At the official introduction of the new Hyundai Sonata today at the LA Auto Show, Hyundai Motor America CEO John Krafcik confirmed some additional details that were not in the initial press release. When the 2011 Sonata goes on sale next month the only powertrain option will be the new 198 hp direct injected 2.4-liter four cylinder. Hyundai has opted to forgo a V6, making it unique in the mid-sized sedan segment. When we got a recent preview of the Sonata it certainly appeared that there was enough room in the engine compartment for a V6.
Some of that space will be occupied by new hardware, but it doesn't include more cylinders. Instead, Krafcik told the audience that a turbocharged version of the DI four-cylinder will join the lineup later this year. No information was given about power output but we would guess it will be in the 260-270 hp range, making it comparable to the V6s used in Camrys, Accords and Fusions. If it reaches that level, it would be well above the expected 230 hp output of the 2.0-liter EcoBoost four that is coming from Ford later this year.
The other powertrain for the Sonata will be the company's first U.S.-market hybrid. The hybrid system was first shown a year ago here in LA. That system will also be based around the DI engine and will be the first production automotive application of a lithium polymer battery.