In the Korean domestic market, the Sonata Hybrid relies upon a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gas engine producing 154 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque with a 51-hp electric motor providing the rest of the thrust. Hyundai isn't revealing net system output at the moment, and it isn't saying whether we will get this powertrain in the US yet. Company spokesperson Jim Trainor tells Autoblog that those details will likely be announced at the model's North American debut at Detroit Auto Show in January. Sales are expected to begin in the spring.
In addition to the upgraded engine, there's an improved six-speed automatic that houses most of the hybrid components and uses a new clutch to reduce drag. The switch to an electric oil pump also removes some inefficiencies, and the battery pack underneath the trunk has been enlarged to 1.62 kilowatt hours, up from 1.43 kWh. Despite the capacity increase, Hyundai claims there's 10.5 percent more cargo room back there.
The Sonata's design gets a slight rethink to improve fuel economy, too. Up front, the redone nose features a new mesh grille in a more rectilinear frame, and out back, there's a set of unique taillamps, a lip spoiler and a unique rear diffuser to go along with the full underbody cover that only the pavement sees.
If anything, the new hybrid model looks more traditional to our eyes than the standard gas-powered Sonata, which comes as something of a surprise, especially as the previous-generation Sonata Hybrid was markedly more futuristic and divisive in its appearance. In any case, we expect the looks to remain largely the same for the US version, which will likely arrive wearing a 2016 model-year designation.
All of the upgrades, boost fuel economy to 18.2 kilometers per liter on the Korean cycle, the equivalent of about 42.8 miles per gallon. Comparatively, the current Sonata Hybrid in Korea is rated at 16.8 km/l (39.5 mpg).
Hyundai will also make a big expansion to its electrified slate next year. In addition to the standard Sonata Hybrid, a plug-in version will come later in 2015 – the automaker's first. More details will arrive about the model in Detroit. The company's first dedicated hybrid bodystyle will be coming in the second half of 2015, as well – it's possible that the latter will be the same Prius-fighting model that our spy shooters caught testing during the summer. Scroll down to read the full scoop on Hyundai's future hybrids.
• Hyundai Motor expands Blue Drive™ strategy with new hybrid model
• The all-new Sonata Hybrid features unique, aerodynamic styling
• Innovative 2.0-liter GDI hybrid engine and six-speed automatic transmission deliver class-leading fuel economy of 18.2 km/ℓ
• Hyundai Motor to launch its first Plug-in Hybrid in 2015, expand its eco-friendly line-up in all segments by 2020
December 16, 2014 - Hyundai Motor Company, South Korea's largest automaker, today unveiled its all-new Sonata Hybrid in Seoul, Korea. The all-new Sonata Hybrid features a unique hybrid design, advanced safety and convenience features, a spacious interior and trunk, and an upgraded powertrain that delivers class-leading fuel economy of 18.2 km/ℓ.
The launch event, held at the Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas hotel, was attended by around 250 media members and company executives including Jin Kwak, Hyundai Motor's Executive Vice President, responsible for sales in the domestic market.
"The launch of our all-new Sonata Hybrid, with its class-leading fuel economy and powerful driving performance, comes at a time when eco-friendly vehicles are becoming established as a mainstream car," Mr. Kwak said during his welcome speech today. "Our latest offering, based on one of our best-selling models, underscores our efforts to meet the growing popularity of eco-friendly vehicles around the world."
The all-new Sonata Hybrid, the result of 27 months of development and an investment of approximately 180 billion Won (KRW), is scheduled to launch in major markets outside Korea, starting in the first half of 2015. Hyundai Motor targets to sell a total of 55,000 units (Korea: 18,000 / Overseas: 37,000) next year.
In line with Hyundai Motor Group's target to become a global top 2 automaker in the eco-friendly car market by 2020, Hyundai Motor will expand its eco-friendly line-up in all segments by this time, all launched under the Blue Drive™ sub brand. As part of this initiative, the all-new Sonata Hybrid will be joined next year by a Plug-in Hybrid variant of the Sonata, which will be Hyundai Motor's first Plug-in Hybrid. The company also plans to introduce its first dedicated Hybrid model in the second half next year.
With the addition of the Plug-in Hybrid version, Hyundai Motor will offer a complete range of eco-friendly models, further boosting the model's popularity. While the all-new Sonata Hybrid will make its North American debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, detailed information of the Plug-in Hybrid version will be also released at the show in Detroit, U.S.
Upgraded Hybrid Power System
The all-new Sonata Hybrid is powered by an efficient Nu 2.0-liter GDI hybrid engine mated to a 38 kW electric motor. The gasoline engine delivers maximum power and torque of 156 ps and 19.3 kg.m, up 4 percent and 5.5 percent respectively, compared to the previous model. The 38 kW electric motor also delivers 8.6 percent improved maximum power, with maximum torque of 20.9 kg.m (205 Nm).
With the upgraded engine and electric motor, the new model achieves a significant improvement in fuel consumption: a class-leading combined rating of 18.2 km/ℓwith 16-inch wheels (17.7 km/ℓ with 17-inch wheels).
This engine transfers power to the road via Hyundai Motor's innovative six-speed automatic transmission. The new unit – launched in October 2014 at the company's annual International Powertrain Conference – houses almost all of the hybrid powertrain components within the transmission, minimizing energy losses and maximizing fuel economy.
The transmission is fitted with a highly-efficient traction motor, while the torque converter has been removed. A lighter torsion damper, and new engine clutch, which features fewer clutch discs, reduce drag and contribute to a more efficient transfer and use of power.
The most significant change to the new transmission to improve fuel efficiency is within the oil pump system. By removing the mechanical oil pump, which causes hydraulic losses, and replacing it with a new electric oil pump, the transmission automatically optimizes operation according to the driving conditions.
The all-new Sonata Hybrid continues to utilize a lithium-polymer battery pack - which in 2011 made Hyundai Motor first automaker in the world to incorporate such efficient battery technology into production cars - now with a 13.3 percent higher capacity of 1.62 kilowatt-hour (versus 1.43 kWh). The battery has been relocated under the floor of the trunk, allowing for a flat trunk floor, creating a more useable cargo area, 10.5% larger than that of the previous model, with 60/40 split-folding seats.
As implemented in the first Sonata Hybrid, the new model is based on a full parallel hybrid architecture. The advantages of a full parallel system allow Sonata Hybrid to generate electricity captured during low engine loads and regenerative braking system to power the electric motor. When the vehicle comes to a stop and the electrical load is low, the engine will shut down to eliminate idle fuel consumption and emissions.
Unique Hybrid Design
Compared to other mid-sized hybrid variants, the all-new Sonata Hybrid features a number of unique exterior design characteristics that distinguish it from non-hybrid Sonata models. As well as creating a unique design, these changes have a functional outcome, an exceptionally low drag coefficient of 0.24 Cd* for the all-new Sonata Hybrid, aiding fuel efficiency and stability (* Hyundai Motor's own estimates).
At the front, the larger, more sharply-edged hexagonal grille has a unique inner-grille pattern. The hexagonal grille, a hallmark of Hyundai Motor design, aids cooling and aerodynamic efficiency, while the new, slimline LED daytime running lights and HID headlamps echo the high-technology image.
A distinctive chrome molding at the bottom of the doors helps to accentuate the Hybrid model's sleek shape. At the rear, the revised, voluminous rear fenders flow into new, high-visibility LED rear lamp clusters. The design upgrades are completed with a unique, low-drag rear diffuser. New, streamlined 16-inch and 17-inch alloy wheels, together with a full underbody cover contribute to reduced airflow resistance.
Compared to the previous-generation Sonata Hybrid, the all-new Sonata Hybrid is longer (+35 mm) and wider (+30 mm), with a longer wheelbase (+10 mm), allowing more interior space for occupants. The belt line that runs the length of the car has been lowered, with a more sharply raked A-pillar to emphasize the generous proportions.
Like its base model, the all-new Sonata Hybrid benefits from improved interior ergonomics, resulting in a completely driver-focused cabin, intuitive interfaces and premium soft-touch materials to ensure a pleasurable journey.
Safety & Convenience Features
The all-new Sonata Hybrid also benefits from new, advanced safety systems including Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Parking Sensors, Blind Spot Detection and Lane Change Assist. In addition to the full suite of passive safety technologies, the car also incorporates a new knee bag to prevent injury in the event of a collision.
Access to the cabin is keyless thanks to a Smart Key, while the trunk can be entered 'hands-free' thanks to the Smart Trunk function. In addition, systems have been fitted to optimize driver comfort, including a powered and ventilated seat that has a four-way lumbar support, as well as Heated Steering Wheel and Smart Cruise Control for enhanced driving comfort on longer journeys.
■ All-new Sonata Hybrid Specifications
※ The below figures of both models are Korean specs. Specs may vary depending on the regions.