Hyundai, South Korea’s largest carmaker, 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 have evolved into 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 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 a hybrid.
Says Christian Wardlaw, Independent Expert for J.D. Power: “Dramatic doesn’t begin to describe the styling, which is daring and distinctive even if opinions of it are divergent. But that’s what Hyundai wanted for its latest Sonata. Overall, the 2021 Hyundai Sonata is an excellent example of a hybrid family sedan. Effortlessly efficient, undeniably stylish, technologically advanced, and impressively safe, it requires little in the way of improvement. If you like the way it looks, you’re going to like almost everything about this car.”
The 2021 Sonata Hybrid comes in three available trims: Blue (MSRP: $27,750), SEL (MSRP: $29,900) and Limited ($35,300). The HEV’s advanced powertrain design gives it an EPA-estimated 52 MPG combined. A sleeker exterior, active air flap and rear spoiler improve aerodynamics, surpassing competitors with a superb .24 coefficient of drag. Its near-perfect proportions and seductive silhouette give the Sonata Hybrid the look of a luxury coupe.
Inside the modern interior, there’s more room to spread out. The 2021 Sonata Hybrid offers more front head room and leg room than all its competitors, making it a Best In Class choice.
All three trims use a 2.0L GDI Atkinson Cycle DOHC 16-valve inline 4-cylinder gas engine, a 39kW electric motor, a 1.76Lithium-ion polymer battery, and a 6-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC to achieve an astonishing EPA-Estimated 686 mile range. Knowing the car’s dramatic range is a key enticement, Hyundai has tried to increase it with each new model.
One of the ways they’ve accomplished that is by offering an available solar roof on the Limited trim that can help recharge Sonata Hybrid’s batteries. Saying Hyundai has taken solar through the roof is no joke! Converting sunlight into electricity, the solar roof panel generates enough electric power to increase driving range by nearly 2 miles a day. That’s about 700 additional miles per year! Few, if any, other cars sold in the USA can make this claim.
The Blue trim comes standard with Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection (FCA-Ped), Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), 16-inch Eco-spoke aluminum alloy wheels with 205/65/R16 tires, a Rear View Monitor with parking guidance, a 6-way adjustable driver’s seat, an 8-inch color touchscreen display with HD Radio and SiriusXM, Bluelink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The SEL trim adds a Hyundai Digital Key, 17-inch alloy wheels, a Wireless charging device and a Bose Premium Audio System.
The Limited trim adds a solar roof, a 12.3-inch navigation touchscreen and a Blind-Spot Monitor (BVM).
According to J.D. Power data, 65% of Hyundai Sonata owners are male (vs. 60% for the segment), and the median age of a Sonata owner is 61 years (vs. 55). In the J.D Power 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, the Sonata ranked 1st out of 10 midsize cars.
Owners say their favorite things about the Sonata are (in descending order) the exterior styling, driving feel, feeling of safety, interior design, and setting up and starting. Specifically, these five things about the vehicle rank highest in comparison to the midsize car segment:
• Exterior styling
• Operating vehicle remotely
• Vehicle protection
• Vehicle feel when started up
• Smoothness of engine/motor
The 2021 hybrid earned a perfect NHTSA 5-star overall score in government crash testing. Sonata Hybrid offers virtually everything you might want, safety wise. The e-car’s extensive safety features include:
• Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection (FCA-Ped)
• Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
• Lane Following Assist (LFA)
• Driver Attention Warning (DAW)
• Smart Cruise Control (SCC) with Stop & Go
• Rear Occupant Alert (ROA)
• Safe Exit Warning (SEW)
• Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA)
• Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA)
• High Beam Assist (HBA)
• Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) with 4-wheel disc brakes
• Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with Traction Control Support (TCS) and Brake Assist (BA)
• Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)
• Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) with individual tire indicator
• Power window lock-out button
• Rear child safety locks
• Advanced dual front airbags (SRS) with Occupant Classification System (OCS)
• Dual front seat-mounted side-impact airbags (SRS)
• Side air curtains (front and rear passengers)
• Driver's knee airbag
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.”
REWRITTEN JUNE 2021
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