The Washington Times-Herald

Z_CNHI News Service

September 16, 2013

Sonata's hybrid gets mileage boost

The Hyundai Sonata has been one of the world's hottest cars since it was redesigned in 2009.

It's also been widely praised in the automotive press as a symbol of Hyundai's resurgence. This is a brand that used to be known for cheap economy cars but, after a rapid climb in the 2000s, built one of the best family sedans in the world with this new Sonata.

For the past two years, though, the Sonata lineup has had a weak link - its hybrid version.

Introduced in 2011, the Sonata Hybrid didn't quite match the gas mileage and overall refinement of other hybrids that had been on the market longer. The 2012 Sonata Hybrid, for example, was rated for 34 mpg in the city compared to, say, 41 mpg in the Ford Fusion Hybrid.

You can tell Hyundai is trying to address these issues with some tweaks it made to the 2013 hybrid version.

It gets better gas mileage, for starters.

Hyundai changed the hybrid system so that less power comes from the gasoline engine in comparison to the electric motors, so the mileage ratings are bumped up to 36 in the city and 40 on the highway. That's an increase of 2 mpg city and 1 mpg highway. It's not a massive change but still noteworthy.

The bigger difference is in the hybrid system's feel. Engineers spent a lot of time ironing out the clunkiness that hybrids sometimes have when braking and transitioning between gasoline and battery power, so it's got a smoother feeling this year. It can also run longer on purely electric power before the engine fires up.

Aside from that, the Sonata Hybrid still has the same features that make the regular Sonata so popular and praiseworthy.

To my eyes, it's one of the best-looking family cars for sale today. It's sleek, modern, highly styled and visually interesting at a time when most sedans have opted for more boring and conservative bodies.

Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 21, 2014

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 21, 2014

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 21, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 18, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Warren's populist pitch on student loans is off key

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren's populist rhetoric pumps up students about their loan burdens, but she conveniently neglects to mention the real problem - the exorbitant cost of college - much less how she's benefitted from those high prices.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo