Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is changing the game

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Just a few days ago, Hyundai released a teaser picture of the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. Today, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid made its full debut at the 2010 New York Auto Show. The 2011 Sonata Hybrid is changing the game in hybrids with its unique approaches in hybrid powertrain design, battery technology and vehicle appearance. The Sonata Hybrid is Hyundai’s first hybrid in the U.S. market.

The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid may be the best-in-class in fuel economy with 39 mpg on the  highway and 37 mpg in the city. The Sonata Hybrid electric system can operate at steady-state speeds of up to 62 miles per hour. Gasoline engine engagement depends on state of charge, acceleration and vehicle speed. Its two propulsion units develop a total output of 209 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque at 6,000 rpm.

Hyundai’s Hybrid Blue Drive is a proprietary parallel hybrid drive system that runs on the fuel-efficient 2.4-liter Theta II engine (169 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 156 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm) mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and a 30kW (151 lb-ft) electric motor for maximum fuel economy. An advanced lithium polymer battery pack is used to power the electric motor.

Hyundai uses proprietary parallel hybrid drive system in the Sonata Hybrid instead of planetary gear set. By utilizing a full parallel drive system, Sonata Hybrid uses the power from the electric motor more efficiently to directly control the vehicle, allowing it to be operated at much higher speeds than the competition in EV-only mode.

No word on the pricing yet but it should be very competitive according to Hyundai’s sales practice. The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid should be available by this summer.