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2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited Goes the Distance

by Decisive Media

The new 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is the perfect choice for anyone that wants a good-looking sedan with excellent fuel economy. The seventh-generation Sonata, introduced last year, stepped up its design, technology and has the best mileage range in the mid-size sedan class.

I tested the redesigned Sonata Hybrid Limited model, which felt and looked like a premium luxury vehicle. Priced in the $30,000 range, it offers a lot more value for the money.

The new design incorporates a solar panel on the roof and other creative features that make it more appealing to the eye. The rooftop solar panel on the Limited edition is not just a fashion statement but adds a bit more battery backup.

Although solar charging still has a long way to go, the solar panel helps to recharge and jump-start the 12-volt and the hybrid powertrain’s 1.6-kWh lithium-ion battery packs and power the lights. It also adds a few miles to the electric range, averaging over 700 more miles in a year.

The new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, introduced in 2020, carries over in 2021 with no changes. It borrows many upscale features from Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury division. And why not? Genesis is gradually challenging many top European brands.

The Sonata Limited has a 12.3-inch display behind the wheel and a 10.3-inch infotainment screen on the dashboard. To create a relaxing mood, drivers can select environmental sounds, like rain or a crackling fireplace.

Driver-assistance systems are standard on all models. They include Hyundai’s SmartSense with lane-keeping assist, intelligent cruise control (with stop and go), braking assist, driver monitoring, safe exit warning, driver attention warning, blind-spot and forward collision avoidance, and more. Unfortunately, remote parking is not available on hybrid models.

Hyundai engineers designed the new Sonata with modern design features and loaded it with advanced technology to challenge the mid-size sedan leaders like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. However, Sonata, which sold 76,000 vehicles last year, still has a long way to reach the 270,000 Accords sold in the previous year and the 300,000 Camrys that left dealer lots.

Hybrid Power: The 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited, powered by a 270-volt lithium-ion battery and a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine with a permanent magnet synchronous motor. Together they generate 191 horsepower with 210 lb-ft of torque. The base Hyundai hybrid models are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor and battery pack, generating 150 horsepower. Switching gears is smoother with a new shift programming six-speed automatic transmission.

Fuel/Electric Economy: The Hybrid SEL and Limited average 47 MPG on gas and electric. The Hybrid Blue generates 192-horsepower and average 52 MPG city/54 highway.

Price: The 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited starts at $35,300 MSRP. Price, as tested, came to a $36,474 sticker price.

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