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2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

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2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Expert Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 9.1

It's no small feat that the 2016 Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan is a strongly competitive alternative to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Even against the rest of the market – which includes the Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu, Volkswagen Passat, Chrysler 200 and Kia Optima – the 2016 Sonata stands apart. Credit goes in part to the choice of naturally aspirated or turbocharged 4-cylinder engines. The true fuel-sippers will like the available hybrid with up to 44 mpg, or the plug-in hybrid with up to 24 miles of EV range. It all comes with a comfortable and quiet interior, plenty of high-tech, and wrapped in conservatively attractive styling that's sure to stay that way for years to come.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want four doors, a nice dose of refinement and a low price, the base-level Sonata SE comes in about $600 less than the base models of the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, and that's including the Hyundai SE's $1,150 Popular Equipment Package.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Honda and Toyota lead the segment because the Accord and Camry are terrific cars, offering tons of space and features combined with legendary reliability at a reasonable price. While reliability surveys back up the huge strides Hyundai has made in recent years, it still has to win over the masses.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 9.1
  • 8.4
  • 8.3
  • 8.3
  • 9.0
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#5

out of 28

Fuel Economy

#6

out of 29

Horsepower
View all rankings
2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Low/wide front photo What's New for 2016

This year a Sonata hybrid and Sonata plug-in hybrid round out the Sonata lineup, while Android Auto made its debut in late 2015. Other changes include lighter-weight suspension components, new wheels for the Limited trim, and automatic emergency braking on models equipped with forward-collision warning.

Driving the Sonata Hybrid
2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

The base engine is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder putting out 185 horsepower. As the standard powerplant in Sonata SE, Sport and Limited models, it's the most common, and along with the...

... 6-speed automatic transmission, it offers satisfying acceleration and pretty good fuel economy. On the other end, there's the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, with its 245 horsepower taking on V6 engines from Honda, Toyota and Nissan. Straddling the line is the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine in the Eco model, a drivetrain that offers surprising acceleration, better-than-decent fuel economy, but an unrefined feel thanks to the sometimes-jerky 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The two hybrids, obviously, appeal to the most fuel-phobic types with their reliance on battery-supplemented propulsion. Drivetrain choices aside, the suspension is comfortable, the highway ride acceptably quiet, and the steering – long a sore spot on previous Sonata sedans – is actually pretty good for this class.

VARIETY
There's a 2016 Sonata to fill just about any midsize-sedan need. Want a budget-conscious 4-door? The base Sonata SE has you covered, while sporty sedan drivers will appreciate the Sonata Sport 2.0T. Hyundai even offers three different fuel-sippers, the Sonata Eco, and the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid.

ANDROID AUTO
The 2016 Sonata benefits from the newest advance in in-car infotainment: Android Auto, which fully integrates your Android phone experience into the 8-inch touch screen in the Sonata's dash. It's as familiar to use as your phone, and really, isn't that what we all want from our infotainment systems?

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Details
2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

All 2016 Hyundai Sonata models get a new 7-inch touch-screen audio system with HD Radio, Bluetooth and USB smartphone integration, and Hyundai's Blue Link telecommunications suite. Limited models get new wood trim, and automatic headlights are now standard across the board as well. It all complements a nicely laid-out and easy-to-use interior whose only real fault is being a bit on the bland side. Still, we like it, especially the comfortable front seats and hugely accommodating rear seat. There are clever touches, such as the intermittent-wiper speed shown on the 4.2-inch color display between the gauges.

Exterior
2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid photo

While the previous-generation Sonata had the styling turned up to 11, the current one has dialed it back to a more easy-listening 7. Hyundai says the 2016 Sonata is "an athlete in a well-tailored suit," but we'll just call it "conservatively handsome" and leave it at that. There's still a sharp line of chrome extending from the headlights and down the flanks of the car, and Hybrid and Eco models all benefit from unique trim designed to enhance aerodynamics and improve fuel economy. There's not a lot of envelope-pushing here, but it's a good-looking car that will likely age well.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Thanks to a few upgrades this year, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata SE closes the gap a bit compared to mid-line models. Automatic headlights, a new 7-inch touch screen with USB and Bluetooth smartphone integration, and a rearview camera are now all standard equipment. These add to features such as air conditioning, power windows with pinch protection, power locks, a driver’s blind-spot mirror, stability and traction control, and cloth seats. Other standard features include a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and a 60/40-split fold-down rear seatback.

Optional Equipment

Aside from the escalating features you get as you move from SE to Sport to Limited models, The 2016 Hyundai Sonata offers a long list of options. There's Android Auto, which allows you to use apps and features on your Google-powered smartphone through a USB connection. Other options include a 10-speaker Infinity sound system, smart cruise control with stop/start capability, automatic high beams, ventilated front seats and a panoramic tilt/slide sunroof. There's also a hands-free trunk release; if you have your keys with you, it automatically opens the trunk lid after you stand behind the car for a few seconds.

Under the Hood
2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Engine photo

No fewer than five 4-cylinder engine choices await 2016 Sonata buyers. Most new Hyundai Sonata models will come with the standard 2.4-liter inline-4, a 185-horsepower powerplant that’s more than adequate for most drivers. Those needing extra power can opt for the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 and its 245 horsepower. A 1.6-liter turbo puts out less horsepower (177) but more torque (195 lb-ft) than the standard 2.4, and is only available with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic in the Sonata Eco. The two hybrid models – regular and plug-in flavors – share a 154-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, but use different electric motors. We think most buyers will be more than happy with the standard 2.4-liter engine, and while the 7-speed automatic needs refinement, the Sonata Eco is surprisingly quick.


2.4-liter inline-4 (SE, Sport and Limited)
185 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
178 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/37 mpg (6-speed automatic)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (Sport 2.0T)
245 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 1,350-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/32 mpg (6-speed automatic)

1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 (Eco)
177 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
195 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/38 mpg (7-speed automatic)


2.0-liter inline-4 + electric motor (Hybrid)
154 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
140 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
38-kilowatt electric motor
51 horsepower @ 1,770-2,000 rpm
151 lb-ft of torque @ 0-1,770 rpm
193 net horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 40/44 mpg (Hybrid), 39/43 mpg (Hybrid Limited)

2.0-liter inline-4 + electric motor (Plug-in Hybrid)
154 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
140 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
50-kilowatt electric motor
67 horsepower @ 2,330-3,300 rpm
151 lb-ft of torque @ 0-1,770 rpm
202 net horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
EPA fuel economy: 40 mpg (city/highway combined), 93 MPGe
Electric-only range (estimated): 24 miles

A base-model 2016 Hyundai Sonata SE has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $22,600, including the $835 destination charge. The Sonata SE represents a $600 jump, so expect a moderate increase of last year's prices of about $24,000 for a Sonata Sport or Eco, and $27,300 for a Limited with the 2.4-liter engine. 2016 Sonata Hybrid prices start a little below $27,000, and plug-in hybrid prices haven't been announced. Overall the Sonata competes solidly against the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, maintaining a slight price advantage for the most part. Be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying in your area. Note that the Sonata's projected resale value is currently mid-pack compared to its competitors, and it's slowly gaining on them over time.

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