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Hyundai Gives Sonata Hybrid New Solar Roof Option for Extra Range

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【Summary】Hyundai has redesigned the Sonata Hybrid, which now earns an EPA figure of up to 54 mpg on the highway.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Feb 16, 2020 4:00 PM PT
Hyundai Gives Sonata Hybrid New Solar Roof Option for Extra Range

Hyundai introduced an all-new Sonata for the 2020 model year and now, it's the turn of the Sonata Hybrid to receive an all-new model. Hybrid versions of midsize sedans aren't new, Honda sells the Accord Hybrid and Toyota has a version of the Camry Hybrid on sale, but Hyundai wants to revolutionize the segment with some new technology.

Solar Roof For 2 Extra Miles A Day

Let's get the cool stuff out of the way first. The Sonata Hybrid has an available solar roof that can boost the sedan's overall range. Hyundai claims its Solar Roof System can provide drivers with up to "700 ‘free' miles per year." While looking at the system's annual range increase makes it seem more impressive, it's a much different story on a daily basis. The system has to be charging in the sun, which probably means direct sunlight, for six hours before increasing range by a "couple of miles." So, by Hyundai's math, you're looking at getting roughly 2 miles of range a day from the solar roof. It's not much, but it should help consumers in urban locations.

Beyond helping the vehicle with range, the solar roof can also charge the hybrid powertrain's battery pack and the 12-volt battery when the vehicle's not moving. The power goes into the hybrid's battery pack and the 12-volt battery, which in turn power the vehicle's starter motor and accessories. When the car is off, the solar roof can keep the HVAC and infotainment systems from draining the car's battery.

The Sonata Hybrid's powertrain gets reworked for better figures. Power comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor for a combined output of 192 horsepower. Unlike its rivals, the Sonata Hybrid utilizes a traditional six-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox features Active Shift Control technology that helps the transmission be more efficient. The tech monitors gear shifts 500 times per second in order to get the transmission rotation speed just right. The end result is faster shift times, fewer gear shifts, and smoother gear shifts.

Excellent Fuel Economy

While the Sonata Hybrid shares the same overall design as the Sonata, the hybrid variant is more slippery through the air thanks to improved airflow management. The hybrid has a drag coefficient of 0.24 thanks to a revised bumper lip, wheel deflectors, and undercovers. A new grille, active air flaps, a rear spoiler, and aerodynamic wheels also help the Sonata Hybrid flow through the air.

All of these features help the Sonata get excellent fuel economy figures. The most-efficient Blue trim is rated at up to 52 mpg combined, which comes down to 50 mpg in the city and 54 mpg on the highway. Other trims aren't as efficient, having EPA ratings of 47 mpg combined. The Sonata Hybrid Blue's fuel economy figures put it in line with the Camry Hybrid (52 mpg combined) and ahead of the Accord Hybrid (48 mpg combined). The Sonata Hybrid earns bragging rights for its highway figure (54 mpg), which leads the class.

Like the regular Sonata, the Sonata Hybrid comes with all of the latest tech, which includes an extensive suite of safety features and Hyundai's new trick self-parking assist feature. Pricing hasn't been announced yet and the vehicle is expected to go on sale in the very near future.

The Sonata Hybrid is the first Hyundai to come with the brand's solar roof system. A few years ago, we heard that Kia and Hyundai would begin to offer solar roofs on their electrified vehicles, and we're excited to see it in action.

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