The long wait is over for those eager to get their hands on the new MY2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). This new offering from the South Korean carmaker is arriving at select dealerships at a starting price of $34,600 – a competitive price tag for a compelling vehicle powered by an alternative powertrain. Meanwhile, the 2016 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid Limited costs $38,600.
Its plug-in hybrid powertrain is comprised of a 2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder GDI engine and a 50kW electric motor. This system features a total output of 202 hp at 6,000, with the Nu engine contributing 154 hp and 140 lb. ft. of torque.
At 50kW of output, the electric motor on the Sonata PHEV is around 32 percent more powerful than the one found on the Sonata Hybrid (38 kW). Sonata PHEV’s electric motor also enables the vehicle to go all-electric at higher engine load and speeds and offers an class-leading 27-mile All-Electric Range (AER).
Providing juice to this motor is a 9.8 kWh lithium polymer battery system that is around five times larger than the battery in the Sonata Hybrid. This battery helps the Sonata PHEV return a class-leading 99 MPGe combined in charge-depleting EV mode.
Once power is depleted, the battery system can be recharged using an external electric power source through either a Level-One 120V power outlet (less than nine hours) or a Level-Two 240V charging station (less than three hours).
Aside from its core, what also makes the Sonata PHEV an exciting car to purchase is its aerodynamic exterior design and best-in-class interior space as well as its premium features and advanced safety technology.
It offers a wide array of standard equipment – wider than those found in its rivals – including hands-free Smart Trunk, 17-inch Eco-spoke alloy wheels, Dimension premium audio system, Blind Spot Detection System with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and an eight-inch touchscreen navigation.
Of course, the 2016 Sonata PHEV is also laden with several active safety technologies. In fact, the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Limited is equipped with Forward Collision Warning, Automatic High Beam Assist, rear parking sensors and Lane Departure Warning.
Nonetheless, the Sonata PHEV comes with a number of technologies that provide comfort and convenience to drivers and passengers alike -- heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, driver memory seat and power front seats with four-way adjustable driver lumbar as well as Smart Cruise Control featuring full stop capability and electronic parking brake with automatic vehicle hold.
Even if a Sonata PHEV owner is out of the vehicle, he or she still can manage and monitor the mid-size plug-in hybrid through the Blue Link smartphone app. For instance, the sedan’s charging schedule could be managed by setting a certain date and time to take advantage of off-peak electric rates.
The apps also come with a three-year complimentary trial to Blue Link Connected Care with Charge Management. Hyundai is building the Sonata PHEV at its site in Asan, South Korea. It will be shipped for sale to selected states like California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Because of its nature, the Sonata PHEV makes its buyers eligible for a $4,919 federal tax credit, which means that the amount of federal tax they are liable for is now lower. Some states offer additional local incentives like, financial incentives, utility rate reductions and high-occupancy vehicle lane exemptions.
Mike O’Brien, vice president, corporate and product planning, Hyundai Motor America, remarked that the 2016 Sonata PHEV, as Hyundai’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, provides drivers with the power of a conventional engine for long trips and the environment-friendly convenience of all-electric driving. He noted that aside from delivering efficient hybrid operation, the plug-in hybrid system gets rid of range anxiety as it allows the car to drive as far as 600 miles.