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Winners of this year’s Autobytel & AutoPacific Consumer Awards have been released and the top-rated hybrid car winner is the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

This is the 16th edition of this annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards.

Based solely on input from actual owners—more than 75,000 of them—taken during the first quarter of the year, AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSAs) provide a unique look at which vehicles provide the most satisfying overall ownership experience. Many other awards focus solely on specific aspects of that experience, or the subjective opinions of the media, and can’t identify the vehicles that really satisfy real drivers.

For example, when looking at the top-rated hybrid car in this year’s VSAs, the winner wasn’t the one with the absolute highest mpg ratings. Yes, the main reason people buy hybrids is to save on fuel costs, but, at this stage in the game, people expect that plus all the benefits found in a traditionally powered vehicle, too. And that’s exactly what they get in this year’s highest-rated hybrid car, the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

Part of the equation is Hyundai’s satisfying price tag of $25,850 that is the lowest MSRP of any hybrid mid-size sedan on the market.

The Sonata Hybrid also delivers the highest net horsepower in its class, and, thanks to Hyundai’s “Blue Drive” hybrid powertrain, EPA marks of up to 35 mpg city/40 mpg highway/37 mpg combined. Another Blue Drive benefit comes from the system’s advanced battery technology that relies on polymer gel electrolytes instead of the typical nickel-metal hydride setup. In plain English, the result is a battery that is 25 percent lighter, takes up 40 percent less space, delivers 10 percent better efficiency and can maintain available power for 1.7 times longer than traditional hybrid batteries.

An impressive list of standard content also contributed to the vehicle’s recognition as the highest-rated hybrid car in the 2012 VSAs.

Competitors included the Toyota Camry Hybrid, which was completely redesigned for the 2012 model year, as well as two luxury choices: The Buick LaCrosse eAssist and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. The highest-rated dedicated hybrid was the Lexus CT 200h, which tied the Camry Hybrid for second place in the segment.

The most satisfying EV was the Chevrolet Volt, coming in just a few points behind the Buick and Lincoln.

More information on Hyundai’s win can be found here.

In the Hybrid SUV category, the 2012 Lexus RX 450h was named the top-rated hybrid truck. Showing the diversity of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system, all of the entrants in the hybrid truck category used this advanced technology, but while the 2012 Lexus RX 450h.

2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Tops Consumer Award
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