2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid & Plug-In Hybrid Debut At 2015 Detroit Auto Show


Unveiled in Korea last month, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid made its North American debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show this week.

The hybrid gets the same body that debuted with the rest of the Sonata lineup for 2015, and is joined by a new Sonata Plug-In Hybrid.

ALSO SEE: 2015 Hyundai Sonata: Gas Mileage Review Of New Mid-Size Sedan

The previous model's 2.4-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine is replaced with a 2.0-liter direct-injected four, mated to an updated six-speed automatic with an integrated electric motor.

The gasoline engine produces 154 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque, while the electric motor is rated at 38 kilowatts (50 hp) and 151 lb-ft.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid

2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid

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Hyundai rates the combined output of both power sources at 193 hp. (Just adding the figures for the gas engine and electric motor together isn't accurate because of their differing power curves).

The 2016 Sonata Hybrid also sports a revised 1.62-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which is now located under the floor to free up cargo space.

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Hyundai anticipates EPA-rated fuel economy of 42 mpg combined (39 mpg city, 44 mpg highway), although that hasn't been confirmed with official testing yet.

The 2016 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid features the same powertrain, but with a larger 9.8-kWh battery pack--which allows for an electric-only range of 22 miles.

The plug-in also has a more powerful electric motor that brings combined power output up to 202 hp.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid

2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid

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Hyundai expects the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid to return 93 MPGe in electric-only driving, or 40 mpg combined (38 mpg city, 43 mpg highway) when using the gasoline engine.

It estimates recharging from a 240-volt Level 2 source to take two and a half hours, or about five hours from a standard 120-volt outlet.

RELATED: Ford Fusion Vs Hyundai Sonata: Mid-Size Sedan Gas Mileage Comparison

Unlike the previous-generation Sonata Hybrid--which featured a highly stylized front fascia--the 2016 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid look very similar to their non-hybrid counterparts.

Hyundai says the grille, front and rear bumpers, fenders, and lights were changed to reduce drag, other than the new 17-inch alloy wheels, it's hard to tell the difference.

Both hybrid models also get a new instrument cluster that display relevant information, including a charge-status indicator for the plug-in model.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid

2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid

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The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid will also be offered with a Blue Link app that allows owners to monitor charging status or schedule a delayed charge to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates.

Both models will go on sale later this year, with sales of the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid limited to California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date, but the plug-in will be eligible for a $2,500 Federal tax credit.

For more new-car debuts from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, check out our dedicated news page.

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