Who knew my first trip to Huntington Beach would be for the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid? I arrived at the Shorebreak Hotel after 11 PM, exhausted and ready to crash. The smell of the salty air, and beachy vibe of the hotel was the perfect atmosphere to relax and unwind. I even had time to explore the area in my new Rainbow sandals from Hyundai before the welcome reception.
The next morning we headed over to Hyundai’s corporate headquarters to learn more about the new hybrid. As I waited for the caffeine to kick in, and the presentation to begin, I wondered how important are hybrids with falling gas prices. Is it possible Hyundai used some of their cutting edge technology to read my mind? Because, before introducing us to the features and specs of the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, we learned about their corporate commitment to the environment.
Hyundai’s new headquarters has a 21% reduction in energy use and received LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
See, it really doesn’t matter whether fuel is affordable or costs an arm and leg, at the end of the day, Hyundai is focused on the impact vehicles have on our environment. With their eye on the big picture, Hyundai is the lowest CO2 emitting automaker, and is also the most over-compliant! Hyundai’s Blue Drive program was created to “develop low-carbon, fuel-efficient vehicles that minimize fuel consumption and reduce CO2 emissions, thereby meeting the social need for both mobility and environmental preservation.”
One of the challenges automakers face is making fuel efficient vehicles attractive. Consumers want their vehicles to look sharp, offer a smooth ride, be affordable, and fun to drive. So, in addition to making the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid more efficient, Hyundai also gave it a sporty appearance. The Sonata Hybrid features a unique larger grille, front and rear bumpers, front and rear lights, Hybrid badging and new eco-spoke alloy wheel designs. With its new appearance, Hyundai achieved a drag coefficient of 0.24, a segment best.
One of the biggest complaints of hybrid owners, less trunk space, so Hyundai placed the battery under the cargo floor. This relocation of the battery gives the Sonata Hybrid best-in-class passenger volume at 106.1 cu. ft.
What Powers The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?
Sonata Hybrid is the only midsize hybrid to be paired with a conventional automatic transmission to achieve a more natural drive feel.
The 2016 Sonata Hybrid has a 2.0-liter Nu GDI four-cylinder engine coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission. That’s right an automatic transmission, compared to the CVT used by the Camry, Fusion, and Accord hybrids. Hyundai estimates the combined fuel economy around 42 mpg, which is a ten percent increase over the previous model. The four cylinder engine produces 154 horsepower and 140 lb. ft. of torque. Driving from Huntington Beach to Torrey Pines, I found the transition from electric power to the combustion engine was smooth, and unnoticeable.
On the instrument cluster, the tachometer has been replaced with a system power indicator, and the engine temperature gauge, now shows the state-of-charge for the hybrid battery. Oh, and for those drivers worried about the life of a battery in a hybrid, the Sonata Hybrid comes with Hyundai’s 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain and lifetime battery warranties.
What Does The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Cost?
Pricing on the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid starts at $26,000 with the Limited $30,100. Add another $4500 for the Limited Ultimate Package which includes safety features like the lane departure warning and forward collision warning, and the Infinity premium audio system. This package also adds my favorite feature: the panoramic sunroof, and an eight-inch nav system.
The Hybrid’s mileage is estimated to be 40/44/42 mpg city/highway/combined. Buyers have seven exterior colors to choose from with Graphite Blue Pearl and Seaport Mist, exclusive colors to the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. On the inside you can stay neutral with beige or gray, or be bold with blue pearl!
Hyundai will also offer the Sonata Hybrid Plug-In, available only in the California-emissions states: California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont. More information on the 2016 Sonata Hybrid Plug-In will be available this fall.