include rear seat AC vents as a standard feature. I LOVE having a six speed tiptronic as opposed to the CVT, especially when accelerating hard. The styling is nice (minus the front end with the huge piece of black plastic across the front), but I can look the other way on that. I also wish the TPMS system would read out pressures on the dash screen - a feature most major carmakers are moving towards.
Overall this is a nice vehicle if you get it for the right price. If I paid 2k more, I would likely have a little remorse on this purchase... but all in all - it is a solid 8/10.
I just bought this car three weeks ago. It's a very refined ride, very quiet, nice interior with a dash I prefer to the newest Sonata. Seats are really comfortable and adjustable, although the front passenger seat is too low and doesn't have electric controls. Infinity sound is fantastic, navigation is far superior to Toyota (husband has a Prius) panoramic roof is luxurious, trunk space is adequate but not great due to the battery placement. I applaud Hyundai so much for integrating a regular 6sp auto transmission and not a dreadful CVT. This car drives smoothly and quietly. Took a 10-hour drive a few days ago and was able to achieve nearly 47 mpg highway in Eco mode. I'm at 39 city in Eco mode. I didn't buy this car in Eco mode. I was initially getting 26.2 mpg in town, and was not happy. I'm happy now with the mileage. My one and only complaint with this car is that the handling is not good. Steering wheel is pretty and nicely appointed, but doesn't seem particularly connected to the drivetrain. I'm overlooking this, though, as I think it's a fantastic car overall and will last a very long time. Plus, it's quite pretty.