LOS ANGELES, November 12, 2015 – Hyundai’s eco-friendly 2016 Sonata Hybrid sedan only gets better. A 10% improvement in fuel efficiency means a whopping 42 combined mpg. On a road test review around LA’s Hollywood Hills, we will discover whether or not this mid-sized “green” sedan is worth the price for value, comfort, technology, utility and safety.
The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid went on sale this summer at a base MSRP of just $26,000. The top-of-the-line trim level, the Hybrid Limited, goes for $30,100 and adds a long laundry list of luxury comfort and safety features.
The “limited ultimate package” costs an extra $4,500 and is the only way you can get the eight-inch touchscreen navigation system along with a panoramic sunroof, HD radio, SiriusXM Travel Link (complimentary 90-day trial), lane departure warning, forward collision warning, rear parking sensor, “smart” cruise control, electronic parking brake, LED interior lights and a bumping Infinity sound system.
That makes a fully-loaded 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid have the comparatively low price tag of $34,600.
The 2016 hybrid model’s exterior was changed slightly to enhance aerodynamics mostly in the front and rear fascia. While hard to see given the Sonata’s fierce exterior design, these visual changes actually lower the car’s drag coefficient drastically giving it better fuel efficiency.
That’s why the Sonata’s hybrid model has a unique front grille as well as fenders, lights, bumpers, side moldings, alloy wheels and badges.
We thoroughly enjoyed the sporty look of the 2016 hybrid’s bulbous, yet pointy nose. Along with the huge toothy black matte grille, cat-eye headlamps, bodacious lower bumper and shiny chrome accents, the hybrid model’s stance from the front is pure pleasure. The straight side lines give this Sonata a more classic Euro sedan look while the curvy back side has more of an Asian design appeal.
The bright “diamond pearl white” matte-meets-shiny shade on our test model was certainly appealing curbside and blended in well with all the other thousands of black and white luxury sedans in the Hollywood Hills.
Inside, Sonata’s 2016 hybrid model is different because it has a 4.2-inch LCD instrument cluster that displays loads of helpful information about the car’s hybrid operating system. Other standard tech in all Sonata hybrids is SiriusXM satellite radio, voice-recognition Bluetooth connectivity and iPod/USB inputs.
The navigation upgrade is worth the almost five grand if you can afford it. Our base hybrid test model wasn’t equipped with the “limited ultimate” upgraded eight-inch touchscreen with navigation and downloadable apps.
On a road test of a fully-outfitted Sonata Eco, however, we discovered Hyundai’s infotainment system is truly exceptional for everything from voice recognition to turn-by-turn navi functions to the ability to use Pandora, Siri “Eyes Free,” Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto.
What about the driver’s cockpit? All Hyundai models get well-designed minimalist interiors, so it didn’t surprise this auto reviewer when the driver’s seat of this car looks and feels just right. The Sonata’s comfort level is top notch in the cozy seats, leg room, gauges, stick shift, central console, cup holders and tech charging wells. The world seems a little better when driving or cruising along as a passenger in the Sonata’s spacious and luxurious front or rear seats.
We were quite shocked at a previous road test of a 2015 Hyundai Sonata Eco, which had an extremely sluggish engine.
Would the 2016 Sonata Hybrid be just another gutless green car? Thankfully, the hybrid model actually has enough power for LA driving with its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated with a six-speed transmission and a 38 kW electric motor.
While the hybrid drive is not as fast nor as fun as a “regular” Sonata, we discovered this eco sedan is a good choice for those who are seeking a positive driving experience and a way to positively improve the planet. The 2016 hybrid’s more powerful electric motor provides for zippy acceleration (193 hp combined) from the curb and it is barely noticeable when the gas engine and smooth six-speed transmission kicks in.
All other driving dynamics such as steering, handling, braking and suspension are superior and together make for a comforting or thrilling drive depending on your transport mood.
Hyundai’s hybrid engineers moved the car’s lithium-polymer battery pack to under the trunk floor. This now allows for a perfectly flat trunk space. The 2016 Sonata Hybrid Limited trim adds 60/40 split seats, which expands cargo volume to a whopping 13.3 cu. Ft.
What about safety? The 2016 Sonata Hybrid comes standard with loads of advanced safety features including seven air bags, electronic stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, projector headlamps (HID lamps cost extra) and a rear view camera. In addition, Hyundai offers a safety package with the following: forward collision warning, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, lane change assist and lane departure warning.
The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid received a five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA).
Need one more reason to check out Sonata Hybrid? Hyundai has one of the best warranties around with a five-year/60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty, a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty and five years of complimentary roadside assistance. And like GM’s OnStar, Hyundai’s “blue link connected care” program provides complimentary safety services for one year for such things as automatic collision notification, enhanced roadside assistance, vehicle diagnostic alert, a monthly vehicle health report and in-vehicle service scheduling.
For those ready to go green with their next new car purchase, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is a great overall choice when it comes to getting the most luxury, safety, technology and good looks for the price.