The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid didn’t surprise anyone at the 2010 New York Auto Show, as the South Korean carmaker teased the new model days before it was finally revealed.
Now, the first US hybrid from Hyundai has been detailed, and we can say that the Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry Hybrid do have a few things to worry about. Starting with the powertrain, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid uses the same 2.4-liter inline-four cylinder engine, now running on an optimized Atkinson cycle. Instead of opting for a CVT gearbox to couple the engine and the electric motor (which develops 30 kW or 40 HP), Hyundai opted for a standard six-speed automatic gearbox, with the motor running instead of a torque converter.
This means a total power output of 209 HP and 195 lb-ft of torque. Official fuel estimates aren’t available, but Hyundai is confident the Sonata Hybrid will do 37 mpg on the EPA combined city cycle and 39 on the highway. Also, the company revealed that the model can accelerate up to 62 mph running in pure EV mode.
Two major factors contributed to the performance of the Sonata Hybrid. First off, the low weight. Besides the fact that the Sonata is already a light mid-size sedan, the hybrid model is the first to use a lithium-ion battery pack in the USA (the Volt will be the second). This means a curb weight 3,457 pounds. Secondly, the improved aerodynamics also play a big role. No doubt, you noticed the restyled front fascia of the Sonata Hybrid, as well as extensions to a few other body panels. This means that the drag coefficient has been reduced from 0.28 to 0.25.
Overall, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is looking pretty good as opposed to its competition. The last remaining unknown is the price, which will be revealed at a later time. Until then, check the car out in the photo gallery below.
Photo Gallery: Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
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