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2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

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2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Expert Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 9.0

The midsize-sedan market is possibly the most competitive in the U.S. Not only do you have the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, pretty much everything else is at least a solid player, like the Ford Fusion, Chevy Malibu, Nissan Altima and our Best Buy winner, the Kia Optima. So it's no small feat that the 2017 Hyundai Sonata stands out from this distinguished crowd. Credit the choice of naturally aspirated, turbocharged, hybrid and plug-in drivetrains; conservatively handsome styling, the latest in high-tech, and a comfortable and quiet driving environment. This year, Apple CarPlay is part of the technology, and the base Sonata even gets a $150 price reduction, making it the least expensive car in its class.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a comfortable, refined, high-tech and affordable midsize 4-door, then the Hyundai Sonata should hit your sweet spot. Whether you want a low base price, fuel-sipping hybrid technology, or just a comfortable sedan that flirts with luxury levels of equipment, the Sonata has you covered.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Some might say that "conservatively handsome" is just another way of saying "bland," and there's no doubt that the Sonata's styling isn't exactly dynamic. There are more fuel-efficient hybrids available, and it's hard to argue against the decades of momentum behind the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 9.0
  • 8.3
  • 8.2
  • 8.2
  • 8.9
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#4

out of 22

Fuel Economy

#5

out of 22

Horsepower
View all rankings
2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Low/wide front photo What's New for 2017

Two noteworthy changes for the 2017 Sonata include adaptive headlights on Limited models, and Apple CarPlay that was added during the 2016 cycle. Hyundai also lowered the price a little on the base Sonata, giving it bragging rights as the least expensive car in its class.

Driving the Sonata Hybrid
2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

A 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with 185 horsepower anchors the Sonata lineup as standard equipment. Paired with the 6-speed automatic transmission, it offers satisfying acceleration and decent fuel economy. But for those...

... who want more, there are two choices. The "more power" crowd will gravitate to the 245-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, Hyundai's answer to the V6 engines from Honda, Toyota and Nissan. Those wanting "more economy" will want one of the two hybrid models, either the standard hybrid or the plug-in, the latter with up to 27 miles of EV-only range. The engine-choice Venn diagram overlaps on the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine in the Eco model, which offers solid horsepower, good fuel economy, and an unfortunately jerky-feeling 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Overall, the Sonata's comfortable and quiet regardless of what model you pick, and Hyundai has finally gotten steering feel down to where it's actually pretty good for this class.

VARIETY
If variety is the spice of life, then the 2017 Hyundai Sonata lineup is an Indian buffet at lunchtime. Whether you want a budget-conscious 4-door, sporty-feeling family car, or a fuel-averse commuter, the Hyundai Sonata has you covered with its plethora of different models.

APPLE CARPLAY AND ANDROID AUTO
Even though both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are rapidly becoming the rule and not the exception, they're still both among our favorite features wherever they appear. The technology fully integrates your Android or iPhone into your car's infotainment system, giving you the same functionality that you're used to.

2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Details
2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

If the worst thing you can say about a car's interior is that it's not exciting enough, chances are it's a solid place to be. All Sonata models get a 7-inch touch-screen audio system that includes HD Radio, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through the USB port, plus Hyundai's Blue Link telecommunications suite. While Limited models get leather and wood trim, every Sonata is a comfortable and quiet place to drive. Everything works well and is logically placed, and there are clever touches as well, like the intermittent-wiper speed shown on the 4.2-inch color display between the gauges.

Exterior
2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid photo

Like the interior, about the worst thing you can say about the 2017 Sonata exterior is that it's a little bland. However, more "conservatively handsome" designs like the current Sonata tend to look fresh longer than more outré styling, such as on the previous Sonata. Still, it's not totally generic. We like the chrome line extending from the headlights down the flanks of the car, and Hybrid and Eco models benefit from unique trim designed to enhance aerodynamics and improve fuel economy.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Even the base-model Sonata SE comes nicely equipped. There are automatic headlights, an infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen that includes USB and Bluetooth smartphone integration, plus a rearview camera. 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. Safety equipment comprises seven airbags, including a driver's knee airbag, plus standard stability control and electronic brake assist.

Optional Equipment

The best way to add features to a 2017 Sonata is to climb the model ladder, from SE to Sport to Limited. Sport adds a power driver's seat, plus an available sunroof and more. It also opens you up to the turbocharged engine, as does the Limited. Other available features 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. A particularly useful option is the hands-free trunk release; if you have the key with you and stand near the trunk, it automatically opens after a few seconds.

Under the Hood
2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Engine photo

There are five drivetrain choices in the 2017 Hyundai Sonata, all of them 4-cylinder units. The standard 185-horsepower 2.4-liter inline-4 is more than adequate. If you need extra oomph, the 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 and its 245 horsepower should suffice. The Sonata Eco's 1.6-liter turbo puts out less horsepower (177) but more torque (195 lb-ft) than the standard 2.4, and is available only with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic in the Sonata Eco. The two hybrid models -- regular and plug-in -- share a 154-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, but use different electric motors. The standard 2.4-liter engine is quiet, refined and plenty fuel-efficient, while the 7-speed automatic on the Eco makes this fuel-sipper surprisingly quick. Some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy numbers this year, due to changes in EPA testing.

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: 25/36 mpg (SE), 25/35 mpg (Sport, Limited)

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: 22/31 mpg, 21/30 mpg (Limited)

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: 28/36 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: 38/43 mpg (Hybrid), 39/45 mpg (Hybrid SE)

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: 39 mpg (city/highway combined), 99 mpge
Electric-only range (estimated): 27 miles

Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of a 2017 Hyundai Sonata is about $22,800, including the $835 destination charge. The Eco is next on the ladder, starting just under $24,000, while the Sonata Sport is just over that figure. The Limited starts at the $28,000 mark. If you want a turbo you'll add $3,200 to the Sport, or more than $6,000 to the Limited, although the turbo adds a lot of standard equipment on the latter. Final hybrid prices haven't been finalized, but they'll likely stay close to last year's numbers, a little below $27,000 for the regular hybrid, and about $35,500 for the plug-in hybrid. Those prices are in line with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, with a slight price advantage overall. Check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying in your area, and note that the Sonata's projected mid-pack resale value has been improving.

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