Car Reviews

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review

Fuel economy is one of the biggest—if not​ the​ biggest—boon to buying a hybrid.

By Travis Persaud

Feb 18, 2016 3 min. read

Article was updated 6 years ago

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Fuel economy is one of the biggest—if not​ the ​biggest—boon to buying a hybrid.

That’s true with the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, but it quickly fell down the list of “must sees” when test driving.

It’s old news that Hyundai prides itself on offering premium features and amenities on their vehicles at lower price points than what is the norm. Yet, somehow, I’m always surprised when I enter a Hyundai and see an absolute wealth of luxe features.

These are s​ome​ of the features that come standard on the entry­ level 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: Blind spot detection with rear cross­traffic alert and lane change assist, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a five­-inch colour touchscreen audio display with rearview camera.

It starts at $29,649—a great price for what it offers before even considering any other trims and packages.

I test drove the Limited model, which ups the figure to $33,799. This adds such features as an eight-­inch touchscreen navigation system, seven­ speaker audio system, heated rear seats, panoramic sunroof and more. Again, an incredibly competitive price, ​especially with some vehicles twice its price that don’t offer “simple” features like navigation.​

The jump in trim doesn’t change what’s under the hood, though. All 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrids come with the same 2.0L 4 ­cylinder engine with a 38 kW electric motor. This combo is paired to six­-speed automatic transmission and is capable of 193 hp.

It drives as it should—quietly, smoothly and with enough power to get you in and out of tight situations in the city. That said, steering was a bit anemic. By no means is this a sports sedan—this is a luxurious, cushy midsize hybrid sedan—but a little extra weight on the steering would add a touch of driving engagement and up the overall experience.

Same goes for the infotainment system. It works well. In fact, the voice commands are spot on and the layout is quite intuitive. But, this is a setup I’ve seen. Maybe I’m getting sucked into the millennial mindset of needing something new and different at every turn, but I was hoping for a little razzle dazzle; something within the system that mimics the Sonata’s handsome exterior and luxurious interior.

As far as space, though, it’s quite adequate. My six­-foot-­two frame had ample room up front and even with my seat pushed all the way back there was enough room for an adult to sit behind me with a reasonable level of comfort. Also, Hyundai found a way to place the battery pack under the trunk floor. This provides more trunk space and allows for a segment­first 60/40 split­folding rear seats.

What about it’s fuel economy? Absolutely no complaints there. I test drove it during a colder week and fully utilized the heated steering wheel (why doesn’t every car in this country come with this feature?) and heated seats. Plus, I didn’t play the fuel economy game, where one changes the way they drive in order to achieve the best consumption rate possible. Bollocks. I drove it hard, often on Sport mode (there’s also an Eco and Normal driving mode) and with a pretty even split between city and highway. The end result? A 7.2 L/100 km figure. Very, very nice.

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata skirts along that quasi­-luxury line incredibly well, with a wealth of standard features, smooth drive experience and enough room to take a foursome to the golf course. Any shortcomings are barely noticed, especially with its competitive price point.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid at a glance:

BODY STYLE: Five­passenger midsize sedan

DRIVE METHOD: Front­engine, front­wheel­drive, mated to a six­speed automatic

ENGINE: 2.0L four­cylinder engine with a 38 kW electric motor

FUEL ECONOMY: (Base) 5.9/5.3 L/100km (city/hwy); (Limited/Ultimate) 6.0/5.5 L/100km (city/hwy)

CARGO CAPACITY: 380 litres

PRICE: Base, $29,649; Limited, $33,799.00; Ultimate, $37,499.00