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2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Driving Impressions 10
Oct
Posted by Malcolm Hogan in Automotive, hybrid, Hyundai, Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Test Drives on 10 10th, 2013
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The new 2013 Hyundai Sonata has pierced into its segment as a respectable sedan that offers the same variations that its direct competition has touted for many years. Now with the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, adding to the base 4-cylinder and turbo offerings, attempts to offer consumers that alternative to saving a bit more fuel much like the hybrids we have grown to admire from Japanese manufacturers.

The new 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid attempts to build on its proven chassis but takes many of its traits and adds uniqueness to the design that signifies the Hybrid variant from the rest of the line. Powered by a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with 159 horsepower and 154 ft-lbs. of torque combined with a 47 horsepower and 151 ft-lbs. of torque electric motor, the Sonata Hybrid’s total 199 horsepower output has enough oomph to make its mid-sized sedan duties with some substance. The powertrain, as intricate as it is, is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. In the scope of mainstream hybrid sedans, the Sonata is one of the rare offerings to direct power through a transmission with gears instead of a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) unit. Of course being an enthusiast, this is one of the few appreciated aspects of the new Sonata Hybrid considering how CVTs sap the fun out of just about any vehicle where the driver has a slight desire to push it near its limits.

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Power comes on smooth when the engine and electric motor or working in sync. You can expect 0-60 mph times to come in around 8.5 seconds. Although the Sonata Hybrid constantly adapts to your driving style, it suffers from a few hiccups within the hybrid drive system. Many times the transition between the electric motor to the gas engine, although smooth, is rather indecisive. The Sonata Hybrid is so indecisive in its electric motor-to-engine transitions that you lose the confidence of jumping into traffic or taking any remotely daring merges onto highway roads from exit ramps. Possibly, the hiccups can be resolved with reprogramming. Nevertheless, the new 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has this shortcoming looming over its over-all driving experience but still manages to muster out a respectable fuel consumption figure.

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Other aspects of the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid’s performance prove to keep the driver out of the decision making of how the power and efficiency is managed. Basically, there is no sport mode or eco mode, which in some cases it would make a considerable difference in how energy is managed. However, you do have an eco-mode for the ac/heater system and the blue drive dashboard indication that absolutely does nothing from my observation. To the benefit of Hyundai’s hybrid system, it does have long instances of switching over to electric power near highway speeds. At times running around 55 mph to 65 mph the system indicates full electric power if you are not accelerating. Of course sustaining that speed on an even surface would immediately prompt a switch-over to gas engine power, but the system slips in times where the electric motor runs solo to maintain such a speed when costing down a hill or detecting a progressive decline of speed.

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My week with the new Sonata Hybrid never yielded its true mpg EPA estimate of 40 mpg highway. Though, I was able to match the EPA estimated 36 mpg city figure getting about 35.8 to 36.2 mpg around town. On the highway I saw the best figure of about 37.4 mpg, well shy of that 40 mpg figure. Regenerative braking works with a seamless nature to charge the new next-generation lithium polymer battery in conjunction with the engine at computer-initiated times. The new battery comes with a lifetime battery warranty – more than likely a major deciding factor for the longevity of such a vehicle and proven durability.

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Ride quality and its handling are on par for what you would expect from a mid-sized sedan. The dampers are well-tuned to smooth-out the fuss of uneven road surfaces and adapt well to lateral motions. The Sonata Hybrid proves to be a bit sportier in its handling than other comparable Hybrids and even many regular gas-powered sedans in the same class.

The interior of the new 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid takes a page directly from the book of the rest of the Sonata line. The new Sonata Hybrid combines all of the optional features found on other trim levels as standard equipment, part of the attractive value of this vehicle. Many of the plastics surrounding the new Sonata Hybrid’s interior are soft-touch and all come together well. Don’t expect much to jump out as being elaborate inside of the new Sonata Hybrid. Many of the materials, mostly consisting of plastic, have a surprising good fit and finish but not too far on the luxury side of things.

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The leather seats in my 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid proved to be somewhat supportive and comfortable on long trips. There is a slight amount of bolstering on the front seats, just the right amount expected from a mid-sized sedan. Instrumentation is brightly lit and easy to read. The infotainment system of the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid mimics much of the Hyundai line of vehicles fed through a 7-inch LCD touch-screen. The GPS navigation system is straight forward as well as the vehicle settings accessed through the instrument cluster center color LCD screen.

Exterior styling, taking a slight departure from normal Sonata trim levels, goes in a different direction for the Hybrid model. The front fascia is reworked with the only similarity being the over-all headlight shape and hood. The rear also has traits that signify the Sonata Hybrid and capped off with highlighted-blue Hyundai emblems up front and in back. The coupe-like sloping roofline demonstrates the Hyundai Sonata’s aerodynamics, which aid to keep wind noise down at highway speeds and an exceptionally low drag coefficient of 0.25. The new Sonta Hybrid basically slips through the wind like freshly sharpened knife does through hot butter.

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The new 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited, including most Sonata options as standard features, attempts to place its pricing in a competitive position. Pricing for the new Sonata Hybrid starts at just $30,550 and topped out with my test vehicle at just $32,460 including a $795 fright and handling charge, $1,100 panoramic sunroof w/ power sunshade, iPod cable and floor mats. A comparable Toyota Camry Hybrid will start things off around $26,140 but can quickly climb up to the Sonata Hybrid’s price point and beyond it once several comparable options are added on.

The new 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has certainly claimed its position as a choice among main-stream hybrid sedans on the market. It is well deserved of a look from those in the market for an affordable midsized hybrid sedan with a long list of standard features and a rock-solid warranty on the vehicle and new hybrid battery.

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Copyright: 2013 AutomotiveAddicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Sonata Hybrid $25,650 / As-Tested Sonata Hybrid Limited $31,550
  • Engine: 2.4 liter Theta II 4-cylinder Atkinson Cycle Combined 199 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm / 151-154 lb-ft of torque
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic
  • Wheelbase: 110 inches
  • Total length: 189.8 inches
  • Total width: 72.2 inches
  • Total height: 57.7 inches
  • Tread: f/r-62.6/62/6 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-40/37.8 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-45.5/34.6 inches
  • Turning circle: 35.8 ft.
  • EPA passenger volume: 103.8 cu.ft.
  • EPA Fuel Economy: 36 mpg city / 40 mpg highway
  • Fuel tank: 17.2 gallons
  • Curb weight: 3,578 pounds


2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Review & Test Drive 24
May
Posted by Harvey Schwartz in Automotive, hybrid, Hyundai, Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Test Drives on 05 24th, 2013
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Instead of refining the already classic sexy styling and the comfortable and contemporary interior of the new Sonata Hybrid, Hyundai Motor America chose to tweak the excellent hybrid system further increasing fuel efficiency and for the car to operate in all-electric mode more often  and for longer periods of time.  They engineered an advanced version of the brand’s Blue Drive architecture.  The improved architecture optimizes electric-only driving with a higher output 35 kW electric motor, a more powerful 47 kW Lithium Polymer batter pack and an optimized hybrid operating strategy.  These upgrade are paired with a 2.4 liter Theta II four-cylinder engine that now runs on a more efficient Atkinson cycle and an enhanced six-speed automatic to generate 199 combined net horsepower.  The new Sonata Hybrid Blue Drive system offers greater fuel efficiencies by increasing the overall amount of available electrical drive power, allowing you to go further between fill-ups.  As in previous Sonata Hybrids, the new 2013 model features a clutch to decouple the gasoline engine from the drivetrain.  When in pure electric drive, the Sonata Hybrid can drive electrically up to 75 mph.

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Maximizing electric-only driving results in high fuel efficiency, which is the leading factor consumers look for in a hybrid vehicle.  Hyundai engineers aimed to increase the overall amount of available electric drive power and improve the efficiency of the Hybrid Blue Drive operating system in the new model.

Using a higher output 35 kW electric motor and the more powerful 47 kW Lithium Polymer battery pack, the Hybrid Blue Drive powertrain maximizes electric-only driving.  The improved operating system takes advantage of newly developed driving pattern detection and engine on/off optimization logic.  The availability of more battery energy allows for greater flexibility in running the gasoline engine at optimum efficiency, which saves fuel.  Better kinetic energy recovery and increased charging efficiency powers the new model in all-electric mode more often and for longer periods of time, increasing fuel economy.  The car utilizes the all-electric mode at optimal moments such as highway driving, and then saves the gasoline engine start-up for roads that require a heavier dose of power at launch.

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The remarkable achievement with the new Sonata Hybrid’s 47 kW lithium polymer batter pack is that not only is it more powerful and more energy dense, it also weighs less and takes up less volume in the trunk.  It has gone from 96 pounds to 91 pounds, while trunk volume expands from 10.7 to 12.1 cu.ft.  Once again the improved efficiency of the battery pack is key to recovering more kinetic energy from braking and charging from the engine, when needed, to help propel the car.  The newly optimized system allows the battery to store more usable energy, allowing more all-electric driving, cutting both fuel consumption and emissions.  As the upgraded batter stores more energy, engineers also increased the output on the electric traction motor from 30 kW to 35 kW.  The increase energy pulled into the system is used for higher torque output in electric driving mode before the system has to start the internal combustion engine.  The new Sonata Hybrid can now sustain all-electric mode longer than before.  The higher output electric motor is also essential to improving energy capture during regenerative braking.

The HSG (Hybrid Starter Generator) is primarily used to improve clutch engagement when synchronizing engine to transmission speed.  The primary traction state of charge is low and the car is stopped, the HSG will automatically restart the engine, which then charges the Lithium Polymer battery pack.  When you release the brake and press on the throttle, the Sonata Hybrid will pull away smoothly in electric drive mode with the clutch still engaged.  In this mode, the Sonata will briefly behave like a series hybrid.  Once the car is in motion and torque demand increases, the clutch will engage and send engine tractive effort through the transmission again.

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The body of the new Sonata Hybrid remains unchanged and cuts through the air with an incredible 0.24 co-efficient of drag made possible by the re-sharped front and rear fascias with a deeper air dam, extended rocker panels and lower drag wheels that allow air to flow around the body with less resistance.  All of these hybrid and body improvements allow the new Sonata Hybrid Limited that I tested to reach an EPA mileage spec of 36mpg/city and 40mpg/highway.

I checked this out and found it is true only when you get the car up to that speed using the gasoline/hybrid electric system.  When I took my foot off the throttle it did go into EV mode but then lost speed as I progressed.  When I gave it very light throttle to regain speed it did stay in EV mode until it slowed down again since the light throttle wasn’t enough to keep the speed up from 65-75mph.  It behaved the same at any speed below under very light throttle at the optimum speed but did drop off and I had to give it throttle again.  It does stretch the miles out using the same light throttle and coasting until you have to regain speed.  It doesn’t work on an incline or hill but does on the way down.  The EV only mode does work at launch until you reach 20mph then it reverts back to hybrid.

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The Hyundai Lifetime Hybrid Battery Warranty ensures that if the Sonata Lithium-Polymer battery ever needs replacement, Hyundai will replace the battery and cover recycling cost for the old battery pack for free to the original owner.

Even though the Sonata Limited is a hybrid vehicle it is still fun and easy to drive with the latest in contemporary mechanical and interior features to make the ride even more enjoyable.

The Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine is all-aluminum with DOHC and Dual Continuously Valve Timing.  The six-speed automatic features Hyundai’s Sportronic sequential shifting for a more sporty drive.  The unique suspension is fully independent and features MacPherson struts up front with a 24mm stabilizer bar and SACHs Amplitude Selective Damping gas-charged shocks.  The rear independent suspension is a multi-link setup with coil springs, a 15mm stabilizer bar and SACHs Amplitude Selective Damping gas-charged shocks for an excellent ride over poorly paved roads and superb handling capabilities at speed.

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Steering is provided by a Motor-Driven power steering column mounted rack & pinion power assisted system with engine rpm sensing for a lighter feel at slow speeds and a heavier feel at highway speeds with excellent on-center feel.  Slowing the new Sonata Hybrid Limited down from speed are large, regenerative steel disc brakes.  Up front are 11.8 inch vented discs with large single-piston calipers and 11.2 vented discs utilizing large single-piston calipers in the rear.  Standard ABS and EBD help with your control when braking on slick or wet pavement.  The Limited 2013 Sonata Hybrid rides on 17X6.5 inch light alloy wheels wrapped with 215/55R17 inch low-rolling resistance tires.

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Standard equipment in my Limited Sonata Hybrid includes projector beam headlights with LED accents, LED taillights, front foglamps, power remote sideview mirrors with turn signal indicators, unique, tinted chrome front grille, bodyside molding tinted chrome inserts, chrome exterior door handles, proximity entry with push-button start/stop, remote keyless entry, alarm and immobilizer, active front head restraints, 5-3-point seatbelts with front pretensioners/load limiters, electric stability control with traction control, front, front seat side and curtain airbags, electroluminescent instrument cluster, 4.2 inch color TFT multi-function trip computer with hybrid technology display, dual automatic temperature control, front console mounted rear air-vents, heated front seats, chrome interior door handles, leatherette interior door panel inserts, leather trimmed front bucket seats with driver’s-side 8-way power adjustments, tilt-telescopic leather wrapped steering wheel with audio, cruise and phone controls, metal-grain interior accents, 499-watt AM-FM-Sirius XM/CD/MP3 with iPod/USB/auxiliary jack Infinity Premium audio system, power windows with driver’s-side express up/down, automatic door locks, integrated Bluetooth with phonebook transfer, Hyundai Blue Link Telematics system, auto light control, Virtual Engine Sound System, solar control glass, leather shift knob, navigation system with high-resolution touch screen display, rear backup camera, auto-dimming rearview mirror/homelink/compass, premium door sill plates, panoramic sunroof with power sunshade.

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The price for this advanced and loaded mid-size hybrid sedan is $31,550.00.  It is definitely worth the money as I received a combined 37.3 mpg on average traveling on city and highway for more than 450 miles.

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COPYRIGHT: 2013: HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Sonata Hybrid $25,650 / As-Tested Sonata Hybrid Limited $31,550
  • Engine: 2.4 liter Theta II 4-cylinder Atkinson Cycle Combined 199 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm / 151-154 lb-ft of torque
  • Transmission: 6-speed automatic
  • Wheelbase: 110 inches
  • Total length: 189.8 inches
  • Total width: 72.2 inches
  • Total height: 57.7 inches
  • Tread: f/r-62.6/62/6 inches
  • Headroom: f/r-40/37.8 inches
  • Legroom: f/r-45.5/34.6 inches
  • Turning circle: 35.8 ft.
  • EPA passenger volume: 103.8 cu.ft.
  • EPA Fuel Economy: 36 mpg city / 40 mpg highway
  • Fuel tank: 17.2 gallons
  • Curb weight: 3,578 pounds


Kia Says Optima Hybrid is a No-Compromise Vehicle 16
Jun
Posted by Alex Ion in Automotive News, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, Kia, Optima Hybrid on 06 16th, 2011

Official sources from Kia Motors have made it clear that the 2011 Optima Hybrid is a non-compromise vehicle!


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Expected to legitimize the Korean automaker as an eco-friendly company, the variant boasts of being way different from many other gas-electric vehicles. For instance, you doesn’t need to compromise on your cargo space for the compact lithium-ion battery pack.

Besides, Optima comes up with more standard equipments than the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, including a rear backup camera, rear spoiler, auto-down front windows for the driver and passenger, a cooling glovebox, compass and Kia’s brand new infotainment system.

Under its hood, the 2011 Optima hybrid features the carmaker’s highly-advanced hybrid powertrain technology that enables the car to deliver up to 35 MPG in city driving and 40 MPG on the highway. Kia’s in-house developed hybrid system known as “full parallel hybrid system” allows you to drive the car at full-electric drive mode with speeds of up to 62 miles per hour.

So, how many of our viewers are willing to spend $26,500 to grab the hybrid?

Share with us.

(via Ward’s Auto)







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