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and Tim Beissmann

Hyundai’s first plug-in hybrid, the Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, has made its global debut at the 2015 Detroit motor show.

Both externally and under the skin, the new Sonata Plug-in Hybrid shares a lot with the recently revealed Sonata Hybrid.

The two vehicles seemingly share the same styling and aerodynamics package, with a deeper aero-style grille, revised bumpers, restyled alloy wheels, revise tail-light internals, and low rolling resistance rubber. These mods ensure that the hybrid versions of the Sonata slip through the air with a coefficient of drag of 0.24.

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Under the bonnet, both the hybrid and plug-in are equipped a 115kW/190Nm version of Hyundai’s 2.0-litre four-cylinder direct injection Nu engine. This is mated to a six-speed manual transmission that features an electric motor instead of a torque converter.

It’s in the electrical drivetrain where the two cars really diverge. The plug-in features a 50kW electric motor and 9.8kWh lithium polymer battery pack. In total the plug-in drivetrain has a total system output of 151kW, an electric-only driving range of 35km and estimated fuel economy rating of 2.5L/100km or 5.9L/100km in hybrid mode.

By way of comparison, the standard hybrid has a 1.62kWh lithium polymer battery pack feeding into a 38kW/205Nm electric motor and a total system output of 144kW. Fuel economy for the Sonata Hybrid is rated at 5.6L/100km in the US.

The Sonata PHEV can be recharged in 2.5 hours via a 240-volt charger and in five hours using a standard 120-volt outlet.

Sonata PHEV owners will have access to Hyundai’s Blue Link smartphone app, which will allow them set up a charging schedule at specific times and days of the week, as well as monitor the current battery level, electric range and fuel range, and the time remaining until the car is fully charged.

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The Hyundai Sonata PHEV will initially go on sale in 10 US states – including California and New York – towards the end of this year, with pricing to be announced closer to its launch.

As with the regular Sonata Hybrid, however, the PHEV is “very unlikely” to be offered in Australia, according to Hyundai Australia public relations general manager Bill Thomas.

Thomas said at this stage it was still unclear if either petrol-electric model would be produced in right-hand drive.

Hyundai will launch the new-generation Sonata in Australia next month. A 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 142kW and 247Nm is confirmed for our market, while a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo with 183kW and 352Nm is expected to headline the local range.




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