2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review
- Engine: 2.4 liter Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder plus 270-volt lithium polymer battery
- Horsepower/Torque: 206.2 hp @ 6,000 rpm/194.4 lb.-ft. @ 0-6,000 rpm (max total)
- Transmission: 6-speed automatic
- Wheelbase: 110.0 in.
- Length x Width x Height: 189.8 x 72.2 x 57.7 in.
- Tires: P215/55R17
- Cargo: 10.7 cu. ft.
- Economy: 35 mpg city/40 mpg highway/35.0 mpg test
- Fuel capacity: 17.2 gal.
- Curb Weight: 3,550 lbs. (approx.)
- Sticker: $31,650 (includes $720 inland freight and hand ling charge, $5,000 hybrid premium package. $100 carpeted floor mats, $35 iPod cable
Five reasons to buy this car:
- This is a damned nice car
- Good size
- Good power
- Excellent economy
- Very good handling
The Bottom Line: I’ve said it before; there are two kinds of hybrid cars: those that look like hybrids and make a statement and those that look “normal” and only make a statement to the owner/driver. The Sonata Hybrid looks like a standard Sonata, which ain’t that bad. It has all the power you’d want, all the comfort you’d want, plus outstanding economy, and all at a reasonable price.
In its normal configuration, with a gasoline engine powering the front wheels, the Hyundai Sonata is a nice car. It has excellent design and performance with good interior space.
As a hybrid, thought, it’s a damned fine car. It has all the attributes of the “standard” Sonata (less a bit of cargo capacity) and adds excellent fuel economy. We averaged 35 mpg in our test and felt that was excellent, since we didn’t drive any differently than we normally do. Unlike the hybrid legend, my around-town mileage is always lower than my highway mileage. It must be me – on the highway, my indicated mpg went from 28-35 mpg; around town it stayed around 35. These are all good numbers, but I feel cheated, and it’s not just the Sonata.
Besides the economy, the Sonata Hybrid has very good handling on nice back-country winding roads. We had a lot of fun with this car. There are also excellent brakes, which is nice because we encountered a couple of idiots on the road whose apparent goal was to kill us.
The Sonata has semi-generic mid-size styling with a Sonata character line running along the side. The character line wraps around to the rear and the tail lamps become a part of it before the right and left lines intersect above the license plate. The door handles are part of the character line. Therefore, the front and rear handles are at different angles. The only concession to hybrid-ness is that all the badges are either blue or have blue backgrounds.
Inside, the instrument panel is fairly normal. There’s no tachometer, but there are “hybrid gauges.” There’s a fuel economy gauge and an “eco” gauge between the hybrid gauges and the speedometer. The fuel economy gauge is fascinating as you watch the number climb higher and higher. Sometimes you forget to watch the road.
The front seats are comfortable. The rears have good leg room. I would have expected better, but we were driving alone before we put a passenger back there, so we may have pushed the seats back further than normal. The passenger didn’t complain, but it did appear tight.
We enjoyed the sound system, which consisted of AM/FM/CD/SAT/USB/AUX. We used the satellite and the USB/iPod connection primarily. The USB plug-in is at the base of the c enter stack in a cubby.
Like Audis, there are cool LED driving lights that warp around the headlights with a curly-cue at the bottom.
My biggest complaint with the Sonata Hybrid (and my only complaint really) is that when you push the start/stop button, it’s hard to tell when you’re live. I finally noticed the “ready” light on the dash and that eased my tension.
You won’t be disappointed if you consider the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. You get great styling in the mid-size mode, very good comfort, and great economy.
© 2011 The Auto Page
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