The Hyundai Sonata received a substantial midcycle refresh for the 2018 model year, with revamped styling inside and out, adjustments to suspension tuning, and a host of advanced safety features. At the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, Hyundai rolled out the latest additions to the lineup: the Sonata Hybrid and the Plug-In Hybrid.
As expected, these new hybrid models adopt the latest styling cues from the current Sonata. You'll find a new grille, headlights, hood, fenders, trunklid and taillights on the outside and a refreshed dashboard, instruments and steering wheel on the inside. These more fuel-efficient variants build on the standard Sonata's strengths, which include a generous list of standard features, a spacious interior, easy-to-use tech and an industry-leading warranty.
On sale in the first quarter of 2018, the new Sonata Hybrid packs a 154-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. In place of the typical torque converter is a 38-kW electric motor and clutch that deliver 51 hp and 151 pound-feet of torque, with a combined output of 193 hp. Hyundai says the hybrid's fuel economy is 42 mpg combined (39 city/45 highway).
Under the trunk is a 1.76-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that allows the Sonata Hybrid to cruise at 75 mph under electric-only propulsion. As a result, cargo space is reduced to 13.3 cubic feet, but it still compares favorably to the standard gas-only Sonata's 16.3 cubic feet. Plus it keeps its 60/40-split folding rear seats.
The 2018 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid will arrive in showrooms in the second quarter of the year with an 8.8-kWh battery pack and a 50-kW electric motor. This powertrain should deliver up to 27 miles of electric-only range and require a charge time of three hours on a Level 2 charger. Combined output with the same 2.0-liter gasoline engine is 202 hp. The Plug-In Sonata will be distributed in California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. Interested shoppers in other states will be able to order one from their local dealer and will enjoy the same $4,919 federal tax credit.
Whichever Hybrid model you choose, advanced safety features such as blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert are standard. Forward collision mitigation, lane keeping assist and automatic high beams are optional. Other add-ons include a hands-free trunk, rear window sunshades, ventilated front seats and adaptive cruise control. On the technology front, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and the latest version of Hyundai's Blue Link telematics and remote control and monitoring are available. Blue Link is particularly helpful with the Plug-In Sonata because you can monitor and schedule charge times.
Check back with Edmunds for more information and driving impressions on these new Sonata Hybrids as we near their on-sale dates.