Hyundai is South Korea’s largest carmaker; the company has enjoyed booming growth for decades. Once considered a producer of unreliable budget cars, Hyundai has emerged as a world class player offering quality products. Its Genesis and Equus lines are challenging the premium brands. Hyundai has positioned itself at the forefront of the EV revolution. At the start of 2019, the company announced a grand plan to develop a dedicated electric platform as part of a US$40b investment into innovation, in order to build a new electric car fleet that will see it introduce 44 electrified models by 2025.
Hyundai’s mainstay Sonata is so popular in the USA that the company built a factory in Montgomery Alabama to produce them.
More than two million Hyundai Sonatas have been sold worldwide since the Korean automaker released the First Generation Sonata in 1985. The mid-size car has undergone numerous facelifts and continually embraced new technology. With the explosion of the EV, Plug-In Hybrid and Hybrid Markets, Hyundai transformed its highly popular Sonata into hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants.
The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid received a major refresh in 2018, so the car remains relatively unchanged for 2019. For this model year, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keeping Assist, Smart Cruise Control with stop/start, and an electronic parking brake have been introduced and are standard features on the Limited trim.
The 2019 Sonata Hybrid comes in two trims: Hybrid SE ($24,250 MSRP) and Hybrid Limited ($29,800 MSRP). Both trims offer plenty of enhanced safety features and contemporary tech. Both trims use a 2.0-liter GDI Atkinson cycle DOHC 16-valve, four-cylinder engine mated to a 38kWh electric motor and a 1.76kWh Lithium-ion battery to create power. The fuel efficiency created by this alliance of a gas engine and an electric motor is significant: Hybrid SE’s EPA City/Highway/Combined estimate is 40/46/42, while Hybrid Limited’s is 39/44/41.
The car’s aerodynamic look comes from what Hyundai calls, “A perfect blend of style and efficiency. Fuel efficiency flows from leading-edge design.” LED daytime running light clusters are vertically-stacked in faux black air intakes on either side of the front bumper. The long, rakish headlight clusters contain projector lights on the SE, with LED headlights added on the Limited trim. Chrome detailing and accent strips enhance the car’s streamlined curves. Sonata Hybrid’s new grille, hood, front fenders, rear deck lid, headlights/taillights and front/rear fascia design were added in 2018.
The hybrid earned a perfect 5-star overall score in government crash testing. The sedan earned a Top Safety Pick rating, from the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Sonata Hybrid offers virtually everything you might want, safety wise. Side-curtain airbags, a backup camera and anti-lock brakes are standard for SE.
Hybrid SE also comes with 16-in alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, blind spot monitoring, lane-change assist and rear cross-traffic alert, a 7-in color touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, automatic headlights, a backup camera, proximity key with push button start, a hands-free smart trunk opener, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, a 4.2-in color LCD trip computer, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and heated side mirrors with turn signal indicators.
Upgrading to Hybrid Limited gets you these additional features: a panoramic sunroof, larger alloy wheels, leather upholstery with heated and ventilated front seats, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, an electronic parking brake, automatic high beams, dual power front seats with driver memory settings, wood grain interior accents, power up/down front passenger window, SiriusXM, LED adaptive headlights, split-folding rear seats and the Bluelink Connected Car Service, Connected Care and Remote packages.
CarBuzz offers these pros for the Sonata Hybrid: Spacious interior and comfortable long-distance seats; Comfortable ride: Great ergonomics and intuitive infotainment; Plug-In Hybrid offers swift acceleration; Exceptional safety ratings; Good levels of insulation at highway speeds.
Concerning the Sonata Hybrid’s interior, Car Buzz reviewers say: “Simply laid out, the controls are logical and easy to learn. The seating meanwhile is comfortable, and even the manually-adjustable driver’s seat on the Hybrid SE offers a wide range of adjustment to get comfortable. The tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel protrudes far as well which helps taller drivers. Available features include power adjustment, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and leather upholstery. Rear seating is generous with most adults likely to be comfortable.”
REVISED JUNE 2019
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