An all-new 2011 Sonata Hybrid has just completed a coast-to-coast journey – from the edge of the Pacific Ocean to an island off the Atlantic Coast of Georgia. The trip covered 2,269 miles and crossed over mountains, deserts and valleys, the Continental Divide and the Mississippi River. Moreover, the Sonata Hybrid covered this distance with a single stop – just to refuel – thereby demonstrating its superb range and fuel efficiency.
Wayne Gerdes, a professional driver who coined the term “hypermiling” to describe techniques employed to maximize fuel efficiency in cars, started the trip in San Diego, California on December 26, 2010. At New Year’s Day, Gerdes arrived in Georgia using only 38 gallons of fuel for the coast-to-coast trip.
Gerdes remarked that as a fan of fuel-efficient vehicles, he enjoyed the challenge of testing new technologies, adding that the feat demonstrates how the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid could deliver impressive fuel economy and range for drivers seeking fuel savings. He added that this was the first time that he drove a car that ‘does it right!’ He noted that the Sonata Hybrid -- driving on the interstate at the posted speed limit -- will surpass or equal its rivals while being larger, roomier, and more comfortable.
Hybrid vehicles have proven to be able to travel long distances, but only in staged demonstrations or controlled environments. However, the coast-to-coast challenge conquered by Gerdes had the Sonata Hybrid driven by himself and in real-world conditions during winter.
John Krafcik, Hyundai Motor America president and CEO, remarked that while drive was little more extreme than what most owners are expected to undertake, the demonstration highlights the range and efficiency of the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. He remarked that while the Sonata delivered some incredible results for Hyundai in 2010, the coast-to-coast drive was a great way to kick off 2011, when the carmaker commences retail sales of the new Sonata Hybrid.
The third member of the Sonata family, the 2011 Sonata Hybrid joins the conventionally powered 2.4-liter gasoline direct injection Sonata. The 2.4 Sonata returns a fuel economy rating of 35 mpg highway rating, while the 274-hp 2.0T Sonata offers 33 mpg highway. The Sonata Hybrid, meanwhile, returns 40-mpg highway rating, as partly made possible by an industry-first lithium-polymer battery technology.
Production of the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has already commenced, while sales are due to begin in January. This mid-size sedan is rated by the EPA to return 35 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, as consistent with North American driving habits. North American drivers usually spend more than 50 percent of their driving mileage on highways.
The groundbreaking new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid employs lithium-polymer batteries and a six-speed transmission. It will be available in two versions: the generously equipped Sonata Hybrid is available $25,795, while well-equipped, technology- packed Premium version is offered at $30,795.
Krafcik quipped that the new Sonata Hybrid is offering something new to the mid-size sedan segment like its distinct looks, 40-mpg highway rating, as well as impressive value. He noted that the three Sonata powertrains shows the carmaker’s distinct approach blending groundbreaking technologies and emotional design into its new products.
Interestingly, the coast-to-coast trip wasn’t the first time that Gerdes produced impressive fuel economy results in a Sonata. Last summer, he piloted a 2011 2.4 L GDI Sonata from Chicago to New York City, consuming less than a tank of gas in the process.