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Hyundai launches all-new Sonata Hybrid with GDI engine; plug-in hybrid variant coming next year

Hyundai Motor Company unveiled the all-new Sonata Hybrid in Seoul, Korea. The new Sonata Hybrid features an upgraded powertrain incorporating a new hybrid system with a new gasoline direct injection engine that delivers fuel economy of 18.2 km/l (43 mpg US or 5.5 l/100 km). A plug-in hybrid variant—to be Hyundai Motor’s first PHEV—will join the lineup next year. The company also plans to introduce its first dedicated Hybrid model in the second half next year.

The all-new Sonata Hybrid, the result of 27 months of development and an investment of approximately 180 billion Won (US$167 million), is scheduled to launch in major markets outside Korea starting in the first half of 2015. Hyundai Motor targets to sell a total of 55,000 units (Korea: 18,000 / Overseas: 37,000) next year.

141216_All-New Sonata Hybrid (5)
New Sonata Hybrid. Click to enlarge.

In line with Hyundai Motor Group’s target to become a global top 2 automaker in the eco-friendly car market by 2020, Hyundai Motor will expand its eco-friendly line-up in all segments all launched under the Blue Drive sub-brand.

The all-new Sonata Hybrid will make its North American debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month; detailed information of the Plug-in Hybrid version will be also released at the show.

Upgraded Hybrid Power System. The all-new Sonata Hybrid is powered by an efficient Nu 2.0-liter GDI (gasoline direct injection) hybrid engine mated to a 38 kW electric motor (up 3 kW—8.6%—from the prior model). The gasoline engine delivers maximum power and torque of 154 hp (115 kW) and 189 N·m (140 lb-ft), up 4% and 5.5% respectively, compared to the previous model. The 38 kW electric motor also delivers maximum torque of 205 N·m (151 lb-ft).

With the upgraded engine and electric motor, the new model achieves a significant improvement in fuel consumption with the combined rating of 18.2 km/l with 16-inch wheels (17.7 km/ℓ / 42 mpg US / 5.7 l/100 km with 17-inch wheels).

This engine transfers power to the road via Hyundai Motor’s new motor-integrated six-speed automatic transmission. The new unit—launched in October 2014 at the company’s annual International Powertrain Conference (earlier post)—houses almost all of the hybrid powertrain components within the transmission, minimizing energy losses and maximizing fuel economy.

The transmission is fitted with a highly-efficient traction motor, while the torque converter has been removed. A lighter torsion damper, and new engine clutch, which features fewer clutch discs, reduce drag and contribute to a more efficient transfer and use of power.

The most significant change to the new transmission to improve fuel efficiency is within the oil pump system. By removing the mechanical oil pump, which causes hydraulic losses, and replacing it with a new electric oil pump, the transmission automatically optimizes operation according to the driving conditions.

The all-new Sonata Hybrid continues to utilize a lithium-polymer battery pack, now with a 13.3% higher capacity of 1.62 kilowatt-hour (versus 1.43 kWh). The battery has been relocated under the floor of the trunk, allowing for a flat trunk floor, creating a more useable cargo area, 10.5% larger than that of the previous model, with 60/40 split-folding seats.

As implemented in the first Sonata Hybrid, the new model is based on a full parallel hybrid architecture. The advantages of a full parallel system allow Sonata Hybrid to generate electricity captured during low engine loads and regenerative braking system to power the electric motor. When the vehicle comes to a stop and the electrical load is low, the engine will shut down to eliminate idle fuel consumption and emissions.

The all-new Sonata Hybrid features a number of unique exterior design characteristics that distinguish it from non-hybrid Sonata models. As well as creating a unique design, these changes have a functional outcome, an exceptionally low drag coefficient of 0.24 Cd for the all-new Sonata Hybrid, aiding fuel efficiency and stability.

At the front, the larger, more sharply-edged hexagonal grille has a unique inner-grille pattern. The hexagonal grille, a hallmark of Hyundai Motor design, aids cooling and aerodynamic efficiency, while the new, slimline LED daytime running lights and HID headlamps echo the high-technology image.

A distinctive chrome molding at the bottom of the doors helps to accentuate the Hybrid model’s sleek shape. At the rear, the revised, voluminous rear fenders flow into new, high-visibility LED rear lamp clusters. The design upgrades are completed with a unique, low-drag rear diffuser. New, streamlined 16-inch and 17-inch alloy wheels, together with a full underbody cover contribute to reduced airflow resistance.

Compared to the previous-generation Sonata Hybrid, the all-new Sonata Hybrid is longer (+35 mm) and wider (+30 mm), with a longer wheelbase (+10 mm), allowing more interior space for occupants. The belt line that runs the length of the car has been lowered, with a more sharply raked A-pillar to emphasize the generous proportions.

Like its base model, the all-new Sonata Hybrid benefits from improved interior ergonomics, resulting in a completely driver-focused cabin, intuitive interfaces and premium soft-touch materials to ensure a pleasurable journey.

Safety & Convenience Features. The all-new Sonata Hybrid also benefits from new, advanced safety systems including Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Parking Sensors, Blind Spot Detection and Lane Change Assist. In addition to the full suite of passive safety technologies, the car also incorporates a new knee bag to prevent injury in the event of a collision.

Access to the cabin is keyless thanks to a Smart Key, while the trunk can be entered ‘hands-free’ thanks to the Smart Trunk function. In addition, systems have been fitted to optimize driver comfort, including a powered and ventilated seat that has a four-way lumbar support, as well as Heated Steering Wheel and Smart Cruise Control for enhanced driving comfort on longer journeys.

Comments

HarveyD

At 42 mpg together more cargo space, this Sonata will compete favorably with other mid-size HEVs.

It will probably also be offered with a lower price tag.

This may force Toyota and Ford to upgrade their equivalent HEVs.

Nick Lyons

Incremental improvements--the knock on this hybrid has been not-so-smooth hybrid operation and lackluster mileage. Looks like they have been smoothing out the rough edges.

I will be interested to see the plugin version's specs--will they use the same 38kW electric motor? Will it have decent all-electric range?

Alex_C

There is an error in text:
" a 38 kW electric motor (up 3 kW—8.6%—from the prior model)."

The previous Sonata Hybrid had a 30 KW e-motor, so the new e-motor is 26.7% stronger.
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2010/03/sonata-hybrid-20100331.html
Actually the new e-motor power rating was the most interesting thing to me.
I wonder if they will use the same motor for the coming plug-in version. Or perhaps somewhat stronger one, say 50+ kW (peak).

Alex_C

"hexagonal grille has a unique inner-grille pattern. The hexagonal grille, a hallmark of Hyundai Motor design"

New Lexus models also feature a hexagonal grille, nothing unique to Hyundai. Some other elements from the front side remind of Audi, Mitsubishi (Lancer etc) models.

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