11 Mar 2016 | 861 views | No Comment
It is the policy of Automobile Journal to run more than one article on a particular car in the interest of giving a variety of viewpoints to consider. This is a road test of the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid by veteran auto writer John Heilig.
2016Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
ECONOMY: 39 mpg city/43 mpg highway/33.9 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 15.9 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,560 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Mazda6
STICKER: $35,765 (includes $825 delivery, $4,840 options)
BOTTOM LINE: Hybrid or not, the Hyundai Sonata has everything you’d desire in a mid-size car; comfort, decent performance, good looks and great fuel economy.
          I have driven several Hyundai Sonatas over the past years and have enjoyed every mile. The Sonata Hybrid is quiet, has decent power, and handles very well over winding and straight roads. It also has excellent cargo capacity, thanks to the hybrid batteries being relocated to the trunk, and an exterior design that doesn’t make you ashamed to drive it down the road or park it in your driveway.
          Like all hybrids, the Sonata offers quiet operation. I’m still not accustomed to pushing the start/stop button and hearing nothing. But even under power, the Sonata is quiet.
          Handling is very good. We took the car on a long winding road and I kept looking for paddle shifters to enhance the experience. I could have simply used the shifter and put it into manual mode and pushed it up or down to upshift or downshift. Even so, I kept constantly creeping up on the cars ahead of me.
          There are three drive modes – ECO, normal and sport. We kept it in normal most of the time, with occasional switches to ECO.
          Front seats are comfortable. They have a memory, but they start off far away from the wheel and move forward when you switch it on. For me, the headrest was in an ideal position for use as a headrest, adding to the comfort level on longer rides. All too often, manufacturers seem to put headrests in what I find to be unusable locations.
          The heated rear seats offer very good leg room. There is some side support to the rear seats, which adds to their comfort. Additionally, with the batteries under the trunk floor, there is a flat floor in the rear allowing for improved middle passenger comfort. The rear seat backs also fold flat to extend the cargo capacity. The seat back releases are in the trunk.
          The instrument panel is relatively simple. There is a central speedometer with a “Hybrid” gauge on the left showing power use and economy. Besides overall economy, it also gives you trip economy, like how well you did going to the grocery store.
          The audio system offers the usual multiple choices. We chose either Sirius XM or iPod this time. But there are also AM/FM/CD and a bunch of others that you can access through BlueLink. At the base of the center stack is a large cubby with USB, two 12-volt plugs and AUX.
          Even though exterior conditions didn’t challenge it much, the HVAC worked well. There is an abundance of choices, plus heated or cooled seats.
          The center screen’s default mode was a map and audio. We could go deeper into either by touching the screen or working through the menu function.
          I liked the steering wheel-mounted controls for audio volume and cruise. They are like toggle switches and are very simple to use.
          Overall, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is a great car to drive. The base Sonata is no slouch, but throw in hybrid technology and you get vastly improved economy.
© 2015 The Auto Page Syndicate

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