2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Sedan Review

by Edmunds
Edmunds Editor
The 2017 model year marks the second year of the new generation Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. It now shares the same stiffer platform, roomier interior and more traditional styling of the recently redesigned regular Sonata, along with a new hybrid powertrain for even greater fuel economy. Hyundai sweetens the deal with this year's model, adding a handful of audio, entertainment and telematics upgrades, including a new 7-inch high-resolution touchscreen display standard on all models. (An optional 8-inch touchscreen is still available.) But the Sonata Hybrid's main appeal has always been fuel economy. Special alloy wheels, active air shutters behind the grille, and a streamlined tail design are recent changes that reduce the Sonata Hybrid's fuel consumption, enabling the base Sonata Hybrid SE, for example, to return an EPA-estimated 42 mpg in combined driving. Beyond the hybrid mechanicals, the Sonata Hybrid gives you the same advantages of the regular Sonata: a smooth ride, a roomy interior and solid value. Even the trunk is still pretty big for a hybrid, a configuration that usually sacrifices cargo space to accommodate battery packaging. Even so, this is a class with rapidly evolving options. The Honda Accord Hybrid has more power, better fuel economy (48 mpg) and additional driver safety aids this year. The Ford Fusion Hybrid is another excellent choice, and both the Honda and the Ford also offer sportier driving performance than the Sonata. Other smart choices include the Toyota Camry Hybrid, which is a very close rival to the Sonata in terms of performance and personality, and the redesigned Kia Optima Hybrid, which is mechanically related to the Sonata but features Kia's own styling and design. Ultimately, you won't go wrong with any of these fuel-sipping family sedans. Yet the Sonata Hybrid presents its own compelling case of features and value, making it a match for the class all-stars and worthy of a spot on your green-car list. Standard safety equipment on the Sonata Hybrid includes antilock brakes, stability and traction control, side curtain airbags, a driver-side knee airbag, front seat side-impact airbags and a rearview camera. Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system, also standard, includes emergency assistance, automatic collision notification and remote access features. The Limited trim adds a blind-spot monitoring system. Add the Ultimate package option to the Limited and you get rear parking sensors, a lane departure warning system and a forward collision warning system. In Edmunds brake testing, a Sonata Hybrid Limited stopped from 60 mph in 119 feet, which is a bit shorter than average for the class. Since hybrids are ultra-quiet when operating in full electric mode, Hyundai equips the Sonata Hybrid with a "virtual engine sound system." It broadcasts the sound of a gas engine via front-mounted speakers when the car is operating in all-electric mode at speeds lower than 20 mph. In government crash tests, the 2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid earned a top five-star rating for overall crash protection, along with five stars for both front-impact and side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not specifically tested the Sonata Hybrid, but it similarly gave the regular Sonata a top Good score in all of its safety tests.

what's new

For 2017, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid now comes with an improved touchscreen display, standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, HD radio and updated Blue Link telematics services.


Befitting a car designed to carry people, the 2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid's ride is smooth on all manner of pavement, and the cabin is quiet at highway speeds. This is a car that will get you to your destination without wearing you out. It's not an exciting car to drive, certainly, but the Sonata Hybrid heads where you point it with no drama.

The six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and offers a nice alternative to the sometimes-droning continuously variable transmissions (CVT) that are the norm for hybrids. Less impressive is the feel of the Sonata Hybrid's brake pedal. It's grabby when you first push on it, especially at highway speeds, which is followed by a long, disconcerting dead period as you press down harder. Actual braking performance is fine, but some other hybrids have a more natural feel to their brakes.


Like the regular Sonata, the 2017 Sonata Hybrid features the same clean, hexagonal center stack array housing the infotainment display and controls and climate controls. Materials quality and fit and finish are excellent, and you'll find plenty of storage space for personal effects.

The optional 8-inch touchscreen has crisp graphics and straightforward menus, although some drivers might find that it's a bit of a stretch to reach comfortably. A unique gauge cluster displaying various hybrid system readouts is one of the few visible indicators that you're driving a gas-electric car.

The Sonata Hybrid's cabin is roomy and comfortable. The seats are supportive and nicely padded, and the cabin itself is remarkably quiet. There's plenty of head-, legroom and shoulder room and a vast backseat, although rear headroom is tighter than in the hybrid's competitors.

The trunk holds 13.3 cubic feet of cargo, which is above average for the class, and the Limited trim level's folding rear seats provide additional flexibility.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.