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2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review

The 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid finishes near the top of our hybrid and electric car rankings due in part to its fantastic fuel economy, good predicted reliability rating, and smooth ride.

Pros & Cons

  • Lots of standard infotainment and safety tech
  • Adult-friendly seating
  • High-quality interior materials
  • Great fuel efficiency
  • Poor brake pedal feel

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid's #1 ranking is based on its score within the Hybrid and Electric Cars category. Currently the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has a score of 8.8 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 13 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.8

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.4
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 7.9
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 9.8 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid a Good Car?

Yes, the 2021 Sonata Hybrid is a good car. It has an upscale cabin, a generous list of standard safety and infotainment features, and one of the longest warranties on the market. This Hyundai also gets great fuel economy estimates and delivers plenty of power for most driving scenarios. One of its few negatives is its regenerative brakes, which have poor pedal feedback.

Why You Can Trust Us: 13 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 13 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid reviews, as well as performance specs, interior dimensions, fuel economy ratings, and more, to give you all the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision.

This 2021 Sonata Hybrid review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2020.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?

Consider purchasing the 2021 Sonata Hybrid if you're in search of a well-rounded hybrid. This vehicle's starting price is in line with others in the hybrid and electric car class, its fuel efficiency is excellent, and it delivers a comfortable ride. That said, there are some other cars worth considering. The Toyota Camry Hybrid comes standard with a few more features, while the Honda Accord Hybrid has a slightly lower base price. If you're open to a nonhybrid vehicle, take a look at the regular Hyundai Sonata, which has many of the same attributes as the hybrid version but costs less.

Find a 2021 Sonata Hybrid for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: What's the Difference?

There are no major differences between the 2020 and 2021 Sonata Hybrid.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Sonata Hybrid »

Here are the key changes for the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid over the last few years:

  • 2017: Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 7-inch touch screen became standard
  • 2018: refreshed styling; gained standard blind spot monitoring and available wireless device charging and lane keep assist
  • 2019: no major changes
  • 2020: fully redesigned with updated styling, improved fuel economy, more cargo space, a new base trim, a larger touch screen, and an available solar roof; Sonata Plug-In Hybrid discontinued
  • 2021: no major changes

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Sonata Hybrid, 2019 Sonata Hybrid, and 2020 Sonata Hybrid reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Cost?

The 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid's base Blue trim starts at $27,750, which is about average for the hybrid and electric car class. The midlevel SEL trim starts at $29,900, and the range-topping Limited trim starts at $35,300.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Hyundai dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Hyundai deals page.

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Versus the Competition

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid vs. Toyota Camry Hybrid

The Toyota Camry Hybrid and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid both offer great fuel economy (52 mpg combined city/highway), respectable acceleration, and relaxed rides. On the negative side, both vehicles also have poor brake pedal feel. The Toyota comes with a few more standard features than the Hyundai, including Amazon Alexa capability, which is unavailable in the Sonata Hybrid. The Toyota also has a bit more horsepower and slightly more rear legroom. However, the Sonata Hybrid costs about $700 less than the Camry Hybrid. Both are terrific vehicles that place high in our hybrid and electric car rankings. You can't go wrong with either.

Compare the Sonata Hybrid and Camry Hybrid »

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid vs. Hyundai Sonata

As you'd expect, the nonhybrid Hyundai Sonata is very similar to its hybrid counterpart. Both have a good predicted reliability rating, about 16 cubic feet of trunk space, and a similar list of standard features (you get a few more goodies in the hybrid). There are two main differences between these vehicles: price and fuel efficiency. The Sonata Hybrid’s fuel economy estimates are much better than the regular Sonata's: You'll save about $400 in fuel costs per year with the Sonata Hybrid. However, the base Sonata Hybrid costs about $4,150 more than the base nonhybrid Sonata. That means you'd have to own the Sonata Hybrid for about 10 years to make up that price difference. Opt for the Sonata Hybrid if fuel efficiency is your top concern. If you care more about price, go with the nonhybrid Sonata.

Compare the Sonata Hybrid and Sonata »

Compare the Sonata Hybrid, Camry Hybrid, and Sonata »

Sonata Hybrid Interior: Spacious Cabin and User-friendly Technology

Sonata Hybrid Cargo Space

Unlike many hybrid vehicles that house their batteries in the trunk, the Sonata Hybrid's battery pack sits underneath the rear seats. This allows for a sizeable 16-cubic-foot trunk, which is above the class average. In fact, the Sonata Hybrid has the same amount of cargo room as the nonhybrid Sonata. You can lower the 60/40-split-folding rear seats to stow long items.

How Many People Does the Sonata Hybrid Seat?

Up to five people can sit inside the Sonata Hybrid. The spacious front seats provide all-day comfort, and the back seats offer enough room for tall passengers to comfortably sit behind other tall folks.

Sonata Hybrid and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the Sonata's rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat. The upper tethers are easy to access, but the lower anchors are set too deeply in the seats.

Sonata Hybrid Interior Quality

The Sonata Hybrid sports high-quality cabin materials, even in the base trim. Reviewers note that the interior of the range-topping Limited trim looks like it belongs in a luxury vehicle.

Sonata Hybrid Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Sonata Hybrid's standard infotainment system features a responsive 8-inch touch screen that's mounted high on the control panel, making it easy to access. You'll also find physical controls to adjust volume and climate settings, though some reviewers bemoan the lack of a dial for changing radio stations.

  • Standard infotainment features: an 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, six-speakers, HD Radio, satellite radio, a USB port, Bluetooth, and BlueLink (a smartphone app that lets you do things such as lock and start the car remotely)
  • Available infotainment features: a 10.25-inch touch screen, a 12-speaker Bose audio system, wireless device charging, dual USB ports, and navigation
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, and push-button start
  • Other available features: a solar roof

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Sonata Hybrid Performance: Efficient Cruiser

Sonata Hybrid Engine

The Sonata Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that combine to make 192 horsepower. This setup provides quick acceleration and plenty of power for your daily commute. Unlike most hybrids, this Hyundai eschews a continuously variable automatic transmission for a standard six-speed automatic that's praised for its smooth shifts. Additionally, most reviewers say there's a seamless transition between gas and electric power.

Sonata Hybrid Gas Mileage

The base Blue trim is the most efficient in the Sonata Hybrid lineup. It delivers 50 mpg in the city and 54 mpg on the highway, which is great for the hybrid and electric car class. Estimates dip a bit in the other trims, which get 45 mpg in the city and 51 mpg on the highway. A solar panel comes standard in the top Limited trim and increases the car's driving range by about 2 miles a day, according to Hyundai.

Sonata Hybrid Ride and Handling

The Sonata Hybrid isn’t as engaging to drive as some class rivals are, and its regenerative brakes are grabby. However, this Hyundai does a good job of delivering a comfortable ride, even over broken pavement. It also offers responsive steering and composed handling. Front-wheel drive is standard.

Read more about performance »

Sonata Hybrid Reliability

Is the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Reliable?

The 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has a good predicted reliability rating of four out of five.

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Warranty

The 2021 Sonata Hybrid is covered by a five-year/60,000-mile limited warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. That's lengthy compared to what most of the competition offers.

Read more about reliability »

Sonata Hybrid Safety

Sonata Hybrid Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Sonata Hybrid an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in the side crash and rollover tests and four stars in the front crash test.

At the time of writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2021 Sonata Hybrid. However, the IIHS gave the nearly identical 2020 model the highest rating of Good in all six crashworthiness tests.

Sonata Hybrid Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Rear-seat reminder
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • High-beam assist
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane follow assist
  • Driver attention warning

Available advanced safety features:

  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Rear park assist
  • Head-up display
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • 360-degree parking camera system
  • Highway drive assist

Read more about safety »

Sonata Hybrid Dimensions and Weight

The Sonata Hybrid is about 16 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,325 to 3,530 pounds, and its gross vehicle weight rating is 4,519 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Built?

Hyundai builds the 2021 Sonata Hybrid in Alabama.

Which Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid comes in three trims: Blue, SEL, and Limited. The base Blue trim is the most fuel-efficient, and it also provides a wealth of standard comfort, safety, and infotainment features. This makes it a great pick for most shoppers. You'll have to step up to one of the higher trims if you want more convenience features.

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Blue

The Blue trim starts at $27,750 and comes standard with cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front seats, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity keyless entry, and push-button start. Its infotainment system consists of an 8-inch touch screen, six speakers, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD Radio, satellite radio, BlueLink, Bluetooth, and a USB port.

Several advanced safety features are also standard, including a rearview camera, a rear-seat reminder, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, high-beam assist, lane keep assist, lane follow assist, and driver attention warning.

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid SEL

The SEL trim (MSRP: $29,900) adds an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated front seats, heated side mirrors, wireless device charging, a 12-speaker Bose premium audio system, and dual USB ports.

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited

Starting at $35,300, the Limited trim gains a 10.25-inch touch screen, navigation, LED headlights, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, memory settings for the driver’s seat and side mirrors, a rear center armrest with dual cup holders, a solar roof, ambient lighting, front and rear parking sensors, rear park assist, a head-up display, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a 360-degree parking camera system, and highway drive assist.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Hyundai dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Hyundai deals page.

See 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is a great vehicle in the hybrid and electric car class. In addition to terrific fuel economy, it boasts spacious seats, high-end cabin materials, and user-friendly infotainment features. This Hyundai isn’t as athletic as some class rivals, however, and its brakes take some getting used to.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "All told, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is a really great car that does many things well." -- Autotrader
  • "The Sonata Hybrid grabs your attention with distinctive styling and cool features such as an available solar panel roof. It's more efficient than its predecessor and packed with tons of attractive technology. Add in a pleasing driving experience, high levels of comfort, and a spacious cabin and you've got one of the best hybrid sedans out for 2020." -- Edmunds (2020)
  • "The … Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is a compelling choice, offering superb fuel economy, a splendid design, and a roomy cabin. It's also filled with premium technology and superior quality materials." -- Motor Trend (2020)
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