Sonata Forums banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sonata Hybrid shortcomings don't justify the higher price


Distinctive exterior styling cues such as a larger grille and front and rear LED accent lighting help distinguish the hybrid model from conventionally powered Hyundai Sonata models.


According to Hyundai, more people take a close look at the Sonata than any other car when they’re shopping for a midsize sedan.

No wonder. The Sonata is stylish, performs well, gets great mileage, has a terrific warranty, and is one of the best values in its class.

It’s no surprise Hyundai didn’t skimp when it decided to hybridize the Sonata. It tweaked the styling to ensure the best coefficient of drag in its class. It enlarged the grille and gave it flaps that automatically adjust for optimum airflow.

Hyundai also gave the Sonata Hybrid a high-tech lithium polymer battery pack. The same battery technology found in the sleekest laptops, it produces more power for its size and weight and generally holds a charge longer than alternative batteries.

Hyundai has so much confidence in this technology that it offers the industry’s first lifetime hybrid battery warranty.

The Sonata Hybrid’s six-speed automatic transmission also is unique in its class. Competitors use continuously variable transmissions (CVTs), which generally groan or whine while selecting gear ratios. They often sound like conventional automatics in need of repair.

By combining these distinctive hybrid features with the conventionally powered Sonata’s virtues, Hyundai boasts that the Sonata Hybrid provides a “one-of-a-kind driving experience.”

A week behind the wheel of the Sonata, however, suggested that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

One problem is the Sonata’s braking system, which uses energy generated during braking to help recharge the lithium polymer battery pack. Regenerative braking systems are common to hybrids, and I haven’t experienced one that delivers the linear braking or feel of a good conventional system.

The Sonata Hybrid’s brakes felt worse than most. I never got used to their total lack of feedback or the way they grabbed. The brakes delivered less stopping power than I expected and made it difficult to smoothly stop the Sonata.

Acceleration hesitates, too

And it was often almost impossible to smoothly launch the stylish sedan. A typical start went like this: Step on the gas, wait for something to happen, then slowly accelerate on electric power. Then the gas engine kicks in, and the Sonata Hybrid lurches forward.

Giving it more gas during the start produces an even bigger lurch and a chirping of the tires.



Similar but more moderate herky-jerky acceleration also occurred when the Sonata Hybrid in situations where it changed speeds, such as following the ebb and flow of traffic on the highway and around town.

I’m convinced the problem was with the car’s powertrain – not my driving – because my wife had the same complaints before I mentioned my experience to her. Other auto reviewers and Sonata Hybrid owners have complained about it, too.

There are other times when the Sonata Hybrid’s propulsion system feels smoother and more responsive, and the driver can appreciate its 206 horsepower and 195 pounds-feet of combined gas/electric power. Its six-speed transmission is also a plus; a welcome departure from whiney CVTs in other hybrids.

Nevertheless, my stopwatch clicked off more than nine seconds before the 3,600-pound Sonata could get from zero to 60 mph.

That would seem pretty quick if the Sonata achieved its EPA mileage ratings of 35 city/40 highway/37 combined mpg. But fell short of those numbers during my week of testing, which included a 900-mile, traffic-free round trip on the interstate.

The best the Sonata Hybrid mustered on that trip was 35 mpg, and it averaged around 34 mpg overall for the week.

Despite its acceleration hiccups awkward braking, I enjoyed my week with the Sonata Hybrid. That’s because it possesses most of the conventional Sonata’s endearing qualities.

For example, it’s a smooth and quiet car with upscale comfort. Body lean and moderate understeer prevent it from being mistaken for a sport-touring sedan, but overall handling is nevertheless pretty good.


The interiors, however, are nearly identical among conventionally powered Sonatas and their hybrid counterparts. A non-hybrid is shown here.
Roominess is another Sonata virtue, although both Hybrid and conventional model sacrifice some rear-seat headroom for sleek styling. Hybridizing the Sonata shrinks its trunk from 16.4 to 10.7 cubic feet.


The interiors, however, are nearly identical among conventionally powered Sonatas and their hybrid counterparts. A non-hybrid is shown here.

In hybrid or conventional form, the Sonata represents great value. The Hybrid comes in only one very well-equipped trim level, which includes standard features such as fog lights, alloy wheels, dual-zone auto climate control, keyless entry with remote start, pushbutton ignition and LED taillights.

But you can get many of those features in a conventional Sonata for a price I roughly calculated would be around $2,300 less. Given the standard Sonata’s 24 city/35 highway/ 28 combined EPA fuel economy rating, it would take a lot of miles in the Hybrid to recoup its extra initial cost.

That’s typically true of its competition, too. But until Hyundai smoothes out its braking and acceleration, I’d opt for a conventionally powered Sonata over the hybrid.

***
NUTS AND BOLTS
What is it? 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.
What does it cost? Sonata, offered in only only one trim level, starts at $26,625, including delivery. Test car had both the Leather ($1,500) and Ultimate ($5,500) option packages.
What I liked best: Styling, value, comfort.
What I liked least: Vague braking and lurching acceleration. Important numbers: 2.4-liter, 16-valve, Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder and transmission-mounted, 30 kW electric motor combine for 206 hp, 195 lbs-ft of torque. 6-speed automatic. 110-inch wheelbase. 3,578-lb curb weight. 35 city/40 highway mpg (EPA). 0-60 in 9.2 seconds (stopwatch). 10.7 cu. ft. trunk.

Sonata Hybrid shortcomings don't justify the higher price | lehighvalleylive.com
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
the problem is, most people don't understand the reason for a hybrid is to save you money. if your hyundai costs more to pay for in payments than the normal version would have with the less mpg's then what was the point. you've traded an expense you can drive less to lessen, for an expense that is certain and interest costing. do the math people
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
34 Posts
I've never been a hybrid kind of guy. They are just too expensive for me to justify the gas savings. The only reason to get a hybrid would be to protect the environment. That is a value that you have to debate for yourself. Plus the environment idea alone has been challenged. Hybrids might not be so good for the environment as people think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I bought the 2012 Sonata Hybrid 13 months and 28,000 miles ago. I agree with all of the information above and, yes, I did buy the hybrid for the purpose of saving the environment and possibly saving the money. HOWEVER, a lot of people are drinking the kool aid that Hyundai is handing out. DO NOT BELIEVE the MPG that the computer is telling you. I have checked it since the car was new the old fashion way, by dividing the number of gallons into the miles driven and consistently got 3 to 5 mpg less than the dash computer calculates. That being the case, I am seeing about a 10% improvement in mpg compared to the standard Sonata. By the way, I did buy it loaded (sticker price was $34,000). Other than the falsely stated mileage, I like the car very much!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hyundai is pro at false statements for mileage. It's built into the company.
I can understand why people would be upset about the false mileage claims especially if someone paid a premium for the hybrid version. People pay extra now in the hopes of paying less at the fuel pump for years to come. Not meeting those MPG claims has really hurt Hyundai.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top