Test Drive: 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid

The top-of-the-line Sonata Plug-in (Photos: Jack Kazmierski)

Packed to the gills with features and technology, the gas-saver warrants a closer look.

With the introduction of the 2016 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, Hyundai officially entered the EV race with a vehicle that offers an advertised 43 km all-electric range, along with a 2.0L gasoline engine that both charges the onboard battery, as well as powers the vehicle when the battery runs low or when the power (or range) of a gasoline engine is needed.

The Plug-in version of this well-known sedan is the top-of-the line Sonata model, which includes all the bells and whistles and features of lesser Sonata trims, plus a few extras that allow Hyundai to justify the $43,999 price tag.

This Plug-in can run on a gasoline internal combustion engine, an electric motor, or both – depending on the needs of the moment, or on the whims of the driver, since the latter can hit a switch that will lock the powertrain into electric only mode, gasoline only mode, or both.

Fuel economy

The real question is what will this powertrain save the average consumer in the real world when they stop to refuel. According to Hyundai, the regular gas-powered Sonata burns between 8.1 – 9.1 L/100 km (combined). With the Plug-in Hybrid model those number drop to between 5.6 – 5.8 L/100 km (combined). Our real world testing gave us a figure of 6.0 l/100 km (combined).

Those were real world numbers based on our daily driving routines. It’s possible for consumer who live closer to work than the 43 km EV range to find that their Sonata Plug-in Hybrid consumes much less fuel, or perhaps none at all, provided they’re able to recharge both at home and at work.

We plugged our tester into a standard household 120V outlet every evening, and woke up every morning to a full charge, ready to hit the road. But if a consumer were to have access to a 240V charging station, either at home or at work (or both), they’d be able to fully charge their Sonata in as little as 2.5 hours.

Bells and whistles

As the top trim level in the Sonata lineup, the Plug-in Hybrid not only boasts an advanced and fuel efficient powertrain, but it also comes packed with all the luxury features customers would expect in this price range – heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, power-adjustable seats, leather throughout, a heated steering wheel, the latest in Bluetooth connectivity and entertainment, an 8-inch HD touch screen, navigation, proximity keyless entry, push-button ignition, hands-free trunk, and so much more.

Hyundai also threw in a full array of safety features, including a Forward Collision Warning system. Using a forward-sensing camera, the system monitors the closing speed to the vehicle ahead to warn the driver of a potential collision. If a potential collision is detected, an alarm alerts the driver to slam on the brakes.

Hyundai packed this top-of-the-line Sonata with everything a consumer might need or want, including fuel economy figures that are hard to beat. Anyone shopping for a vehicle in this segment of the market will want to take a closer look at all this Plug-in Hybrid has to offer.


Vehicle Specs

Vehicle: 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In

Base MSRP: $43,999

Price as Tested: $43,999

Engine / Transmission (as tested): 2.0L GDI 4-cylinder engine + 50 kW electric motor/ 6-speed auto

Power Output: 202 hp (combined) / 140 lb. ft. of torque

Fuel Economy (as tested): 6.0 L/100 km

Noteworthy Features / Important Selling Features:

  • 43 km EV mode range, hands-free trunk, Forward Collision Warning

Chief Competition (top 3): Chevrolet Volt, Ford Fusion Energi Platinum, Toyota Prius Plug-in


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