If you own a crossover, SUV or pickup truck and are considering a sedan as a second, or primary vehicle, particularly a hybrid sedan, compare but you’ll forego Honda, Toyota even Tesla as Hyundai offers the best of all worlds with their new Sonata Hybrid Limited sedan.
Hyundai’s Sonata Limited is an advanced hybrid that includes a long list of standard technological features, functions, alerts, even a solar panel roof. All with superb fuel economy, an especially impressive price and the best warranty coverage on the market.
In this its seventh generation, the FWD midsize has eye-grabbing sculpted styling lines with shark eye LED running and headlights, splashes of chrome, all of which meld together to make Sonata look like it’s going 65mph standing still. Even Sonata’s back end is stylish with a trunk spoiler enhanced with diffusers that also appear on the 17-inch cast wheels.
Sonata Hybrid’s 205-watt solar roof panels are used to charge both the 12-volt starter battery and the Lithium-ion hybrid battery pack. According to Hyundai, it adds 2 miles of extra driving range per day.
Sonata Hybrid Limited’s interior is also a work of art. Everything blends ever so attractively and ergonomically. A 10.25-inch touchscreen, with sharp graphics, serves a multitude of functions. It includes the gamut of Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Bluelink, rear/side/front and overhead view camera views, Bose audio with satellite radio and more.
Sonata’s HVAC controls are easy to view and use. And below them is a wireless phone charger.
Most significantly, is the 6-speed automatic transmission shifter buttons, that are supplemented with paddle shifters. Contrary to first thought, acclimating to them was easy and quite enjoyable to use, not to mention the space saved by their design. In reverse gear, a slight beeping occurs to warn pedestrians Sonata is backing up.
A console mounted mode switch offers Custom, Sport, Eco and Smart modes. Sport enhances performance primarily with the gasoline engine. We found though that even in Eco mode, the car is surprisingly quick from a standing stop.
Sonata’s 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster is the best on the market. A circular gauge on the left is the digital speedometer while the right is the hybrid gauge showing Eco, Power and Charge limits. Each will also display a live view when activating the left or right turn signal. This helps alleviate an accident when another vehicle attempts to sneak by from the blind sides. A great innovative feature.
The gauges also do duty as a driver information display by providing a variety of alerts. For example, one message notifies the driver that the engine will shut down in certain minutes when idling. Another gives off a warning chime and note when the driver is distracted and the stoplight changes to green. The message alerts that the vehicle ahead is driving away so get with it before a vehicle behind blows its horn. It will also give notice if the system senses driver fatigue and advises to take a driving break.
Sonata Hybrid is loaded with other nifty features such as a Digital Key that through a Hyundai app, turns your smartphone into a key. It allows sending the codes to family members’ phones so they can open and operate the car. Also included is a key card that affords entry and activation in lieu of using the fob.
Rear seat leg and headroom is ample for two large adults or three tweens with wide opening doors. The seats are heavily padded and comfy.
Trunk space, with hands-free opening, is spacious and rated at 16 cubic feet with 45 inches of depth. Flip the rear seatbacks and depth expands to 79 inches.
Power wise, its 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder with 150-hp and 139 lb/ft of torque couples to the AC electric motor for a total system output of 192-hp. Power gets sent to the front wheels through the standard 6-speed automatic transmission for impressive EPA mileage estimates of 45 city, 51-highway mpg.
As said, acceleration in Eco mode is quick and quiet. Go to Sport mode and the gas engine adds to Sonata’s performance. And the conventional transmission shifts quickly and smoothly. It’s preferred over a CVT trans that most competitors use.
Sonata is exceptionally nimble for a midsize with a 37.5 foot turning radius that makes parking in tight spots a breeze. More so with the three view camera system and 360-degree overhead view.
It’s a smooth and quiet riding sedan. In heavy truck traffic the outside sound was deadened with the windows closed. Cracking them three inches quadrupled the sound.
Handling is positive with some expected body lean in sharp, tight turns. But Sonata’s gas pressurized shocks and self leveling suspension system maintains control.
Standard with the Limited model is SmartSense Safety Technologies. It uses 15 sensors and 5 cameras for Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Blind Spot Collision Avoidance, Rear Cross Traffic, Lane Keeping, Advanced Smart Cruise Control, Highway Driving Assist and Parking Collision Assist systems. All encompassing safety features included on todays high-end luxury sedans.
For all this technology, comfort and economy, Sonata Hybrid had but one option. Carpeted floor mats that added $155 to the base price of $35,300 for a bottom line of $36,430, with delivery.
That attractive price is enhanced with Hyundai’s generous 5 year/60K new vehicle warranty; 10/100K powertrain; 10/100K hybrid systems component; 3/36K complimentary maintenance; 7/unlimited anti-perforation; and 5/unlimited roadside assistance warranties.
Sonata Hybrid deserves your buying attention because it’ll be difficult to find a competitive sedan with all these features and warranties, at this price. The only way Sonata could be better is if it were offered with AWD for us in the Snowbelt.