2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

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2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Review

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.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 7 /10
  • Performance 6 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 7 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 8 /10
  • Reliability 8 /10
  • Safety 8 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
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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

Best Deals on 2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Hybrid SE
2.0L Inline-4 Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Hybrid Limited
2.0L Inline-4 Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Plug-In Hybrid
2.0L Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Plug-In Hybrid Limited
2.0L Inline-4 Plug-in Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
See All 2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Trims and Specs

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.

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.

Check out other Hyundai Sonata Styles

2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Comparisons

Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid Honda
Toyota Camry Hybrid Toyota

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
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