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by Daniel DeGasperi

The new-generation Hyundai Sonata will be made as a hybrid model in 2015, the Korean brand has confirmed at its Annual Powertrain Conference held in Namyang.

Hyundai has previously announced only three powertrains for the all-new Sonata that is expected in Australia next year – a 2.0-litre and 2.4-litre four-cylinder and 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder.

Now the company has said it has developed a brand new six-speed automatic transmission to go into a new Sonata Hybrid that “integrates the electric motor and applies a number of new technologies that deliver tangible benefits to the customer.”

Where the previous, solely left-hand-drive Sonata Hybrid (below) utilised a similar style of electric motor and transmission, Hyundai says the biggest change is a switch to an electric oil pump within the gearbox to remove hydraulic power losses and improve fuel efficiency.

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

A new traction motor, lighter torsion damper, and a new engine clutch with fewer clutch discs help, “reduce drag and contribute to a more efficient transfer and use of power” according to the maker.

The new transmission has a wet weight of 130kg, less than the previous version. There is no word yet what engine will be used to team with the automatic (though the transmission can handle up to 280Nm of torque) nor the size of the electric motor that will propel the new model.

The previous Sonata Hybrid used an Atkinson-cycle 2.4-litre engine with 126kW of power and 212Nm, mated with a 30kW electric motor that required 7.2-7.6 litres per 100 kilometres.

Hyundai also added that this “new unit will be fitted to future Hyundai hybrids, including the all-new Sonata,” paving the way for an expanded petrol-electric range, with next year’s all-new Hyundai ix35 (spied below) and a dedicated breed of Toyota Prius-fighters the most likely candidates.

Hyundai iX35 4-2

No word either on whether the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid will be produced in right-hand drive this time around, nor if it will reach local shores.

The other main technology spoken about at the Korean conference was Hyundai’s new 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder engine, which includes an exhaust manifold integrated into the cylinder head, separate cooling systems for the head and the engine block, an electrically controlled turbo wastegate, direct fuel injection to a maximum pressure of 200 bar.

The results are Euro 6 emissions compliancy, and 88kW of power and 172Nm of torque. The engine will power the new Hyundai i20, which is as yet uncomfirmed for Australia.