Overview & Reviews
To create its Sonata Hybrid, Hyundai started with a modified version of the Sonata's conventional four-cylinder engine and six-speed transmission, then sandwiched an electric motor in between them. Supplying electricity is a lithium-polymer battery pack that's lighter and more compact than traditional nickel-metal hydride batteries. The result is lively performance along with high fuel economy numbers. Some rival hybrids offer even better mpg numbers, however, so we suggest checking out a couple other midsize hybrid sedans before you make a final decision.
Current Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
At the core of the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid midsize sedan is a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain that features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine producing 159 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque, combined with a 35kW electric motor. Together they produce a peak of 199 hp. Power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control.
The EPA estimates Sonata Hybrid fuel economy at 38 combined. However, in Edmunds fuel economy testing of both the Sonata Hybrid and the mechanically similar Kia Optima Hybrid, we found that both fall a few mpg short of these estimates. Meanwhile, its competitor hybrid sedans are substantially more efficient.
The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has two trims levels: base and Hybrid Limited. Base standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, automatic headlights, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Blue Link telematics and a sound system with a USB/iPod interface. The Limited's added perks include 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a navigation system and an upgraded sound system. The Hybrid Limited also offers an optional panoramic sunroof.
The Hybrid's interior is virtually identical to the regular Sonata's, save for the typical hybrid display that monitors the gasoline-electric powertrain and coaches the driver on how to drive in a more fuel-efficient manner. Both front and rear seats offer adult-sized legroom, although there's slightly less rear headroom than most rivals due to the sloping rear roof line. The quiet cabin and quality materials add an upscale quality. But as with most hybrids, the powertrain's battery pack eats into the available trunk space, reducing it from 16.4 to 12.1 cubic feet.
The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid uses a modified six-speed automatic in lieu of a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that's common to other hybrids. Some drivers may prefer this, as it provides a more familiar feel as it works its way through the gears. Many hybrids have been characterized as having unusual, less-than-smooth acceleration, but the Sonata Hybrid's less advanced hybrid system (especially the six-speed automatic transmission) makes it feel more like a regular car. The brakes, on the other hand, require more acclimation than normal for a hybrid sedan and drivers may dislike the especially unorthodox feel. We've also found the Sonata Hybrid's ride and handling to be not as sophisticated as the class-leading hybrid sedans from Ford and Honda.
Used Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Models
The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid debuted as a 2011 model. The following year brought the Blue Link telematics system. Potential buyers should note that these earlier Sonata Hybrids were prone to occasionally shuddering while accelerating at low speeds as well as having an even more clumsy, uneven braking feel.
For 2013, those issues were addressed with upgrades to the powertrain and battery pack. That year also brought a bump in trunk capacity, from 10.7 cubic feet to 12.0 cubes. Other than slight feature differences, such as lacking a rearview camera and a touchscreen audio interface, these post-'13 Sonata Hybrids are similar to today's version.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 120.00
Hyundai still the best bang for the buck! - 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
By kevin chung - July 26 - 9:06 am
Looking for a good fuel economy car to replace the CT200h. Need 40mpg+ in NYC traffic (CT did 42mpg average); comfortable seat with lumbar support; and a full speed (stop&go) adaptive cruise control (best thing for a daily 2 hours stop and go traffic!). That left us with Toyota Prius Four, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid, 2017 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and Audi A3 e-tron. Prius feel about the same to our CT with less comfortable seat and ugly styling. Ford Fusion ride a little too bumpy and interior design seem old. Both Fusion and MKZ have nonlinear brake pedal that feels odd. A3 is of course very European while comfortable. Sonata doesn't drive as impressive as A3 but Sonata is very quiet and the ride is very comfortable without being floaty. A3 got kick out because additive cruise only available on Prestige trim which cost $46k+ msrp plus it feels even smaller than our CT. Between the Sonata and MKZ we were able to get the loaded Sonata Ultimate for $27500 while MKZ would be at least $13k more so drive home the Sonata! The value is unbeatable; 40mpg average so far; huge sunroof sunroof, cooled and heated seat + heated steering + heated rear seats, Android auto, much more usable trunk (no hump and a full folding rear seats), 10yrs warranty with lifetime on battery, and no more CVT drone!
Just like riding in a boad - 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
By elias7 - July 4 - 6:38 pm
Bought brand new 2013 sonata hybrid ltd and been driving it for 18 months. Drove many different brands in the past, (BMW, Mercedes, Honda, Toyota, GM, Nissan, Ford). This car has very poor driving dynamics, it rocks back and forth, nose dives too much on road imperfections and during braking. Gas pedal is very irresponsive, almost dangerous when you're trying to clear an intersection at orange lights. Braking is too harsh when you first touch the pedal then fades to very poor when pressed hard. Panoramic room creaks, even after 3 attempts from dealer to fix. Seats are very uncomfortable on trips longer than 2 hours. needs alignment every 20k. Not that good on gas. car makes you dizzy.
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid 2011 - 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
By tlowery - June 24 - 4:25 am
I purchased one of the first 2011 models in July 2011. I am VERY satisfied with the car in general including the fuel economy. I recently made a 1,000 mile trip driving 68 mph and averaged 40.2 mpg. Around town I average 37 to 38 mpg. I drive to maximize the fuel economy by accelerating mildly from stops. The only negative is the seat comfort. The seats are hard and the passenger seat sits too low. Seat comfort is very important; so important that Hyundai must improve before I will consider another one. The 2012 models have a lifetime warranty on the drive-train; whereas, the 2011 models have a 10 year, 100,000 mile warranty. Hyundai should retroactively upgrade 2011's.
Surprising Value - 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
By Rick Belz - April 11 - 8:13 am
My wife and I had been looking at sedans, not particularly hybrids. We had narrowed it down to Accord, Fusion, Subaru Legacy Sonata and Optima. We finally decided to drive them, and went to the Hyundia dealer to drive a Sonata Limited. I was most interested in the Limited with the Ultimate package because it had just about everything on it that the car I was trading in had. The car I was trading in was a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland. We did not want to give up the heated and ventilated seats and the Sonata with the Ultimate package had those. Plus the Sonata with the Ultimate package has all of the up to date safety tech. Most people don't realize that the Accord with Honda Sensing does not include Blind Spot Monitoring. I definitely wanted that feature. Anyway we where in talking to the sales person after driving the Sonata Limited and my wife was looking around the show room and came back with a brochure for a Sonata hybrid. So we started talking to the sales person about the hybrid and he insisted that we needed to drive one because the driving experience was different. To make a long story a little shorter, we loved the hybrid and wound up buying a sliver one. What I really like about the hybrid are a number of things; it is very comfortable to drive and ride in and it is very quiet. The safety tech is very nice especially the SCC (Smart Cruise Control), I find myself using that feature all of the time. I only have about 300 miles on the car and I'm already getting around 44 mpg in mainly suburban driving. It seems to have plenty of pickup, although with only 300 miles on it I haven't really put that to the test yet. Plus with the drive modes, if you want more performance you can choose Normal or Sport. We live close the mountains just outside of Denver and I have had it on some winding mountains roads and it handles the curves very well. The only complaint that I have is that it does not have Apple Carplay. But I hook my iPhone to the USB port and that and the Bluetooth works well.
Flashy sales pitch, poor result - 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
By redrockrover - April 8 - 4:36 am
Leased this car on the premise of great features together with great MPG. Traded in my old gas-guzzling SUV for "great" gas mileage. First tank lasted 550 miles, I was elated. After that my MPG has been taking a dump. I was quite surprised because my driving style is very cautious, even boring. My lowest whole tank average gas mileage at fill up was 16mpg. Absolutely pathetic, I should have gotten a truck. Got sold on comfy seats and sticker MPG. I expected the mileage to be less than sticker but not like this. If you live anywhere that gets cold, and you don't do lots of long distance driving, avoid this vehicle like the plague. I am counting the days until it disappears from my life.
So Far SO good - 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
By MikeM - January 18 - 1:48 am
Really enjoy it. My first hybrid, so I'm still getting used to the braking feel. The hybrid system is seamless and the balance between power and economy is excellent. The car has a very premium feel. The ride is smooth and steering feels consistent. The vented seats work great, and the climate control is strong and flexible. Back seat comfort is high and plenty of room for two passengers with a car seat. Trunk is sizable. I opted not to get the Ultimate, but sometimes wish I had for a better touchscreen, the panoramic roof and some more safety bells and whistles. A few nits: my driver's side window will freeze half way up and head back down; sometimes it takes a few cycles of up and down to get it to close properly. The Limited (no Ultimate) touchscreen is SMALL and doesn't pack a lot of info. The clock and compass are far out of normal drivers sight lines. And I haven't been able to get the driver's seat consistently comfortable. Overall very happy, and would definitely recommend. I chose this over a Mazda 6, which was a close second
My Hyundai - 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
By david - September 16 - 6:09 am
BMW > Best Mileage We Got !!!!! - 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
By Guy Aveck - August 31 - 11:23 am
Looked for a Poor Mans Tesla > This is pretty darn close . GREAT MILEAGE 40-45 MPG *600 Mile range per Tank . Very Quiet. Great Acceleration in sport mode , Is this really a Hyundai ???? SE has lots of pluses Cruise /Tilt / PW/ PL / Hands Free Truck Release / Bluelink service lets me allows me to receive directions via my Iphone , Kinda like GMs @onstar 3 months free , then a yearly fee . Lotz a Room . Im 6.4 . So Far So Good . Is This Really A Hyundai ???????
Like the car BUT... - 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
By hasbro_t - August 28 - 8:31 pm
I like my Sonata but to give an honest sober review I have to start off saying it is not as billed on the showroom floor. Sticker mentioned 37 MPG city when I bought it. I live in an area that gets well over 100 degrees in the summer and bought the car in June 2011. This meant I used the A/C quite a bit. Right out the door with the A/C on and learning the feel of driving for economy I was getting about 25 mpg in the city month or so. I did find however that with no climate control (or only turning it on when at cruising speed) and feathered driving I could get the 37 mpg after a while. Any AC from dead stops and that dropped to 32. Hyundai learned of the MPG issue and issued a software change that was intended to fix it. On a routine service I had them update the S/W and Hyundai sent me a $50 gift card for my trouble. I thought that was a good gesture, particularly since it did nothing to delay the normal service anyway. After the S/W update the best MPG I can get is about 32 but on the bright side, it wasnt effected by the climate control as badly. I recently took it in for another service and the repair order mentions another S/W adjustment and now I havent been able to maintain an MPG above 29 Two software updates, two declines in gas mileage. Havent had it back long enough to determine all the impacts of the change. I might ask to see if they can set it back to original factory defaults. Additionally, I have also experienced the problem mentioned in a couple of the below posts with the lurching. When it was new, when stopped at red lights, if the gas engine clicked on at the stop, the car would lurch in a way that on a couple occasions, I looked into my rear view to see if I was rear ended. Also, once when accelerating to pass a vehicle on the freeway, when I pressed the accelerator, the car actually momentarily slowed rather than increase speed immediately. Again, this was at a point when it was running on EV mode and the accelerator caused it to shift to gas engine and the transition was not smooth and responsive, and potentially dangerous as noted in below posts. That only happened once and I dont know if one of the S/W changes addressed it but Hyundai does need to acknowledge that issue. That all being said, it sounds like a negative review and maybe it is but, at the end of the day, I do like my Sonata. It is comfortable for me, has a reasonably smooth ride and I knew when I bought it that this was the 1st model year of the Hybrid and I expected it as such to be working out some issues. Im sure the 2013 and beyond will have addresses much of these issues and become more refined. With the differences in the software I have had, I can see why these reviews are all over the map. I suppose if I were to be honest to someone looking for a Sonata, I would tell them to look at the regular gas model first as really, the title Hybrid in the 2011 is really just a novelty rather than a benefit and Hyundai is making good somewhat with gas cards for the mileage discrepancy.
This is the One! - 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
By fakeid - July 24 - 12:49 am
I purchased my Sonata last weekend and so far its amazing. Currently, I'm averaging 37mpg. The price was significantly lower than competative hybrids and it's extremely well equiped. i previously owned a 2005 Sonata and it was the best car I ever owned. I'll check back in a couple of months and let you know if I'm still thrilled with my purchase.