2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Overview
The 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is the newest addition to the redesigned Sonata family and its most fuel efficient. The Sonata has been one of hottest cars on the market since its makeover and the Hybrid edition should be no exception.
Hyundai has given the Sonata Hybrid new styling that makes it very easy to distinguish from conventional gas-powered Sonatas and Sonata Turbos. The largest difference is a brand new hexagonal grille up front that completely changes the character of the car and makes the Sonata Hybrid the most aggressive looking of the three. Other changes include unique head and taillights, side skirts, and hybrid badges. Behind the new grille, the Sonata Hybrid employs a shutter system which closes when the car gets up to speed and makes it much more aerodynamic.
Under the hood, the Sonata Hybrid employs a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine which operates on the Atkinson Cycle for more efficiency and an electric motor which combine to output 206-horsepower and 193 pounds-feet of torque. Instead of a CVT, the Sonata Hybrid comes with a six-speed automatic transmission which helps to make the Sonata Hybrid drive like a conventional car. Fuel economy numbers on the 2011 Sonata Hybrid ring it at a brisk 35 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway.
Another way the Sonata Hybrid stands out is in its use of lithium-polymer cells in its battery pack. Much of the Sonata Hybrid’s competition, like the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid, and Nissan Altima Hybrid, uses cheaper nickel-metal hydride battery cells. There are several advantages to opting for a lithium-polymer based battery: they are lighter, produce less heat, and take up less room. The battery also has no memory, which means you don’t have to worry about losing charge over time. The Sonata Hybrid can cruise at speeds of over 60 mph just on battery power.
Inside, the Sonata Hybrid very closely resembles the regular Sonata. Most of the changes are found in the instrument panel, which eschews a traditional tachometer for an LCD display that feeds the driver information on the drivetrain and battery state. Trunk room shrinks from 16.4 cubic feet to 10.7 due to the battery pack. The standard features list is expanded and includes automatic climate control, push button start, iPod®/USB and auxiliary input jacks, Bluetooth® connectivity, and a power driver’s seat. Leather seating, heated front seats, a panoramic sunroof, and navigation system are available as options.
Standard safety features include six airbags, active front head restraints, antilock brakes, and an electronic stability control system with traction control. Just like normal Sonatas, the Sonata Hybrid also gets a full five-star crash test rating from the NHTSA.
The 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid takes all of the elements that have made the Sonata one of the most sought after cars of 2011 and sprinkles on an extra helping of fuel efficiency and style.