In an odd twist, when Hyundai fully redesigned the Sonata for the 2015 model year, it left the hybrid version in the old body style. Though there was no official word as to why it went down this way, but I can only assume that there were some hiccups in integrating the hybrid technology into the new body style. Regardless of the specifics, this is all set to change in 2016, as Hyundai has just revealed the all-new, 2016 Sonata Hybrid.
Like the 2015 non-hybrid Sonata, the new Hybrid model is 35 mm (1.4 inches) longer, 30 mm (1.2 inches) wider, 5 mm (0.2 inches) taller than the outgoing model. Additionally, it rides on a 10-mm (0.4-inch) longer wheelbase than the last-generation Sonata Hybrid. Though the 2016 Sonata Hybrid does take on the new size and general look of the 2015 Sonata lineup, it has its own design cues to set it apart from its non-hybrid brethren.
The most distinguishing characteristic is the more striking hexagonal grille with a unique 3D insert — there is one image that shows traditional horizontal slats, so I assume one of them is an option. Additionally, there is a chrome molding at the bottom of the doors and plenty of badging to further distinguish the hybrid model.
Aerodynamic enhancements that also separate the hybrid model from the rest include the exclusive 16- and 17-inch wheels, and a full underbody cover.
On the inside, the Sonata Hybrid takes on the new ergonomics of the base sedan, which includes a more driver-focused setup, improved interfaces and higher-quality materials.
Moving over to the drivetrain, the 2016 Sonata Hybrid will be available with two powerplants. The one that we learned about today is the standard hybrid system, which uses a 2.0-liter Nu GDI engine that produces 154 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque, and an electric motor that adds in 38 kW (28 horsepower) and 151 pound-feet of torque. There is no mention of the total system output, which is often more complex than simply adding the electric and gasoline powerplants’ outputs together, but look for something along the lines of 170 horsepower and 200 pound-pound-feet of torque.
The standard hybrid system will mate to a six-speed automatic transmission that houses the majority of the hybrid components and eliminates the torque converter. This advances transmission helps reduce weight and fuel consumption. Speaking of the latter, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is rated up to 18.2 km/l (43 mpg) with 16-inch wheels and 17.7 km/l (42 mpg) with 17-inch wheels.
The still-unknown drivetrain is the plug-in variant, but it will debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show in January. The Detroit show is also likely where we’ll get all of the details on the base Hybrid model, like the total system output, acceleration times, release date and estimated EPA ratings.
We’ll bring you all of the details once the model debuts next month.