2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Review by Mark Fulmer
A Sedan with Outstanding Interior, Tech, and Fuel Economy
By Mark Fulmer
The Auto Channel
Under the hood of the 2021 Sonata Hybrid sits a 2.0-liter inline-4 with a 6-speed automatic, a 51-hp motor, and a 1.62-kwh lithium-ion battery for a combined system output of 192 horsepower. Power is pushed to a 6-speed automatic and a front-wheel drive. That system yielded 50 miles to the gallon on California freeways, and silky transitions between power sources during in-town driving. To say that driving this sedan was a pleasure is a distinct understatement.
The solar paneled roof is a hint of good things to come for hybrids of the future. The free solar electricity not only can add a few free miles to your daily commute, it also sends electrons to a number of the accessories, and hints at greater possibilities in the future as solar and battery technologies continue to evolve and improve.
The interior has an executive polished design that uses eye-pleasing curves throughout the dash and steering wheel. The instrument cluster can be easily modified to display the gauges the way you like or need them. Safety features include adaptive cruise control with lane keeping and following assistance - a system that can increase your gas mileage as it adjusts your speed to the traffic in front of you using computerized incremental speed changes that are far more accurate and controlled than your right foot. Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot collision avoidance assistance, and rear parking collision avoidance assistance monitor for problems even before you can see them.
The 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system can connect to your mobile devices via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 12-speaker audio system is a Bose - which means your are going to hear highly defined and separated instruments you hadn't really noticed before. There is also very useful wireless phone charging, a color head-up display, and for those tight parking spaces a 360-degree camera.
Gears are shifted with buttons in place of a traditional shifter which work fine and save space - although if you have long, and/or artificial fingernails, you may want to use your thumb to prevent unwanted nail detachment.
For those Arctic-like mornings there are heated and ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel. My rear seat passengers applauded the ample legroom. Trunk space is not limited by the hybrid batteries as they are positioned under the rear seats. If you have an infant car-seat you will appreciate the LATCH seat receiver flush with the seats.
This Sonata is not only advancing the qualities of hybrid vehicles, but also giving car buyers an impressive alternative sedan.