Hyundai Sets $25,795 as Price for 2011 Sonata Hybrid

Hyundai this week announced a price of $25,795 for the base-level 2011 Sonata Hybrid, with the premium package going for $30,795. That means the Sonata Hybrid will beat the Ford Fusion Hybrid ($28,240) and the Toyota Camry Hybrid ($26,575) on price. It already has an edge on fuel efficiency, aerodynamics, light weight, and enjoyable driving.

Fuel economy for the Sonata and Fusion Hybrids are nearly identical, but with highway and city numbers swapped. The Sonata Hybrid offers 36 in the city and 40 on the highway, while the Fusion Hybrid is rated at 41/36. The Toyota Camry Hybrid falls behind at 33/34.

Hyundai believes that its use of a six-speed automatic transmission gives the Sonata Hybrid an edge on driving enjoyment. “There’s nothing specifically synergistic between a CVT (continuously variable transmission) and a hybrid,” said John Krafcik, president and CEO of Hyundai USA, who rode with us during a recent drive of the Sonata Hybrid. Krafcik’s complaint about CVTs is the “non-linearity” between pedal input from the driver, and the sound you hear. On the other hand, with the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Krafcik believes that “you get back exactly what you expect based on what your foot is doing.”

Based on our driving experience, and now the announcement of a compelling price, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid raises the bar for hybrids in a mid-size model aimed for the heart of the mainstream market. It’s the first hybrid for Hyundai (which on a winning streak) and it’s the first affordable hybrid model to use lithium ion batteries. While not as exciting as the first mainstream electric cars being delivered to consumers this week, it offers the promise of hybrid technology being incorporated into the most popular models on the road, and therefore having a major impact on reducing fuel consumption.

The Sonata Hybrid hits dealerships in January. Unfortunately, that’s right after the expected $1,300 hybrid tax incentive will have already expired.


  • Ram Bunctious 1

    pretty good price, but day-um, that’s one nasty looking car

  • Yegor

    Where did you get these prices? Si it with destination charge?
    From official website:
    Toyota Camry Hybrid $26,575
    Ford Fusion Hybrid $28,240

  • Graeme McAllan

    Looks like the new Tesla Model “S”

  • Brad Berman, Editor

    Corrected. I hope.:)

  • lolder

    Actually the eCVT’s have a lot of synergy with hybrids. They are by far the simplest and most elegant solution. Hyundai’s is very complicated with two clutches and automatic transmission bands. In practice it may work well and I wish them luck. They probably didn’t want to license Toyota, TRW or Ford CVT technology. What is special about hearing and feeling a transmission shift 5 times no matter how smoothly.

  • Nelson Lu

    Iolder, it’s probably a “we don’t want to call it a bug, so let’s call it a feature” situation. Certainly I think that the Fusion’s CVT is as smooth as it gets. Obviously, I haven’t driven the Sonata’s 6-speed.

    It will be interesting to see how, practically, it is priced compared to the Fusion and the Camry. The entry price is lower, but we don’t know yet what equipment will be in there. The base Fusion/Camry are both fairly well-equipped, and the “premium” Sonata is priced essentially the same as the fully equipped Fusion/Camry, so there’s no real saving on the top level.

  • majorman

    Good to see some pricing is released. How about colors, trim levels, and such? I was ready to buy one of these cars months ago. I was really torqued by Hyundai pushing back the release date until Jan ’11. http://majorman.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/hyundai-sonata-hybrid-blues/ Can we pre-purchase the vehicle to get the tax credit?

  • 55mpg

    I have been driving a Prius for the last 4 months and definitely agree with Hyundai folks. CVT does not feel right. It has a mushy feeling. You step on the gas pedal and only the engine revvs, the car does not actually take off as you would expect.

  • Timmer

    I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been really excited about this car too, but am frustrated by the delay into 2011. A purchase now to qualify for the tax credit makes really good sense. I would be willing to do that as well.

  • marco

    Mpg55

    You are right the engine noise does not correspond to the speed increase.

    However you have a stronger acceleration in Prius than in any other car with the same horsepower.

  • Pat

    Mpg55

    Prius is designed and tuned to save gas. Law of physics- hard accelaration means use more energy.

    The battery in the Prius has been on the road for last ten years, it is proven to be very reliable. The Hyundai is using the cell phone battery, wait and see. Cell phones battery never last more than 3 years! I throw away my cell phone every 2 to three year, but I can not afford throw my car away every three years.

  • PaulRivers

    “I have been driving a Prius for the last 4 months and definitely agree with Hyundai folks. CVT does not feel right. It has a mushy feeling. You step on the gas pedal and only the engine revvs, the car does not actually take off as you would expect.”

    lol, that’s only true if you went from a performance v6 or something to a Prius, and has nothing to do with the transmission and everything to do with the fact that the engine is more fuel efficient but has less power.

    My Buick Century with a v6 that I had before the Prius (hey, needed something cheap out of college) was far worse than my Prius for acceleration. You hit the gas, the engine made a lot of noise – nothing much happened for a couple of seconds until the engine finally decided that yes, it was actually going to apply some power after all.

    For better or worse a lot of cars are built this way nowadays. My dad didn’t like the Honda Pilot for similar reasons. It had a v6 and a “traditional” transmission. But you pressed the accelerator, then it took a couple of seconds before the car applied any real power. My Prius is actually better in this regard – when I hit the accelerator at low speeds the car actually moves forward, it doesn’t have that lag.

  • PaulRivers

    “I have been driving a Prius for the last 4 months and definitely agree with Hyundai folks. CVT does not feel right. It has a mushy feeling. You step on the gas pedal and only the engine revvs, the car does not actually take off as you would expect.”

    lol, that’s only true if you went from a performance v6 or something to a Prius, and has nothing to do with the transmission and everything to do with the fact that the engine is more fuel efficient but has less power.

    My Buick Century with a v6 that I had before the Prius (hey, needed something cheap out of college) was far worse than my Prius for acceleration. You hit the gas, the engine made a lot of noise – nothing much happened for a couple of seconds until the engine finally decided that yes, it was actually going to apply some power after all.

    For better or worse a lot of cars are built this way nowadays. My dad didn’t like the Honda Pilot for similar reasons. It had a v6 and a “traditional” transmission. But you pressed the accelerator, then it took a couple of seconds before the car applied any real power. My Prius is actually better in this regard – when I hit the accelerator at low speeds the car actually moves forward, it doesn’t have that lag.

  • Nelson Lu

    55mpg, you can’t compare the Prius, which has a nowhere-as-powerful engine. Try the Fusion Hybrid with its 191 HP rating; I’ve found that, effectively, it accelerates faster and smoother than the Fusion 3.0L V6 (not Sport, which has a 3.5L V6), which is rated at 233 HP.

  • TJ

    Did you know the battery in prius (I own 2010 Prius) is NIMH which is a laptop battery? My laptop battery barely lasts couple of years. The key to long battery life is how you charge and how you drain it. Prius system is designed to drain significantly below the total capacity and with a fan cooling system keeping the battery temperature in check. Lithium polymer, aka LiPo is also a proven technology and with a right management system, it will outlast NiMH batteries.

  • Anonymous

    “Try the Fusion Hybrid with its 191 HP rating; I’ve found that, effectively, it accelerates faster and smoother than the Fusion 3.0L V6 “

    According to CR (and it’s not only CR, you can look at MT, or C/D or IL)
    0-60mph
    Fusion 2.5 I4 9.6 sec.
    Fusion hybrid 8.9
    Fusion 3.0 V6 7.8

    Prius 10.6 sec.
    Camry hybrid 8.5

  • R_L_R

    I have driven my Hyundai Sonata Hybrid for a about 1,000 miles. The car is excellent. My impressions/experiences are:

    Appearance – the striking lines and sleek contours evoked completments from my friends and family. The car even turned the heads of parking attendants and co-workers in the parking lot.

    Ride – The ride is very smooth, yet controlled. The car absorbs road bumps, which are aplenty in Cleveland, yet maintains excellent control and feel in curves and during avoidance maneuvers. Braking is very sure and controlled – the regenerative braking system that recharges the battery does not compromise function. In an emergency braking situation the car braked without pulling to either side and I felt in full control of the car. I had read prior owner comments that earlier Sonatas tended to pull to the left. I have not experienced any tendency for the car to pull to one side during driving or braking. I have driven about 1,000 miles. So far the tires have good gripping and are quiet.

    Interior – The interior is very well appointed. The switches are where they should be and they are easily accessable. The car is designed to enable the driver to keep an eye on the road at all times. The standard Bluetooth enables the driver to keep vision on the road while receiving and making calls, The voice interface enables you to utilize the phonebook from your phone to conveniently make calls. The head, leg, hip and shoulder room are excellent. The access for entering and leaving the care are also excellent – this was particularly important for me because with knees that do not bend well, I need a car to have a large entry profile. The motorized driver seat is extremely comfortable and its controls are intuitive.
    FueL economy – I am getting 40-42 mpg in city driving and 45+ on the highway. The car will cruise using the electric motor up to about 60 mph, albeit for about a mile or so before engaging the gas engine to run the car and recharge the battery. The instrument display enables one to learn how to drive more economically.

    Comments about the dealer – At 60, I am not a kid and have dealt with many different dealerships and salespersonnel in my life. I found the professionalism of the staff of Rick Case Hyundai in Bedford, Ohio to be excellent. The salesperson that I dealt with, Chuck Ardary, went out of his way to accomodate special needs that I had. He gave excellent advice in the selection of an appropriate vehicle. He did research to find appropriate shops to provide add-ons that I needed. I greatly appreciate that Mr. Ardary coordinated the process of providing me with a car that met my needs. Hyundai Sonatas and Elantras are selling as fast as the dealers get them, often folks order vehicles in advance due to their high demand. In spite of what is a “sellers” market, Chuck provided a good deal. I am very happy with the Hyundai Sonata hybrid, it has the features that I wanted, and due to Mr. Ardary, no more

  • wes

    Like R_L_R above i’m very satisfied with my hybrid. I have only put on about 200 miles since I bought it last month but I have enjoyed every one of them.
    I agree the car turns heads, has a muscular apprearnace from the front, the front head lights and fog light are nicely sculpted into the body. At night the headlamps and tail lights are really srarp, very distinctive.
    I’m getting 35mpg around town, keep a light pedal, kind of a game I play trying to keep it on EV (electric) as much as possible. Stero, AC, Blue Tooth are great.
    I’ve been very gentle but on a few occassions where I fell like pushing it I’ve found it to be quite powerful and handles fast turns exteremely well.
    The exterior fit and finish are perfect, no flaws at all.
    The interior is quiet and comfortable, though my passengers complain they ride too low.
    The instrumentation is easy enough but sometimes I have to reemember to watch the road and not thr MPG display.
    All in all I’m very impressed with this car, my 1st Hyundai, and am looking foward to getting it’s full life from it.

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  • Shelleynicole

    I own the blue 2011 sonata hybrid and I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT! Very comfortable to drive, can’t tell when it kicks from battery to gasoline! So quiet and I wouldn’t give it up for anything! Best decision I have ever made!