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Old 11-29-2010, 09:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Official Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Discussion Thread

Base MSRP: $24,900 msrp
Gas Mileage: 37/39 mpg
Note: Blue Drive Hybrid (No Torque Converter)



Hyundai is taking direct aim at the Toyota Camry Hybrid (33/34) and Ford Fusion Hybrid (41/36), the two most popular regular-looking mid-size hybrid sedans. While the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid does not look exactly like its conventional sibling—more about that in a moment—Hyundai decided not to copy the unique aero-look of the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. Moreover, Hyundai went its own direction on technology—by developing an original proprietary hybrid architecture to reduce weight and to improve highway fuel economy.

Unlike hybrid systems from Ford and Toyota, the Hyundai system does not use a continuously variable transmission with integrated electric motors and generators. Instead Hyundai is using its new six-speed automatic transmission with an electric motor that takes the place of the torque converter. What’s the difference? It means that Hyundai is trying to address the common complaint that hybrids provide great mileage for city driving conditions, but not so much for highway driving.

The full hybrid architecture allows the vehicle to operate on an electric motor only, a gasoline internal combustion engine only, or a combination of the two depending on driving conditions and driver demands. The approach also results in a total combined output of the engine and motor of 209 horsepower—beating out the Camry Hybrid (187 hp) and the Ford Fusion Hybrid (191 hp).

The hatchback Toyota Prius, with its combined 50-mpg rating, is still way ahead of the pack on both highway and city efficiency numbers—but shoppers are more likely to put the Sonata Hybrid in the larger mid-size sedan (with trunk) category along with the Camry and Fusion.



Hybrid critics have complained that the need to tote heavy batteries means one step forward and two steps back. Hyundai deals with that issue by using lightweight lithium polymer batteries. The lighter batteries, and other weight reductions make the Sonata Hybrid the lightest vehicle in the segment, at just 3,457 pounds—263 pounds lighter than the Fusion Hybrid. Combined with Sonata’s best-in-class horsepower rating, Sonata Hybrid has a significant advantage in power-to-weight ratio.

The Sonata Hybrid’s 1.4 kilowatt-hour pack battery pack weighs just 95.9 pounds versus the Camry Hybrid’s 123.9 pounds. The compact battery pack resides in the forward portion of the trunk to maximize cargo space. Compared with nickel metal hydride batteries, lithium polymer batteries deliver the same power with 20 to 30 percent less weight, 40 percent less volume and 10 percent greater efficiency over the nickel metal hydride batteries found in today’s hybrids. The battery cells, supplied by LG Chem, are similar to the cells that General Motors are using in the Chevrolet Volt.

If Hyundai can undercut the price of the Fusion and Camry hybrids, it will deliver a more powerful and efficient vehicle at a better value. But what does it look like? On that front, Hyundai puts form in service of function—better aerodynamics. The most dramatic design flair is an all-new front fascia, with anthropomorphic lizard-eye headlights. New wheels and extended rocker panels improve airflow across the flanks. In the back, the bumper cover has been reshaped with sharp creases at the corners to minimize drag. These changes drops the hybrid's projected drag coefficient from the standard Sonata's already slippery 0.28 to just 0.25—matching the 2010 Toyota Prius’s drag coefficient.

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Old 11-29-2010, 10:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First take:


I always thought that Camrys were full-size but I guess everything is "mid-size" now.

Naturally Im a little disappointed with the 37/39mpg.
But thats probably fully-loaded. *rolls eyes*
I also wish it had the original grill and that the wheels were more styish.
(the hybrid front looks really blunt now, and the wheels look cookie-cutter)

this wouldve been nice
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Oh no, Mazda Grille Syndrome is spreading!

This is a technically impressive car, in terms of its hybrid architecture and aerodynamics (for a sedan). It makes one wonder what Hyundai could do if they made a much smaller, dedicated hybrid model.

It's nice to have another player in the hybrid market, but I'm really not in the market for a 38 EPA MPG, $25k vehicle.
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Old 11-29-2010, 11:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobertSmalls View Post
Oh no, Mazda Grille Syndrome is spreading!

This is a technically impressive car, in terms of its hybrid architecture and aerodynamics (for a sedan). It makes one wonder what Hyundai could do if they made a much smaller, dedicated hybrid model.

im afraid a smaller, dedicated hybrid model would be patterned after the CR-Z

but more genesis-y


21/30 mpg



cant deny the good looks though
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Old 11-30-2010, 04:02 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Man that's an ugly car. However, everyone in Korea seems to drive hyundais, so I'm sure they'll sell some cars.
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alohaspirit View Post
Instead Hyundai is using its new six-speed automatic transmission with an electric motor that takes the place of the torque converter. What’s the difference? It means that Hyundai is trying to address the common complaint that hybrids provide great mileage for city driving conditions, but not so much for highway driving.
Its really too bad that people are not educated enough to know that the power requirements to drive at high speeds are actually higher than low speeds. If they realized this they would understand that hybrids with regen capability make even more sense.
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Old 11-30-2010, 11:12 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Furthermore! Why is it a "common complaint" that hybrids don't return good highway mileage?

It's an oft-repeated misconception - a hybrid myth.

The 3 most efficient highway cars sold in the U.S. are hybrids! (Diesels round out slots 4 & 5 in a multi-vehicle tie.)

source: Most and Least Fuel Efficient Cars

(* European members feel free to chime in here on the fact that, with 48 mpg (US) being the highest highway MPG in North America, we are shafted in terms of vehicle choices compared to you guys.)
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Old 11-30-2010, 11:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SVOboy View Post
However, everyone in Korea seems to drive hyundais, so I'm sure they'll sell some cars.

really?

you been to Korea?
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Old 11-30-2010, 12:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I don't think it's Mazda grilled, as it's not "smiling." Camrys get mid-size, and I believe the Avalon gets full-size. The Sonata is exterior mid-size, interior full-size (by EPA classifications) Hyundai is good at that; The Elantra is EPA 'compact' exterior, 'mid-size' interior.

I just want to see how badly we can trounce the EPA in one.
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Old 11-30-2010, 02:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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...too much of a "guppy fish" grille for me!

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