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374 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I didn't write whats below, but I thought it was interesting enough to post on this forum! Good post for newbs like me.

Frontal styling, less glitzy than that of the conventional models, is unique to the hybrid

Car tested - 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Body style - Four-door sedan
Engine - 2.4L-4 (166 horsepower gas engine, 206 horsepower combined)
Transmission - Six-speed automatic
Base price - $29,999
Price as tested - $29,999.

Market Fact
The Kia Optima hybrid shares the Sonata's platform and running gear.

This Sonata is Hyundai's first hybrid and the first full hybrid to the market powered by lithium-ion batteries.

Key Competitors
Kia Optima hybrid and Toyota Camy hybrid.

Aerodynamic side skirts and bumpers give the hybrid a certain "low-rider" allure. Alloy wheels are designed to cheat the wind as well.

Unless the driver seeks a spirited getaway, the Sonata hybrid launches from a stop under electric power accompanied by much more characterful "electrical" noises than made by other hybrids. Once it reaches roughly 25 kilometers per hour, the gasoline engine comes on stream to help the car gather speed until driver attains his or her intended velocity, at which time the car resumes full electric operation for a time. The APA's test car would slip into full electric mode even at highway cruising speeds. The transitions from one operating mode to the next take place very smoothly, but a slight hesitation can be felt at around-town speeds when gentle acceleration is called for. The Sonata hybrid generally wafts along with impressive serenity and is a very relaxed cruiser. When maximum performance is called for, the
gasoline engine and electric motor run in tandem to provide brisk acceleration, accompanied by a shrill soundtrack from the gasoline engine at high revs.

Other full hybrids (vehicles that can move solely under electric power) employ continuously-variable transmissions to get power to the road; the Sonata uses a conventional six-speed automatic. This transmission removes a level of "weirdness" felt by many hybrid drivers, which is often caused not by the high-tech hybrid technology, but the operation of the CVT. Unlike the U.S. built Sonata, which has a suspension system tuned to impart a feeling of agility, at the expense of ride comfort, the Korean-built hybrid exhibits the smooth ride characteristics that were once a Hyundai hallmark. That said, handling, while predictable, is unenthusiastic, and the car feels ponderous on the road. Dull dynamics
are not helped by steering that lacks feel, and requires uneven levels of effort while turning under different conditions.

The Sonata's brakes can shed speed quickly, but the regenerative braking (which captures braking energy and sends it back to the batteries), is grabby and unpleasant to use.

Visibility is better than the small side windows and low seating position
would lead you to expect.

The electric air-conditioning compressor, which operates when the gasoline engine is stopped, works very well. Excellent audio system. The Bluetooth function is easy to set up, but would not maintain a connection with all cellphones.

The Sonata hybrid employs numerous aerodynamic tweaks, including a new front with active grille shutters, new rear fascia, deeper side skirts (below the door openings), and low-drag alloy wheels, which combine to reduce the co-efficient of drag from the good 0.28 achieved by the conventional model to a remarkable 0.25 for the hybrid.

The driver is faced by two crisply -marked gauges. The one on the left contains fuel and engine temperature read-outs, as well as an Eco meter that indicates how economically the car is being driven in gasoline mode, or that the gasoline engine is off when operating in full-electric mode. A speedometer and odometer occupy the right pod. Between the two sits an electric battery-charge readout as well as a graphic panel that has several possible displays, including a welcome screen that is visible while an annoyingly cheesy start-up tune plays each time the car is started. The dash centre-stack looks formidable on first glance but is in reality quickly mastered and easy to deal with. The cabin features abundant soft-touch surfaces, convincing faux alloy touches and some piano black accents, but it doesn't look particularly luxurious.

The front seat cushions are a bit shorter than expected in a car this big, but the seats prove comfortable enough. Rear passengers enjoy plenty of legroom, and the seat itself is sufficiently comfortable despite a less-than-ideal backrest shape.

With a large storage bin in the centre console, big door bins, a lidded bin at the base of the dash centre-stack and a small glovebox, the Sonata offers abundant nooks and crannies to store the detritus of modern motoring.

The lithium-ion battery pack takes up a chunk of trunk space, and you lose the versatility of folding rear seats, but enough trunk remains for the annual family vacation if you pack carefully.

Crisply-marked gauges flank a digital readout with battery charge indicator and various trip computer functions. The theme tune that emanates from the readout on start up becomes tiresome very quickly

Dramatic dash architecture stocked with logical controls

Though the lithium-ion battery pack takes up some space, the trunk is still roomy
New hybrid vehicle, not rated. The conventional Sonata is rated above average. Five year/100,000 km bumper to bumper warranty, with eight years/160,000 km on the entire hybrid system.

The base hybrid is comprehensively equipped and the Premium package contains over $6000. worth of equipment for $4500.

The Sonata hybrid is equipped with frontal, seat-mounted side and side-curtain airbags. The Sonata was rated Good in the IIHS frontal, side and rear impact tests and Good for the roof strength test. Standard ABS and ESC.

Aerodynamic rear fascia different from that of the conventional models

Market Comparisons
The chief competitors for the Sonata hybrid are the hybrid versions of the Kia Optima and the Toyota Camry, which, like the Sonata, are mainstream sedans equipped with hybrid powertrains. The base Sonata hybrid is priced nearly $5000 higher than a base 2012 Camry hybrid, with the gap shrinking to around $1500 for fully-optionned cars. The MSRPs of the Optima Hybrid
and Sonata hybrid are so close that price will not be a factor in a purchase decision. Monthly finance payments (60 months with $0. down), for the base Sonata hybrid are roughly $15. per month less than they are for the equivalent Optima. Leasing is not offered on the Hyundai.

34 Posts
Pretty excited for the Hybrid model of the Sonata. Lithium batteries pack much more punch and can hold charges in colder temperatures but they are more unstable then other types of rechargeable batteries. For sure the firewall around the battery would have to be beefed up just for safety. Are there any video reviews yet?

374 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Pretty excited for the Hybrid model of the Sonata. Lithium batteries pack much more punch and can hold charges in colder temperatures but they are more unstable then other types of rechargeable batteries. For sure the firewall around the battery would have to be beefed up just for safety. Are there any video reviews yet?
Lithium batteries are unstable? I have yet to hear bad things about these batteries. How are they unstable?

Nearly most of the electronic's i have use lithium ion batteries, even my DSLR camera, no issues.
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