The U.S.-spec 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid will offer a class-leading 52 mpg combined in its most efficient guise, the company announced Thursday at the unveiling of its midsizer at the Chicago Auto Show. The Blue model, which will be the most frugal variant of the new hybrid sedan, will have a maximum driving range of 686 miles.
Most of the hybrid architecture of the new model is effectively carryover. It comprises a 150-horsepower, 2.0-liter naturally aspirated inline-four and 39-kW electric motor. Combined, they produce a total of 192 horsepower. Hyundai says this combo is good for up to 50 mpg city, 54 highway and 52 combined.
We say "up to" because those fuel economy numbers are specific to the Blue model, which is lighter (by a little more than 100 pounds) and sports smaller (16-inch) wheels with efficiency-focused tires. SEL and Limited models top out at 45 mpg city, 51 highway and 47 combined. Even with those figures, it's still compares favorably to the 2020 Toyota Camry and Honda Accord Hybrids. Toyota, like Hyundai, offers a fuel-economy-focused trim that promises comparable mileage.
The powertrain gets an updated six-speed automatic transmission, too, and Hyundai's new Active Shift Control system behaves similarly to rev-matching, utilizing the electric motor to synchronize the rotational speed of both the powertrain and the transmission for faster (by 40%) and smoother shifts.
A Hyundai spokesperson told Autoblog that further mileage improvements could likely be realized by going with a CVT, but the company chose instead to continue with the existing six-speed for the time being, which leaves the door open for improvements when it comes time to update the new model.
America gets a more efficient Sonata Hybrid than the rest of the world, but it appears Hyundai will otherwise bring the global-spec Sonata Hybrid shown last summer to the American market pretty much as it sits. Even the front and rear lighting, which are often re-jiggered to account for market-specific regulations, appear to be carried over unchanged. It also retains the solar roof, which is good for approximately two miles of range per day, assuming six hours of sunlight.
We still don't have pricing, but we expect that will be revealed soon, as Hyundai is likely eager to get its new fuel-efficient model into circulation. Stay tuned.