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2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid sits in the bottom half of our 2016 affordable midsize car rankings. It has a quiet cabin and spacious, comfortable seats. However, its brakes are mushy, and its engine delivers underwhelming power.

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious, comfortable seats in both rows
  • Quiet interior
  • Lower city fuel economy than most hybrids
  • Spongy brakes




Critics' Rating: 8.0
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 8.4
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.2
Safety: 9.5
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Overview

Is the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid a Good Used Car?

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is good for buyers who want a practical midsize sedan with plenty of interior space and a solid safety rating. Just note that its city fuel economy numbers, while good, are lower than those of some hybrid rivals.

Why You Can Trust Us

We do not base our used car rankings and reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we collect information like safety and reliability reports, total cost of ownership estimates, and the views of the automotive press. We analyzed 19 professional evaluations for this 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid review to help you make an informed buying decision.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. To ensure our impartiality, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from carmakers or dealers, and an outside team handles our site’s advertising.

How Much Is the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?

Our site has almost 2,200 listings for the 2016 Hyundai Sonata. Prices range from $10,900 to $19,000, with the average price landing at $13,900. Sonata Hybrid models are on the higher end of this scale. Prices vary depending on the model, condition, mileage, features, and location of the vehicle.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Cost to Own?

Buying a car is just the beginning of your expenses. Five-year costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs for the 2016 Sonata Hybrid are estimated to be $18,113 – well below the class average. The 2016 Camry Hybrid’s estimated expenses are $20,032, and the 2016 Malibu Hybrid’s are $19,582.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Sonata Hybrid?

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is slightly more fuel-efficient than the 2016 Sonata Hybrid. It also underwent an exterior restyling and gained several ride quality enhancements. It starts at $22,500, which is considerably more than a 2016 Sonata Hybrid. If you can live without the upgrades, the 2016 model is the better bet. Just note that the extra money buys you a better ride.

Read about the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid »

If you want a new hybrid in the same price range as the 2016 Sonata Hybrid, you’re out of luck. You could look at a nonhybrid model, like the much smaller 2018 Kia Rio, but the used Hyundai Sonata Hybrid will likely still be the better choice.

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?

J.D. Power gives the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid a reliability rating of three out of five, which is average for the industry.

Read more about Sonata Hybrid reliability »

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Recalls

As of this writing, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has two open recalls. The first concerns the sunroof panel, which may detach. The second concerns an air bag’s second stage not inflating properly. Make sure these recalls are fixed before you purchase this vehicle.

See more information on Hyundai Sonata Hybrid safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Is Best?

The 2016 Sonata Hybrid is your best bet. It was redesigned and includes a more powerful electric motor. If you want better entertainment technology, go with the 2017 model. It adds a larger infotainment screen, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Still, models from 2013 to 2015 are very good vehicles with high overall scores. If you can do without the upgrades, choose one of these models to save a lot of money.

Compare the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Sonata Hybrid »

Which Used Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Model Is Right for Me?

Both the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Sonata Plug-in Hybrid are available in three trims: SE, Limited, and Limited with Blue Pearl Interior (which adds upgraded leather with unique stitching). The Limited is the best choice for most buyers. It doesn’t cost quite as much as the Blue Pearl Interior version, but it has all the same features. It also offers more features than the SE trim.

See 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid trims and specs »

What Does Hyundai's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Hyundai offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles five years old or less and with fewer than 60,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. Certified pre-owned Hyundai vehicles receive the balance of the original new-car 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, as well as the remainder of the five-year/60,000-mile comprehensive warranty. Hyundai CPO vehicles must pass a 173-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing, roadside assistance, and rental car reimbursement may be available, so read Hyundai’s warranty page carefully.

Hyundai has one of the best CPO programs among affordable car manufacturers, according to our analysis. Only Kia, Buick, and Mitsubishi have better programs.

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How Safe Is the Sonata Hybrid?

The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid did well in crash tests. It earned five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in its front and side crash tests, as well as four stars in the rollover test. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did not crash test the Sonata Hybrid, but it did name the nonhybrid 2016 Hyundai Sonata a Top Safety Pick+.

A rearview camera is the only standard driver assistance feature. Adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane change assist, blind spot monitoring, rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, and forward collision warning are available.

See Sonata Hybrid safety scores »

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid or 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid?

Like the Sonata Hybrid, the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid showcases a straightforward cabin design and a powertrain that provides seamless transitions between gas and electric power. Both hybrids shift using a six-speed automatic transmission. The Malibu Hybrid’s trunk is smaller than the Sonata Hybrid's, and the interior materials in the Malibu don’t feel quite as smooth to the touch as the Sonata’s. However, the Malibu Hybrid's city and highway fuel economy estimates are much better than the Sonata Hybrid's. Additionally, the Malibu Hybrid isn’t plagued by spongy brakes like the Sonata Hybrid. Go with the Chevy.

Which Is Better: 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid or 2016 Ford Fusion Energi?

For a plug-in hybrid comparison, the 2016 Ford Fusion Energi is worth a test drive. If you're bothered by the lack of nimble handling from the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, you'll be pleased with the Ford. The Fusion Energi has sharp handling, which makes it a good companion on winding roads. The brakes are touchier in the Fusion – quite the opposite of the Sonata’s mushy engagement. Both get about the same mpg-equivalent when running on electricity and about the same gas mileage in the city. The cabin in the Ford is sleek and well laid out.

Which Is Better: 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid or 2016 Hyundai Sonata?

You may want to consider a nonhybrid 2016 Hyundai Sonata. It will most likely cost less than the Sonata Hybrid, but its fuel economy rating is 50 percent lower. The Hybrid also has standard keyless start, a hands-free liftgate, and dual-zone climate control. It’s the better choice.

Compare the Sonata Hybrid, Malibu Hybrid, and Fusion Energi »

2016 Sonata Hybrid Performance

How Does the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Drive?

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid delivers underwhelming power, but it is in line with hybrid competitors. The steering could be more responsive, but the vehicle has an excellent turning radius, which helps maneuverability. Its ride is also smooth. One significant flaw is slow-to-respond brakes that require firm pedal pressure to engage.

The Sonata Hybrid features a four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that combine to produce 193 horsepower. The Plug-in Hybrid features a more powerful electric motor and a total horsepower of 202. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. The Sonata Hybrid runs quietly, but some might find the engine weak. The transmission is responsive and shifts smoothly, and the transition from electric to gasoline power is seamless.

The Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid features a lithium polymer battery pack and can be charged with a standard 120-volt outlet or at a 240-volt charging station. With a 120-volt outlet, charging time is a tick under nine hours, and that falls to just under three hours at a 240-volt charging station. The Plug-in Hybrid also has a Battery Charge mode that adds electric range to the battery while the Sonata is in motion.

Does the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Sonata Hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 38/41 mpg city/highway, which is outstanding for a midsize sedan, but middling for a hybrid. The Plug-in Hybrid gets 99 mpg-e and has an all-electric range of 27 miles, according to the EPA.

Read more about Sonata Hybrid performance »

2016 Sonata Hybrid Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Sonata Hybrid Seat?

The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid seats five in its quiet cabin, which is among the most spacious in the class. The front seats are exceptionally comfortable.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?

The outward rear seats feature two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2016 Sonata a grade of Marginal, its second lowest, for the LATCH system because the anchors are too deep in the seats and the angle of the anchors make them hard to reach with the LATCH hook.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Features

Standard features include a USB port, Bluetooth, satellite radio, and a 5-inch touch screen. Available features include navigation, a nine-speaker Infinity audio system, and an 8-inch touch screen. The touch screen is user-friendly, but some may find it hard to reach from the driver’s seat. There are also physical controls for many features.

See 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid specs »

Read more about Sonata Hybrid interior »

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Dimensions

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Cargo Space

The 2016 Sonata Hybrid offers 13.3 cubic feet of trunk space, which is big for a midsize hybrid. The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid has 9.9 cubic feet of trunk space due to the extra space its battery requires. The Sonata Hybrid features a standard hands-free smart trunk. The Sonata Hybrid’s available fold-down rear seats add to its storage versatility. The cabin features a good amount of small-item storage space, too.

2016 Sonata Hybrid Length and Weight

The 2016 Sonata Hybrid is 15.9 feet long. It has a curb weight ranging from 3,497 to 3,560 pounds. The Plug-in Hybrid’s curb weight ranges from 3,787 pounds to 3,810 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Built?

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid was built in South Korea.

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