Hyundai introduced the Hybrid version of the seventh-generation Sonata at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Sonata Hybrid continues to visually differentiate itself from other Sonata models with purposefully unique wheels and front and rear fascias that improve aerodynamics while highlighting Sonata Hybrid’s advanced technology and efficiency. Hyundai expects the 2016 Sonata Hybrid to improve fuel economy more than 10%. Sonata Hybrid will be built at Hyundai’s Asan, South Korea assembly plant and will go on sale early this summer.
The 2016 Sonata Hybrid features a downsized 2.0-liter Nu GDI four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that houses a more powerful 38 kW electric motor and clutch where the torque converter would normally be found. Sonata Hybrid’s Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device (TMED) delivers the same responsive, engaging driving characteristics Sonata owners expect while improving fuel economy through the use of the larger electric motor.
The transmission has been upgraded significantly since its introduction with the original Sonata Hybrid and now uses an electric oil pump, which helps improve efficiency. It is possible for Sonata Hybrid to operate solely on electric power at speeds up to 75 mph (120 km/h) by decoupling the gasoline engine from the rest of the drivetrain.
Sonata Hybrid’s Nu engine produces 154 horsepower (115 kW) and 140 lb-ft (190 N·m) of torque. The electric motor produces 38 kW (51 horsepower) and 151 lb-ft (205 N·m) of torque. Hybrid system net power is 193 horsepower (144 kW) at 6,000 rpm. Sonata Hybrid is expected to achieve up to 39 mpg in the city, 44 mpg on the highway and have a combined EPA rating of 42 mpg (6.03, 5.35 and 5.6 l/100 km, respectively)—more than a 10% improvement from the 2015 model.
The lithium-polymer battery pack capacity is 1.62 kWh, a 13% improvement, and the battery pack now fits under the trunk floor, which allows for a flat trunk floor as well as available 60/40 split-folding rear seats. 2016 Sonata Hybrid offers best-in-class cargo volume at 13.3 cu. ft., a 10% improvement over the previous Sonata Hybrid, thanks to the compact battery pack dimensions and efficient design. Locating the battery pack beneath the trunk floor gives Sonata Hybrid best-in-class passenger volume at 106.1 cu. ft.