New-Look Hyundai Sonata Hybrids Launch in Chicago

Hyundai has brought the hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the new Sonata to the Chicago Auto Show. The new models get the interior and exterior upgrades that the gas-only models received last spring.

The new nose and new tail give the Sonata a sleeker, more upscale look than the previous model. It's not the dramatic styling change that the 2011 model brought to the line, but this is an elegant looking car. The hybrid versions get new LED headlights with adaptive lighting.

Inside, there is a new centre stack, instrument panel, and steering wheel. The material quality takes a step up, as do the piano key style buttons and switches. It looks nicer, and it feels nicer as well.

The hybrid system uses a 2.0L four-cylinder mated with a six-speed automatic transmission. The electric motor and clutch are contained inside the gearbox. The engine makes 154 hp and 140 lb-ft, while the electric power adds 51 hp and 151 lb-ft. The total is 193 hp. Combined fuel economy has an EPA rating of 5.6 L/100 km.

The plug-in boosts the regular hybrid's 1.76 kWh lithium-polymer battery to 9.8 kWh. It uses a 67 hp electric motor and provides an electric range of 43 km. Combined power for the plug-in is 202 hp.

Blind spot alerts and rear cross-traffic detection are standard on the new car. Automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and automatic high beams are optional.

Infotainment in the hybrids coms via an 8.0-inch touchscreen with optional navigation. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration are also included. A bird's eye view map is new this year with the nav system.

With the same battery pack as last year, the plug-in Sonata qualifies for the same provincial EV rebates. That means up to $8,640 in Ontario, $4,000 in Quebec and $2,500 in BC.

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata hybrid and plug-in hybrid are expected to arrive shortly, but Hyundai Canada hasn't yet set a date.

Smoother styling, upgraded interior 2/8/2018 9:34:02 PM