• Mar 9, 2009
Click above for a high-res gallery of the 2009 Hyundai Sonata

When you think of the word "hybrid," what vehicle pops into your mind? Likely, it's the Toyota Prius, and that's what they call a really big win for the marketing department. Much of the success that Toyota's seminal hybrid model has achieved has been attributed to its unique styling, which sets the fuel-saver apart from other manufacturers' hybrids, making the ecomobile instantly recognizable. Those that care about saving the planet – or at least those who like the appearance of caring – often choose the Prius due to its iconic shape and name.

Woong-chul Yang, president of R&D for Hyundai-Kia Motors, says, "People who drive a hybrid like to be differentiated." Sounds painful. In any case, the automaker is reportedly working on giving their first hybrid model, which will be based on the Sonata midsize sedan, a distinct shape. To go along with the unique profile, the Korean hybrid may get a different name to further distance it from its non-hybrid sibling.


[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      If the domestic automakers made half the smart decisions that Hyundai has made in the last 3-4 years, they'd actually have a shot of staying in business.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You mean introduce a RWD V8 sedan like the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Pontiac G8, or a new sports coupe like the Camaro and Challenger? Or how about entering the SUV market the way Hyundai has in the last few years?
        • 5 Years Ago
        ....
      • 5 Years Ago
      "When you think of the word "hybrid," what vehicle pops into your mind? Likely, it's the Toyota Prius"-----------sorry, not for me, i always picture Malibu and Escalade.
        • 5 Years Ago
        who in their right mind would think of an escalade when the word hybrid is mentioned? and yes I know they offer a hybrid model escalade... but seriously now...
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think "platypus".
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hmm...I think of pumpkins, warm spring days, and childhood innocence as I run freely through the grassy plains.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Malibu and Escalade? Give me a f-ing break. The Prius is the car that has MADE the market what it is. It was the first hybrid production vehicle (yes, sold in Japan before the Insight) and far outsold the Insight in the U.S.

        Hyundai has learned from Honda's mistake: don't sell a hybrid version of the same car with a tiny badge to differentiate it from all the other Accords - it won't work. Make it look different...very different.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If I might go on a short tangent...

      I'm sure most AutoBlog readers are aware of the correct name for the general shape of the Prius. Like the Audi A2 (a truly innovative efficient car), and the Honda Insight, the shape of the Prius was determined by the work of a German engineer named Wunibald Kamm.

      It's called a Kammback. Aka: Kamm Tail.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ BoxerFanatic

        You are correct in pointing out the kamm tail's use on high-performance racing cars.

        However, I will reassure you that the Prius (and A2 and Insight) are also considered Kammbacks.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Very smart on Hyundai's part. The fact that it does not have a gas-only model is what makes Prius such a success compared to other hybrids. While the recognizable-as-a-hybrid factor plays well to self-righteous greenies, the real benifit lies in the fact that its price cannot be compared to the gas-only version, as there is no gas only version.

      A Civic hybrid is a tough sell when you can get the exact same car for thousands less if you opt for the gas powertrain. When you do the math on hybrids, they often don't make sense from a financial point of view. By refusing to release a gas-only Prius, Toyota prevents people from doing the math, and therefore eliminates the hybrid's Achilles' heel. VERY smart.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They make plenty of sense with gas at $4/gallon. Just wait til the recession is over and China/India start growing again. Gas will be over $4/gallon. Get your Prius now with it's $1,000 rebate.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Might this be the so-called Hyundai Sonata 4 door "coupe" that has been spotted testing?
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's entirely possible, and I would love seeing it in that form (it's inherently more aerodynamic AFAIK). In any case, I look forward to seeing this, and I would say that it would be prettier than the Prius anyway (given Hyundai's recent designs).
        • 5 Years Ago
        A 4-door coupe is as big an oxymoron as a 3-wheel bike. I just don't get it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think Hyundai Hybrid Hyline has a nice ring to it.

      Maybe in the future we can even get a Hyundai Hydrogen Hybrid Hyline.
      • 5 Years Ago
      First Hyundai Hybrid launching is Elantra Blue on sale this summer, not Sonata Blue mentioned in the artilce.

      The only thing interesting about Elantra Blue is that it uses same battery type used in GM's Volt.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good idea.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have a Veracruz and I want a Genesis. The new coupe is cool, but I want to sedan.
      Try the best homepage
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