Hyundai Unveils New Sonata Hybrid and Sonata Plug-in Hybrid

Hyundai had two new hybrids to share with the crowds at Detroit’s North American International Auto Show: the next-generation 2016 Sonata Hybrid and the all-new 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid.

Both sedans use the same platform as Hyundai’s seventh-generation Sonata, but the two hybrids stylistically separate themselves from the gas-only model with unique aero elements and wheels.

For 2016, the newest generation of the Sonata Hybrid keeps a four-cylinder blueprint, but steps down from the previous 2.4-liter Atkinson cycle engine to a 2.0-liter Nu GDI engine. Completing the hybrid’s powertrain is Hyundai’s Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device: a 38-kw electric motor combined with a six-speed transmission.

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The smaller engine pulls the power down slightly from the previous year’s net 199-horsepower to 193-horsepower. This is had by a 154 horsepower gas engine and 51 horsepower from the electric motor with peaks arriving at different points, thus the 193 horsepower figure.

Hyundai estimates that fuel efficiency will improve by more than 10 percent for the new Sonata Hybrid, with a combined rating of 42 mpg. The sedan is estimated to get 39 mpg in the city and 44 mpg on the highway.

Its new 1.62 kwh battery has been relocated under the trunk floor, giving a boost for storage space. The Sonata Hybrid’s electric motor has the ability to stay engaged up to 75 mph.

Hyundai said sales on the 2016 Sonata Hybrid will begin in early summer, 2015.

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Later this fall, the Sonata Hybrid will be joined by the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid, Hyundai’s first PHEV. Both sedans share the same naturally-aspirated gas engine, six-speed automatic transmission and exclusive paint options of either Graphite Blue Pearl or Seaport Mist.

The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid uses a 50 kw electric motor and a 9.8 kWh lithium polymer battery, for the ability to drive up to 22 miles on all-electric power. With a larger electric motor, the PHEV’s system has a higher power rating of 202-horsepower.

The EPA has not yet published its fuel evaluation, but Hyundai estimates the PHEV can deliver 93 MPGe in electric mode. When driving in charge sustaining mode, the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is slightly less efficient than the Sonata Hybrid, at 40 mpg combined (38 mpg city, 43 mpg highway).

Hyundai hasn’t published price estimates yet for either the Sonata Hybrid or the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid.