Hyundai's redesign of the Sonata sedans last year has finally been applied to the Hybrid version for 2016. Touting a combined 42 mpg for city and highway and with its beautifully understated exterior and dressed up interior the Sonata Hybrid SE is more than ready to compete with the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid. And while the Honda Accord Hybrid leads the pack with its 47 miles per gallon, the Sonata Hybrid SE isn't far behind with 40 city/44 highway mpg. During the week that I spent driving the Sonata Hybrid I averaged about 40 miles per gallon.

Powerfully Quiet

It goes without saying that the Sonata Hybrid's gas mileage is remarkable, but equally noteworthy is its powerplant. The 2.0-liter GDI, 4-cylinder hybrid engine combined with the 270V electric motor puts out 193 horsepower and is very capable and also fairly quiet. It is well suited for daily traffic allowing for easy acceleration and braking. Gone are the overly sensitive binders related to the car's regenerative braking; now the brakes are much more predictable and linear in their application. On open stretches of highway, the car easily gets up to speed without strain or much noise other than the occasional sound of tires going over rough pavement. The engine does hum a bit when being pushed up somewhat steep inclines, but it isn't loud enough to disturb a conversation or force you to turn up the radio volume.

As basic as they are on the SE model, the premium cloth manually-adjusted seats were surprisingly supportive but not confining. They had just the right amount of cushioning in the right places to make a long commute bearable.

Also: Class of 2016 -- New Cars Ready to Roll

Where's the battery?

Hyundai did a skillful job at keeping any sign of the dreaded hybrid battery hump out of sight. There was no sign of the battery in the rear seat area or even in the trunk, leaving lots of room for a big-box warehouse run or luggage for a family getaway.

As delivered, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid SE rings in at $26,950, which includes an $825 destination charge. You can opt for the Limited trim which will bump the price up to over $30,000, and includes power front seats, leather seating and 17-inch wheels. Additionally, if you opt for the Ultimate Package ($4,500) on the Limited trim this will add a panoramic sunroof, lane departure warning system, forward collision warning system, 8-inch touchscreen with navigation and an Infinity sound system.

Other Alternatives...

Check out our list of 10 Best Hybrid Cars Under $30,000 to see what else is available in the segment.


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