Without too much fanfare, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has been revealed in Seoul, South Korea, bringing with it a tweaked look about about 10% better fuel economy. The improvements affect more than just the looks and efficiency though.
The on-board battery pack has been increased from 1.43 kWh to 1.62 kWh, but engineers still managed to increase cargo space 10.5%. Power comes from a 2.0 liter turbo churning out 154 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque backed by a 51-horsepower electric motor. An electric fuel pump reduces another source parasitic power loss, and though Hyundai hasn’t confirmed it, this is probably the same drivetrain that the U.S will get.
So what’s it all add up to? One the Korean testing cycle, the new Sonata Hybrid will return 18.2 kilometers of driving per liter of fuel, which works out to about 42.8 MPG. Compared to the outgoing Sonata Hybrid, which was good for about 39.5 MPG, this marks about a 10% improvement, something buyers will appreciate every time they go to the gas pump. That said, it’s not a huge improvement over the 38 MPG Sonata Eco you can currently buy in America. No word on the rumored plug-in hybrid either.
In addition to better fuel economy,the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid gets unique tail lights, a new front fascia, and special front lip spoiler and rear diffuser in a bid to differentiate it from the run-of-the-mill Sonata. But while the new Sonata Hybrid will close the fuel economy gap with competitors, the Korean automaker is also working on a Toyota Prius fighter that will go even further in its pursuit of high MPGs. Don’t forget, Hyundai is also working on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
Hyundai has come a long way in a short time, and they’ve put the industry on notice that they’re here to play with the big boys.