2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: A lot going for it

6 Jan 2016 | 1,093 views | No Comment
 Dress it up in black, add some snappy wheels, and the Hyundai Sonata looks like --and acts like--the perfect limousine for the "Green is Good"  crowd. [caption id="attachment_7956" align="alignnone" width="640"]2016 Sonata Hybrid 2016 Sonata Hybrid[/caption] First and foremost to that constituency, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is  plenty economical--fuel economy is up 10 percent and the car now has a combined rating of 42 miles per gallon (compared to only 38 combined last year)  40 city and 44 highway, both up from the previous model. Better economy is  the result of a number   of improvements to the hybrid power system. Those improvements include an engine that  is reduced in size, and needed improvements to the transmission were also made.  The car now has an electric oil pump, which helps with gasoline mileage too. And finally there were revisions made to the electronic powerplant component in the hybrid power system. It sure looks good too with a clean, futuristic front end design that is not shared by gasoline powered Sonatas. It has unique styling elements front and rears that are not shared with gasoline Hyundai Sonatas, like its beautifully clean-lined front end and grille design. Our test model was a top of the  line Limited model, though you can also buy a less expensive SE version too.With the price you get 16 inch alloy wheels, full power brakes, seats, and windows, automatic headlights, fog lights, LE daytime running lights and taillights, dual zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition and entry,  rear view camera phone and audio connectivity. Spring for the Limited, and you will have as standard equipment such as larger 17 inch wheels, xenon headlights, auto-dimming rear view motor, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise controls and other items. One feature to single out is the easy-to-use upgraded Blue link system that offers emergency assistance, automatic collision notification system and if you order the Ultimate package in your Limited, you also get rear parking sensors, a forward collision warning system and a lane departure system warning system. Secondly, it is lavishly equipped--I cannot think of a single thing you can get on a luxury car that was not included on my test example. And this comes at a price that is thousands upon thousands less than luxury cars.  And the Sonata Hybrid is quieter than most, and is quite lovely to drive, too. And finally, with its sumptuous interior, and lovely features like a set of controls for climate options and other things in the rear seating area, and he fact that the rear seat has plenty of stretch out space,  it's hard to miss the way Sonata can really pamper you. Power comes from  a downsized 2.0-liter Nu GDI four-cylinder engine coupled 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, company officials say. . 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, company officials added. Sonata Hybrid can operate only  on electric power at speeds up to 75 mph by decoupling the gasoline engine from the rest of the system. Sonata Hybrid’s Nu engine produces 154 horsepower and 140 lb. ft. of torque. The electric motor produces 38 kW (51 horsepower) and 151 lb. ft. of torque. Hybrid system net power is 193 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. Sonata Hybrid SE is expected to achieve an estimated 40 mpg in the city, 44 mpg on the highway and have a combined EPA rating of 42 mpg, which is more than a ten percent improvement from the 2015 model. The lithium-polymer battery pack capacity is 1.62 kWh, a 13 percent 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. Company officials say that the 2016 Sonata Hybrid offers best-in-class cargo volume at 13.3 cu. ft., a 10 percent 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. Safety-wise, 2016 Sonata Hybrid comes standard with seven airbags, including a While the Sonata Hybrid isn't a particularly strong handler around corners and turns---there is a tiny bit of  body lean....it still is very composed in most driving conditions.   All 2016 Sonata Hybrids equipped with navigation will also support Pandora® and SoundHound applications as well as “Eyes Free” Siri integration, which allow drivers to perform a variety of functions without taking their eyes off the road. Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto will take smartphone integration to the next level on the Sonata Hybrid later this year.

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