With Toyota celebrating the sale of its four-millionth hybrid, and Ford poised to launch another hybrid car in the U.S., it’s easy to forget that other automakers also make hybrid cars.
Take the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid for example. Although Hyundai has only offered a hybrid version of its popular family sedan since 2011, we think the 2012 Sonata Hybrid has already proven itself worthy of your attention when you’re thinking about buying your next car.
2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Although beaten outright on combined gas mileage by cars like the 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid FWD, 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE and 2012 Toyota Prius, the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid wins when it comes to available passenger space.
With the optional panoramic sunroof, the 2012 Sonata Hybrid almost matches the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid on headroom, while it manages to squeeze almost an extra inch of hip room for both front and rear passengers.
Interestingly, while the 2012 Sonata Hybrid doesn’t give as much rear legroom as the 2012 Camry Hybrid, it does give more legroom up front, making it a more comfortable car to drive for those over six foot in height.
Unfortunately however, while it has one cubic feet more passenger space than the 2012 Camry Hybrid, the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has the smallest luggage volume of any of the mid-size hybrids on the market today. At just 11 cubic feet, you may find yourself leaving things behind if you plan to fill the car up with people and luggage.
With a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder multi-injection engine, the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is capable of producing a respectable 166 horsepower.
Combine that with a 30 kilowatt electric motor, and the combined hybrid system power is rated at 206 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque.
Unlike most other hybrids however, the 2012 Sonata Hybrid puts that power to the road through a conventional 6-speed automatic transmission, connected to the output shaft of the engine.
It then replaces the traditional automatic torque converter with the electric motor. This not only allows it to provide power to the wheels during gear shifts, but also makes the driving experience much more pleasurable than Toyota’s continuously variable hybrid system.
2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
When it comes to economy, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is complicated: although it comes out with a combined fuel economy of just 37 mpg, its six-speed transmission makes it extremely good on the highway, returning an official 40mpg versus the Ford Fusion Hybrid’s 36 mpg and Toyota Camry’s 39 mpg.
While the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid isn’t the most economical hybrid on the market today, it does have one major advantage over its competitors: its battery pack.
While it is only 1.6 kilowatts in capacity, the Hyundai Sonata uses a lithium-ion battery pack that adds just 95.9 pounds to the car’s weight. A nickel metal-hydride battery pack of similar power would weigh substantially more.
But the real bonus comes from Hyundai's legendary lifetime warranty. If you buy a 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, and its battery pack fails, Hyundai will replace it free of charge, regardless of the car’s age.
the 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is a modern-feeling, spacious mid-size sedan that gives a more conventional driving experience than most hybrids on the market today.
While its gas mileage isn’t great for town, it will reward you on longer-distance trips with a steady 40 mpg, while its six-speed transmission helps keep engine noise to a minimum.
Due for an update in 2014, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is a good buy for anyone wanting a reliable, comfortable hybrid that shows that hybrids don’t have to be boring to be economical.
And thanks to a lifetime hybrid battery warranty, it should save you from the fear of a failing battery back.