Yeah, I know it makes no sense, but hang with me.
I recently spent a week in a 2014 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited, and the time spent in the car was a revelation.
For years, you’ve heard me talk about the virtues of a straight-up Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan. How can you argue with a generously equipped, smooth-driving, affordable car in this day and age? Throw in the great warranties and high crash-test ratings, and you’ll understand how I feel.
That was my take going into my week in the hybrid version of the Sonata. What I learned from it is that the hybrid offers a whole new subset of charms for the fuel- and environmentally-conscious motorist.
The gas mileage on the tester was advertised at 36 miles per gallon in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. I was getting better than that, probably because the car has cues that visually reward you for gas-conserving driving.
It’s hard for me to admit this, but I swear it’s true. The Sonata prompted me to be easy on the startups and freeway runs, even though I was fully aware that my caution would not result in a great financial reward at the end of the week.
How to explain it?
For starters, the four-cylinder/electric powertrain has ample pop as is. Let’s face it, with some hybrids you have to smash the accelerator to the floor to eke out something like moderate performance. The Sonata powertrain, with a combined horsepower rating of 199, does not demand this. It’s peppy enough as engineered.
I would expect to pay $35,000 up front for such a car. Yet the tester started at $30,000 and change.
For that price, it was stuffed with a wide range of very nice comfort/convenience perks.
Bottom line: Before having seat time in the Sonata hybrid, I might have ignored it entirely in favor of the usual gas-fired Sonata.
Now, I’m not so sure.
And that appetizer I was talking about? The Sonata has been totally reworked for the 2015 model year. I’ve only SEEN and READ about the changes, but from my research, the 2015 Sonata appears to be a serious step up from 2014.
So add that to your list of complications when considering a Sonata. Do you want to deal on the remaining 2014 gas-fueled sedans? Or do you maybe want to consider the Sonata hybrids? Or do you want to go all-in on a 2015 Sonata?
Tough decisions there.
But the good news is that the Sonatas are so good that you’ll do well no matter what you decide.