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Hyundai Updates Sonata Hybrid, PHEV Sedans

February 08, 2018

Photo of 2018 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid courtesy of Hyundai.
Photo of 2018 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid courtesy of Hyundai.

Hyundai's Sonata hybrid sedans will receive an exterior redesign, new infotainment features, optional safety features such as automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist, as well as updates steering and suspension to improve the ride and handling, Hyundai announced at the Chicago Auto Show.

Many of the updates follow from Hyundai's 2018 Sonata, which debuted at the New York International Auto Show in April.

Hyundai began selling its Sonata Hybrid with the 2011 model year, and introduced the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid for 2015. The plug-in sedan is available only in California and nine other states with zero-emission mandates.

The Sonata Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter Nu GDI four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that houses a 38-kilowatt electric motor and clutch. The transmission uses an electric oil pump that improves fuel efficiency. The vehicle can operate only on electric power up to 75 mph by decoupling the gasoline engine from the powertrain, which is rated to produce 193 horsepower.

The Sonata Hybrid SE should deliver 39 mph in city driving, 45 mpg on the highway, and 42 mpg combined. Total range is estimated at 650 miles, according to Hyundai.

The Sonata PHEV's powertrain is similar, but offers extended all-electric range for up to 27 miles. It can recharge in less than three hours with a level-two charger. It includes a 9.8 kilowatt-per-hour lithium-ion battery pack and 50 kW electric motor. The system makes 202 hp.

New standard safety features include blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist.

The available navigation system has been updated to include a bird's eye map view and HERE HD Traffic, a real-time traffic service that's offered as a non-paid subscription. Qi wireless phone charging is available on models with navigation.

As part of the redesign, the sedans will include a new instrument panel center stack and steering wheel.

The gasoline-electric hybrid will be available by April 1, while the plug-in hybrid will arrive by July 1. The vehicles will be built in Asan, Korea.

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