Hyundai shows two new hybrids, at 2015 Detroit Auto Show

Hyundai made up for it with the introduction of two new production cars and an innovative concept vehicle at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

2015 Detroit Auto Show highlights

DETROIT: While Kia was quiet with no new offerings at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, its Korean partner Hyundai made up for it with the introduction of two new production cars and an innovative concept vehicle.

Hyundai introduced an all-new Sonata Hybrid model as well as a Sonata Plug-In Hybrid, the firm’s first plug-in hybrid. These 2016 models will be introduced in Canada later this year.

One of the surprises of the show, however, was the Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept, that may or may not see production at some point in the future.

If I was a betting man, I would say yes, but Hyundai uses shows like Detroit to gauge consumer reaction to new concepts and the Santa Cruz is another example of that.

Somewhat similar to Ford’s larger Explorer Sport Trac, the Santa Cruz is what Hyundai calls a “new interpretation of truck utility for the Millenials generation who now represent the second largest population of truck buyers.”

Designed for what Hyundai calls “ urban adventurers”, the Santa Cruz offers seating for five along with the versatility of a truck bed in the rear, which can be covered by a lockable rigid tonneau cover. The cargo bed provides a separated storage area for things like dirty and smelly sports equipment and the like.

The back seat is accessed through rear-hinged rear doors that blend in seamlessly with the front door design.

Power for an all-wheel drive system comes from a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine, producing 190 hp and 300 lb/ft of torque. Fuel economy is rated at 7.8 L/100 km.

The Santa Cruz features a nifty tailgate extension to increase the cargo bed to the equivalent of a mid-size pickup. However, the truck wasn’t designed with heavy hauling or towing in mind; the bed is there to offer greater utility for crossover and sedan buyers who want the utility without going to a full-fledged pickup.

The smallish footprint of the Santa Cruz compared with regular pickup trucks means it is easily maneuvered in tight urban parking lots and narrow city streets.

Santa Cruz Crossover Concept at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show

To this end, unique wheels as well as different front and rear fascias that help to improve aerodynamics are found on the new Sonata Hybrid.

Both vehicles will be built at the Asan South Korea plant.

For 2016, Hyundai has downsized the Sonata Hybrid from a 2.4-litre engine to a 2.0-litre Nu GDI four-cylinder engine. It is mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. This transmission houses a 38 kW electric motor and clutch that helps the vehicle deliver similar driving characteristics while improving fuel economy because of the bigger electric motor.

The Sonata Hybrid is capable of operating on electric power alone, even on the highway by decoupling the gasoline engine from the drivetrain.

The hybrid system’s net power is 193 hp, with 154 hp and 140 lb/ft of torque coming from the gas engine and 38 kW (51 hp) and 151 lb/ft of torque from the electric

Fuel economy is expected to be 6 L/100 km in the city and 5.2 L/100 km on the highway for a combined rating of 5.6 L/100 km.

Hyundai has also improved this model by placing the 13 per cent smaller battery pack under the trunk floor, thereby allowing for a flat trunk floor and producing 380 litres of cargo space, 10 per cent better than the outgoing model.

As well, the 60/40 split rear seats can now be folded.

Exterior aerodynamics are also been improved with the coefficient of drag now at 0.24, which Hyundai say is the same as the Tesla S.

Hyundai’s plug-in hybrid, meanwhile, is expected to reach up to 35 kilometres in EV mode alone, which Hyundai says is the best among any PHEV intermediate sedans.

It will also recharge in as little as two-and-a-half hours with a Level 2 charger and five hours in a standard 120V outlet.

The Sonata PHEV will have a 50 kW electric motor in the transmission in place of the torque converter, allowing for longer and higher-speed use of EV mode. Like the regular Sonata Hybrid, this car has a 2.0-litre Nu engine that takes over when battery power is depleted.

In total, the PHEV system is slightly more powerful than the Sonata Hybrid’s, producing a total system output of 202 hp at 6,000 rpm.

Hyundai says fuel efficiency is expected to be 6.2/5.5/5.9 L/100km city/highway/combined.

Buyers of the Sonata PHEV will be eligible for provincial tax credits in Ontario and Quebec.

Pricing for both models will be announced closer to the launch dates.

In other news, Buick Avenir Concept At NAIAS.

  • Hyundai shows two new hybrids, at 2015 Detroit Auto Show
  • Hyundai shows two new hybrids, at 2015 Detroit Auto Show

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