2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Tops Consumer Award’s Hybrid Category

Winners of this year’s Autobytel & AutoPacific Consumer Awards have been released and the top-rated hybrid car winner is the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

This is the 16th edition of this annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards.

Based solely on input from actual owners—more than 75,000 of them—taken during the first quarter of the year, AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSAs) provide a unique look at which vehicles provide the most satisfying overall ownership experience. Many other awards focus solely on specific aspects of that experience, or the subjective opinions of the media, and can’t identify the vehicles that really satisfy real drivers.

For example, when looking at the top-rated hybrid car in this year’s VSAs, the winner wasn’t the one with the absolute highest mpg ratings. Yes, the main reason people buy hybrids is to save on fuel costs, but, at this stage in the game, people expect that plus all the benefits found in a traditionally powered vehicle, too. And that’s exactly what they get in this year’s highest-rated hybrid car, the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

Part of the equation is Hyundai’s satisfying price tag of $25,850 that is the lowest MSRP of any hybrid mid-size sedan on the market.

The Sonata Hybrid also delivers the highest net horsepower in its class, and, thanks to Hyundai’s “Blue Drive” hybrid powertrain, EPA marks of up to 35 mpg city/40 mpg highway/37 mpg combined. Another Blue Drive benefit comes from the system’s advanced battery technology that relies on polymer gel electrolytes instead of the typical nickel-metal hydride setup. In plain English, the result is a battery that is 25 percent lighter, takes up 40 percent less space, delivers 10 percent better efficiency and can maintain available power for 1.7 times longer than traditional hybrid batteries.

An impressive list of standard content also contributed to the vehicle’s recognition as the highest-rated hybrid car in the 2012 VSAs.

Competitors included the Toyota Camry Hybrid, which was completely redesigned for the 2012 model year, as well as two luxury choices: The Buick LaCrosse eAssist and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. The highest-rated dedicated hybrid was the Lexus CT 200h, which tied the Camry Hybrid for second place in the segment.

The most satisfying EV was the Chevrolet Volt, coming in just a few points behind the Buick and Lincoln.

More information on Hyundai’s win can be found here.

In the Hybrid SUV category, the 2012 Lexus RX 450h was named the top-rated hybrid truck. Showing the diversity of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system, all of the entrants in the hybrid truck category used this advanced technology, but while the 2012 Lexus RX 450h.


  • MrEnergyCzar

    They’ve come a long way with this car. The brand itself was down in the dumps 10 or so years ago…

    MrEnergyCzar

  • nauka

    This is a great car, it looks great. The first hybrid cars were awful, this car looks like limuzine thanks okresy warunkowe

  • Van

    Yes the base price of the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid is 25,900, or $150 more. But its EPA city mileage, 43 is 8 MPG higher and its Highway, 39 MPG is only 1 MPG less than the Sonata.

    Like a lefty poll, perhaps the Sonata owners were oversampled to skew the results. Or perhaps the Sonata delivers better ride. Since the trunk and back seat of the Camry are bigger, it must be swayed by front seat only poll takers.

    Bottom line, lets look at the sales numbers and see the votes based on pocket book criteria.

  • Cleveland_Bob

    I have owned a Sonata Hybrid for 1 year and enjoy the driving experience very much. I am 61 and use the car to get to work in Cleveland, ferrying grandchildren and short trips with the family. The advantages of the Sonata Hybrid over other hybrids are: 1) room – I have limited joint mobility and find that the Sonata Hybrid is the easiest hybrid car to get in and out of. Its interior room is comparable to a full-sized car. 2) smooth ride – on a back country road it drives like aged Sherry. The transmission makes it feel like a quality car (Mercedes) – shifts are precise and imperceivable. After a free computer update the hesitancy at low speeds was resolved. The suspension is an excellent balance between absorbing bumps and holding the road during emergency avoidance maneuvers. This car is happiest driving on back country roads with gentle hills or on an open highway. It is a pleasure to drive. 3) Fuel economy – my overall average had been 42+MPG. My wife who likes to leave the car running when she stops to drop off children or while waiting for our grand kids and who also tends to start and stop quickly gets an overall of 38-39 MPG. So even when driven by someone who is not trying to maximize economy, the mileage has been better than predicted. 4) Braking – aside from recovering energy when stopping the brakes have been very certain and the car remain on a true line when stopping. We have a fair number of deer and this car has avoided several deer that jumped onto the road. The braking and steering combined have worked well in emergency avoidance situations. 5) The electronic proximity detection system works intuitively and the car “talks” to the driver via the chime alerting system. It is virtually impossible to accidently lock the fob in the car. 6) The Blue Tooth system works well to enable true hands-free phone use.
    My wife and I liked the 2011 hybrid so well that we are buying a 2012 so that we do not have drive anything else.

  • Thomasr 1978

    I know its funky these Autopacific awards. But its not the “Best” hybrid car. Its how satisfied the owner is with the vehicle. Totally weird yes.

  • misiek

    I agree with you nowadays the hybrid cars look much better sliding wardrobe doors

  • Jerry

    having bought one of the first hyundai hybrids in north georgia, iin may 2011, the car had a lot of bugs at first and spent a lot of time at rick case, one time almost a month,a loud buzz with warning lights flashing saying battery was discharging, they said after all this time that it was codes, i think the close to straightened out now since i took it in on 8/1/12. the car rides great and has great looks

  • Paul P

    The Camry Hybrid performs significantly better and gets better mileage.

    Although I will admit I like the styling on the Hyundai.