Hyundai’s 2020 Sonata Hybrid gives you the best of both worlds, with a cherry on top. It shares the sensational styling of the conventional sedan recently launched in New York. It gives you the fuel economy of a hybrid. And six hours in the sun will fully charge the battery.
Although neither the conventional petrol nor the hybrid Sonata is available in South Africa, the 2020 model is such an exceptional car that we have to tell you about it.
Hybrid car style used to be an oxymoron, a mix of bland and ugly. No more! The Sonata Hybrid has the same swooping good looks as the show-stopper petrol model. The only differences are slightly smaller alloy wheels, a smaller rear spoiler, different grille pattern and the roof.
This hybrid has a solar-paneled roof to help charge the battery. This should give you 3.5km travel for free per day. This car still also uses normal charging via the energy generated during braking as well.
Hyundai has released the engine specs for the Korean-market Sonata. This has a 2-liter Smartstream engine with continuously variable valve timing. It generates 112kW (188Nm torque), which is augmented by its 38kW (250Nm) electric motor. Combined they deliver 144kW via a six-speed automatic transmission specifically designed for the hybrid.
The transmission features new tech as well. The Active Shift Control cuts gear shift times by 30%, giving a better driving experience and cutting fuel consumption. It does this by monitoring and matching the engine and transmission speed 500 times per second. This means better acceleration and better than 20 kilometers per liter consumption.
There are several ways that hybrids achieve this excellent fuel consumption. The engine only needs to provide the car’s average power needs, with the electric motor kicking in when maximum power is required. This means a smaller, lighter engine – less weight to have to move. A smaller engine uses less fuel as well.
When a conventional car brakes, the brake friction is converted into heat. That heat dissipates and the energy is lost. A hybrid uses its electric motor as a generator as part of the braking process, converting that energy into an electrical charge for the battery.
While the Hyundai Sonata is not currently sold in South Africa, you have an exciting range of cutting edge cars to choose from. The Hyundai range includes the very popular Hyundai Elantra sedan and the excellent Hyundai Kona SUV.