Having a hybrid car nowadays has been a trend. Earning credentials is another thing plus reducing carbon footprint what with those massive boots that modern day vehicles come out with. At the fore front is each and every manufacturer. But then there are some which outdo the others genuinely and in the process earn green bonus and stuff. The recent manufacturer which has managed to do it is Hyundai and their flagship model, as far as the sales are concerned, happens to be blessed with this green bookings. We have the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid for a review with us and we have narrated it here.
The 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid would be the most expressive designs on a sedan in the Hyundai lineup. The front of this car has got the typical Fluidic Design language with some sprinklings of the Kinetic theory thrown in. Design mis-match is something which this Hyundai is adept at. The wing mirrors are one of those most sculpted units that we have seen. Speak of aerodynamics here and it shows. There are some bodyside moldings which appear to be a tight fit. The rear shows coupe like styling with a lowered glass. The 17 inch wheels also cut in a distinct figure and it seems like most of the Hyundai alloy wheel designs are cut out from their concept metal stages. There is a raised letter decal in the rear which says Hybrid plus some more of the Blue Drive badges. Typical of hybrid cars, this one doesn’t display its tail pipes.
Interiors of the hybrid Sonata are similar to those of the Hybrid Sonata. In this case, we wouldn’t complain since both the vehicles are well equipped for their class. Some of the stuff included are automatic climate control, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, headlights with LED accents and a 4.2-inch LCD trip computer/hybrid technology display, including a six-speaker sound system with USB and auxiliary inputs. Just like the exteriors, the interiors are also curvaceous to a great extent. The seating arrangement is also at par for this class and infact, it is said that the Sonata is the roomiest car in its class. We couldn’t agree more. The boot space is also similar to the others in its class marred by the extra battery weight.
Handling and ride quality
Not much has changed in this department except for the fact that the ride feels a bit more planted than it usually is. The added weight of the batteries means that the Sonata Hybrid wouldn’t have to crash into potholes. The ride quality is what one would call as pliant; however, the handling hasn’t improved a bit. It still remains a bit vague whatsoever with the steering wheel which is electric in nature and sort of immature. It doesn’t give the confidence at higher speeds and this wouldn’t be the sort of vehicle that the enthusiastic driver would prefer. Anyways, the handling is something which most of the buyers in this class wouldn’t be too keen on considering that there are sportier options in the guise of the Honda Civic and also the Volkswagen Jetta.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
The 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is blessed with a 2.4 liter I4 engine which is mated to a 1.4 kilowatt-hour battery pack. While other in its class use a CVT transmission for their hybrid poweplants, Hyundai has preferred to go the traditional 6 speed auto way and this is a nice touch for this engine which produces an equivalent of 206 hp. The battery of this one weighs in only at 96 pounds. The transmission is typically Hyundai smooth and ensures lag free travel. The fuel efficiency figure is something which should do all the talking here but then its being conspicuously hidden from the brochures and stuff. The fact is that inspite of it being a hybrid, it doesn’t have very good hybrid like figures. The EPA figures for this car rank in 41 mpg for the highway and 36 mpg in the city. This is far lower than what the diesel engined Jetta or even the Civic hybrid manages to achieve. The brakes of this car are fantastic and stop the car well in time. Needless to say, after Volvo, Hyundai are the other harbingers in ensuring safety of the occupants and the regular Sonata with its high flying safety standards is the bench mark here.
The 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid can be said as a significant step by Hyundai, what with the battery placement and all as also the technology used. However, it doesn’t do the main thing which it is supposed to do and that is being the fuel efficiency champion. That honor is left to the others in its class. What it promises is comfort mixed with a good looking machine and this is a package which is extremely rare to find or even buy now. There are three variants and out of this, the base on starts at $25,750. Considering this, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid price is something which many wouldn’t want to over look especially given that the state of economy is now in US.