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2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.4

The 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid delivers excellent fuel efficiency, a comfy ride, and solid power. However, its regenerative braking system will likely take some getting used to, and some class rivals offer sportier driving dynamics.

  • "It's also one of the smoothest and quietest hybrids [we've] driven, with Sport mode only adding to the fun." -- Autotrader
  • "Driving the new … Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is a pleasurable experience. This is a highly refined 4-door sedan with a comfortable, roomy and inviting interior, and the interplay of the gasoline and electric powertrains is so smooth that some folks may not realize they’re driving a hybrid." -- Kelley Blue Book (2020)
  • "… the Hybrid feels every bit as powerful as the gas-only version on the road. Neither sedan is what I'd call quick, and compared to the Accord Hybrid (208 hp) and Camry Hybrid (212 hp), the Sonata Hybrid is the least-powerful of the bunch. Still, whether scooting around town or merging onto the highway, the Sonata Hybrid doesn't feel underpowered, and I think most buyers will get on just fine." -- CNET (2020)

Engine Options, Horsepower, and Acceleration

  • Powertrain: 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor with a combined 192 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: six-speed automatic

The Sonata Hybrid's powertrain helps this vehicle accelerate quickly from a stop, and the transmission delivers seamless shifts. Additionally, most reviewers say the car smoothly transitions between electric and gas power.

  • "If you’re used to the smooth power delivery of most other hybrids, which typically have a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), the silky shifts of the Sonata Hybrid’s standard automatic make this Hyundai feel more like a car with a conventional drivetrain." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Sonata Hybrid improves … with brisk acceleration, excellent mpg, and a sophisticated overall driving demeanor." -- Autotrader
  • "Whether you drive on the freeway or city streets, the Sonata Hybrid is quiet and decently powered. The loud roar that we've complained about in the previous generation is gone, as the 2020 Sonata takes a more subtle approach while still delivering a zippy ride. Even when you're merging on the freeway or need to pass, the powertrain feels more refined than in the past, and it sounds similar to an internal combustion engine." -- Motor Trend (2020)

MPG Estimates

The base Blue trim gets an EPA-estimated 50 mpg in the city and 54 mpg on the highway, which are great figures for the hybrid and electric car class. The other two trims get 45 mpg in the city and 51 mpg on the highway.

Handling and Braking

The Sonata Hybrid is a comfortable cruiser, even when the road gets bumpy. It delivers a stable ride around corners, and it comes with several driving modes, including Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Custom, that tweak the car's performance. Some class rivals are more engaging to drive, however, and this Hyundai's regenerative brakes are touchy, without much pedal feel. Front-wheel drive is standard.

  • "I don't know why, but I did take the Sonata Hybrid Limited on some twisty roads, just to be able to tell you how it did. It was safe and stable, of course, and 'understeered at the limit' because of its low-rolling resistance tires, but remember that it is biased toward efficiency over performance and isn’t supposed to be a sports sedan, as you and everyone else might have guessed." -- Autoweek (2020)
  • "The ride is calm and serene, with the suspension doing a good job of tackling the road imperfections." -- Motor Trend (2020)
  • "The brakes feel grabby and take a little time to get used to. The suspension feels best when you roll around in Eco mode; it can get a tad jumpy in Sport." -- Automobile Magazine (2020)
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2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

MSRP: $27,750 - $35,300

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