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Hyundai is updating its Sonata Hybrid for the 2013 model year. The mid-cycle upgrade includes a revised powertrain, a lower starting price and the addition of a new range-topping Limited model.

Although the 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid looks the same as the outgoing 2012 model, there are a number of key updates lurking beneath the sedan's familiar sheet metal.

For 2013 Hyundai is updating the Sonata Hybrid's Hybrid Starter Generator to a larger capacity 10.5 kW unit, allowing for a greater charging capacity and therefore a more seamless transition between electric and gas modes. The Sonata Hybrid's electric motor has also been boosted from 30 kW to 35 kW for 2013, which means the car can operate more frequently in electric mode.

To further enhance those improvements, Hyundai has fitted the 2013 Sonata Hybrid with a 47 kW lithium polymer battery pack, up from the 2012 model's 34 kW unit. In addition to being more powerful, the new battery is also more compact, allowing Hyundai to expand the Sonata Hybrid's trunk from 10.7 cu. ft. to 12.1 cu. ft.

But trunk space isn't the only thing that has grown in the 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. The sedan's fuel economy figures are also up, with Hyundai expecting ratings of 36mpg city (+2mpg), 40mpg highway (+1mpg) and 38mpg combined (+2mpg).

Despite posting better numbers than the outgoing car, the 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid will list from $25,650, representing a $200 savings over the 2012 model year.

However, Hyundai is also making it easier to spend more money on the 2013 Sonata Hybrid by adding a new $30,550 Limited trim level. For that extra five-grand you get 17-inch wheels, full-leather interior, heated rear seats, a rear backup camera and a navigation system. The added weight of the Limited package's luxuries do take a toll on fuel economy, however, reducing the car's combined rating to 37mpg.

Both prices exclude a $795 destination charge.

Look for the 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Sonata Hybrid Limited to arrive on dealer lots in the coming weeks.

Hyundai improves Sonata Hybrid for 2013
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