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Hyundai innovates with Sonata Hybrid

Sonata Hybrid under review for Australia as Hyundai gets innovative with new model

26 Jul 2019

HYUNDAI Motor Company has detailed the innovative Hybrid version of its forthcoming eighth-generation Sonata, which is the most potent and efficient take on the new mid-size sedan.


As reported, Hyundai Motor Company Australia is currently reviewing the Toyota Camry-rivalling Hybrid’s local prospects, with only one of the new Sonata’s three engine options locked in so far for its launch in the fourth quarter this year.


From the Smartstream family of petrol engines, the 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder – or G2.5 GDI – confirmed to be heading Down Under produces 142kW of power at 6100rpm and 245Nm of torque at 4000rpm.


Alternatively, the aptly named and recently detailed Turbo variants are underpinned by a 1.6-litre turbocharged unit – or G1.6 T-GDI – that is also on the radar for Australia. It develops 134kW at 5500rpm and 264Nm from 1500-4500rpm.


For reference, claimed fuel consumption on the EPA combined-cycle test is 7.1 litres per 100 kilometres for the G2.5 GDI and 7.6L/100km for the G1.6 T-GDI. As reported, the latter is aided by Continuously Variable Valve Duration (CVVD) technology that boosts performance and improves efficiency.


As such, the internal-combustion pair loses the title of Sonata economy – and power – champion to the Hybrid, which combines a 112kW/188Nm 2.0-litre atmo engine – or G2.0 GDI – with a 38kW/205Nm electric motor for a system output of 143kW while drinking 5.0L/100km (on 16-inch alloy wheels). Peak torque has yet to be confirmed.


The Hybrid’s efficiency is aided by its six-speed Active Shift Control (ASC) automatic transmission, which is claimed by the South Korean brand to be a world first.


As reported, ASC reduces shift times from 500ms to 350ms by using a sensor inside the electric motor to monitor transmission rotation speed at a rate of 500 times per second in order to quickly and accurately synchronise revs between all three powertrain components.


This is achieved without the assistance of a traditional torque converter that the G2.5 GDI and G1.6 T-GDI use in their eight-speed units to produce similar characteristics.


The Hybrid is also the first model from Hyundai Motor Group to feature a solar roof that recharges its battery during the day to increase driving range “while preventing unnecessary battery discharge”.


According to the company, six hours of daily charging using the solar roof should alone be enough to add an extra 1300km of driving range per year.


In keeping with this philosophy, the Hybrid is more aerodynamic than any other Sonata thanks to its cross-hole cascading grille, optimised alloy wheels and rear spoiler.


Sales of Sonata have taken a hit this year in the lead up to the new model’s release, with 492 examples sold to the end of June – a 9.7 per cent decrease over the 545 deliveries made during the same period in 2018.


Sonata is the sixth best-selling model in the shrinking sub-$60,000 mid-size car segment, trailing the Toyota Camry (7940 units), Mazda6 (1491), Skoda Octavia (887), Volkswagen Passat (540) and Subaru Liberty (512).

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