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2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Overview

James Flammang
Contributing Editor - July 28, 2015

When Hyundai redesigned its Sonata midsize sedan for 2015, the hybrid-powertrain version was left out. Instead, the Hybrid continued into 2015 wearing styling from the prior Sonata generation, which dated back to 2011. Some folks may actually prefer the appearance of the earlier design, but for 2016 it’s gone for good. An abundantly reworked Sonata Hybrid has taken its place, and a Plug-in Hybrid version will follow.

What's New for 2016

In addition to design changes on the body, led by a larger grille, the 2016 Sonata Hybrid gets a downsized 2-liter four-cylinder engine, coupled to a revised six-speed automatic transmission. The 154-horsepower gasoline engine works with a more powerful 38 kW electric motor. The new Hybrid can operate solely on electric power at up to 75 mph. A larger lithium-polymer battery pack, moved beneath the trunk floor, promises improved fuel economy. As before, the Hybrid has certain design differences from the regular Sonata, with unique fascias and eco-spoke wheels.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Front Quarter

Choosing Your Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Each Sonata Hybrid uses the same powertrain: a 154-horsepower, 2-liter gasoline engine that works in tandem with an upgraded electric motor to generate 193 total horsepower. Many hybrids use continuously variable transmissions, but the Sonata Hybrid employs a conventional six-speed automatic transmission, sending power to the front wheels. Base-model fuel economy is estimated at 39 mpg city/43 mpg highway (41 combined), while the SE does a bit better: 40 mpg in city driving and 44 mpg on the highway.

When the Plug-in Hybrid arrives in fall 2015, it’s expected to have a bigger battery and a more powerful electric motor (about 68 horsepower), for total output just over 200 horsepower. Able to travel about 22 miles on battery power alone, the Plug-in will be sold only in California and several other states.

Just two well-equipped trim levels are offered:

Base

Sticker-priced at $26,000, the basic Hybrid comes with an appealing list of standard equipment. The list includes a rearview camera, remote keyless entry, cruise control, heated folding power mirrors, automatic dual-zone climate control, automatic projector-lens headlights, LED taillights, power windows and door locks, Blue Link telematics, a six-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio system, iPod/USB jacks, driver’s knee airbags, and 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. No factory options are available for the Base trim level.

Limited

For an MSRP $4,100 higher than the Base trim level, the Limited edition provides such extras as leather seat upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob, heated front/rear seats, ventilated power front seats, heated steering wheel, premium door sill plates, HID headlights, and 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert is standard. The Limited is available with a Blue Pearl interior.

A Limited Ultimate package includes such options as a panoramic sunroof, Smart Cruise Control, navigation with 8-inch screen, Infinity premium audio, and SiriusXM Travel Link. Safety features in the Ultimate group include lane-departure and forward-collision warnings, along with rear parking sensors.

CarsDirect Tip

Even a fully-loaded Limited model is priced reasonably enough for what you get. Still, it costs significantly more than a Base Sonata Hybrid, which has all that most buyers are likely to need. Should you consider a regular Sonata instead? Fuel economy isn’t necessarily so different, as the most frugal gas-engine Sonata Eco gets an estimate of 28/38 mpg (city/highway).

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2016 Hyundai Sonata Side

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Hyundai Sonata Hybrid By Year