More news from the Detroit Auto Show: Hyundai lifted the veil on its 2016 Sonata plug-in hybrid, the company's first plug-in hybrid. While based on the regular 2016 Sonata, the PHEV version will have a slightly different look and aerodynamics improvements (if anyone at Hyundai is reading this: These improvements should go on all models, saving fuel isn't just good for plug-in hybrids...) making it stand out. It'll be able to drive 22 miles in electric-only mode, a range that Hyundai claims is longer "than any other midsize PHEV sedan" (the Prius PHEV only has 11 miles, and the Volt isn't technically a "midsize sedan"...).
The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid uses a 6-speed automatic transmission with a 50 kW electric motor mounted inside. The electric motor is 32% more powerful than the motor used the in regular Sonata Hybrid (more on that below) and allows electric-mode operation at higher speeds than in the regular hybrid. A 2.0-liter Nu 4-cylinder gasoline direct injection engine is coupled with the electric motor, allows the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid to operate just like the Sonata Hybrid once the battery is depleted. Sonata PHEV’s gas engine produces 154 horsepower and 140 lb. ft. of torque and the total system output is 202 horsepower at 6,000 rpm.
The 2016 Sonata PHEV is expected to deliver 93 MPGe combined in EV mode based on Hyundai estimates. In charge sustaining mode, the Sonata PHEV is expected to return 38 mpg in the city, 43 mpg on the highway and 40 mpg combined. Recharge time ranges from two and a half hours at a 240V Level 2 charging station to five hours using a standard 120V outlet.
The plug-in hybrid version of the 2016 Sonata wasn't the only star of the show. The non-plug-in hybrid version will also get a 10% improvement in fuel economy compared to the previous model. This is thanks to a downsized 2.0-liter Nu GDI four-cylinder engine that is coupled with a 6-speed automatic transmission that houses a more powerful 38 kW electric motor and clutch where the torque converter would normally be found.
Sonata Hybrid’s new engine produces 154 horsepower and 140 lb. ft. of torque. The electric motor produces 38 kW (51 horsepower) and 151 lb. ft. of torque. Hybrid system net power is 193 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. The 2016 Sonata Hybrid is expected to achieve up to 39 mpg in the city, 44 mpg on the highway and have a combined EPA rating of 42 mpg.