When Hyundai first introduced the latest version of its mid-sized Sonata last year, I was taken aback by how much better it was than the previous “YF” generation Sonata Hybrid. The 2015 Sonatas I drove were a major leap forward, then, but they still fell short of competitors like Honda in a few, small, and annoying ways. The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, though? It’s almost like Hyundai actually read my review(s) of their 2015 Sonata and used them as checklists for 2016. As such, I’m almost forced to admit: the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is every bit the equal of Honda’s Accord or Toyota’s new Camry Hybrid.
In some ways, it’s even better.
It’s the Little Things That Make it Good
The bump in interior quality between the pre-production 2015 Sonatas I drove at Hyundai’s press event last year and the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid was massive. About the 2015s, I wrote that, “the more ‘upscale’ Sonata Limited (which featured a leather-wrapped steering wheel and ‘wood’ panels) … felt so chintzy and awful and fake-looking and embarrassing that it made me miss the rubbery, plastic feel of the rubberized plastic wheel in the base SE (model).” On the 2016 Hybrid, I feel exactly the opposite. The dark wood, even if it’s fake, looks great. The pale leathers and gorgeous, panoramic sunroof create a light, airy, and luxurious feeling.
Every surface that I touched inside the 2016 Sonata Hybrid felt expensive, and the fine details- like the cavernous phone storage area in the center console that swallowed both my HTC M8 and my iPhone 6 Plus- were excellent. The sun shade in the rear doors, however, deserves to be singled out for its excellence. In a world where the much more expensive Lincoln MKT is fitted with an ineffective sort of square sunshade that barely covers 70% of the window, Hyundai’s efforts to provide rear seat passengers- mostly young kids- with a shade that covers almost all of the rear window should be applauded. “You can’t argue with the little things …” said the wise and beloved super villain, Hank Scorpio. “It’s the little things that make up life.”
It’s little things like a well-designed rear sunshade and Hyundai’s clever Assurance guaranty that will make the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid stand out as a very solid option in the 40-and-over MPG field. I promise.
2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid | Final Thoughts
I only got to drive the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid for a few days (basically Friday-Monday), which is why I went with “Speed Dating” in the title. That said, the car left a solid impression on me and the Mrs. Over the course of 120-ish miles, the car never squeaked, never rattled, and never did anything untoward. Would the Sonata Hybrid’s low rolling resistance tires turn into a death trap in Chicago’s snowy winters the way that Toyota’s did to the 2015 Camry? Probably- but you get the sense, in the Hyundai, that a set of capable snow tires would make all the difference.
In short, I really enjoyed my little “speed date” with the new Sonata Hybrid. Here’s hoping I get to see it again real soon.
Original content from Gas 2.