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Detroit show: Hyundai Sonata to get turbo power

Electrified: Hyundai's new-generation Sonata Plug-In Hybrid made its global debut at Detroit this week, but don't expect to see it in Australian dealerships.

2.0-litre turbo confirmed for Hyundai Sonata, but hybrids ruled out for Australia

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Hyundai logo14 Jan 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

HYUNDAI'S resurrected mid-size Sonata range will be a petrol-only affair, with the car-maker's Australian arm ruling out electrified powertrains for the local line-up that lands in showrooms in February.

Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) has confirmed that Australian Sonata buyers will get the choice of two petrol-powered engines, headlined by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged unit punching out 180kW/350Nm for higher spec Sonatas.

A 2.4-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder petrol unit, producing 145kW and 240Nm, matched with a six-speed automatic transmission, will be reserved for the base variants.

A pair of frugal Sonata petrol-electric variants – the Hybrid and the Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) – were revealed at the Detroit motor show this week, but HMCA general manager public relations Bill Thomas told GoAuto those were “very unlikely” for the local Sonata line-up.

“We did look at bringing Sonata Hybrid in some years ago, but competitively it is extremely difficult, especially against Camry Hybrid which is locally made,” he said.

“Certainly, it was something that was studied and looked at but it wasn't something we could make work, so it's unlikely we will get those vehicles here.”

Revealed at the Detroit motor show this week, the Sonata Hybrid and PHEV share styling tweaks to differentiate them from their combustion engine siblings.

Changes include a larger grille, different front and rear bumpers, new front panels, new headlights and tail-lights, chrome side sills, new wheels, Hybrid badging and colours unique to the electrified variants.

The Hybrid is powered by a 115kW/190Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder GDI (gasoline direct injected) engine, combined with a 38kW electric motor connected to a 1.62kWh lithium-polymer battery for a total output of 144kW.

In mild hybrid guise, the Sonata is matched with a six-speed automatic transmission and can achieve fuel use of about 5.6 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle. This represents an improvement of 10 per on the previous Sonata Hybrid.

Hyundai's first plug-in uses a 9.8 kWh lithium polymer battery pack that is five times bigger than that of the regular Sonata Hybrid, providing an all-electric range of 35km.

It uses a 50kW electric motor and a 2.0-litre four-cylinder Nu petrol engine for a combined output of 150kW and is matched with a six-speed auto with Hyundai's Transmission-Mounted Electrical Device (TMED). Fuel use is for the plug-in is 5.9L/100km.

Meanwhile, pricing and specification for the local Sonata line-up will be released next month when the car arrives in Hyundai dealerships.

Buyers looking for a mid-size diesel option in the Hyundai line-up will have to check out the i40, with the 1.7-litre oiler kicking off from $34,590, plus on-road costs for the Active sedan, or $36,590 for the wagon.

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