Cars

Published on March 5th, 2016 | by Nicolas Zart

12

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review — A Class-Act Hybrid

March 5th, 2016 by  

To say that Hyundai has come a long way is an understatement. The 2016 Sonata Hybrid is every bit as good as any other car in this sedan segment and elevates this already very good platform to a whole new level of comfort, class, and fuel efficiency without sacrificing anything.

Quick Specs & Info

4.5 Stars over 5

2016, Hyundai, Sonata Class: Sedan, Hybrid Curb Weight: 3497 lbs.
Base Model: $26,000–$30,100 As Tested: Sonata Hybrid Limited $30,100
Drivetrain: Hybrid, 1.62 kWh battery pack City/Highway/Combined MPG: 39 / 43 / 41, we got a 38.5 overall average
Engine/Electric Motor: 2L 154HP @ 6000, 140 lb-ft @ 5000, Electric 38 kW (51 hp) @ 1770–2000, 151 lb-ft @ 0-1770 rpm, 270-volt, 75 MPH. Combined 193HP @ 6000 MSRP as tested

Overview

I have to admit that I have been very pleasantly surprised by the 2016 Hyundai Sonata. The new Sonata platform has been a success the past few years, and the 2016 Hybrid will continue it for the brand. Hyundai has a very strong performer with this hybrid, which is giving the competition a run for its money.

My impression of the Sonata Hybrid is one of comfort and the right amount of luxury without going overboard. The Sonata Hybrid is a well packaged car, tastefully executed. The chassis was firm enough to make it feel sporty at times, without brutalizing you. The front driver seat pulls back for easy in and out access. The car felt great in all conditions, whether driving around town, cruising on highways, or even when stepping on it.

Competition includes the Kia Optima, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion (including the Energi), Toyota Corolla, and Chevy Volt, but I wouldn’t shame anyone who chose this option.

Strong Points

Comfortably seats 5 people. Great turn radius. Next-generation hybrid, runs on electricity as long as the battery is halfway filled or more. Goes into a series hybrid mode, where the engine only charges the battery and leaves the more efficient electric motor to power the front wheels under moderate acceleration. An easy hypermiler.

Hyundai also excels with its infotainment. We found the system to be well laid out with the correct amount of information at your disposal displayed in an intuitive way. Connection with our iPhones was seamless.

Weaknesses

We really have to nitpick to find weaknesses with this car. Maybe the ergonomics can improve. Which car couldn’t? The driver’s left arm resting position could find the hand better falling where the window and rear view buttons are. Also, we caught the reflection of the dash on the left bottom side of the window at night. Again, all of these would be if we have to nitpick!

Test Period Length and Limitations: We had the car for seven days and drove it under various conditions. 15% highways, 80% city and 5% cruising between cities on moderate speed roads.

Conclusions

Hyundai has a serious winner with the Sonata, one of the smartest hybrids around. You can see the company put a lot of effort into making it right. We were surprised with the attention to details, comfortable seats, and luxury feel in a discreetly stated way. A chassis that is both firm, yet forgiving, makes this 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid a 4.5 stars out of 5.





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About the Author

Born and raised around classic cars of the 1920s, it wasn't until Nicolas drove one of the first Tesla Roadsters that the light went on. Eager to spread the news of that full torque he started writing in 2007. Since then, his passion led to cover renewable energy, test drives, podcasts, shoot pictures and film everything that is new and efficient. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he has forged in those industries. There are more solutions than obstacles.



  • Wayne Williamson

    nice review…a little disturbed by the other comments…..

    • Thanks Wayne! Welcome to our world. You develop a tough skin after these types of comments for a decade. In the meantime, I appreciate you putting your face and name out there to your comments. It says that much more about you. As for the rest, what can you say, lashing out in the dark?

  • GaslessGasp

    You had the car for 7 days and couldn’t even come up with 500 words to describe it?

    Leave the car reviews to…anybody else, really.

    • This was just a quick review. There is more to say, but then again, it is just a hybrid.

  • Philip W

    non plug-in hybrid? So 1998.

    • In there defense, and I’m not necessarily defending Hyundai, there is a PHEV version.

  • JamesWimberley

    What is the point of reviewing non-plugin hybrids? They are ICEVs with slightly better fuel economy and slightly lower pollution. As a contribution to the energy transition, they are inconsequential.

    • voracity

      At a certain point in the evolution of EV tech, promoting non-plugin hybrids becomes harmful. I think we’re already well past that point, particularly when speaking to the CleanTechnica crowd.

      Both of these Sonata articles were odd and out of place, particularly for original CleanTechnica material. A product’s environmental value should come first here; only once that’s established as novel or interesting can we gush over the tech.

      • Thanks Voracity, I wondered the same thing and originally I wanted to do a comparison between the HEV and PHEV.

  • Otis11

    “1.62 kWh” Hard to nitpick?

    Kia Optima – maybe in this class
    Honda Accord – substantially better gas mileage
    Ford Fusion (including the Energi) – at least has some plug in range
    Toyota Corolla – doesn’t have a plug in version
    Chevy Volt – actually is a true plug-in

    The fact that you chose these vehicles which are so distinctly different says you simply quoted the press release materials and didn’t do any research/don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Very weak article – and that’s generous.

    • Thanks for your feedback, but again, I didn’t read the press release. It’s hard to find a decent real competition. For the price point, it’s a great packaged car and that is what the company wanted to achieve, I believe.

      Kia Optima is, but in my review fell short. I drove the Honda PHEV in 2012 and like it a lot. The Ford Fusion, at press time only had 22 miles on electricity. Chevy Volt, stay tuned for the review.

    • Thanks for your feedback, but again, I didn’t read the press release.
      It’s hard to find a decent real competition. For the price point, it’s a
      great packaged car and that is what the company wanted to achieve, I
      believe.

      Kia Optima is, but in my review fell short. I drove the
      Honda PHEV in 2012 and liked it a lot. The Ford Fusion, at press time
      only had 22 miles on electricity. Chevy Volt, stay tuned for the review.

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