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2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review By John Heilig

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2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

By John Heilig
Senior Editor
The Auto Channel


Model: 2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Engine: 2.4-liter Atkinson cycle I4
Horsepower/Torque: 206 horsepower (total)/193 lb.-ft. torque (total)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with Shiftronic
Wheelbase: 110.0 in.
Length/Width/Height: 198.8 x 72.2 x 57.7 in.
Tires: P215/55R17
Cargo volume: 10.7 cu. ft.
Fuel economy: 35 mpg city/40 mpg highway/38 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 17.2 gal.
Curb weight: 3,483-3,618 lbs.
Sticker: $31,485 (includes $5,635 in options)

Top Five Reasons to Buy This Car

1. Economy
2. Ride quality
3. Styling
4. Comfort
5. Overall ambience

The Bottom Line: As an alternative to the compact or sub-compact hybrids, the Sonata offers mid-car size, equal economy and it's a car that doesn't look as if you're trying to downsize, even though you are.

There are several ways to approach hybrids. One is the hair shirt and "look at me, I'm saving the environment" facade that seems to be the more popular. The other is to quietly go about driving your hybrid, even if it doesn't look as if you're driving a hybrid. The Hyundai Sonata joins the ford fusion hybrid in the latter category. Both are mid-size cars, yet both are hybrids with the resultant very good fuel economy.

The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is the vehicle in question today. As many of you may know, I have been impressed with the Sonata since day 1, and the new design absolutely turns me on. But besides that, the overall performance of the Sonatas I have driven leaves nothing to be desired.

So what of the hybrid? As with most, once you push the start/stop button you are greeted with silence. It took me a while to realize that there's a light that says "ready" when everything is turned on, and that's immediately. From there, you drive it as you would any other car. That's the big advantage of hybrids over pure electrics, or even plug-in electrics, which are, in their own way, hybrids.

One difference from the "standard" Sonatas (and don't forget, there's a turbo version out there as well) is in the instrumentation. In place of the tachometer, there's an ECO guide on the left, combined with the fuel and water gauges. The ECO guide gives you an indication as to how economically you're driving. The speedometer is on the right. Between these is an information panel that contains odometers and fuel economy. It also reports an overall ECO score. I earned a 22.

The ride quality of the Sonata is excellent. People who are in the market for a mid-size want good ride quality, but not the land yacht kind. We had to make two long trips in the Sonata plus two more for a cat emergency. there are few other cars I would want to make that two-hour drive at 11 p.m. in.

Adding to the ride quality is a great HVAC system. We encountered very warm weather as well as chilly weather, but you'd never know it once you're ensconced in the Sonata.

The audio was very good, but I couldn't get my iPod to work. I had to "suffer" through listening to Sirius/XM the whole way.

The front seats offer good side support, and they're heated. The rear seats offer good leg room and there's a flat floor back there so three people could ride there. The rear seats also have separate HVAC controls. Child seats fit easily in the back seats.

Up front the navigation screen also shows output from the back-up camera. This output also has "turn lines" that give a good indication of where you're headed when you turn the steering wheel.

The trunk is very good, but we couldn't get the rear seats to fold to increase it. Under the cargo area there is NO SPARE, so be careful.

At the top I mentioned that I like the Hyundai Sonata's styling. Adding a hybrid option to the package makes the Sonata even more attractive.

2012 The Auto Page