2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Variants Arrive with Updated Styling

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid made their official debut at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show.

Sporting a similar look as the new Sonata, the hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants will be produced in Asan, Korea with the hybrid model arriving in the first quarter of 2018, while the Plug-in will come later in the second quarter. Both models received extensive updates to the interior and exterior, with the outside getting new front and rear fascias, new front grille, hood, fenders, rear deck lid, headlights, and tail lights. There are also new 16- and 17-inch eco-spoke wheel designs, while the new LED headlights feature cornering Dynamic Bending Light (DBL) function.

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Inside the cabin, Hyundai gave the hybrid models a new instrument panel center stack, steering wheel, and an available heated steering wheel. The navigation system has also been updated with new Bird’s Eye View map perspective, while Qi wireless phone charging can be found on navigation-equipped models. New technology features include standard blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist. Automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist are newly available.

The suspension has also been updated on the sedan with a new, stiffer front anti-roll bar and recalibrated steering assistance feel. There are also a new, more rigid rear-trailing arm design with retuned bushings for responsiveness, says Hyundai.

Powering the 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, paired to a six-speed automatic transmission that houses a 38-kW electric motor and clutch where the torque converter would normally be found. The Sonata Hybrid is capable of operating on electric power alone at speeds up to 75 mph. The gasoline engine produces 154 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque, while the electric motor provides 51 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. Combined, it has a total system output of 193 hp.

Preliminary internal estimates has the Sonata Hybrid SE returning 39 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway, for a 42-mpg combined rating. The model’s total range is estimated at more than 650 miles under typical driving conditions.

SEE ALSO: 2018 Chicago Auto Show Coverage

The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid drives similarly to the standard Sonata Hybrid, but has the additional benefit of extended all-electric range. There’s a 9.8-kWh lithium-ion battery pack onboard, which is more than fives times larger than the standard hybrid’s battery. EPA estimates the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid has an all-electric range up to 27 miles and it can recharge in less than three hours with a level-two charger.

There’s also a 50-kW electric motor, which is 32 percent more powerful than the 38-kW unit found in the Sonata Hybrid. Total system output on the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is 202 hp.

“Our new 2018 Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in models add appeal in every area, from exterior to interior design, handling, steering, ride comfort, safety and infotainment,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of Product, Corporate and Digital Planning at Hyundai Motor America. “When combined with Hyundai’s outstanding value and efficiency, the new Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in are sure to attract even more eco-focused buyers.”

Expect pricing for both models to be announced closer to their launch.

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