Sonata Hybrid: a Refreshing Car for Today’s World

CHATHAM, Mass. – The majority of America’s car buyers seem to focus on SUVs and trucks, and give lip service to anything electrified, but in doing so, they are missing some terrific sedan offerings like the refreshed 2024 Hyundai Sonata.

For the 2024 model year, the Korean automotive giant refreshed its popular four door as well as regrouping the Sonata range into four basic models: the internal-combustion engined (ICE) Sonata SEL (available in either front-wheel drive [FWD] or HTRAC all-wheel drive [AWD]); the sporty ICE Sonata N Line; the Sonata SEL hybrid-electric, and the Sonata Limited hybrid, which was my recent ride.

The rides within the Sonata were superb thanks to premium features throughout; a refined, well-designed platform; a long list of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and a solid-value proposition bolstered by hybrid fuel economy approaching 50 miles per gallon.

Electrified powertrain

Hyundai based the 2024 Sonata Limited’s powertrain on a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine which produces 150 horsepower and 139 pounds-feet of torque. It added a 39kW (51hp) permanent magnet synchronous electric motor, the other half of the hybrid configuration. The motor produces 151 pounds-feet of torque. The combined horsepower output of the powertrain is 192.

The other major piece of the powertrain is the six-speed electronic automatic transmission with shift lock and SHIFTRONIC™ manual shift mode (paddle shifter actuation).

A 56kW lithium-ion battery provides power for the electric motor allowing for periods of full electric operation which further enhances the excellent fuel economy.

My week of driving, which included a pre-summer-season trip to Provincetown for ice cream, not as a crowded as usual, but still a challenge to navigate narrow Commercial Street, and a sojourn to Plymouth for some shopping, resulted in just under 50 miles per gallon of driving efficiency.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency rates the Sonata Limited at 47 mpg overall (44 urban, 51 highway), so real world driving should easily hit that number.

And fuel efficiency does not come at the expense of performance. Motor Trend puts the 0-60 miles-per-hour time at a reasonably quick eight seconds.

Platform and ADAS up to today’s standards

The refreshed 2024 Sonata Limited features a MacPherson-type strut setup with gas-pressurized shock absorbers and stabilizer bar up front. A multi-link arrangement with gas-pressurized shocks and stabilizer bar performs at the rear.

The brake system includes brake assist with electronic stability control, anti-lock (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), and four-wheel discs (12.0-inch ventilated rotors in the front, 11.2-inch solid ones in the rear).

The aluminum wheels are 17x7J shod with 215/55R17 all-season tires.

The pieces do not dazzle on paper, but the execution as exhibited by their on-road performance, proves the Hyundai engineers know what they are doing. The ride is firm, without being jarring or uncomfortable.

The handling is reassuring whether tracking the twisting roads down from the Cape Cod’s Atlantic coastal cliffs into Wellfleet or the undulating ones in rural sections of Plymouth County on Massachusetts’ South Shore.

And through all types of journeys, my partner remarked on the overall passenger comfort, regardless of my driving.

Enhancing the driving experience is the Limited’s extensive list of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). These include blind-spot collision warning; rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist; forward collision-avoidance assist; parking collision-avoidance assist – rear; surround-view monitor, and blind-spot-view monitor.

Premium touches throughout the cabin

When the Sonata debuted in the 80s, it was a small, non-descript car. Neither adjective fits this model at all, with the best evidence inside where premium-level technology, amenities and conveniences fill the cabin,

Leather covers all five seating positions with power-adjustment for the heated and ventilated front ones, as well as the heated steering wheel which can be adjusted for reach and rake.

The interior environment comes under the management of a dual-zone, digital climate-control system which can be isolated for the driver.

The most obvious visual point of refreshment in the 2024 Hyundai Sonata Limited is the curved panoramic display housing both the 12.3-inch customizable instrument cluster screen and the 12.3-inch color LCD touch screen which is the heart of the infotainment system and vehicle controls.

The navigation-included infotainment system features a 12-speaker Bose® premium audio system with rear-mounted subwoofer; HD radio; SiriusXM satellite radio; dynamic voice recognition; Bluetooth connectivity, and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

There are USB ports front and rear as well as a 12-volt outlet.

The door pockets are spacious, as is the center console, which combined bring four cupholders (four more are in the rear, two in the doors, two in the fold-down armrest). The rear seat also folds (60/40) to expand the already large trunk, which in the Limited has power opening and closing (like an SUV).

There are also two Hyundai conveniences which can make living with the Sonata easier.

Buttons on the side of the car’s key fob can activate the Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA) which enables the driver to park the vehicle and exit parking spots by remotely reversing and forwarding the Sonata.

Hyundai’s Digital Key2 allows the user to eschew his/her fob by programming a smartphone and/or smartwatch to lock, unlock and start the Sonata.

Continuing the Hyundai value story

When Hyundai first came to America, its cars were considered cheap. Anyone who uses that label today must have been sleeping for the past four decades. Today, Hyundai produces excellent products which provide great value.

The 2024 Sonata Limited hybrid, the peak of the mid-size sedan’s range, has a base price of $37,200. All inclusive. No options. The test unit had one accessory, carpeted floor mats which cost $210 which means including freight ($1,150) the total for the 2024 Sonata Limited hybrid was $38, 560.

That is a lot of efficient, comfortable car for the money.

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.