New Cars

Hyundai tweaks the Sonata Hybrid for 2013

Latest version is capable of all-electric operation more often and for longer periods

Hyundai Tucson fuel-cell vehicles

Hyundai's mid-sized Sonata Hybrid is getting some powertrain tweaks for 2013, including a more-powerful electric motor and greater battery output, all aimed at improving the hybrid's full-electric operating capability.

In addition, revised packaging for Hyundai's advanced lithium-polymer battery have enabled a 40-litre increase in trunk volume (to 344 L) and a 2.1 kilogram reduction in the mass of the battery pack (to 39.8 kg).

By the numbers, the upgraded motor has a power output of 35 kW, compared to 30 for the 2012 model, while the battery is rated at 47 kW, compared to 34 kW for the earlier version.

The revised battery can store and redeploy more of the usable energy recovered during braking and engine recharging. This additional energy is used to improve fuel economy and emissions by extending the vehicle’s all-electric driving range.

Total system power is down to 199 horsepower, from 205, but max torque increases from 195 to 235 lb-ft.

The Hybrid Hybrid Blue Drive architecture also employs an 8.5 kW Hybrid Starter-Generator (HSG) and a further-optimized hybrid operating strategy to improve electric-only driving capability.

Combined with a 2.4-litre Theta II Atkinson-cycle engine and compact six-speed automatic transmission, the revised system offers improved fuel efficiency by increasing the overall level of electric power available.

As in the earlier version, the 2013 Sonata Hybrid utilizes an automatic clutch to decouple the gasoline engine from the drivetrain, thus permitting operation on electric power alone at speeds of up to 120 km/h under optimum conditions.

The 2013 Sonata Hybrid achieves fuel consumption ratings of 5.4 L/100 km in the city for the entry-level model, 5.5 L/100 for Limited models, and 4.9 L/100 km on the highway for all trim levels.

The well-equipped base-level Sonata Hybrid has a starting price of $27,999 in Canada, while a new-for-2013 mid-level Limited trim model, with power driver’s seat, auto-dimming rear-view mirror with Homelink® and compass, panoramic sunroof, and 17-inch alloy wheels, lists for $30,199.

The top-of-the-line Hybrid Limited with Technology Package, which adds a host of luxury and convenience features is priced at $33,999.

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