2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid Review

Sonata Plug-In Hybrid

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2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid Overview

Hyundai has decided to take the plunge into plug-in hybrid technology by debuting its brand new Sonata Plug-In Hybrid for the 2016 model year. Like the regular Sonata Hybrid, the 5-passenger Sonata Plug-In Hybrid is a midsize commuter- and family-oriented sedan that gains all the styling and feature upgrades its fully gas-powered Sonata sibling received for 2015.

Additionally, each 2016 Sonata Hybrid iteration gets a new hybrid-dedicated 4.5-inch driver information display, with the Plug-In Hybrid variant further boasting new-for-2016 BlueLink apps to control, for instance, charging stop/start times, length of charge time, and remote operation of climate control and defrost functions. Both the 2016 Sonata and the upgraded 2016 Sonata Hybrid are covered as separate models.

At the heart of the 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid’s eco-prowess is a 2.0-liter direct-injected (DI) inline 4-cylinder (I4) powerplant mated with a 50-kilowatt electric motor that’ll put out 202 total hp and more than 140 total lb-ft of torque. This nifty plug-in gas/electric system will be managed by a 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission that’ll allow it a class-leading 22 miles of all-electric cruising range on a full plug-in charge (at moderate speeds).

The plug-in rechargeable 9.8-kilowatt-per-hour (kWh) lithium polymer battery, meanwhile, can, of course, be juiced up via either the gasoline engine (and regenerative braking) while on the road or by simply plugging it into a 120-volt household outlet. Recharging time for a totally depleted battery using the standard 120-volt system runs about 5 hours, but hooking up to an available 240-volt system cuts recharging time to approximately 2.5 hours. Meantime, mileage is estimated at an eye-opening 38 mpg city/43 highway/40 combined. It should be noted, by the way, that all of the above numbers are offered by way of the Korean automaker’s hoopla-draped introduction of its new plug-in hybrid 4-door at the 2015 North American International Auto Show.

Features-wise, expect the 2016 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid to sport virtually all the bells and whistles of its regular hybrid counterpart, which comes in both a Base trim and an up-featured Limited version. There are hints, however, that the 2016 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid might be delivered in a single trim based on the gasoline-only Sonata’s flagship Limited version.

Should this latest Hyundai plug-in be offered in the single upscale variation, look for standard perks such as the abovementioned Bluetooth-interfaced BlueLink infotainment and the hybrid-dedicated BlueLink driver information monitor (known in Hyundai-land as the Hybrid Performance Display), as well as 17-inch alloy wheels and leather-trimmed upholstery. Further standard cabin features are slated to include full power accessories, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, keyless entry and ignition, full power accessories, cruise control, and telescoping tilt-wheel steering.

Additional standard bling is expected to include upscale and unique cabin appointments, a rear-view camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. Look as well for such standard entertainment features as a single-CD player with 6 speakers, satellite radio, HD Radio, and an auxiliary audio input.

As for options, an available Premium package, boasting such extras as a glossy exterior finish, a panoramic power sunroof, GPS navigation, upgraded Infinity premium audio with 9 speakers and a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment display, is expected to be the only noteworthy extra-cost add-on offered for this unique Hyundai sedan. Trunk space, by the way, is claimed by Hyundai to be a hefty (for a plug-in hybrid) 13.3 cubic feet.

Look for the debuting 2016 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid to carry the usual complement of safety equipment, including 4-wheel antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head airbags, LED daytime running lights, and front fog/driving lights. Additionally, look for turn-signal-integrated mirrors to come standard, as well as a remote antitheft alarm and BlueLink emergency alerts and communications. Oh, and these emergency telematics will now include programmable speed- and audio-volume-limiting technology similar to Ford’s teen-oriented MyKey system. Furthermore, this fuel-miserly brand new 4-door plug-in hybrid will doubtless arrive eligible for such new-for-2016 safety options as lane-keeping assistance, front-collision warnings, and rear cross-traffic alerts.

Finally, the 2016 Hyundai Plug-In Hybrid sedan is scheduled to adorn dealer showrooms late in the 2015 model year, but, alas, only in the states of California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.


Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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