Typical of Hyundai's current product range, the Sonata Hybrid is a stylish and efficient machine that comes incredibly well equipped for its price. It looks striking and has good fuel economy, but can it topple the leader in the hybrid family sedan segment: the Ford Fusion Hybrid?
Why We Like the Ford Fusion Hybrid
The Fusion Hybrid poses a tough challenge. It's even better looking than the Sonata, with more comprehensive in-car technology such as active park assist and blind-spot monitoring.
Its powertrain is suitably refined and is rated at a combined 47 mpg by the EPA. What's more, the Fusion sacrifices very little in comparison to the gas-only variants, and that makes the leap to a more efficient model more inviting.
Why We Like the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
While the Sonata is good-looking, the hybrid model adds even more details to the standard car. You might not like the new grille, but the car looks more expensive with its LED taillights and sharp wheels.
The Sonata Hybrid also benefits from having a conventional six-speed automatic transmission that feels more normal to drivers than the CVT in the Fusion Hybrid. And it's hard to top the value you get from a loaded Sonata Hybrid Limited that has navigation, a backup camera, HD radio and leather upholstery for about $31,000.
Can the Sonata Out-Hybrid the Fusion?
The Sonata Hybrid isn't nearly as refined as many others in the class, especially the Fusion Hybrid. What's more, the interior doesn't feel as special. Technology features aren't as elaborate as on the Ford, although controls are easier to use. Worse still, the Sonata Hybrid is only rated at a combined 38 mpg -- efficiency for a conventional 2.4-liter Sonata isn't far behind that.
Our Verdict: Ford Fusion Hybrid
Unfortunately for Hyundai, the Sonata Hybrid doesn't make a strong case for itself, even with its recent efficiency and price improvements. It's good, but the Fusion Hybrid is a significantly better package and better deal for most buyers.