2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid review: Guilt-free excellence

    Not everybody will love these seems.
    Tim Stevens

    How do you’re taking a handsome, sensible, value-oriented household sedan and make it even higher? You dial up the gasoline financial system. That’s simply what we’ve got right here within the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. It takes the brand new Sonata, which we already know and love, slaps in a tech-forward hybrid powertrain after which caps it off with a elaborate, photo voltaic roof.

    LikeCompelling looksGreat array of security tech standardStrong gasoline financial system

    Don’t LikeThose nice seems are divisiveSolar roof solely on Limited

    The end result? An spectacular EPA gasoline financial system score of 54 miles per gallon on the freeway for the Blue trim, up 18 mpg from the sedan, all with none actual detrimental repercussions — apart from the $4,000 upcharge, after all.Visually, little has modified from the usual 2020 Sonata sedan and in my e-book that is a very good factor. I respect that the chrome line operating from every headlight all the way in which again previous the rear doorways won’t be for everybody, however I’m an enormous fan of the automotive’s distinctive seems.

    And in the event you do not like brightwork, I’m sorry to say the Hybrid Limited comes commonplace with the bottom Sonata SE’s chrome grille. While this provides a good bit of pop to the automotive’s ahead presence, I do have a slight choice for the darker grille on the SEL and Limited non-Hybrid trims. Here, that grille has been augmented by active-aero flaps to cut back drag, whereas a petite spoiler sits on the rear deck and a singular set of 17-inch wheels deliver this automotive to the bottom.All that helps the automotive earn a 0.24 drag coefficient, although none of it does a lot to set this automotive aside from its historically powered predecessor. Take a better take a look at the Hybrid Limited’s roof and it is a world of distinction, although. Up there you will discover a tidily built-in array of photo voltaic panels which have a pleasant futuristic depth to them, like in the event you squinted laborious sufficient you could possibly see Kevin Flynn’s Lightcycle carving its approach by way of the sun-catching circuitry.

    The look of the photo voltaic roof is sort of well worth the Limited’s value of admission alone.
    Tim Stevens/Roadshow
    Tron aspirations apart, this roof is claimed so as to add as much as “a couple of miles” to the automotive’s vary after a day sitting within the solar. I’m sorry to say I by no means noticed a rise throughout my testing, however then once more, the week I examined the automotive was within the midst of a very wet, cloudy and usually depressing spring, so I will not maintain that towards the Hyundai. Still, such charging might be superb for long-term parking and the like, whereas actually any exterior increase to the vary is appreciated given this is not a plug-in.

    And how does it really feel on the highway? The base Hyundai Sonata, with the 1.6-liter turbocharged I4, is torquey, clean and, whereas removed from sporty, positively enjoyable to drive. The Hybrid? More of the identical. Here we’ve got a 2.0-liter Smartstream I4 that produces 150 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. That’s mated to a large 56-kilowatt lithium-ion battery pack and electrical motor, which deliver 51 hp and 151 lb-ft to the celebration. Hyundai says mixed output is 192 hp and, whereas the corporate does not quote a mixed torque determine, it is absolutely greater than the 195 lb-ft from the non-hybrid automotive’s 1.6-liter I4. The Sonata Hybrid is robust off the road and throttle response is superb, aided by a six-speed transmission that makes use of a brand new expertise Hyundai calls Active Shift Control. Basically, the automotive displays engine rotation pace and makes use of the electrical motor to make sure the transmission pace matches. This makes up for the shortage of a torque converter and, in keeping with Hyundai, boosts shift pace by 30%.Torque comes from right here.
    Tim Stevens/Roadshow
    I am unable to say I used to be actually speeding the transmission in my time with a Sonata Hybrid, however the shifts are certainly fast and clean, although maybe a bit much less slick than the usual Sonata’s conventional, eight-speed slushbox. The brakes, too, are barely extra harsh, however I truly like that. The regen of this hybrid feels extra like that you simply’d anticipate on a full EV. It’s effectively in need of one-pedal driving, but it surely’s good to know you are sending extra juice into the battery and fewer into heating up the brake discs. On the within of the Limited, there are various nice methods to make use of that juice due to a totally digital gauge cluster, a large, 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with NFC pairing, wi-fi charging and a head-up show. Hyundai’s infotainment software program is fundamental however practical, kindly providing each Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, although sadly neither integrates with the navigation prompts on the HUD. When you are away out of your automotive, Hyundai’s smartphone app permits the same old suite of distant beginning and pre-conditioning capabilities, although you can too remote-start the automotive straight from the important thing — when in vary. Or, you probably have an Android cellphone, you may simply depart your bodily key at residence and use the Hyundai Digital Key.The automotive’s inside has few disappointments, the cream sprint and seats on my automotive pairing properly with the darkish blue inside and gratuitous chrome trim to create a vivid really feel that is sadly uncommon in fashionable automobiles. The supplies are good, the 12-speaker Bose system on the Limited trim is robust and actually the one issues I had, which have been minor, have been with the one USB port for rear-seat occupants and an incapability to fold the 60/40 rear seats down with out first opening the trunk. No scarcity of show area right here.
    Tim Stevens/Roadshow
    The tech continues by way of the driving, with a complete suite of lively security methods commonplace on all Sonata Hybrids, together with adaptive cruise management that’ll take you to a full cease, computerized emergency braking with pedestrian detection, driver consideration warnings and rear-seat occupancy reminders. Step as much as the Limited trim — such as you see right here — and also you get niceties like ventilated entrance seats, LED headlights and inside lighting and a 360-degree digital camera system.And what about crucial facet of the factor, the gasoline financial system? Well I’m sorry to say that I did not fairly meet the EPA’s score of 45 metropolis, 51 freeway and 47 mixed. In my blended driving, which was about 50/50 nation and freeway, I noticed a median of 43.9 mpg. That’s regardless of a lightweight foot and loads of use of cruise management. But, once more, my testing came about over some unseasonably chilly climate. When my colleague Steven Ewing took a equally outfitted Limited for a 100-mile tour round Los Angeles, he noticed 51.3 mpg. Meanwhile, the Blue trim guarantees to do even higher, with an EPA mixed score of 52 mpg. You’ll must make do with a material inside, smaller infotainment display screen and another cuts, however you will save numerous money. The beginning value on a 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Blue is $27,750, plus $975 for supply. Step as much as the SEL — which crucially provides heated seats and some different niceties — and the value goes to $29,900. The full-fat Limited, the one trim with that trick photo voltaic roof, begins at $35,300.

    It’s a considerable premium, however for all the pieces on supply right here and with the drive high quality plus the look of the factor, it nonetheless seems like good worth. For the file, the Sonata undercuts the top-shelf 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid Touring, with its 48 mpg mixed score, by about $1,000.It’s laborious to go incorrect on this ultra-competitive phase and certainly Hyundai’s newest does numerous issues proper. It drives effectively, provides all of the tech, delivers nice financial system and manages to seems unbelievable whereas doing it. The 2020 Sonata Hybrid Limited is an outstanding selection and about as near compromise- and guilt-free motoring as you are going to get lately. 

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