Hyundai launched its new 2015 Sonata mid-size sedan last year, but the Hybrid model carried over unchanged. Now, at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show Hyundai has taken the wraps off its second-generation Sonata Hybrid, and it’s adding a plug-in hybrid model to the mix.
The first thing you’ll notice about the new Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid is that once again, they get some unique styling cues to separate them from the non-hybrid Sonata models. There are different wheels, and revised front and rear fascias.
These are both to help with aerodynamics and set the hybrid models apart from the non-hybrid models. Of course, on the plug-in hybrid models there’s a door for the charging port located on the driver's side front fender--just like the one on the Ford Fusion Energi.
Inside, the hybrid models are basically the same as the regular gasoline-powered Sonatas, aside from a modified gauge cluster with a new color LCD multi-purpose display that shows drivers operating data on the hybrid system. Hyundai notes that the lithium-ion battery pack is now placed below the trunk, which allows for a flat trunk floor as well as available 60/40 split-folding rear seats.
The Sonata Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. It sends power to a six-speed automatic transmission that houses a 38 kilowatt electric motor. Combined, this powertrain is rated at 193 horsepower.
The hybrid can operate solely on electric power at speeds up to 75 mph, drawing energy from a 1.62 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack. Hyundai expects the 2015 Sonata Hybrid to achieve an EPA combined rating of 42 mpg. For those keeping score, that’s a 10 percent increase over the first-generation Hybrid, in its revised 2013 form.
The Sonata Hybrid Plug-In uses the same gasoline engine as the non-plug-in hybrid, but couples it to a more powerful 50 kilowatt electric motor with a 9.8 kWh lithium polymer battery pack, Hyundai expects an all-electric range of up to 22 miles.
As far as efficiency, Hyundai expects the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid to have an EPA rating in electric mode of 93 MPGe combined, and 40 mpg combined when running as a hybrid. Oh, and it’ll only take two and half hours on a 240-volt Level 2 charging station to recharge the battery pack. That number increases to five hours using a standard 120-volt outlet.
Hyundai’s being coy about pricing, but if history is any indicator, it’ll be quite competitive. The hybrid models will launch later this year, so be sure to stay tuned to Green Car Reports for all the latest updates on both these models and other new vehicles from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.
[Editor's Note: Our presenter erred in quoting battery-pack capacity in "kilowatts" rather than kilowatt-hours. We apologize for the mistake].