Hyundai Developing Substantially Revised 2013 Sonata Hybrid

It’s already two months into the calendar year, and several months since automakers have revealed their 2013 offerings, but Hyundai says it will soon launch a significantly revised 2013 Sonata Hybrid.

The vehicle has been a sportier competitor to the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Ford Fusion Hybrid offering swoopy styling, the best power-to-weight ratio, and a six-speed automatic instead of CVT transmission intended to enhance its fun-to-drive factor. Its 2012 sales of 20,754 units placed it well behind its top-scoring Toyota nemesis which saw 45,656 sales, but the upstart’s presence is felt by the king of hybrids, Toyota, which has pretty well dominated the four-highest spots on the hybrid sales chart, and has had a major head start in this space.

What’s more, Hyundai’s offering ran into trouble in recent months, and the company had to revise its EPA-rated mpg estimates by one mpg downward. Hyundai along with Kia for its Optima Hybrid also set up a fund to compensate disgruntled owners for purportedly over-stated mileage claims.

So, improvements to the Sonata Hybrid could surely be justified, and they may be known as soon as 30-60 days, said Miles Johnson, senior manager, Hyundai Midwest Product Public Relations, but this is only a ballpark estimate.

Even more uncertain is what specific changes will be made. Johnson told us today the company has resisted issuing a press release, is quietly sharpening the Sonata Hybrid’s act, and we will surely be impressed with its substantial re-working. He would however neither confirm nor deny questions about potential changes to aspects such as its parallel hybrid powertrain, interior styling, sheet metal, or anything.

Whatever it is to be, the updated 2013 Sonata Hybrid is being fine tuned in Korea, he said, and the process is a careful one, and no doubt this is a prudent stance given recent issues.

Johnson said to “stay tuned” for further news.