Hyundai uses cutting edge technology in Sonata Hybrid
Hyundai still use the Sonata badge in the Unites States, while Australia has adopted the i45 in keeping with their ever growing stable of ‘i-cars’ here.
They also have some interesting engine options in the US; like the potent 2.0-liter turbocharged variant, which can stay with its V6 competitors, or the brand new Hybrid model with a 2.4-litre Atkinson Cycle petrol engine and a 30 kW electric motor. Combined output is 153 kW and 261 Nm.
Where Hyundai has left the rest of the pack in the dust though, is with its battery technology. You won’t find any nickel-metal hydride cells powering this electric motor. What you will find, are the more expensive lithium-polymer battery packs, for a few very good reasons.
Lithium-polymer cells weigh substantially less than other battery materials, while generating less heat and requiring even less storage space.
The negative, if there is one, is that lithium-polymer is an advanced technology and is expensive although, we don’t have a retail price as yet.
There are also a few subtle styling cues such as, the LED daytime running lights which feature around the headlamps and fog lights and changes to the front bumper, designed to separate the hybrid from the rest of the Sonata family.
The rear taillights have also been altered to appear like at atom when lit.
Inside, there isn’t a lot of change bar the instrument cluster, which now incorporates a full-colour LCD screen displaying information such as state of battery charge and fuel economy information. The standard tachometer has also been replaced by a display that shows the driver when the car can be driven in electric mode only.
Hyundai site the Hybrid’s fuel economy as 5.88-litres/100km on the highway and 6.53-litres/100km in the city.
There’s no CVT either. Hyundai have chosen to deploy their six-speed automatic gearbox for a more traditional driving experience.
Sadly, both the hybrid and the turbocharged models are only built in left hand drive at the moment, so it might be a while before we see either of them down under.