Since its debut in 2011, the Sonata hybrid hasn’t seen many changes. Since there’s a new standard Sonata out, though, an update for the hybrid was inevitable. Unveiled in Seoul, the new Sonata hybrid made its global debut with a new look, an upgraded power system, and more cabin space than its predecessor.
Hyundai will admit that the Sonata is its best-selling vehicle to the point where it will openly admitted that if the Sonata Hybrid doing well, then so is Hyundai. It’s so important to the Korean automaker that it has spent 27 months of research and fine-tuning to get the hybrid version exactly right.
A hybrid version takes that success and adds a potential fuel economy range of more than 42 mpg. This is done with a 2.0-liter GDI hybrid engine combined with a 39-kW motor. The gas engine produces roughly 153 horsepower, getting a combined output of 204 hp. These are slight increases from the 2015 model that claims 40 mpg and 199 combined hp.
Power is transferred through a new six-speed automatic transmission, which is optimized for efficiency by ditching the mechanical oil pump and opting for an electronic one. This way, operations are automatically optimized, eliminating hydraulic losses.
Related: 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport review
It carries over the same lithium-polymer battery pack from the last generation, but has upped the capacity by 13 percent. The battery has also been relocated to the floor of the trunk, giving owners 10 percent more cargo space in the rear. The new sedan is also an in an inch and a half longer as well as an inch wider than the previous model, so there’s more interior cabin space for people, too.
The Korean automaker will debut the new Sonata hybrid for us here in the U.S. at the Detroit Auto Show in Detroit this January, where we’ll not only see the new vehicle for ourselves, but will also receive detailed info for a plug-in hybrid version that will expand Hyundai’s range of eco-friendly vehicles.