The Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid is the new kid in school. The Sonata has been around awhile and so has the regular hybrid, but the plug-in variant is new this year. It offers the same great styling and comfort as its siblings with the ability to run on pure electric mode for up to 27 miles, reducing the time and money you spend at the pump.
Hybrids are getting stealthy. It used to be that when you bought one, there was no way anyone could miss the fact that you were going green. The designs were unique with very noticeable badging to declare your superiority to the gas-guzzling masses. Not so with the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid.
There are a few differences between it and the purely gas Sonata like a larger grille, modified bumpers, and new wheel designs, but they’re subtle. There is nothing loud and in your face about this design versus the gas model. The only thing that stands out is the little door over the plug, which is unavoidable. We like that the Sonata Plug-In has no need to brag.
There’s a choice of electric, hybrid, and battery charge drive modes, which can be toggled at the touch of a button. Opt for electric and you will cruise a class-leading 27 miles before the gas engine takes over. Using gas and electric, the range is 600 miles, beating what you’ll find in most gas-only cars.
The biggest reason for buying a hybrid of any flavor is fuel economy. Hybrids help reduce emissions and save on gas with the Sonata Plug-In delivering 99 MPGe gas and electric combined or 40 MPG gas only. You and your wallet will be happy.
You’ll shell out slightly under $40K for the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid Limited. This is the most well-equipped version of the car with an available base model plug-in starting at $4K less. The difference comes down mostly to interior upgrades like ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, and leather and woodgrain trims.
The ride is smooth and composed at all times. Winter roads in New England are horrible and the Sonata Plug-In eliminated all the bumps and dips that will jar your spine in lesser cars. Hyundai continues to do a phenomenal job of producing an affordable car that looks and feels like a luxury ride.
The plug-in is powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with 154 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission with a 50 kWh electric motor for a combined 202 horsepower. It is surprisingly responsive for a hybrid. No, this is not a sports sedan and you will not get that kind of performance no matter how hard you mash the accelerator, but you won’t find yourself anxious for it to pick up the pace in heavy traffic.
It’s also a remarkably quiet ride. Hybrids are always quiet in electric mode, but they can be downright noisy when that gas engine kicks in and is asked to do the heavy lifting. They often sound strained, letting you know they’re working very hard to meet your demands. This never happens in the Sonata. The engine noise is always muted, never intruding into the passenger space.
Passengers get a comfortable and almost luxurious ride. Hyundai really does know how to pack an incredible amount of style into a car that’s still affordable for the masses. The Plug-In Limited comes with leather seats that are heated and ventilated up front, heated steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control with stop/start capability, navigation with an 8-inch touchscreen, and an 8-speaker Infinity sound system with subwoofer and amplifier. Every surface looks and feels high-quality with no garrish chrome or cheap plastics. This car looks like far more than it costs.
There are also advanced safety features including forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert, and a rearview camera with rear parking sensors. This is all standard and it all comes with a price tag under $40K for a plug-in hybrid. What you lose going with the plug-in is cargo capacity. The trunk has 9.9 cubic feet, which is 3.4 cubic feet less than the straight hybrid version.
Hyundai delivers great warranty protection which includes a lifetime hybrid battery warranty. This is huge, since those batteries are stupidly expensive to replace. It shows how confident Hyundai is in their product and it gives you peace of mind.
The Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid Limited offers up a new option for those seeking hybrid efficiency. It is a stylish car boasting a beautiful interior, smooth ride, and ample safety and convenience features. Pricing under $40K makes it the new kid that deserves serious consideration by hybrid buyers.
2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid Limited
Base Price: $38,600
Price As Tested: $39,575 (not including destination charge)
- Competitive Pricing
- Good All-Electric Range
- Quality Interior
- Small Trunk Space
- No Sunroof Option