Despite the fact that hybrids aren't exactly popular in Canada, Canadian shoppers are spoiled for choice. In the midsize segment, buyers can choose between hybrid models of the Chevrolet Malibu, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Kia Optima, and Hyundai Sonata. While the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid can more than hold its own in this "green" field, the Sonata is one of only three sedans to be offered in a plug-in form, the others being the Ford Fusion Energi, and the Sonata's kissing-cousin, the Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid.
Both the Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid Sonata were launched in 2016, and carry over into 2017 unchanged, other than a reduced colour pallet. The Hybrid and Plug-in are different from other Sonatas in that they are assembled in Korea, and feature distinct styling with a unique front grille, bumpers, and aero-style wheels. These tweaks help drop the Sonata's drag rating to just 0.24 cd, making it among the sleekest sedans on sale today.
Under the hood, both the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid use a 2.0-litre naturally aspirated and direct-injected four-cylinder engine; it produces 154 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque. Both also use a traditional six-speed automatic transmission, which is unusual in the world of hybrids.
The Sonata Hybrid features a 1.6 kWh lithium-polymer battery pack, which drives a 38-kW electric motor. Together, the gas and electric setup make 193 horsepower. Overall, the Sonata Hybrid is rated at 5.9-6.0 L/100 km city and 5.3-5.5 L/100 km highway, which while decent for a midsize sedan, puts it at the back of the hybrid class behind all of its competitors.
For the Sonata Plug-in, the battery pack is nearly eight times the size at 9.8 kWh, which affords the Sonata Plug-in an all-electric range of 35 km, which is marginally more than the Fusion Energi. The Plug-in Sonata's electric motor is much bigger than the standard Sonata Hybrid. Here, it's 50 kW, which bumps the total system output to 202 hp, more than what the Ford Fusion Energi produces (188 hp). On a standard household outlet, the Sonata Plug-in takes five hours to charge, which drops to half that on a 240-volt outlet.
Although the battery pack of the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid resides beneath the floor, trunk space is smaller than the standard Sonata sedan. The hybrid measures 380 L, with the Plug-in at just 280 L. A split-folding rear seat is standard on Limited and Ultimate Hybrids.
The Hybrid is available in three trims: Hybrid (base), Limited, and Ultimate. The Plug-in is available exclusively in Ultimate trim.
Standard equipment on the Hybrid includes heated cloth seats with eight-way power driver adjustment, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, proximity key with push-button start, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, windshield wiper de-icer, dual-zone automatic climate control, hands-free power trunk, and a 5.0-inch touchscreen display audio system with reverse camera, USB port, Bluetooth, and six speakers.
The Hybrid Limited trim adds standard leather upholstery, heated rear seats, a panoramic sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels, 60/40 split folding rear seats, rear window shades, stitched instrument cluster panel, auto-dimming rearview mirror, LED interior lighting, a seven-speaker Dimension audio system, and an 8.0-inch display with navigation and Android Auto.
The Hybrid Ultimate adds bi-xenon headlamps with automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go assist, power front passenger seat, aluminum scuff plates, electronic parking brake with auto-hold, emergency autonomous braking, ventilated front seats, driver memory, a nine-speaker Infinity premium audio system, and rear parking sensors.
The Plug-in Hybrid Ultimate features the same equipment as the non-Plug-in model, but does not offer a sunroof.
Pricing for the 2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid starts at $29,649. The Plug-in Hybrid Ultimate sells for $43,999.