Hyundai’s swoopy new mid-size 2010 Sonata sedan is an unprecedented sales success for the Korean automaker-and that’s despite having only four-cylinder powertrains. But now buyers have another engine choice. Or should we say, engines. First shown at this year’s New York Auto Show, the 2011 Sonata Hybrid has two.

Hyundai’s Hybrid Blue Drive system couples a 166-horsepower Atkinson-cycle 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with a 30-kilowatt electric for a total output of 206 horsepower. This hybrid also uses a six-speed automatic instead of the CVT used by hybrid Camrys and Fusions. Power draws from the first lithium-polymer battery pack in a production hybrid. Regenerative braking charges the batteries on the go.

The Sonata is a full parallel hybrid, and can run on the electric motor alone at speeds up to 62 miles per hour. Hyundai estimates fuel economy at 36 mpg city and 40 highway.

“For a first US-market effort, the Sonata Hybrid is very impressive. Transitions between gas and electric are as smooth as rivals that have been on the market for years. So you can add great gas mileage to the Sonata’s other good traits.” – Ben McAllister

You’ll know the Sonata Hybrid when you see it. The main grille is set lower in the front fascia, with a wing-shaped slit above it. Headlights and taillights are new and to lower drag, the rear bumper cover is Hybrid-specific.

Inside, less has changed. Most notable is the hybrid BlueDrive screen between the gauge bezels. On sale this winter, expect the Sonata Hybrid to start at about $26,000.



"The Vue Two-Mode Hybrid proves that power and efficiency can coexist, and in a modern crossover you can have them both without skimping on any ability." – Ben Davis


  • Atkinson-cycle 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with 30-kilowatt electric:
  • 206 horsepower:
  • Starts around $26,000: