Popular Tags Cars

2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

$25,750 - $39,000
Price Range (MSRP)
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review

by Roger Biermann

Against key rivals, the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Honda Clarity, and Chevrolet Volt, Hyundai offers up their own pair of hybrid and plug-in hybrid Sonatas in the semi-electric mid-size sedan segment. Priced between $25,750 and $39,000, the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid each offer two trims loaded with varying states of tech and equipment and enhanced safety features for the 2019 model. Both feature 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines and various states of electrification, with the Hybrid offering up 193 horsepower to the Plug-In's 202 hp outputs. Both drive the front wheels, and both make use of six-speed automatics when segment rivals use CVTs. There's a lot to like about the Sonata's hybridized siblings, traits that carry over from the standard model, like a spacious interior and comfortable ride, but of course, the addition of a battery pack adds weight and impedes cargo volume.

2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 Sonata Hybrid?

After receiving a major refresh for the 2018 model year, both models continue almost completely unchanged for 2019. The Sonata hybrid is the only model to change in any way with automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, smart cruise control with stop/start, and an electronic parking brake introduced as standard on the Limited trim.

Pros and Cons

  • Spacious interior and comfortable long-distance seats
  • Comfortable ride
  • Great ergonomics and intuitive infotainment
  • Plug-In Hybrid offers swift acceleration
  • Exceptional safety ratings
  • Good levels of insulation at highway speeds
  • Road noise is excessive on poor surfaces
  • Rear headroom not ideal for taller adults
  • Integration between friction and regenerative braking is rough
  • Not inspiring to drive
  • Lackluster performance at highway speeds
  • Small trunk, particularly on Plug-In
  • Gas mileage not the best among rivals

Sonata Hybrid Exterior

After receiving a refresh for 2018 the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In now boast styling to match that of the revised Sonata lineup from 2017. Faux black air intakes located at the outboard edges of the front bumper house vertically-stacked LED daytime running light clusters. The main headlight clusters house projector lights on both lower trims, while the Limited trims get LED headlights.

The chromed window surrounds are matched with blacked out B-pillars, a matte finish on base models with a gloss finish on both Limited trims, with corresponding detailing on the lower half of the mirror housings. Additional chrome detailing can be found on the door handles of all models, and in a chrome detail strip on the side-sills of Limited and Plug-In Limited Trims. The front fenders of all models get hybrid badging. As for wheels, the Hybrid SE gets 16-inch aerodynamically designed alloy wheels, while the Hybrid Limited and both Plug-In derivatives are equipped with the same aerodynamically designed five-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels.

2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Three Quarter Front Left Side View
2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Three Quarter Rear Right Side View
2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Right Side View
See All 2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Both the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In ride on the same 110.4-inch wheelbase as the regular Sonata sedan, while measuring an identical 191.1-inches in length and 73.4-inches in width. They all measure the same 57.9-inches tall, too. But where they differ is in their weights, with the addition of batteries and electric motors pushing the hybrid's curb weight up to 3,497 lbs in its lightest iteration and 3,560 lbs in its Limited trim. The Plug-In is heavier still, weighing between 3,781 and 3,814 lbs depending on the trim level opted for.

Exterior Colors

A color palette of four exterior hues is available for both the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid models, comprising Hyper White, Nocturne Black, Metropolis Gray, and Skyline Blue, while the Hybrid gets access to a further three colors, Ion Silver, Cosmopolitan Red, and Astral Blue at no additional cost.

  • Hyper White
  • Nocturne Black
  • Metropolis Gray, Late Availability
  • Ion Silver
  • Skyline Blue Pearl, Late Availability
  • Cosmopolitan Red, Late Availability
  • Astral Blue, Late Availability
  • Skyline Blue, Late Availability

Sonata Hybrid Performance

While both the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In share the bulk of their powertrain systems, the Plug-In relies more heavily on electric supplementation, which is why, despite its extra weight, it's the swifter performer of the two electrified Sonata variants. With 202 horsepower gleaned from a combination of 2.0-liter gasoline engine and a single electric motor, paired with a six-speed automatic gearbox and front-wheel drive - the standard drivetrain configuration for this segment - 0-60 mph arrives in under eight seconds - average for the class but nearly a second quicker than the non plug-in hybrid option. Partially aiding performance, the automatic gearbox drives in a more traditional manner than other hybrid options that typically utilize CVT transmissions.

2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Engine
2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Badge
2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Front Wheel Closeup

Engine and Transmission

Both the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid variants make use of a 154 horsepower 2.0-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic gearbox, while most rivals insist on using a continuously variable transmission instead. But where the two models differ is in their electrification. Both feature a single electric motor, but the Hybrid's only develops 51 hp and 151 lb-ft, while the Plug-In's motor develops 67 hp. The Plug-In also offers a higher combined output with 202 horsepower vs the 193 hp on offer in the standard Hybrid.

Both models offer peppy acceleration due to the electric assistance and hugely bolstered torque available down low, but the Plug-In is the most potent of the two, sprinting to 60 mph from a standstill nearly a full second quicker than its lesser-powered sibling. Both, however, are zippy around town and feel eager to get going. At highway speeds this changes, though, and as the electrification tapers off there's a distinct lack of pulling power that makes overtaking a little difficult. The six-speed automatic gearbox may be the only option, but it's a good one. Most rivals make use of a CVT which tends to sap the efficacy of the electric assistance and is plagued by a rubber-band feel. The stepped ratios of the traditional automatic transmission feel natural which gives the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In a more natural driving experience.

  • Engines
    2.0-liter Inline-4 Hybrid, 2.0-liter Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

This is no sports sedan, and yet even with eco-friendly intentions the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In have surprisingly willing chassis. There's a definite grip deficit on low-resistance tires, as the squeals of protest through corners will tell you, but the suspension offers good levels of cornering support and balance that isn't completely devoid of all joy for the sake of economy.

The steering is pointy, with adjustments to the weighting based on drive mode selection, but neither really gives it much feedback - a criticism of almost all Hyundai EPAS systems. But, it does the job sufficiently well and is a doddle around town with its tight turning circle and light weighting.

Comfort is the Sonata's forte, and the suspension is happy to oblige, filtering out primary and secondary bumps with ease and poise. Little upsets the ride but the biggest of bumps, and almost nothing permeates the cabin. The same goes for road noise which seems to be kept at bay on most surfaces. But, rough surfaces don't play nicely with the eco tires which tend to roar through to the cabin more than we'd like.

The only glaring fault in the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In's drive is the brakes. Brake feel is notoriously bad on hybrids as they try and blend regenerative braking into friction braking seamlessly and with a natural feel. The Sonata fails to blend them and it feels far from natural. The brakes grab hard, followed by a complete dead patch after which friction braking finally takes hold. It's disconcerting, leads to jerky braking motions, and just doesn't inspire confidence. It's a true weak point and is worse than the standard faults in other hybrid offerings.

Sonata Hybrid Gas Mileage

Of course, the main focus of hybrid and plug-in hybrid models are their gas mileage and electric range capabilities. The key economy figures for the electrified Sonata twins are 42 mpg for the Hybrid SE's combined consumption estimate and 99 eMPG for the Plug-In with the gas-only figure at 39 mpg. The Hybrid Limited only achieves 41 mpg. These figures might sound impressive compared to standard midsize sedans, but the Camry Hybrid achieves 52 mpg in its most efficient trim, and the Honda Clarity PHEV gets a combined estimate of 42 mpg and 110 MPGe. The Sonata Plug-In's electric-only range of 28 miles is also substandard for the class; the Clarity manages 48.

While the Sonata Hybrid charges its 270-volt lithium-ion polymer battery on the go, the Plug-In requires a connection to the mains taking 2.7 hours on a level two public charger and 8.7 hours on a level one household outlet to regain full charge.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    15.9 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 40/46 mpg
* 2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid SE

Sonata Hybrid Interior

What the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In hybrid lack in style, they make up for in terms of ergonomics, comfort, and ease of use. Simply laid out, the controls are logical and easy to learn. The seating meanwhile is comfortable, and even the manually-adjustable driver's seat on the Hybrid SE offers a wide range of adjustment to get comfortable. The tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel protrudes far as well which helps taller drivers. Available features include power adjustment, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and leather upholstery. Rear seating is generous with most adults likely to be comfortable. Taller occupants may find headroom a little scant due to the sloping roofline, while taller front occupants may find the available sunroof cutting into headroom. The rear bench seats include two full sets of LATCH anchors for child seats.

2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Driver And Passenger Seats
2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Rear Passenger Seats
2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Central Console Fuel Economy
See All 2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid both seat five occupants, all of whom will enjoy generous amounts of space with legroom a big plus over rivals in this segment, even for taller adult passengers in the rear of the cabin. Headroom is largely acceptable, but the sloping roofline can impede the space for taller rear occupants, while the available sunroof can have the same effect for taller front passengers. Standard manual adjustment on lower trims, with power adjustment on higher trims, gives a wide range of driver and front passenger seat adjustment, with comfortable and supportive seats suitable for longer journeys. The steering column is tilt and telescopically adjustable, and all drivers are able to get comfortable regardless of height. Visibility is ample, but not exceptional for this class, though we're not complaining about anything wrong in particular.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

A range of interior colors and materials are available depending on the trim selected. Standard cloth upholstery is equipped on the Hybrid SE and base Plug-In Hybrid models, available only in gray on the Plug-In, while the Hybrid gets the option of a beige alternative. The lower dash and door panels are color coded to the upholstery tone, while dash inserts are a metallic finish. The Plug-In Hybrid Limited gets two available trim options, with leather available in either Emerald Blue with Shade Line dash inlays or Gray leather with dark woodgrain dash and door accents. Both of those are also available on the Hybrid Limited, but the top-trim Hybrid model also gets available Beige leather with standard woodgrain accents.

Sonata Hybrid Trunk and Cargo Space

The Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In lose out on cargo volume compared to the non-hybrid versions due to the trunk-mounted battery pack. The Hybrid boasts a still usable 13.3 cubic feet of cargo volume, but the Plug-In's cargo volume drops to a paltry 9.9 cubic feet which lags behind the space offered by the Chevrolet Volt and Honda Clarity Plug-In (15.5 cubic feet) - both built on bespoke platforms with clever battery storage solutions. The Hybrid also lags behind rivals like the Honda Accord Hybrid. All Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid models feature hands-free trunk access which works without having to stand on one leg waving a foot under the bumper to gain access, but the trunk lid doesn't pop all the way open and the lift-over height is awkward for loading heavier items. Only the Hybrid Limited offers 60/40 split folding rear seats, which means three of the four models available are severely limited in terms of versatility and practicality.

Interior storage is decent, mirroring the storage binnacles and pockets found in the standard Sonata, which makes both hybrid models practical, but nothing exceptional in the segment. The available wireless charging pad is rubberized which makes it grip smartphones impressively.

2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Gear Shifter
2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Rear Passenger Seats
2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Three Quarter Rear Right Side View
  • Trunk Volume
    13.3 ft³

Sonata Hybrid Infotainment and Features

Features

All four Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In variants are extensively equipped, with items like dual-zone climate control, a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert standard on all. The base Sonata Plug-In benefits from a hands-free trunk lid, heated front seats, and driver's seat power adjustment, while the Limited trims of each add LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, ventilated front seats, and on the Hybrid Limited, a panoramic sunroof. Extra driver assistance features are also equipped, such as lane keep assist, autmatic emergency braking, and driver attention warning, while optional extras on the Hybrid Limited include a heated steering wheel, rear park sensors, and wireless device charging, all standard on the Plug-In Limited.

Infotainment

Standard technology levels are decent across the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In range. A seven-inch touchscreen is standard on all but the Plug-Hybrid Limited, featuring AM/FM/MP3 audio and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay functionality, along with six speakers. The Plug-In Hybrid Limited gets a standard eight-inch touchscreen and eight-speaker Infinity premium audio system, along with wireless device charging, a system available as part of an options package on the Hybrid Limited. The system also includes navigation with three months of complimentary access to SiriusXM Travel Link, and the Infinity audio include Clari-Fi music restoration technology. All models but the Hybrid SE feature SiriusXM and HD Radio functionality, and a rear seat USB charge port.

Sonata Hybrid Problems and Reliability

The current Sonata Hybrid has proven itself to be highly reliable, with previous year models yielding few, if any, reported issues and no recalls for models over the last three years. The standard Sonata was also rated by Kelley Blue Book as the second cheapest midsize sedan to own over five years, and while the Hybrid and Plug-In may differ slightly, many components are shared. J.D Power rated it above average in the predicted reliability scores, but the Camry Hybrid does, however, score better on this metric (4.5 stars to 3.5).

Like all Hyundai models, there's an extensive drivetrain warranty and a decent limited warranty as well should things go wrong.

Sonata Hybrid Safety

The Sonata Plug-In has not been tested by either government safety agency, while the standard Sonata Hybrid has only been tested by the NHTSA. Still, they awarded it five out of five stars for an overall rating, while the IIHS awarded the standard non-hybrid Sonata as a 2019 Top Safety Pick +, with the hybrid models featuring many of the same technologies.

Key Safety Features

Seven airbags are standard for the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In, including dual front airbags, driver and passenger side impact airbags, a driver's knee airbag, and side curtain airbags. But it's the other available safety features that we like, including the standard blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and the available automatic Emergency braking with pedestrian detection and the lane keep assist that you'll find standard on both the Hybrid Limited and Plug-In Hybrid Limited models. Rear park sensors are also available, as is adaptive cruise control with stop/start functionality.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid a good car?

When it comes to hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, electric range and fuel economy are crucial values. Sadly these figures are where the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In are lacking compared to their rivals, which immediately questions the point in buying either. Its traditional looks and comfortably equipped interior may win a few people over, but the lack of cargo volume is a practical concern. But perhaps one of the Sonata's most damning traits is the poor brakes, even for a hybrid, that make every drive a pain. While the high standards of equipment, easy-to-use tech, and generous safety measures are all major drawcards, the areas that matter for hybrid-electric vehicles - drivability, gas mileage, and electric range - are huge flaws that can't be overlooked. The Camry Hybrid or Honda Clarity Plug-In are better respective options.

What's the Price of the 2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?

With four trims split over the two models, Hybrid and Plug-In, the electrified Sonata has a price range of nearly $14,000. The lower end of the spectrum, the Hybrid SE, is the cheapest offering at $25,750, while it's better equipped Hybrid Limited sibling is marketed at a base MSRP of $31,300. The Plug-In Hybrid, meanwhile, starts off a little more expensive at $33,400 in its base format, with prices ranging up to $39,000 for the fully-loaded Plug-In Limited. Of course, Hyundai does offer deals which are likely to make the higher trims more attainable, and there are benefits to buying the Plug-In with federal tax credits of up to $7,500 available. But, these tax credits don't take away from the initial outlay, can only be claimed later on, and you're not guaranteed to get the full amount - it differs from individual to individual.

2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Models

Both the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In variants feature two trims apiece: Hybrid SE, Hybrid Limited, Plug-In Hybrid, and Plug-In Hybrid Limited.

The Sonata Hybrid SE is the cheapest of the four. Standard exterior equipment includes 16-inch alloys, automatic headlights, and a hands-free trunk. The interior, meanwhile, features cloth upholstery, push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rearview camera, and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and six speakers. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are standard safety features.

Stepping up the the Hybrid Limited brings to the table 17-inch alloys, LED headlights with bending functionality, a panoramic sunroof, power adjustable front seats with heating and ventilation, 60/40 split folding rear seats, leather upholstery, wood-look interior accents, HD and satellite radio, and three-years access to Hyundai's Blue Link remote services suite. Standard safety for 2019 comprises lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking, and smart cruise control with start/stop.

Meanwhile, the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid gets 17-inch alloys, automatic headlights, a hands-free trunk lid, and keyless entry and ignition, as well as dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, power adjustable driver's seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, rearview camera, and the same standard safety as the Hybrid SE.

The Plug-In Limited is the priciest of the four, but adds adaptive LED headlights, rear park sensors, adaptive cruise control, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats with full power-adjustment, a wireless charging pad, heated steering, and a standard eight-inch navigation system. Safety features comprise forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, driver attention warning, and automatic high beams.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Hybrid SE
2.0-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$25,750
Hybrid Limited
2.0-liter Inline-4 Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$31,300
Plug-In Hybrid
2.0-liter Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$33,400
Plug-In Hybrid Limited
2.0-liter Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$39,000
See All 2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Hyundai offers a single available options package for the Hybrid Limited. This Ultimate Package costs $3,200 and adds a heated steering wheel, manual rear window sunshades, and wireless device charging for extra convenience, while also equipping an 8-inch navigation system, three-years complimentary Blue Link guidance package, and an Infinity premium audio system with a subwoofer and external amplifier. The package also adds to the list of safety equipment with driver attention warning and rear parking sensors. All of these features are included as standard on the top-of-the-line Plug-In Hybrid Limited.

What Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Model Should I Buy?

It's difficult to recommend a Sonata Hybrid as it isn't the best hybrid available amongst strong competition from rival brands. However, if an electrified Sonata is a must-have, we'd recommend the entry-level Sonata Hybrid SE. Not only is it the cheapest model in the range, but it's relatively efficient, and comes stacked with equipment and safety features, with creature comforts like automatic headlights, a hands-free trunk lid, dual-zone climate control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Check out other Hyundai Sonata Styles?

2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Comparisons

2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid vs Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid

Occupying the same segment, size-wise, as the Honda Accord Hybrid, the Clarity is Honda's plug-in alternative to the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid, but unlike the Hyundai, it was engineered for electrification from the start. As a result, it makes none of the sacrifices in terms of cargo volume, comprehensively beating the Sonata in this regard, while also offering better performance. The Clarity matches the Sonata for interior volume and quality, but the Sonata offers a superior infotainment system. Both are equally safe and technologically well equipped. But in the areas that matter most to buyers of PHEVs, range and gas mileage, the Clarity dominates the Sonata, particularly with its 47-mile electric only range. The Clarity is better, plain and simple.

See Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Review

2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid vs Toyota Camry Hybrid

The Camry Hybrid is amongst the best hybrid sedans in its segment, and its the yardstick against which the Sonata Hybrid will always be measured. Unfortunately for Hyundai, the Sonata falls short in a number of areas. The Camry Hybrid is better to drive in all aspects, with better ride quality, more composure, better steering and brake feel, and with better performance. It's also vastly more efficient than the Sonata Hybrid, while maintaining a greater trunk volume. The interiors are on par with one another, but the Sonata offers more in the way of tech, safety, and a better infotainment system with greter connectivity features. Sadly, that's not enough to redeem the Sonata, and the Camry Hybrid is the recommended pick between these two.

See Toyota Camry Hybrid Review

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Popular Comparisons

2019 Hyundai Sonata Video Review