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The 2011 Sonata Hybrid has a face only a mother could love, but not many can argue with its fuel economy ratings of 37 mpg (city), 40 mpg (highway)
New Sonata Hybrid undercuts similar offerings from Toyota, Ford

Back in late March, Hyundai announced two additional variants of its popular Sonata midsize sedan: the Hybrid and a more powerful 2.0t (turbocharged) model. While the Sonata 2.0t has already hit dealer lots, the Hybrid will soon be making its way to consumers.

Ahead of the official public launch, Hyundai has announced pricing for the Sonata Hybrid. The base price of the vehicle will be a relatively low $26,545 including destination fee. This compares favorably against the Toyota Camry Hybrid ($27,335) and the Ford Fusion Hybrid ($28,990).

The Sonata Hybrid is capable of achieving 35 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway (37 mpg combined). For comparison, the aforementioned Camry Hybrid and Ford Fusion Hybrid are capable of 31/35 and 41/36 respectively.

“Sonata Hybrid offers something new to the mid-size sedan segment, with its segment-leading 40-mpg highway fuel economy rating, differentiated appearance, and incredible value,” said John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and CEO. “Like the 2.4L direct-injected Sonata and the 2.0L Sonata Turbo launched earlier this year, Sonata Hybrid demonstrates Hyundai’s unique approach melding innovative technologies and emotional design into products more and more people want to put in their driveways.”

The Sonata Hybrid uses a 2.4-liter direct-injection gasoline engine that has been modified to run on the Atkinson Cycle along with a standard six-speed automatic transmission instead of a CVT that is traditionally used with hybrids. In addition, the Sonata Hybrid uses a lighter lithium-polymer battery pack instead of the NiMH batteries used in the Camry Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid.

While the base Sonata Hybrid undercuts the competition, a higher-spec "Premium" model will also be available for $31,545. This trim level adds 17" wheels, panoramic sunroof, navigation system, rear backup camera, and leather seating.

The Sonata Hybrid along with the recently introduced 2011 Elantra are some of the first baby steps that Hyundai is taking to reach a fleet-wide goal of 50 mpg by 2025.



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Really?
By eek2121 on 12/17/2010 2:14:02 AM , Rating: 2
Seems like we still struggle to match the prius's benchark gas performance. Why can't anyone match toyota in the MPG wars? Are they really that far ahead? Hell, my 09 civic gets 40 mpg on the highway if i don't speed. Let me know when vehicles can actually break 50 MPG highway while not compromising on size or horsepower.




RE: Really?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 12/17/2010 2:52:00 AM , Rating: 5
Well, it's a conventional vehicle made to be a hybrid instead of a dedicated hybrid like the Prius, so of course it can't match a Prius in mpg. But it does stomp all over the Camry Hybrid which is its direct competitor.

Also, your Civic is a compact. The Sonata/Camry/Fusion are midsize.


RE: Really?
By Lord 666 on 12/17/2010 7:27:46 AM , Rating: 1
Eek just doesn't get it. One example that meets his criteria is the Volt. Yet, eek would say its [too expensive/small/new/unproven/made by gm/insert bs excuse here] and rather drive the status quo 09 compact Civic. This Sonata and the upcoming Passat will be game changers.

While not that extreme, just converted someone in my family from a Sante Fe to TDI wagon. They went from two fill ups per week to three tanks in two weeks. A 1st grader can figure out the break even/ROI on that one.

Hynduai is a smart company and willing to take some risks. That's unlike Honda who have lost their mojo and refuse to use their technology (diesel specifically) because it will be too "expensive."


RE: Really?
By coolkev99 on 12/17/2010 8:52:25 AM , Rating: 3
Well.. in reality it almost always comes down to the money. Auto makers are in business to SELL cars. Most people can't afford a $40,000 car, and those that can probably aren't too worried about the oosts at fill-up.


RE: Really?
By Spuke on 12/17/2010 3:28:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Most people can't afford a $40,000 car, and those that can probably aren't too worried about the oosts at fill-up.
$40k spent on a car =! filthy rich. They care too and most cars in that price range get pretty good gas mileage. With the exception of the Sonata, the gas mileage in this class and the $40k class is the same.

BTW, I think the consumers in the $40k range are the same one's in this cars class. I know plenty of people, myself included, that can afford a $40k car but won't buy one new. Maybe a used one.


RE: Really?
By Cypherdude1 on 12/22/2010 1:09:34 AM , Rating: 2
35/40 MPG for $26,545 to $31,545? Hardly worth it. Look at the Volkswagen diesel specs here:
http://www.vw.com/en/models/jetta/features_and_spe...

You'll see that TDI Clean Diesel gets 30/42 MPG and the cost is $23,000 to $24,100. Of course, it is a diesel so you'll have to gas up around trucks when necessary. I haven't actually looked around to see how easy it is to find diesel.

As I mentioned before, I think Volkswagen is on the right track. Diesels are far simpler than hybrids. Hybrids have both a gasoline engine and an electric motor. Hybrids are more expensive to maintain. Plus, the battery pack must be replaced which is very expensive.

I've rented a number of models for long trips. The best mileage I ever got was from a VW Jetta. Unfortunately, the Jetta I rented, about 5 years ago, was a bit cramped.


RE: Really?
By FITCamaro on 12/17/2010 10:25:14 AM , Rating: 3
Hyundai is a company that copies the good styling of other companies 2-3 years after they debut it. They lack originality in anything.


RE: Really?
By Spuke on 12/17/2010 3:11:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hyundai is a company that copies the good styling of other companies 2-3 years after they debut it.
So what car from 2-3 years ago did they copy with the Sonata?


RE: Really?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 12/17/2010 3:41:04 PM , Rating: 2
I would have agreed with you two or three years ago, but Hyundai is pretty much forging its own design language now.

Azera http://i55.tinypic.com/293g47b.jpg
Sonata http://i54.tinypic.com/9jmaer.jpg
Elantra http://i54.tinypic.com/2lc5mp4.jpg
Accent http://i51.tinypic.com/2v10k5t.jpg
Tuscon http://i53.tinypic.com/2vcbwcg.jpg

They all have brand identity and are pretty much "all Hyundai". Now the Genesis/Genesis Coupe are a bit derivative IMHO.


RE: Really?
By sprockkets on 12/18/2010 6:46:17 PM , Rating: 2
They took some styling cues from the old Toyota Solara with the current Sonata.

Not to mention their buddies at Kia took the Civic design and ran that theme across the line.


RE: Really?
By Samus on 12/17/2010 4:41:53 PM , Rating: 2
Right, it's a conventional vehicle modified into a hybrid, like the Ford Fusion.

However, the Fusion gets better fuel economy and doesn't even have direct injection...so typical sub-par Korean engineering. But they are catching up, and the price is astonishing considering the level of technology in this car.


RE: Really?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 12/17/2010 5:33:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
However, the Fusion gets better fuel economy and doesn't even have direct injection...so typical sub-par Korean engineering.


Not really -- they get about the same mileage. The Ford is better in the city, and the Hyundai is better on the highway -- there numbers are almost exactly reversed. Their combined ratings are near identical.

Fusion Hybrid: 41 city/35 highway
Sonata Hybrid: 35 city/40 highway

So I'm not so sure I understand your "sub-par Korean engineering" statement. And the reason why the 2.4-liter engine has direct injection is because the same engine (without the Atkinson cycle) is used in the standard Sonata which produces 198hp (24 city/35 highway).

The Ford's standard 2.5-liter produces 175hp (23 city/33 highway).

On top of that, the Sonata Turbo's 2.0-liter inline-4 engine produces 274hp (22 city/33 highway) versus the Fusion V6's 263 hp (18 city, 27 highway). It also produces more torque across the entire rev band.

So again, your statements don't make much sense...


RE: Really?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 12/17/2010 6:15:36 PM , Rating: 2
Edit, that should be 36 mpg highway for the Fusion Hybrid.


RE: Really?
By Samus on 12/18/2010 3:14:02 PM , Rating: 3
We will see how reliable Hyundai's direct injection and turbocharged engines are in the long run...Hyundai and Kia have an iffy history when it comes to introducing new engine technology...crankwalk problems when they went to dual overhead cams in the 90's, chronic premature timing belt failures on their variable valves engines in the past decade. I won't even begin with their manual gearboxes...

The best engines ever offered in Hyundai and Kia vehicles were made by Mitsubishi and Mazda, respectively.


RE: Really?
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 12/19/2010 7:13:19 AM , Rating: 2
So when you get called out on false statements, you fall back to the " they must be unreliable" stance. Riiiight.

I doubt they'd offer a 10 year powertrain if they built engines that grenaded. It just doesnt make good business sense.


RE: Really?
By Nik00117 on 12/18/2010 9:03:22 AM , Rating: 2
Ford Fiesta 41 MPG $13,000...


RE: Really?
By phantom505 on 12/18/2010 11:52:12 AM , Rating: 3
I spent $17k on my 2011 Fiesta with more or less all the options there weren't leather or sun roof. Dual clutch auto, SYNC, seat warmers, styling package.

I average 37-38 MPG combined city/highway. It goes drop off if I go into Boston, but even then were talking 33 MPG combined.

Sure it's smaller than this car, but it was also $8k cheaper. If you just need wheels and don't want to drive a POS, Fiesta is a descent choice. It only runs me $520/yr to insure with $100 deductible in Maine, with 1 minor accident. So overall, pretty reasonable on cost to own.


RE: Really?
By Masospaghetti on 12/19/2010 2:42:38 PM , Rating: 2
Your Civic is rated at 34 or 36 mpg highway, depending on the transmission. I don't care what YOU get on the highway, and I don't think anyone else does either. I've gotten 30 mpg in a Ford Explorer, but that's just as meaningless as there's no basis for comparison.

And, more importantly..your Civic is rated at 29 MPG, combined cycle. The Sonata Hybrid is 37 MPG combined, the Fusion Hybrid 39 MPG combined. A big difference for a bigger, heavier vehicle.


RE: Really?
By Fost04mach on 12/21/2010 10:01:41 AM , Rating: 3
My old 02 tdi jetta had no problem doing 50mpg hwy. And 700+ mile range was easily achieved even with city driving mixed in (I averaged 47). That was years ago though, before diesel emissions killed fuel economy...


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