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2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Hybrid, Hyundai, Test Drives


It doesn’t take much to reiterate how hybrid vehicles have become a growing precedence in our current automotive golden age. Every time gas prices increase, hybrid sales follow the same upward trend. For those who desire a fuel-sipping vehicle with a mainstream presence and midsized proportions, there are a select few hybrid vehicles to choose and Hyundai is looking to captivate those seekers with the new redesigned 2016 Sonata Hybrid.


Available in two trim levels, the base Hybrid and Hybrid Limited, the 2016 Sonata Hybrid has been a decent alternative to the well-known and small spectrum of midsized hybrid vehicles. Redesigned inside and out for the 2016 model year, the new Sonata Hybrid Limited finds its way to my garage in an exclusive and unique Graphic Blue Pearl exterior paint job somewhat resembling a crafty putty color that is surprisingly pleasing to the eye. The only other exterior color choice for the 2016 Sonata Hybrid is a nearly equally attractive Seaport Mist. The new sheet metal encompasses unique 17-inch alloy wheels and an updated front fascia with a larger grill exclusive to the Hybrid offsetting its visual appeal from the normal 2015 and 2016 redesigned Sonata trims. Additionally, the reworked front gives way to an exceptionally low coefficient of drag at 0.24, the lowest in its class matching that of the new Tesla Model S.


Having just experienced a drive in the new 2015 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid, I am able to draw a contrast with the new 2016 Sonata Hybrid Limited. In that, I find that the new Sonata Hybrid Limited has much more character to bring to the table along with a hybrid drive system that augments a robust battery storage allowing full electric cruising at interstate speeds. Additionally, the new Sonata Hybrid’s battery extends its automated EV mode to run accessory equipment a lot longer than the Camry Hybrid proving to yield impressive EPA figures at 40 mpg city and 44 mpg highway on the base Sonata Hybrid, while my Sonata Hybrid Limited trim gets 1 mpg less respectfully with 41 mpg combined – potentially due to the slightly added curb weight from additional feature equipment (3,497 lbs. Sonata Hybrid vs. 3,560 lbs. Sonata Hybrid Limited). I saw a steady average of nearly 40 mpg with mixed city and highway driving.

The computer adaptation of the new Sonata Hybrid Limited’s drivetrain puts the 51 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque electric motor in a prioritized order where it aides in acceleration and in parallel with the 2.0-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder gas engine with 154 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque. Working in sync, the total net power output equates to 193 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. Doing the duties of transferring the power to the front wheels is a 6-speed automatic transmission, a setup that isn’t all that common when it comes to popular hybrid systems on the current market. However, it works well.


Use of the 6-speed automatic proves to give more of direct feel for power transmitted to the ground over the common CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) units found in the Sonata Hybrid’s competition. Having the 6-speed automatic, charging takes place through downshifts to a lower gear to spin the engine up to higher rpms. Together, the system works seamlessly, with hardly any notice of power transitions from electric motor to the gas engine. Moreover, the shifts from the 6-speed automatic are barely noticeable but can be a bit sluggish. From an average of our own tests, a dash to 60 mph, taking just over 8 seconds, is nearly a second longer when compared to the Camry SE Hybrid.


In all, the hybrid “Blue Drive” system in the 2016 Sonata Hybrid Limited proves to put the best efforts of Hyundai at the forefront to when jumping back into the mainstream hybrid game. For a company that is relatively new to the nature of midsized hybrid vehicles in America, the new Sonata Hybrid proves to be a marvel to match the competition and potentially exceed them in some aspects. Part of the king-of-the-hill facets starts with the new Sonata Hybrid Limited’s 60/40 split-folding rear seats with a useable pass-through, best-in-class trunk cargo volume at 13.3 cubic feet thanks to the spare-tire-well-installed compact 1.62 kWh Lithium-Polymer battery pack, and the ability to operate solely on electric power at speeds around 75 mph or more through a decoupling of the gas engine from the wheels, as I experienced on occasion.


The mostly soft-touch interior of the new 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited emanates a pleasant taste of luxury appointments with several standard features that are slowly making their way into mainstream midsized sedans. Some of those feature sets found on my 2016 Sonata Hybrid Limited test vehicle include, adaptive full-range cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane change assist, blind spot notification with rear cross traffic alert, auto brake hold, and rear parking assist sensors. The addition of full LED interior lighting, LED tail lights, LED daytime running lights, front ventilated seats, heated front and rear outboard seats, 4-way power adjustable front leather seats, driver’s seat memory, hands-free Smart Trunk (requires you approach the immediate trunk area with key fob in pocket and await an audible alert to open trunk in a few seconds), keyless entry, rear side window sunshades, and a massively-sized panoramic power-sliding sunroof with a fast-operating power sunshade. The latest high-resolution color 8-inch infotainment LCD touch screen and navigation system proved to be very user-friendly and quick to respond to each command.


Backed by a class-leading warranty, giving you a 5-year/60,000 mile full vehicle limited warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited aims to be a dependable purchase. To boot, Hyundai’s latest Blue Link Connected Care provides automatic collision notification with other proactive services for care and maintenance of your vehicle.

Expect pricing of the new 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited, being the top trim level loaded up with the Ultimate Package and all of the trim’s features, to land between $34,000 and $36,000.

Be sure to check back soon for official pricing, which will be reflected and updated with this review.

Copyright: 2015


  • Price: Base Sonata Hybrid $26,000 estimated* / As-Tested Sonata Hybrid Limited $34,000-36,000 estimated*
  • Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder 154 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm / 140 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm – Electric Motor 51 horsepower / 151 lb-ft of torque – Net output 193 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic
  • Wheelbase: 110.4 inches
  • Total length: 191.1 inches
  • Total width: 73.4 inches
  • Total height: 57.9 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-40 inches / 38 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-45.5 inches / 35.6 inches
  • Turning circle: 35.6 ft.
  • EPA passenger volume: 106.1 cu.ft.
  • EPA Cargo volume: 13.3 cu.ft.
  • EPA Fuel Economy: 39 mpg city / 43 mpg highway (Sonata Hybrid Limited)
  • Fuel tank: 15.85 gallons
  • Curb weight: 3,560 pounds

*Price figures were estimated by Official pricing yet to be released. Please check back soon for pricing update. 

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