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2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid was new.


Performance: 7.8

Although most reviewers like that the 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid drives and handles similarly to the gas-only Sonata, some say that its drivetrain isn’t as sophisticated as those of other hybrids in the class.

  • "The Hybrid delivers very good fuel economy, although it isn't quite as refined as other hybrids we've sampled." -- Consumer Guide
  • "When stacked up against the second-generation Camry Hybrid, the Sonata Hybrid suffers from deficiencies in driving dynamics, fuel efficiency and overall ride quality." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Sonata Hybrid is a comfortable cruiser with little to no tradeoff in terms of comfort or performance compared with the gasoline-only, four-cylinder Sonata." -- Cars.com (2011)
  • "With 206 horsepower from the engine-motor combo, acceleration is about the same as a regular Sonata’s. Pay close attention and you’ll feel, and hear, the engine take over from the electric motor, but it isn’t terribly noticeable." -- Wired (2011)

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Sonata Hybrid has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 159 horsepower and an electric motor that makes 47 horsepower, for a combined 206 horsepower. The Sonata Hybrid has a six-speed automatic transmission. Hyundai says the 2013 Sonata Hybrid can run in all-electric mode at speeds up to 75 mph. The Sonata Hybrid gets 36/40 mpg city/highway, according to the EPA, which is good for the class, but other hybrids, like the Ford Fusion Hybrid, use less fuel.

The majority of critics are impressed with the Sonata Hybrid’s power, though one says that the throttle isn’t as responsive as he would like. Another test driver dislikes Blue mode, which boosts fuel economy slightly. He says it increases engine noise and makes the car slow. One reviewer thinks the transition between gas and electric power is flawless. Reviewers say the transmission works well, getting power to the front wheels smoothly.

  • "When Hyundai corrects the sluggish throttle response issues and elevates the fuel efficiency to competitive levels, we might be looking at the next leader in hybrid technology." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Hybrid accelerates quickly in all driving situations. When the drivetrain switches back and forth between electric and gas-engine power, the transitions are virtually seamless, though the transmission sometimes downshifts slowly when more power is needed. Some editors noticed annoying bogging and surging from the drivetrain in low- and moderate-speed driving." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Unlike ‘conventional’ hybrids, there’s no CVT but rather an automatically stirred 6-speed. What’s more, through clever finessing of engine, electric motor and transmission, there’s no need for an intermediate torque converter. The result is a more sporty response to your right foot, with nary a CVT sensation of engine rpm/road speed disconnect." -- Road and Track (2011)
  • "Once you engage Blue mode, though, everything changes. The transmission didn't seem to know what to do on steep inclines, and the engine whined unsettlingly on hilly roads. Then again, hilly terrain isn't where you'd engage this mode; it would be of most use in city traffic and in either congested or wide-open highway stretches." -- Cars.com (2011)
  • "Overall, it's the most spirited midsize hybrid we've driven." -- Popular Mechanics (2011)

Handling and Braking

The 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has handling that’s composed and comfortable, according to test drivers. They like the Sonata Hybrid’s regenerative brakes, noting that they’re strong without being grabby.

  • "Sonata GLS, Limited, and Hybrid strike a good balance between comfort and control. Sonata sometimes responds to larger road imperfections with undue body motions." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The regenerative brakes are progressive and feel just like what we expect stoppers to feel like. There's no danger of having your dental work ripped from your mouth thanks to an overly sensitive second pedal." -- Autoblog (2011)
  • "Like its siblings, the hybrid is quiet at speed, and the firm ride is comfortable and controlled. It’s no sport sedan, but handling is safe and predictable, which, really is what most folks shopping for a mid-sized sedan want." -- Wired (2011)
  • "The hybrid's handling and ride quality are both on the soft side, like the base Sonata." -- Cars.com (2011)

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