Hyundai’s Hybrid Ambitions

The automotive industry is fueled by competition, with innovation the intended result. Perhaps the most competitive segment right now, one that requires ultimate innovation and outside-the-box type of thinking is the hybrid and alternatively-fueled vehicle segment.

And it seems every automaker wants a piece of the action. Take the latest green-hued automotive new from Hyundai…

Not to be outdone by Chevy’s success with its hybrid Volt vehicle, poised to launch as a refreshed model in 2016, Hyundai has entered the race and intends to introduce its own Volt-esque dedicated hybrid vehicle, ready to challenge Chevy, in 2017.

Until then, if you’re interested in a hybrid Hyundai vehicle, your local Hyundai dealerships in NH have the current and earlier generation Sonata Hybrid and Sonata Plug-in models to satisfy your very own green ambitions.

The 2017 Hyundai Electric Vehicle – As We Know It Now


For those of us who’ve snuck a peek under the camouflage hiding the upcoming Hyundai hybrid, we do have some information to share with you.

First of all, the powertrain is expected to be a collaboration between a direct-injected 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. The Hyundai EV will be based off the platform seen in the upcoming Hyundai Elantra. At least, that’s what Automotive News is reporting. We shall see…

The timing of the vehicle’s release is rumored to coincide with a projected rise in gas prices. Or, as New Jersey Hyundai dealer president, Adam Kraushaar, explains, “When they (gas prices) come back up and people start looking for hybrids again, it’ll be very nice to be able to give buyers an option besides just the Prius.”

I couldn’t agree more. Variety is, after all, the spice of life.

As far as additional specs, spy shots, or leaks, the wait is on. But, until then let’s check out the current Hyundai hybrid options,  starting with the most recent, just to hold you over until the 2017 model year arrives.

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In: Equipment


Let’s start by looking at the second generation of the existing Hyundai Sonata.

Recently, Hyundai announced at its new North American headquarters in Fountain Valley, California, that it had enhanced the current hybrid model for the 2016 model year. Consider this a more polished, refined version of the 2015 Sonata Hybrid. Why?

First of all, the engine is all new and comes in the form of a direct-injection, 2-liter Otto-cycle, generating 154 horsepower, which takes the place of the 2.4-liter Atkinson-cycle engine currently housed in the Hyundai Sonata hybrid.

Efficiency is paramount, and Hyundai has made a significant number of revisions to enhance the Sonata Hybrid’s efficiency factor, like the inclusion of an oil warmer, variable pressure oil pump, and an electric water pump, delivering reduced internal friction.

The six-speed automatic transmission remains, but the new motors are lighter than their predecessors, not to mention shorter with greater output. The now water-cooled transmission is also more effective, and the electrically powered oil pump bumps efficiency up by approximately 9.5 percent.

A hybrid and Plug-In vehicle differ primarily thanks to their power outputs; in this case, the Sonata hybrid gets 51 horsepower, while the Sonata Plug-In is rated at 67 horsepower.

Now, with respect to the Sonata Plug-in, expect to see a 1.6 KW-hr air cooled lithium-ion battery, conveniently located beneath the floor of the trunk. Extra power is found behind the back seat, thanks to an additional stored 8.2kW-hrs, which increases total power output to 9.8 kW-hr.

When charging at a rate of 3.3 KWs, the Sonata Plug-In’s battery can charge to level 2, or 240-volt power, in just under three hours.

Well it’s all fine and good, exciting even, to detail new equipment and enhancements, the real test, of course, comes down to how well it all actually works.

The Sonata Hybrid and Sonata Plug-In: Performance Artists 

From what my sources tell me, these new improvements really do deliver.

The electric motor truly does support efficiency, with the Sonata Hybrid’s fuel economy rated at an EPA-estimated 40 city, 42 highway, and 42 miles per gallon combined.

When the battery is depleted, the Plug-In’s mileage is estimated at a combined 40 mpg. With respect to battery-powered efficiency, the Plug-In is estimated at 93 MPGe, returning an EV range of 24 miles and top speeds measured at 75 mph.

Drivers report a seriously smooth drive from both drivetrain’s, and it seems any hiccups with the clutch have, in fact, been cured. Transitions between electric and gas operation feels seamless, with only a slight audible announcement.

With the six-speed automatic, new hybrid drivers will recognize the acceleration as akin to conventional cars and powertrains.

Reviewers report a very pleasing drive, much like that expected from a well-designed conventional car. The car drives with a confident steadiness, no shuddering here, the regenerative braking has a normal feel, and the cabin is wonderfully quiet, thanks partly to the stiffer chassis and aerodynamic enhancements.

Keeping pace with its class, the Hybrid’s acceleration comes in at 193 combined horsepower, with the Plug-In rated at a combined 202 horsepower.

A really fun feature allows you to establish your destination and best route, so that the “coasting guide” can then determine your locations prior to corners where you can take advantage of coasting, which will save you about three percent in overall fuel expenditure and, ultimately, costs.

With the Plug-In, drivers can activate EV, Hybrid, or Battery Charge mode at the push of a button.

Although pricing has yet to be confirmed, Hyundai has suggested that consumers should expect sticker prices close to their existing hybrid lineup. That means a range of approximately $26,000 – $29,500.

The Hyundai Sonata Plug-In can be ordered from any Hyundai dealership, while the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid will be sold in geographic regions known to embrace hybrid vehicles and technologies.

But let’s say you want to purchase a Hyundai Sonata Hybrid from the current model year?

With the new model year upon us, you could purchase a Hyundai Sonata Hybrid new, used, or certified preowned and enjoy the efficiency and performance of a hybrid vehicle, but perhaps at a discounted cost, if you choose to go used or preowned.

This could be an ideal option if you have always wanted to try a hybrid vehicle, but aren’t entirely convinced that it’s for you, or that you can survive without your conventional car’s gasoline-operated reliability.

Specs on the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: Current Carbon-Footprint Reducer

2015 Hyundai Sonata hybrid

Actually, these specs are shared by both the 2015 and 2014 model years, so you’ve got a bit of flexibility when it comes to finding the right Sonata Hybrid deal for you.

Equipped with a multi-point fuel injection 2.4-liter Theta II in-line four-cylinder DOHC engine, operated by a Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CVVT) , the electric and unleaded fuel based powertrain returns fuel ratings of 36 mpg city, 40 mpg highway, and 38 mpg combined, with a total range of 654 miles.

Whether or not you want to wait for the 2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid or Plug-In, you’ve got some super current contenders to consider if you want to enjoy maximum fuel efficiency with a minimum carbon footprint.

I have to say, it’s tough not to get behind the wheel of a brand who’s motto is “New Thinking. New Possibilities.”

Maybe it’s high time you changed up your thinking. Consider what a new car possibility might mean for a new direction…and a new adventure. 

Go ahead, I dare you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *