2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Updates Include More Electric Range

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2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

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Hyundai has announced full details for its updated 2013 Sonata Hybrid.

With pricing starting from $25,650, $200 lower than the outgoing 2012 Sonata Hybrid, the new model also gets up to 6 percent better gas mileage and a increased driving in electric-only mode.

All Sonata Hybrids use a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder Atkinson cycle gasoline engine. This sends power through a six-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels.

Improved powertrain

Hyundai has made tweaks to ensure the Sonata Hybrid makes use of its electric powertrain more often.

An improved 47 kW lithium polymer battery pack is more powerful and more energy dense than that of the old car, and lighter too--weight has been cut from 92.4 pounds to 87.8. The smaller pack has also liberated 1.4 cu.ft. of trunk space, now at 12.1 cu.ft.

The pack's improved efficiency means more power can be harvested from regenerative braking and from the engine, meaning more electric power when you need it. The higher-output electric motor also helps boost gas mileage, letting the engine work a little less hard and allowing the car to generate more electricity when decelerating.

An updated Hybrid Starter Generator improves charging capacity and engine starting. Hyundai also says the combination of these upgraded components reduces friction, and therefore wear, in the 6-speed transmission.

Exterior styling is largely unchanged, but some aerodynamic changes reduce the 2013 Sonata Hybrid's drag coefficient to only 0.24--one of the lowest on the market.

The upshot of these changes is combined economy of 38 mpg on the Sonata Hybrid and 37 mpg on the Limited trim level, which features a higher, less economy-orientated specification. Both models get city mileage of 36 mpg, and 40 mpg highway.


The 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid starts at $25,650, plus a mandatory $795 delivery fee. Standard features include 16-inch Eco-spoke alloy wheels, keyless entry, heated front seats, Bluetooth, Hyundai Blue Link telematics and more.

With $30,550 plus $795 delivery to spend, you can get the Sonata Hybrid Limited. This features a wheel upgrade to 17-inch Eco-spoke alloys, leather seats, wheel and shift knob, navigation, a backup camera, HD radio and more besides. A panoramic glass sunroof is a $1,000 option.


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Comments (16)
  1. I once read a product design book that said you could tell the failings of an old product by what is in the marketing of a new product.

    So in the 2013 Sonata hybrid, it is interesting that they are talking up the added power (not energy) of the new battery pack. The new one is 47 KW (63 hp) and the old one was 34 KW (46 hp).

    This suggests to me that the old battery pack was too small to accelerate the car fast enough and as a result the ICE was turning on more often than is optimally efficient.

    It is also possible that the low power of the battery meant that the regen braking energy was sometimes going to waste because the pack could not absorb the energy at the high rate it comes in from braking.

    Hopefully a step forward here.

  2. Usually the Koreans are very good at imitating the Japanese and recently surpassing them in some areas of new vehicles. So it is surprising that Hyundai would start off w/ their first hybrid w/ an automatic transmission. CVT is more efficient and time tested/proven in hybrids such as the Prius n Camry hybrid. Dumb for Hyundai to go w/ an automatic in their hybrid. Hell, Nissan n now Honda are using CVTs more n more in their non-hybrid vehicles for the better mpg n smoother ride.

    With all those good improvements to the 2013 Sonata hybrid, they still fall short of even meeting the current Camry hybrid's mpg numbers. Although this new Sonata hybrid may drive better. Seems like a good value car though w/ all u get.

  3. @Erik: Hyundai, along with other carmakers (VW Group, Daimler, BMW), has chosen to tuse an adapted conventional automatic transmission because it's far less costly than designing and tooling up for a two-motor hybrid-specific transmission as do Toyota, Ford, and now Honda.

  4. Short term thinking there John. Those three brands you listed either don't sell hybrids here now, their hybrids are not competitive in efficiency, and/or their hybrid offering is brand new this year(Jetta).

    Trying to sell inferior vehicles is far more costly then trying to be the best in class in efficiency, ride, reliability, etc. which a cvt will help a hybrid vehicle attempt to do...usually. Toyota has done it well n Honda has not...before this year.

    It's not a question of if but when Hyundai n the others will install cvts in their hybrids...this decade or the next.

  5. @Erik: The first VW Group hybrids have been on sale in the U.S. for a couple of years (Touareg & Cayenne Hybrids), the Jetta Hybrid (rated at 45 mpg) is just now here as you note, and the three ActiveHybrid BMWs are now on sale as well.

    AFAIK, Hyundai does not use CVTs anywhere. It is, however, one of only four carmakers globally to build its own six-speed automatic, and it intends to exploit that at least in the near term.

    For the record, Toyota's "CVTs" in their hybrids are eCVTs, not the conventional sort. That is, they use a planetary gearset to combine power among 2 motor-generators, the engine, and the wheels--which I'm sure you know. We try to distinguish the two on GCR.

  6. Hyundai decided to build a hybrid drivetrain using a conventional transmission because Toyota and Ford owns something like 200 patents on the power split device hybrid transmission.

    Because Hyundai uses the clutch system to independently engage/disengage both the electric motor and gas engine from the drivetrain, it's sufficiently different from Honda's IMA with its permanently-engaged electric motor, to minimize patent conflicts.

    Though I like the simplicity of the Ford/Toyota system, I have to hand it to Hyundai for engineering their clutch-driven hybrid system and making it workable despite the complexity.

  7. An even simpler method would be to add a couple of Protean wheel motors in the rear wheels to seperate the hybrid system from the conventional drive at the front.
    Before anyone mentions unsprung weight check out what Lotus has found while researching this.

  8. Thanks for the reply Forest. I assume your info is correct but every review I've read for this vehicle relates that the automatic transmission does not work well in the Sonata hybrid with frequent bad transitions between the two propulsion systems.

    Hyundai should have just bite the bullet n lease the hybrid cvt tech patents from Toyota for this gen Sonata hybrid till they develop their own hybrid/ev cvt.

  9. @Erik: With respect, Hyundai is about as likely to be able to license Toyota hybrid tech as GM is to buy VW. Toyota is said to fear Hyundai more than any other global automaker, and its licensing deals have largely been to second-tier automakers (Nissan perhaps excepted).

  10. Stats are still not that impressive, but probably more realistic than Ford's. The EV top speed doesn't matter that much, but EV RANGE does matter. That's where the Volt shines. I'm currently getting 44 miles of range on a charge.

  11. I don't understand. A '47 kW lithium polymer battery pack'? Even if there was a typo, most likely a decimal must've been forgotten, still, a 4.7kW battery is more than the Plug-In Prius' battery.
    If there isn't one, please, someone correct me.

  12. I felt the same way. 47KWh is almost twice the size of Leaf's battery... NOT likely.

    Even at 4.7KWh, it is a large battery pack for Hybrid...

  13. They are talking about the power (KW) of the battery. Hyundai didn't report on the energy (KWH) of the battery.

  14. "An improved 47 kW lithium polymer battery pack is more powerful and more energy dense than that of the old car"
    Oh, wait, is that peak power of the battery pack or the energy content?
    So, is it misprint or the actual "power rating" of the battery pack?

  15. I almost made the same mistake, that I why I made my post the way I did.

    They are not talking about energy here, the improvement is in the power of the battery.

    This is not a typo.

  16. Thanks. I figured it out as soon as I hit the "Post" button.

    It was just confusion that it said "more energy dense" without telling me the actual KWh...

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