Hyundai has breathed life into the hybrid segment with the 2016 Sonata Hybrid. The Sonata Hybrid’s most notable feature aside from its good looks and, of course, great fuel economy, is its sound. That is, the Sonata Hybrid is extremely quiet partially due to its silky-smooth ride that is completely unlike most hybrids.
The second-generation Sonata Hybrid continues to visually differentiate itself from other Sonata models with unique wheels and front and rear fascia that improve aerodynamics while highlighting the advanced technology and efficiency. The Hybrid SE model delivers combined fuel economy of 42 mpg, a 10 percent improvement over the previous model.
The heart of the 2016 Sonata Hybrid is the downsized 2.0-liter Nu GDI 154 hp four-cylinder engine coupled with a sixspeed automatic transmission that houses a more powerful 38 kW electric motor and clutch where the torque converter would normally be found. Sonata Hybrid’s Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device (TMED) delivers the same responsive, engaging driving characteristics as the gaspowered Sonata, while improving fuel economy through the use of the larger electric motor.
The innovative transmission has been upgraded significantly and now uses an electric oil pump to improve efficiency. The Sonata Hybrid can operate solely on electric power at speeds up to 75 mph by decoupling the gasoline engine from the rest of the drivetrain.
The lithium-polymer battery pack now fits under the trunk floor, which allows for a flat trunk floor as well as available 60/40 split-folding rear seats for excellent cargo volume at 13.3 cubic feet, a 10 percent improvement over the previous Sonata.
The Sonata is enhanced by a series of functional changes to the front and rear fascia that highlight its efficiency and the advanced technology below the surface. These visual changes also lower the coefficient of drag to a very low 0.24. Visual changes to the exterior include a unique larger grille, front and rear bumpers, front fenders, front and rear lights, chrome side sill moldings, Hybrid badging and new ecospoke alloy wheel designs. A distinctive instrument cluster with a 4.2-inch color LCD multi-purpose display provides Hybrid drivers with additional information about the hybrid system’s operation.
Sonata Hybrid comes standard with seven airbags, including a new driver’s knee airbag. Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, Traction Control, ABS and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System with individual tire pressure display and a rearview camera are also standard. Projector headlights are standard while HID headlights are available. There also are many active safety technologies to assist drivers and help prevent accidents, including Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Detection with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Change Assist and a Lane Departure Warning System.
The MSRP on the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid ranges from $26,000-$30,100.
Grant Miller is the publisher of Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or by addressing email to Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.