Car News

All-New Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Debuts with a Solar Roof

Hyundai unveiled the Sonata Hybrid today at the Chicago Auto Show. The fuel-sipping version of Hyundai's stylish sedan is set to get class-leading fuel economy along with a bladder-busting range and a solar roof that can make range while the sun shines.

For the hybrid, the already slippery new Sonata gets even slicker with active air flaps in the grille, a new rear spoiler, and aerodynamic wheels. The Sonata Hybrid is powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that produces 150 hp and 139 lb-ft of torque. Combine that with the 51 hp of the electric motor and you get a total of 192 hp. That's about 20 hp less than the Accord or Camry, but it pays off at the fuel pumps. And while the Camry uses a CVT and the Accord has no transmission at all, the Sonata Hybrid uses a conventional six-speed automatic.

The base trim is also the most fuel-efficient here. The Blue trim drops the laminated front door glass, gets manually adjusted front seats (without heat), and even throws the centre armrest in the bin to help save weight. It pays off, giving it 54 mpg highway and beating the Camry Hybrid by 1 mpg. That's 4.36 L/100 km to 4.44 if you're counting, though those (and the rest of the Sonata's figures) are U.S. specs. We'll update with Canadian numbers when they come in. In the city, the Camry pulls back ahead, 51 to 50 mpg (4.6 to 4.7 L/100 km).

Hyundai's Solar Roof, standard on Limited trim, turns the sun's energy into electricity. The trick roof can add about 3 km to the car's electric range in a six-hour charge, and it boosts both the conventional 12V battery and the hybrid pack, which could be handy if you're leaving it parked for extended periods.

Another party trick for the Sonata Hybrid is the ability to use your smartphone in place of the key. You can set virtual keys with varying levels of function, too. Say you need a friend to get something from the trunk? Then you can set it to limit to that feature, put a time-limit on the vehicle use, or even revoke it remotely. The Sonata Hybrid comes with a full suite of driver aids standard, including pedestrian detection, lane-keeping, radar cruise, blind-spot alerts, and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist.

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is set to go on sale later this year.