2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid debuts – solar panel roof


Hyundai has revealed details of its new Sonata Hybrid, which joins the eighth-gen model range that debuted in March. Not much to identify the hybrid from view, with a cross-hole cascading front grille, rear spoiler, a different alloy wheel design and hybrid badging providing the only visual indicators at eye level.

Perch yourself higher, and that’s when you find a definite giveaway, which is a solar panel system incorporated in the roof. The system, which makes its debut on the car, recharges the battery to aid operating range, and the automaker says that it’ll provide an additional 1,300 km of travel distance annually with six hours of charging daily.

The hybrid powertrain consists of a Smartstream G2.0 GDi HEV engine, coupled with a six-speed hybrid transmission. Output from the mill is 150 hp and 188 Nm, and this is combined with the 38 kW (51 hp) and 205 Nm from the electric motor, the latter identical to that seen in the hybrid version of the seventh-gen LF facelift.

Total system power output for the Korean market version is 192 hp, with a combined fuel economy of 20.1 km per litre – strangely, the automaker didn’t reveal total operating range of the new car, but it should mirror or better that of the 2018 LF facelift, which provisional estimates listed as being close to 1,050 km, under typical driving conditions.

There’s also no mention of the rating and output of the battery pack, but one thing the new car improves on over the old is with boot space. Where the previous iteration offered 377 litres of cargo space at the rear, the new one has 510 litres, a noticeable hike.

Tech-wise, the automaker is shouting about its new Active Shift Control (ASC) tech, which also makes its debut on the car. New control logic software to the Hybrid Control Unit (HCU) controls the electric motor to align the rotational speeds of the engine and transmission, reducing shift times by 30%. Hyundai says that aside from performance gains, the system also improves transmission durability by minimising friction during shifts.

In terms of kit, that available for the Hybrid shouldn’t veer far from that available for the rest of the range – there’s mention of the Hyundai Digital Key, which utilises Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and allows a device or smartphone to control selected vehicle systems remotely.

The car also gets the same levels of safety as its petrol siblings, with an onboard array of Smartsense advanced driver assistance systems to be found. These include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist and Lane Follow Assist.

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