Hyundai wanted to ensure that it doesn’t get left out in the hybridized vehicle game in the United States, and it just took the needed steps by unveiling the extensively redesigned 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.
The redesigned elements on the new 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Sonata PHEV are meant not just to make them more appealing to customers in the United States, but also to complement and optimize the efficiency of their powertrains.
Both the new Sonata Hybrid and Sonata PHEV are fitted with the South Korean carmaker’s 2.0-liter Nu GDI four-cylinder engine that delivers 154 hp of output and 140 lb- ft. of torque, as coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission, as well as an electric motor. However, these Sonata models differ in terms of drivetrain implementation and battery capacity.
While boasting of the same engine, the Sonata Hybrid employs an electric motor that delivers 38 kW (51 hp) of output and 151 lb.-ft. of torque, as well as a 1.76-kW lithium-ion polymer battery – for a total hybrid system output of 193 hp (144 kW). As estimated by Hyundai, the Sonata Hybrid SE returns fuel economy values of 39 mpg in the city, 45 mpg on the highway and 42 mpg combined. Under normal driving conditions, the Sonata Hybrid could travel more than 650 miles.
On the other hand, the Sonata PHEV offers a drive similar to the Sonata Hybrid, but allows the drive to go into an all-electric mode. At 9.8 kWh of capacity, its lithium-ion polymer battery pack is more than five times larger than on the Sonata Hybrid. Instead of the 38-kW electric motor, the Sonata PHEV is fitted with a 50-kW unit, allowing for an EV operation at higher engine load and speed. With a net hybrid system output of 202 hp (151 kW), the Sonata PHEV has an all-electric range of 27 miles (43 km), with a total estimated range of 590 miles.
Thanks to revisions on their exterior design, the Sonata Hybrid and Sonata PHEV boasts of a best-in-class coefficient of drag value of just 0.24 Cd, allowing these models to further improve their efficiency ratings. Changes were made to the front and rear fascias, grille and bonnet, as well as to the headlights, rear lights, front fenders and rear deck lid. The new Sonata Hybrid and Sonata PHEV also come with new 16-inch and 17-inch eco-spoke wheel designs.
LED headlamps – with cornering Dynamic Bending Light (DBL) function -- are optional while LED taillights and daytime running lights are standard. Inside, these new models feature a new instrument panel center stack and steering wheel with the availability of a heated steering wheel and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
In terms of safety, the new Sonata Hybrid and Sonata PHEV come standard with Blind-spot detection with Rear Cross-traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist, while Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Lane Keep Assist are available. Also standard are seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag as well as ABS, Electronic Stability Control, Vehicle Stability Management, a Tire Pressure Monitoring System and Traction Control.
To be built at Asan, South Korea, the 2018 Sonata Hybrid and Sonata PHEV will be available starting first quarter and second quarter, respectively, this year, but only in selected states. The Sonata Hybrid will go on sale in the first quarter of 2018, and the PHEV will be available in the second quarter of the year. The Sonata PHEV will be available in California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont, although customers in other states could place a special order at a local Hyundai dealer.