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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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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 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 on 12/17/2010 5:33:40 PM , Rating: 2
However, the Fusion gets better fuel economy and doesn't even have direct 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 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 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.

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