Hyundai has introduced its first gas-electric hybrid in the new 2011 Sonata. It will be a very aggressive competitor to other mid-size sedan hybrids like the Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion with its power, light weight materials and technology.
The Sonata Hybrid has made its exterior distinguishable from the base model with several changes. The front fascia is new with LED running lights and low-set fog lights. The body has an all around more aerodynamic shape to help fuel economy. There is also an Active Air Flap that opens to assist in cooling the engine when stopped and will close when the vehicle speeds up to reduce drag. It’s a very attractive design, especially for a hybrid.
The interior hasn’t been too altered for the Hybrid model. The biggest difference is in the instrument cluster. It has an LCD screen that gives the driver information on the battery charge, fuel economy, and its “Eco-Score”. Hyundai has replaced the tachometer with a display that shows when the vehicle can be driven in the all-electric mode. The really impressive parts of the Sonata Hybrid, though, are under the hood.
This vehicle is powered by a parallel hybrid system which allows it to operate on either its electric motor, gas engine or a combination of the two. The Sonata can reach speeds of up to 62 miles per hour, which is faster than any other hybrid in its class. The engine uses a 2.4L 4cylinder Atkinson Cycle and an electric motor that give a combined horsepower of 206. Hyundai opted for a more expensive but much lighter lithium-polymer battery pack which assists in the 36mpg city/40mpg highway rating.
There are some other notable aspects of the fuel saving technology that has been incorporated into the Sonata. The gas engine shuts of when the vehicle decelerates, conserving fuel and allowing the regenerative brakes to recharge the battery. The hybrid uses a 6-speed automatic transmission rather than a continuously variable one to address the many consumer complaints about the insufficient power in highway driving. And lastly, the clutch separates the engine from the electric motor, making a seamless transition between the two modes.
Hyundai has created a hybrid that truly outmatches its competitors. It is more powerful, more capable, lighter and more efficient that many other mid-size hybrids on the market. Bill Dodge Hyundai is Maine’s #1 Hyundai dealer and will have the latest hybrid technology on the lot in no time. Feel free to give us a call to further discuss the Sonata hybrid or stop by to test drive a current model! Our friendly sales staff is here to assist you in all your vehicle needs!