Hyundai debuted redesigned Sonata Hybrid and Sonata Plug-in Hybrid models at the Chicago Auto Show. With a new look inside and out, upgraded infotainment, and re-engineered steering and chassis control, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid are entering dealerships soon.
The new exterior look for the hybrid Sonata models are more refined, with a less accented grille, more dynamic hood lines, and an overall improvement in aerodynamics – now reduced to an industry-leading 0.24 Cd. Fog lamps and daytime running lamps are LED, while the standard headlamps include corner bending features for better visibility.
The hybrid powertrains used in the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in and Hybrid models remains the same, based on a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with gasoline direct injection and a six-speed automatic transmission. Uniquely, the Hyundai system has the electric propulsion components replacing the auto trans' torque converter and clutch with an electric motor.
In the Sonata Hybrid model, the motor is a 38 kW (51 hp) unit powered by a 1.76 kWh battery pack fitted under the trunk floor. The motor and engine combine together to produce 193 horsepower (144 kW) at 6,000 rpm and can drive in all-electric mode at speeds up to 75 mph (120.7 km/h). Hyundai says preliminary fuel economy estimates for the Sonata Hybrid are 39 mpg (6 l/100km) in the city, 45 mpg (5.2 l/100km) on the highway, and 42 mpg (5.6 l/100km) combined with a total range of 650 miles (1,046 km) on a full charge and with a full tank of fuel.
Notably, the Sonata Hybrid does not lose trunk space compared to the standard gasoline models, at 13.3 cubic feet (377 liters) of volume. The split-fold 60/40 rear seats remain intact as well, as does the segment-leading 106.1 cubic feet (3,004 liters) of total interior volume.
In the Plug-in Hybrid model the powertrain is very similar, with the electric motor being a more robust 50 kW (67 hp) version and the battery pack extending to 9.8 kWh in size. Full electric range is extended to 27 miles (43 km) per charge with a three hour charge time at level 2. Total range, with a full charge and full tank of fuel, is about 590 miles (949 km). Hyundai does not have fuel economy estimates for the Plug-in Hybrid model at this time.
Upgrades to the hybrid Sonata models' chassis include a stiffer front anti-roll bar, a more rigid rear trailing arm design and bushings, and recalibrated steering assistance. These should add a more dynamic feel to the drive quality and improve comfort levels to make up for the heavier weight of the electrified vehicle designs.
Updates to infotainment and connectivity include the new next-generation Blue Link Connected Car System from Hyundai. This adds functionality through the Hyundai smartphone app to enable remote start, climate control settings, door lock/unlock and roadside assistance. It also includes the Amazon Alexa and Blue Link Google Assistance app for added connectivity options. Android Wear and Apple smartwatch apps can be integrated into the new Blue Link system, and the Plug-in Hybrid Sonata model also receives the MyHyundai app option for accessing real-time battery charging and control functions.
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid will enter showrooms in the first quarter of 2018 while the Plug-in Hybrid model will enter showrooms in select states in the US in the second quarter. The Plug-in Hybrid will be available for order nationally.
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