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2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid was new.


Performance: 6.8

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid isn't as agile, comfortable or fuel-efficient as its hybrid competitors, according to most automotive journalists. Some note that its acceleration is strong, but others think its throttle response could be faster and some say it doesn't drive smoothly at low speeds.

  • "If you're looking for a hybrid sedan with a sporting flavor, the Fusion or Accord will likely be a better fit." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2013)
  • "The Hybrid delivers very good fuel economy, although it isn't quite as refined as other hybrids we've sampled." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "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)

Acceleration and Power

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that produce 199 horsepower combined. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. According to the EPA, the 2015 Sonata Hybrid gets 36/40 mpg city/highway, which is good for a midsize car but lower than what most hybrid rivals get.

Many critics report that the Sonata Hybrid feels peppy because of its strong electric motor, as well as its traditional automatic transmission, which they say is more responsive than the continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) offered in rivals. Some also comment that the Sonata Hybrid transitions effortlessly between gas and electric power. However, other auto writers note that the Sonata Hybrid doesn't drive smoothly at lower speeds and that the transmission downshifts too slowly.

  • "The 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid's acceleration is a pleasant surprise. A 0-60 time of over 8 seconds generally doesn't get our blood pumping, but the electric motor's instant-on torque makes the Sonata Hybrid seem stronger than the numbers suggest. Another factor is the conventional automatic transmission, which feels more responsive than the CVTs found in other hybrid sedans -- and does a better job of keeping engine noise in check under heavy acceleration." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2013)
  • "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 (2013)
  • "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)

Handling and Braking

Most automotive journalists report that the front-wheel drive 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has a soft, comfortable ride and composed handling. However, some note that it doesn't ride smoothly enough over large bumps and that it has numb steering and limited tire grip, which make for a dull driving experience. Several critics say the brakes are easy to control, unlike in many hybrids where they can be touchy.

  • "Around turns, the Sonata feels stable and secure, though the low-rolling-resistance tires and near complete lack of steering feel conspire to keep the fun in check." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2013)
  • "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)
  • "Drivers who have never operated a hybrid might notice a difference when the brake is applied lightly, but we'll wager people who currently own hybrids will think that the Sonata's re-gen braking feel is subtle and well modulated." -- Popular Mechanics (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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