From Seoul, Hyundai said today its delayed hybrid version of its revised seventh-generation Sonata model will arrive in major markets outside Korea, starting in the first half of 2015 with a plug-in to follow.
The plug-in Sonata Hybrid variant next year will be Hyundai’s first. The PHEV will be part of a new wave of vehicles between now and 2020, Hyundai says, as the automaker seeks to transform itself into a “global top 2 automaker in the eco-friendly car market by 2020.”
Hyundai also plans to introduce its first dedicated hybrid model in the second half of next year.
As reported in July, the automaker is calling the pre-existing Sonata Hybrid a 2015 model year. The automaker’s official announcement did not specify the new car would be a 2016 model year, but previous reports were that this would be the case.
In any event, Hyundai reports the new Sonata will be fully revised, with upgraded “unique hybrid design” in a spacious, safety oriented, functional package.
Power is by a 2.0-liter GDI hybrid engine mated to a 38-kw electric motor. The gasoline engine delivers 154 horsepower and 140 pounds-feet torque – an increase of 4 percent and 5.5 percent respectively, compared to the previous model. The electric motor is rated 8.6 percent improved, with maximum torque of 151 pounds-feet.
Hyundai says the new hybrid with lithium-polymer battery achieves a “class-leading” combined rating of 18.2 km/ℓ (43 mpg) with 16-inch wheels (17.7 km/ℓ (42 mpg) with 17-inch wheels). The globally oriented efficiency news came from Korea, and did not specify what U.S. EPA ratings will be.
The revised car comes after 27 months of development and an investment of approximately 180 billion Won (KRW) ($164 million), and Hyundai estimates a total of 55,000 units (Korea: 18,000 / Overseas: 37,000) next year.
“The launch of our all-new Sonata Hybrid, with its class-leading fuel economy and powerful driving performance, comes at a time when eco-friendly vehicles are becoming established as a mainstream car,” Mr. Kwak said during his welcome speech today. “Our latest offering, based on one of our best-selling models, underscores our efforts to meet the growing popularity of eco-friendly vehicles around the world.”
Hyundai’s new Sonata Hybrid will debut January at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, and details of the Plug-in Hybrid version will be also released at that time.