Even though Hyundai is at the forefront of the hydrogen fuel cell game in the US with the Tucson Fuel Cell Vehicle, the Korean automaker is way behind when it comes to plug-in vehicles.
If you're going to show up late, you better make a dramatic entrance. The Hybrid and PHEV update the look of the 2015 Sonata with a more aerodynamic front and rear ends, new rocker panels, distinctive headlights and taillights, and eco-spoke alloy wheels.
These changes reduce drag, dropping the coefficient from 0.27 in the gas-only car to 0.24 for the hybrids. You know what other vehicle has a 0.24 cD? The Tesla Model S.
Its not easy to discern which is which between the two versions but the powertrain, is where the differences become meaningful. The PHEV's 9.8-kWh lithium-polymer battery will give off an estimated 24 miles of range and 93 MPGe along with 38 miles per gallon city, 43 highway, and 40 combined (final EPA numbers for the PHEV are not yet available). The hybrid's numbers have been confirmed to be 40 city, 44 highway, and 42 combined.
This is a solid PHEV and one reason it's so solid is because Hyundai has used more high-strength steel in the 2016 model (51 percent of the total mass compared to just 21 percent in the 2015 model).
The stiffer body translaltes into a better in-cabin experience, where each aspect of the 2016 Sonata is about 10 percent better than the older model. Smoothness, quietness, comfort. Everything is just a bit improved.
Engine: 2.0L I4
Power: 202 HP
Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
Drivetrain: Front-Wheel Drive
CurbWeight: 3,787 LBS
Cargo: 9.9 CU-FT
MPG: 93 MPG / 40 Combined (est)