2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Review

Pros & Cons

  • Segment-leading all-electric range
  • good overall fuel economy
  • roomy and well-appointed interior
  • refined driving dynamics
  • nifty self-recharging feature.
  • Pricey compared to the standard hybrid
  • limited availability.
Other years
Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid for Sale
List Price Range
$17,500 - $18,490

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2016 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid builds on the already compelling Sonata Hybrid with an impressive 27 miles of all-electric range. It's a must-drive if you're considering a car with a plug.

Vehicle overview

Like asparagus and anchovies, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) are an acquired taste. And so far, car shoppers in the United States seem to think they won't taste very good, even though most have never tried one. As of this writing, PHEVs account for fewer than 1 percent of the new-car market. But with the all-new 2016 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid, Hyundai is hoping to leave a better taste in shoppers' mouths, even though it will only grace dealerships in the so-called ZEV states that follow California's zero emission vehicles rules.

Subtle styling changes and special badging are the only visual cues distinguishing the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid.

The appeal of a PHEV is that it couples a useful amount of all-electric driving capability with a conventional gas-electric hybrid system like what you'd find in a Toyota Prius. You can buzz around solely on battery power for a certain number of miles, and when your juice runs out, the car automatically switches to the hybrid powertrain. That means there's none of the range anxiety you get with a "pure" electric vehicle (EV), but you can still enjoy genuine EV functionality on short trips. The downside is that PHEVs generally cost considerably more than regular hybrids, though federal and state tax credits can make that hit a lot less painful.

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid is the company's first try at a PHEV, and it certainly makes a splash with its 27 miles of all-electric range. It features a larger battery and electric motor than the conventional Sonata Hybrid, and even when you've depleted the battery's charge in EV mode, you can still expect 40 mpg overall in gas-electric hybrid mode. An unusual charge-on-the-go feature — theoretically enabling full battery recharging during hybrid operation — rounds out the Sonata PHEV's very competitive package. Between drives, it takes just under three hours to recharge a parked Sonata plug-in's battery using a 240-volt power source.

As it is based on the Edmunds "A-rated" 2016 Sonata, the new Sonata Plug-In also offers plenty of interior room, an easy-driving demeanor and a fully up-to-date feature set. If you're interested in other family sedan PHEVs, the Ford Fusion Energi is the only game in town for 2016, and it trails the Hyundai with its roughly 20 miles of all-electric range and 38-mpg hybrid fuel economy. The redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Volt provides a whopping 53 miles of EV range, but it's a significantly smaller car, leaving the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid in a very favorable position within this eco-conscious niche.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid models

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is a midsize family sedan offered in two trim levels: base and Limited.

The base Sonata plug-in carries a fairly impressive list of standard equipment, including 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, LED running lights and taillights, a hands-free trunk lid, keyless entry and ignition, cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, leatherette door trim, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear vents, a 4.2-inch color driver information center, an auto dimming rearview mirror, a rearview camera, a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist, Bluetooth connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen and a premium Dimension audio system with a subwoofer, USB and auxiliary inputs, HD radio and satellite radio.

The 2016 Sonata PHEV's interior is mostly standard-issue Sonata, and that's a good thing.

Stepping up to the Limited gets you xenon headlights with automatic high beams, an electronic parking brake, perforated leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a six-way power front passenger seat, a heated steering wheel, driver memory settings, accent stitching on the door trim, woodgrain-look interior inlays and an upgraded Infinity sound system. Additions to safety equipment include adaptive cruise control, a forward collision warning system, lane-departure warning and rear parking sensors.

The sole factory option, offered only on the Limited, is a 3D "tech appearance" interior trim package with blue leather.

2016 Highlights

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid is an all-new model based on the current-generation Sonata midsize sedan.

Performance & mpg

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid has a 154-horsepower, 2.0-liter engine mated to a 50-kilowatt, 67-hp (peak) electric motor. Total system output is 202 hp, delivered to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. A 9.8-kWh lithium-ion battery feeds power to the electric motor and is recharged by the engine and a regenerative braking system once the initial charge is gone.

While not particularly powerful by PHEV standards, the Sonata plug-in's electric motor is strong enough to sustain speeds of up to 75 mph in EV mode, Hyundai says. Fuel efficiency is an EPA-estimated 40 mpg combined when operating in standard hybrid mode and 99 miles per gallon-equivalent (MPGe) when the all-electric range is combined with standard gas-electric mode. Estimated range using just electric power is 27 miles, which is above-average for a plug-in family sedan.


Standard safety equipment on the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag, front-seat side-impact airbags, a rearview camera and a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist. The Limited trim adds rear parking sensors, lane-departure alert, a forward collision warning system and adaptive cruise control with stop-start capability and Hyundai's Blue Link telematics and emergency communications system.

Recognizing that pedestrians may not hear hybrids when they are operating in virtually silent all-electric mode, Hyundai has equipped the 2016 Sonata PHEV with a "virtual engine sound system." It broadcasts the sound of a gas engine via front-mounted speakers when the car is operating in EV mode at speeds lower than 20 mph.

Although there is currently no crash-test data specifically on the Sonata PHEV, the standard 2016 Sonata received the top five-star crash safety rating in government testing, including five stars for both frontal and side impacts. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2016 Sonata its highest rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact, roof-strength and rear-impact (head restraints and seats) crash tests, while a second-best "Acceptable" rating was awarded in the small-overlap frontal-offset crash test.


The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid's ride is silky smooth on all kinds of pavement, and the cabin remains remarkably quiet at speed. There's not a lot of feedback from the electric steering, but the Sonata PHEV goes where you point it with no drama, and it feels stable and secure through corners.

Drivers can select from two driving modes — Eco and Normal — with Eco as the default mode. Throttle response and shift points are adjusted for each. Hyundai's six-speed automatic provides for smooth acceleration in either mode without the irritating drone associated with the continually variable transmissions (CVTs) used by many hybrids. A flick of the wrist pops the shifter lever into its manual gate for those who want a little more control in hybrid mode.

The Sonata PHEV is an enjoyable hybrid to drive, boasting a responsive six-speed automatic, a supple ride and reasonably confident dynamics.

Drivers also can select from among EV, Hybrid and Charge modes. In EV mode, the car remains under all-electric power unless conditions such as steep hills or spirited acceleration demand help from the gas engine. In Hybrid mode, or HEV, the Sonata plug-in operates as a standard hybrid. Depressing the HEV button for several seconds kicks things into Charge mode for recharging the battery pack from engine and regenerative-braking energy. In our test-drive, we managed to replenish 22 miles of all-electric range while using "Charge" mode on the highway.


The 2016 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid features the same interior layout introduced with the redesign of the standard Sonata in 2015. The aesthetically pleasing dashboard and center stack substitute restraint and maturity for the somewhat flashy look of the previous model. Materials quality is very good for the segment, and Hyundai nicely provides real knobs and buttons for its audio and climate controls. If you prefer the modern poke-and-swipe method, the standard 8-inch touchscreen is one of the most user-friendly you'll find.

A PHEV-specific energy information center replaces the tachometer in the gauge cluster, while both the 4.2-inch driver information screen (between the gauges) and the 8-inch central touchscreen provide all sorts of data about energy flow, regenerative braking, fuel efficiency, range and battery capacity. A "Coasting Guide" screen coaches drivers on when to let up on the accelerator when approaching turns, highway exits and stops. Hyundai claims that you can boost fuel efficiency by 3 percent if you follow its prompts.

The Sonata plug-in's central touchscreen provides loads of PHEV-specific information, including charging station locations

The Sonata plug-in's cabin is roomy and comfortable, although the larger battery pack takes up a bit of room in the trunk, cutting cargo space to just 9.9 cubic feet from the regular Sonata Hybrid's 13.3 cubes. Nonetheless, the Sonata PHEV handily beats the Fusion Energi, which can only muster 8.2 cubes. As in other Sonata models, passenger space is a strength, with adult-size accommodations provided in both rows.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Excellent Car Overall - Big Improvement Over Prev
Limited 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A)
Now that gas is cheap - under $3 in California (of course it won't last) I wanted to update my Sonata Plug In Review. First - FINALLY - Hyundai made good on its promise to add Apple Car Play and Android Auto via a very long and painful software update (3 hrs+). They also fixed an annoying problem on the LCD display in EV mode instead of a big giant battery it now splits the screen in 2 with the battery on the right and the EV remaining distance on the left (previously only seen in the instrument cluster display) So, there's that. Also something was fixed with Bluetooth, my Samsung phone now pairs very fast and remembers the last App playing audio and starts automatically but it STILL will not stay in Shuffle mode if you have an ipod or iphone, so everytime the car is started its about 50 clicks to go back to shuffle/random play mode sigh. So, the Truth is I have only bought 16 gallons of gas in 5,800 miles of driving, I think that speaks for itself. Even with cheap gas -- I am paying nearly zero to drive all over the place. Since gas is so cheap, I tried 91 instead of 89 and it made a HUGE difference in the engine's performance. Seriously a big improvement, and I don't know why because Hyundai says do not use 91 so whatever. The gas mode is much more responsive and smooth on 91. Also, not explained well in the manual, the CHG MODE will recharge the EV battery with 380 volts on the highway in about 30 minutes. The engine is also much more responsive in the mode, but of course there is no hybrid mode working so I only use it on the highway where I can keep a consistent speed. One other weird thing I have experienced, the ventilated front seats (AC) are not very good or mine are defective. I have tested them in a Dodge Charger V8 and they are way better, more air flow and cooler. Hyundai probably just went with a cheap version. I STILL MUST complain about the awful Blue Link Mobile App. Why Hyundai??? The app is still slow, slow, slow, doesnt connect much of the time, and it should be free! So I can still see charge info but I cannot start the car -- lol because they want me to pay for it. no way I have owned this car for one month, and 1,543 miles. I have not bought gas once. The free full tank from the dealer is about 1/2 full, the only time it uses gas is on my way home from work (Toll Road) in Southern California and it switches silently into Hyb mode. But, understand it still has battery left for hybrid mode and its then begins charging the battery. Unfortunately, my Sonata Plug In (Limited) always shows incorrect battery info. For example, 30% battery remaining but only 2 miles of all EV mode available. Hyundai needs to fix this and the "stupid" battery gauge under the speedometer. It has blue and white lines but its so confusing even the Service Manager couldn't figure it out! Vehicle is really nice, and drives great. HOWEVER -- the BlueLink Mobile App and Service are TERRIBLE! Most of the time the service is "unavailable" or some other useless error message. When it does work it takes 10-15 minutes to reach my car with the App - Unacceptable Hyundai. I decided to Lease this time because no matter how great a Hyundai vehicle is, their resale value is the worst in the auto game. I know, I had 2 Sonata hybrids and had to pay to get out of them both. The 2015 lost 50% of it value in 10 months!!! So beware - only lease this car so you can give it back at the end. One additional comment about charging. You would think in Southern CA where Hyundai is headquartered there would be EV charging stations everywhere -- Nope. They are a nightmare to find and when you do, every Tesla is town is plugged-in for hours. Also, the charging stations are not free. There are several different ones Charge + and others that you have to sign up for in advance and get a card to use them. It's really a hassle. Unlike Nissan, Hyundai will NOT allow you to charge your car at their dealerships - really bad PR Hyundai. Overall I enjoy the car a lot. But no Apple OR Android App integration means old bluetooth for your phone. And, Hyundai bluetooth is soooo slowwwww to connect to my iPhone and Samsung S7, I usually end up listening to my old iPod I have plugged in. The XM sound quality is horrible, so I wouldn't even bother signing up for a subscription. One other weird thing, the radio keeps playing after turning off the car (can be configured) but the power windows stop working...lol very weird. The car needs a usable Mobile App and to charge faster (9 hrs in my garage on a standard outlet and the cable gets very hot too. Sometimes the fan under the hood kicks on while its charging..hmm) Lastly, on a new model with all this technology - -why did Hyundai put plain old bulbs in the license plate holder (and the dome lights). I mean that just seems really like an oversight in my view. I replaced them with Sylvania White LEDS from Amazon but I dont think I should have needed to.
End up buying a hybrid-plugin
Herman E. of San Jose,05/12/2016
Limited 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A)
I am presently leasing a Nissan all electric leaf car and my lease is expiring so we started to do research on which car to get to replace the Nissan leaf. My main goal is to have a car to be able to use HOV lanes here in northern California(San Jose). I wanted to get into the higher range(200+mile) electric vehicle such as Tesla, Ford Energi, Chevy Bolt and new Nissan Leaf but all wont be available till next year(forget the Tesla model 3). I started to review all the specs of cars then a friend told me to look on the all-new 2016 Hyundai plugin hybrid, I was glad that I did! was so surprise of the car handling and features, its no difference from driving my BMW and Mercedes E class. interior has more luxury features and room! Ride and comfort is same as a luxury car. Of coarse its not as fast as BMW and Mercedes, but I am not going to race the car and unfair to compare 4 cylinder to six and eight cylinder but and I said but, look on the technology setup, its a hybrid-plugin technology which gives you the torque and speed(202hp) enough to make you happy. Getting 40+ mile to a gallon is just the icing in the cake. People says its still a Hyundai, well go look and compare it yourself. I ended up buying a Hyundai plugin limited and looking forward to enjoy it on HOV lanes. Not to forget the longest warranted car in the automotive industry.
No real competition in a full size plug in
Limited 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A)
I stumbled across the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid while researching the Chevy Volt and and Ford Fusion Energi. I'm glad I did! Hyundai did their homework with this car. It's spacious, quiet, refined with a well laid out interior with high quality materials and intuitive easy to use controls and electronics interfaces. The Limited version has a luxury feel to it with a myriad of features that rival our S Class Mercedes. Though only rated at 27 miles of battery range, I have been consistently getting 30-35 miles over the last two weeks before reverting to hybrid operation, where it gets an average of just over 40 MPG. On a 1000 mile trip combining interstate and secondary highways, it averaged about 41 MPG, which isn't bad considering we were going 75-80 on the freeway sections. On one 70 mile section of Highway 1 in northern California it actually did 48 MPG. The comfort level is high with excellent ventilated seats, an extremely smooth and controlled ride, and a noise level that's about as quiet as any car I've been in. The navigation/information/media system is outstanding with loads of information and easy to use. The price at $39,000.00 seems high, but rebates and dealer discount brought the price down over $5,000.00. In addition, the California rebate of $1,500.00 and Federal tax credit of $4,900.00 (?) drops the net price down below $28,000.00, which is a screaming deal for a car with this content and capability. It has more electric range than the Ford Fusion and a vastly bigger interior than the Volt. The adaptive cruise works very well, as do the electronic driving assists. There just aren't any glaring flaws or shortcomings I've discovered yet, other than the trunk is a smallish 10 cubic feet due to the battery pack. Hyundai hasn't just established itself as an equal competitor. With this car, it leads the pack. UPDATE 8/18/17 Car broke down on 7/26/17 with hybrid warning lights on the dash. Had to be towed to nearest dealer, where it has been sitting since it stopped. They were not able to analyze the problem, and after finally replacing a part which didn't fix the problem, now say the hybrid battery needs replacement. Problem is, the battery is not available and they don't know when it will be! I had an initial contact with Hyundai customer care, and was promised they would look into it and get back to me. That was 12 days ago and I have heard nothing back, despite leaving 5 messages which weren't returned. Customer service seems non-existent. I am definitely done with Hyundai, and this will probably end up as a California Lemon Law claim. Buy one of these at your own risk! UPDATE NUMBER 2 2/21/18 Hyundai purchased the car back from me, paying back all of my costs less a fair pro-rated amount for miles driven. In the end Hyundai was fair and did the right thing. Shame. I really liked the car.
This is the best car I have ever owned
James Thomas,04/12/2016
Limited 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A)
I went to the dealership to test drive a Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. They had a PHEV in stock and I hesitated because it was a few thousand more than the hybrid but I decided to give it a drive anyway. And boy, am I glad I did. This car is AMAZING. It is silky smooth on roads of all types, quiet as a mouse (particularly in electric mode). The interior is very well appointed and every day it seems I find something new it can do that I didn't know about. I could read the manual included but it's fun just discovering stuff. As an example, I was adjusting the mirrors and didn't put it back into Neutral mode. When I switched into reverse, the side mirrors angled down and made it very easy to see what was on my sides (the backup camera takes care of what's behind me). I've always been a terrible parallel parker but this car makes it easy. I have been using the car to go to and from work primarily, though I took it out this weekend into the mountains for 160 miles. I'm sitting at 770 miles since my last fill up and I still have about 40% of the tank left. Talk about amazing! I also find that it's made me a better driver, simply because I have so much information at hand and I want to maximize the mileage. It even has a screen that tells me how aggressive I'm being, which my wife appreciates. Don't let the cost of the car hold you back. Even at gas costing $2.20 per gallon, it's still saving money. It costs me about $0.70 to recharge the battery every day. The car I replaced was getting about 30 miles per gallon, so it was costing me about $1.70 or so per day. So I'm saving net $1.00 per day, which is about $30 per month. When gas gets back to $4 per gallon (and I have no doubt it will), then I'm suddenly saving $3 per day. Plus it's environmentally and geopolitically responsible to use as little fuel as possible. It has a tremendous amount of cabin space and all three of my kids fit in the car nicely. I had the sales guy sit behind me after I adjusted the car for the way I drive and got out and looked at his seating arrangement. He is 5'11" and he had about 3 inches of leg room, which is more than enough to sit comfortably. It's a fantastic midsize sedan.

More about the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid

Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Overview

The Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is offered in the following submodels: Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Sedan. Available styles include Limited w/Blue Pearl Interior 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A), Limited 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A), and 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl gas/electric hybrid 6A). Pre-owned Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid models are available with a 2.0 L-liter hybrid engine, with output up to 202 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid comes with a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 10 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Limited is priced between $17,500 and$18,490 with odometer readings between 18755 and31306 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrids are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrids listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $17,500 and mileage as low as 18755 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid.

Can't find a used 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrids you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid for sale - 7 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $18,596.

Find a used Hyundai for sale - 12 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $16,917.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid for sale - 7 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $25,360.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai for sale - 11 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $18,001.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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