2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Test Drive

?Hyundai comes with Hybrid lifetime battery guarantee?

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Hyundai remains firmly committed to leading the automotive industry in fuel efficiency after climbing to the top of the U.S. Corporate Average Fuel Economy rankings in 2009. With their implementation of a powertrain lineup that consists exclusively of four cylinder engines and six-speed transmissions, Hyundai’s 2011 Sonata sedan became the most efficient vehicle in its class with an EPA rated highway mileage of 40 mpg.?The next stage in Hyundai’s drive for top efficiency is the North American introduction of their Direct Hybrid Blue Drive system. The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid debuted in 2010 with a powertrain that was developed entirely in-house by Hyundai that included several technical firsts. These innovations allowed the Sonata to provide performance and efficiency improvements not available in other hybrids.

The first production application of Hyundai Hybrid Blue Drive debuted in mid-2009 on the Korean domestic market?s Elantra LPI mild-hybrid. As implemented in the 2011 Sonata Hybrid, Direct Hybrid Blue Drive became a full parallel hybrid system. The 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid may be operated in a zero emissions, fully electric drive mode at speeds up to 75 miles per hour, or in a combined gas-electric mode at any speed. When the car comes to a stop and the electrical storage load is low, the engine is shut down, completely eliminating idle fuel consumption and emissions.

At the heart of the Direct Hybrid Blue Drive System is its lithium polymer battery pack, which Hyundai has added to its Sonata Hybrid coverage with a Lifetime Battery Replacement Guarantee to expand the benefits of Hyundai Assurance, the industry?s most comprehensive warranty program. The coverage applies to all 2012 model year Sonata Hybrid models over the life expectancy of the vehicle and thousands of miles beyond the average duration of new-car ownership. This first-of-its-kind protection ensures that if the Sonata Hybrid lithium polymer battery technology fails, Hyundai will replace the battery and cover recycling costs for the old powerplant free of charge to the owner.

The Hyundai Direct Hybrid Blue Drive powertrain is configured with a unique architecture unlike any current system on the market. In contrast to the more familiar power-split hybrid systems such as those from Toyota and Ford, Direct Hybrid Blue Drive uses a Transmission-Mounted-Electric-Drive layout where the motor is separated from the transmission gear-set. This modular layout offers Hyundai a number of advantages. Most importantly, the TMED configuration provides flexibility to mix and match different sized electric motors – and transmissions to suit different vehicles. For example, Hyundai has three different six-speed automatic transaxles in its portfolio, any of which could be utilized in a hybrid application.

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The Direct Hybrid Blue Drive System consists of a 2.4-liter Theta II Atkinson Cycle DOHC, 16-valve four-cylinder hybrid with Continuously Variable Valve Timing and a 270V Maximum Interior Permanent Magnet Synchronous Electric?motor. The gas engine delivers 159 horsepower at 5,500 rpm along with 154 pound feet of torque at 4,500 rpm, while the combined gas/electric operation generates 199 horsepower. The system transfers energy through a six-speed automatic transmission without a lock-up torque converter. Another unique aspect of Direct Hybrid Blue Drive is the Hybrid-Starter-Generator, which is belt-driven off the Theta II engine. It is not to be confused with integrated starter systems used for so-called micro or mild-hybrid systems from other manufacturers. Regenerative braking plays an important role in recovering kinetic energy lost during braking and storing it for future propulsion.

The styling of the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is shared with its gasoline powered sibling ? deemed by Hyundai as ?Fluidic Sculpture?. It is sleek and aerodynamic with accentuated character lines that emphasize motion even when standing still. The wide front opening houses a mesh grille, which is flanked by futuristic headlamps and fog lamps. The cabin or greenhouse curves gracefully from the sharply raked windshield to the equally raked rear glass and abbreviated deck. The car sits low over amply filled wheel wells displaying a bold, athletic stance.

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My test 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid came in Limited trim and wore a Venetian Red Pearl metallic exterior coat, complemented by a Beige and Charcoal leather interior. The base price was set at $30,550 while the addition of the carpeted floor mats; and inland Freight and handling charge boosted the final purchase price to $31,505.

SUMMARY: I had occasion to drive my test Hyundai Sonata Hybrid in a variety of scenarios, which included both urban and suburban locations. The Sonata
Hybrid performed beautifully, and I was hardly aware of its Hybrid operation, which is virtually seamless except for the gas engine shutting down when the car comes to a complete stop.

The Sonata Hybrid is attractive, yet bold in its persona, seeming to appeal equally to both genders and virtually all age groups. It performs much as one would expect a conventional auto to, but with greater efficiency. Its electric power-assisted power steering displays a somewhat sporty nature, and the ride quality is quite comfortable.

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Additional possible future powertrain combinations include the use of even more powerful motors and higher capacity batteries to create plug-in hybrids similar to what was showcased recently in Hyundai?s Blue-Will concept vehicle.
The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is also very affordable and features a lengthy and impressive list of standard features and equipment.

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All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by Hyundai?s Assurance program, which includes a 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle warranty, Hyundai?s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and 5-years of complimentary Roadside Assistance.

 
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?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited [/wptabtitle]
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Base Price: $30,550.
Price as Tested: $31,505.
Engine Type and Size: 2.4-liter Atkinson Cycle, DOHC, 16-valve four-cylinder hybrid with Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing and 270V Maximum Interior Permanent Magnet Synchronous Electric motor. Electric motor: Interior-Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor with Lithium Polymer battery): 47 kW Torque (estimated):151 lb-ft @ 0-1,400 rpm Voltage Max. 270V
Horsepower (bhp): 159 @ 5,500 rpm (199 hp @5,500 rpm/195 lbs/ft. torque net combined hybrid system).
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 154 @ 4,500 rpm. Electric motor:Torque (estimated):151 lb-ft @ 0-1,400 rpm Voltage Max. 270V
Transmission: Six-speed automatic without lock-up torque converter.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.
Suspension: Front – MacPherson strut with gas-charged SACHS Amplitude Selective Damping (ASD) shock absorbers and 24 mm stabilizer bar.
Rear – Independent multi-link design with coil springs, gas-charged SACHS Amplitude Selective Damping (ASD) shock absorbers and 15 mm stabilizer bar.

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel vented discs, 4-wheel, 4-channel and 4-sensor ABS with EBD.
Tires: Kumho Solus KH25- 215/55 R17 mounted on 5-chiseled-spoke alloy wheels and tire mobility kit.
Wheelbase: 110.0 inches
Length Overall: 189.8 inches
Width: 72.2 inches
Height: 57.7 inches
Curb Weight: 3,457 – 3,578 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 17.2 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 36 mpg city / 40 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.25
0 – 60 mph: Not Tested

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