2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Leapfrogs the Competition

Discussion in 'In the News' started by xcel, Feb 6, 2020.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG] Meet the most fuel efficient, mid/full-sized sedan ever built.

    Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - February 6, 2020


    Chicago, IL, Feb. 6, 2020 – At this year’s 2020 Chicago Auto Show, Hyundai introduced its all-new 2020 Sonata Hybrid. This was not just a standard new sheet metal and upgraded tech release however. No, this one arrives with an EPA estimate of 50/54/52 mpg city/highway/combined from its Blue trim with P205/65R16 tires on 16” alloys, up from the 40/46/42 mpg city/highway/combined rating of the current 2019 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid SE model.

    The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid in SEL and Limited trims with the larger P215/55R17 wheels and tires and 75 to 180 more lbs. mass than the Blue trim have EPA estimates of 45/51/47 mpg city/highway/combined rating, up from the current 2019’s Limited trim at 39/44/41 mpg city/highway/combined rating. The Blue trim uses an inflator kit whereas the SEL/Limited have a compact temp spare and jack kit in the trunk accounting for some of the mass.

    Also new for 2020 is the world’s first Active Shift Control (ASC) technology and a Solar Roof System (SRS), which increase driving range.

    The 2020 Sonata Hybrid was designed with a 0.24 drag coefficient, thanks in part to the unique cross-hole grille with active air flaps, a rear spoiler and aerodynamic alloy wheels. Hyundai’s new Solar Roof System makes its debut on the Sonata Hybrid. This system recharges the hybrid battery while preventing unnecessary battery discharge when the car is off. SRS can increase the driving range by a couple of miles after 6 hours of charging. Engineers also applied Active Shift Control technology to control the electric motor, aligning it with the rotational speeds of the engine and transmission, reducing gear-shifting times by 30%. This synchronization not only improves the Sonata Hybrid’s acceleration and fuel economy but also improves the durability of the transmission by minimizing friction during shifts.


    The Sonata Hybrid is equipped with a Smartstream G2.0 GDi HEV engine mated to a 6-speed AT. The 2.0L outputs 150 hp and 139 lb.-ft. of torque when piling on the coals. The car’s electric motor delivers a max output of 51 hp and torque of 151 lb.-ft. Combined system power output is 192 hp by comparison to the 2019s 154 hp and 140 lb-ft of torque 2.0L I4, same hp and torque motor, and 193 hp combined system output.

    Solar Roof System

    Hyundai Sonata Hybrid’s solar-panel roof directly charges the 12-volt and hybrid batteries and outputs 205 watts of electricity. Standard on the Limited trim, it does not encroach on headroom or passenger volume like a full powered pano roof would.

    This segment-first system provides:
    • Mileage increases by about 2 miles per day
    • Helps prevent battery discharge from infotainment or HVAC systems when the car is off
    • Unique design cue
    2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Solar Roof


    Active Shift Control Technology

    ASC technology optimizes transmission efficiency by monitoring gear shifts 500 times per second and precisely adjusting the transmission rotation speed for faster shift times. ASC applies new control logic software to the Hybrid Control Unit (HCU), which aligns the electric motor with the rotational speeds of the engine and transmission to reduce gear shifts by 30%. The technology also delivers smoother gear changes and quicker shift times.

    Conventional hybrid vehicles do not have torque converters to improve fuel economy because torque converters lose energy while transferring power to the drive wheels. Although fuel efficient, such a system also requires longer shift times to ensure smoother gear changes.

    ASC technology allows the hybrid’s electric motor to also take control of gear shifts by applying new software logic to the Hybrid Control Unit (HCU) to mitigate issues with slower shift time. The HCU monitors the rotational speed of transmission with a sensor installed inside the electric motor at 500 times per second to synchronize the rotational speed with that of the gasoline engine.

    The synchronization reduces shift time by 30% from 500 ms to 350 ms. This improves not only the hybrid vehicles’ acceleration performance and fuel economy but also the durability of the transmission, by minimizing friction during gear shifts.


    The Sonata Hybrid slips through air with 0.24 drag coefficient. The low drag coefficient is accomplished by managing airflow over and under the body. Up front, the Sonata Hybrid has active air flaps behind the grille, which close when less engine cooling is needed. A redesigned rear spoiler further improves airflow. To reduce drag under the body Hyundai engineers added several elements:
    • Bumper lip
    • Front- and rear-wheel deflectors
    • Undercovers in the front and back of the engine bay
    • Center floor undercover
    • Rear undercover
    Digital Key

    The new Sonata Hybrid offers a smartphone-based Hyundai Digital Key, standard on the SEL and Limited trims. Digital Key uses a dedicated mobile app, Near Field Communication (NFC), and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to allow a new Sonata to be unlocked, started and driven without a physical key, via a smartphone. Sonata’s Digital Key also allows secure sharing of virtual keys with family and friends.

    Sonata owners can tailor the different vehicle functions available to each shared virtual key, and can make the key available for only a defined amount of time. The vehicle owner can preset the duration of vehicle use or limit the use to only certain features when loaning the vehicle, and can also revoke keys remotely. For additional convenience, such as using a valet service or visiting a Hyundai dealer, Hyundai Digital Key also works with an NFC card, which will be provided with each vehicle. Each Sonata still comes with traditional keys. Hyundai Digital Key is compatible only with phones using the Android operating system.

    Hyundai Digital Key utilizes NFC technology, which exhibits a high level of security. The NFC wireless data communication takes place only when the device and the reader are placed several centimeters apart.

    Convenience Technology

    The 2020 Sonata Hybrid features a number of advanced comfort and convenience features including an electric parking brake, Hands-free Smart Trunk, Qi high-speed wireless smartphone charging pad with cooling fan, standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Text-to-Speech via Bluetooth, heated and ventilated front seats and split-folding rear seats.

    The top-of-the-line audio and navigation display is a wide, high-definition, customizable, 10.25 in touchscreen monitor with split screens and natural language, and cloud-based speech recognition powered by Blue Link, while the cluster supervision display is a full 12.3 inches. The navigation system includes a bird’s-eye view in navigation maps, and drivers get HD Radio traffic flow and incident data without ever paying for a subscription. Dual Bluetooth support is also available, so two devices can be paired at the same time—one for phone calls and one for streaming audio. The navigation system also comes with three years of Blue Link Multimedia/Map updates. Hyundai’s std. 8-inch display audio user interface, equipped with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, is standard on the 2020 Sonata Hybrid. An optional Bose audio system also available.

    What is missing is an announcement of wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay? Hyundai has led with its award-winning integration of the latest infotainment features for years. It is odd not to see the wireless feature added to the Sonata or Sonata Hybrid’s head units when BMW and FCA are moving into that space with a full head of steam.

    By reconfiguring the placement of the high-voltage hybrid battery, Hyundai was able to increase trunk capacity providing the best-in-class front headroom and legroom. In detail, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid’s trunk volume of 16.0 cu. ft. is 2.6 cu. ft. larger than the current generations 13.4 cu. ft. That is a big deal! The 2020 Sonata Hybrid’s passenger volume of 104.4 cu. ft. however is 1.7 cu. ft. smaller than the current generations 106.1 cu. ft. despite riding on a 1.4 in longer wheelbase at 111.8 in. All trims now include a 60/40 Split Fold‐Down Rear Seat configuration.

    2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Interior


    SmartSense Safety Technologies

    Sonata features Hyundai’s latest SmartSense advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). A series of sensors and systems combine to potentially warn the driver and may take action in the event of a safety incident. Meanwhile, other ADAS systems can help the driver perform certain tasks using the car’s 3 radar sensors, 12 ultrasonic sensors and 5 cameras. These features include:
    • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (standard)
    • Blind Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (standard)
    • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (standard)
    • Lane Keeping Assist (standard)
    • Advanced Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go (standard)
    • Highway Driving Assist (optional)
    Highway Driving Assist (HDA) is a driving convenience system that assists drivers in maintaining the vehicle in the center of the lane, at an appropriate speed, while keeping a set distance from the car in front.

    All 2020 Sonata Hybrids include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with pedestrian detection, that may brake autonomously. Using front radar and front camera sensors, FCA initially warns the driver visually and acoustically, it helps assess the nature of potential collision danger and may apply increasing amounts of braking force to avoid a collision or minimize damage when a collision is unavoidable.

    Lane Following Assist (LFA) can automatically adjust steering to help keep the vehicle centered in its lane of travel. LFA can help keep the vehicle centered on both highways and city streets.

    The Blind-Spot View Monitor with the Sonata’s outside mirror-mounted cameras offers the driver an enhanced field of vision. The BCW system helps scan for vehicles entering the driver’s blind spot. If the driver activates a turn signal, an image of the view from the corresponding wing mirror appears in the 12.3-inch cluster display. If a vehicle is detected in the blind spot, audible and visual alerts are provided.

    The new Sonata uses four cameras to provide the driver with an enhanced, bird’s-eye view of the car’s exterior, giving the driver confidence when maneuvering into or out of spaces.

    Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist helps detect pedestrians and obstacles with a rearview camera and ultrasonic sensors. The system can provide warnings and apply emergency braking to assist in avoidance of a collision.

    Finally, Hyundai has incorporated Touch Sensor Outside Door Handles vs the damn button on the keyless entry systems from its previous models. Like the keyless entry and pushbutton Toyota lineup, to lock the door, the driver need only touch the sensor on the outside of the door handle. Pulling on the handle activates a larger sensor on the inside of the handle to open the door.

    Remote Start has been a part of the Hyundai Blue Link system for years. It works by using a cellular data connection to warm up or cool down a Sonata when it is out of sight of the owner. To make that system even better, Hyundai engineers added Remote Start to the 2020 Sonata Hybrid’s key fob on models equipped with Proximity Key and Push Button Start. This allows a remote start to be performed when the car is within the owner’s line of sight. I am not a fan given the fuel waste but it apparently is being asked for by more and more buyers?

    Hyundai improved Blue Link’s services that is complimentary on the 2020 Sonata Hybrid for 3-years! It includes Remote Start with Climate Control, Remote Door Lock/Unlock, Stolen Vehicle Recovery and Destination Search by Voice. The 2020 improvements include:
    • Remote Profile Management—stores select vehicle settings to the Blue Link cloud and enables the user to update them remotely and push them back to the vehicle
    • Remote seat heat/vent (full support on/off for each individual heated/cooled seat; ability to adjust level)
    • Profile selection (preloads individual driver setting for seating position and side mirrors)
    • Vehicle Status Notifications—if the vehicle is left with doors unlocked or windows open, customers will receive a notification
    • POI Send to Car now with Waypoints (ability to add up to three waypoints, to be delivered to the vehicle together and which will automatically set order of destinations)
    • Maintenance Alert Enhancement—maintenance interval tracking is now visible in the multimedia system, with ability to reset
    Quiet Cabin How?
    • Double-junction soundproof glass has been added to the windshield and the front doors
    • Improved carpet
    • D3 sound absorption materials on the luggage side trim, wheel guard and package tray
    • D3 sound absorption materials on the door trim and trunk board bottom
    • Reinforcements to the front/rear wheel members
    2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid


    2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Early Conclusions

    The Prius’ reign as the efficiency leader is coming to the end as long as Hyundai does not get crazy with the pricing. The Ioniq has the Prius’ number at higher speeds but around town, the Prius eats an Ioniq Blue, SEL, and Limited alive and spits out the bones with a smile.

    Regarding price, remember we purchased our brand new $39k 2017 Sonata Hybrid Limited with the Ultimate Pkg including the powered Pano roof for less than $30k. Let us hope pricing will be similar as a $45k Sonata Hybrid is not going to sell. We will receive pricing very soon. Let us also hope the efficiency is as good as the EPA estimates indicate. ;)

    The Solar Roof? We have seen this in the past on Prius for handling internal ventilation. It was removed as a loss of efficiency due to weight and complexity. This new Sonata Hybrid system is a waste imho. Few are going to have their vehicles out in the sun for a few hours to gain a mile of range one-way and few more hours in the sun to gain another mile of range heading home for example. The Pano roof in its place is far more advantageous a feature for those looking to match luxury for luxury going forward than 2-miles of range or the equivalent of $0.10 of fuel/day or a maximum of $36.00 for a whole year AT BEST. And only for those that would leave their car out in the sun for two trips out and back over that number of hours each and every day.

    The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid includes standard Forward Collision Warning w/ Auto Braking (FCW), Full Speed Radar Cruise Control (RCC), Blind Spot Monitor (BSM), Rear Cross-traffic alert (RCTA), and Auto High beams (AHB) on all trims. This moves Hyundai to the forefront on the standard advanced active safety front. By comparison, Honda’s base Accord Hybrid lacks BSM and RCTA and Toyota’s Camry Hybrid LE lacks Full-Speed Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Conventional Cruise and Lane Departure Alert (LDA) while both the Camry Hybrid LE and SE lack BSM and RCTA. Another big plus in the Hyundai camp.

    I sat in the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and it feels about the same size as the current Sonata with a more modern and upscale interior trim look and feel. The large displays help here and create yet another positive attribute!

    The new Sonata Hybrid goes on sale this spring and is built in Asan, Korea.

    Carcus and BillLin like this.
  2. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    Will a sunroof be available - either conventional or panoramic? Asking for a relative who has the "K"-branded hybrid with the panoramic sunroof and is disappointed that they're being discontinued for this year.
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  3. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    Toyota has a similar solar roof panel but they don't use it to charge the traction battery. They use it to run ventilation fans in the cabin to mitigate solar heat gain. This saves fuel by reducing the load on the HVAC whose power has to come from the ICE. It's a more practical system than Hyundai's IMO. First, nobody I know is going to park their nice, new Sonata in the hot sun to get a couple miles of charge on the traction battery. They'll park in the shade or garage if possible. Second, Toyota's system lets the driver sit down in a much cooler car right away after parking in the hot sun. The Sonata driver has to bake until the HVAC can remove that extra 30F of solar heat gain and then poof; there goes your 2 miles of charge.
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  4. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    50/54/52 -- if that's real, .. that's impressive -- Any "regular" here ought to be able to push near 60 mpg out of this 190 hp mid sized sedan .... no plug.

    /very much looking forward to drive reports to see ..
    -- how is the shifting?
    -- is that 54 mpg highway real?

    //and @Jay, .. yep .. I'll pass on Hyundai's "SRS". Just a sales gimmick, it would seem.
  5. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    I'm interested in seeing how the shifting does, too. A torque converter replacement, speed matching setup sounds nice in theory, matched up to a hopefully known and reliable 6-speed automatic.

    Seems like a very nice highway cruiser.
    xcel and Jay like this.
  6. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    It's an evolution of the 6 speed unit used since 2011. Since 2015, they used a slightly wider gear ratio for 1-2-3 along with a shorter first gear, but other than that tweak on the tooth count, it's the same unit.
    I have to think they have the rev match for the engine engagement smoothed out since FCA has to do the same thing to smoothly execute two different dog-clutch actuated shifts in their ZF 9 speed automatic. Even that Rube Goldberg-Matic has smoothed out over the years as engineers have figured out how to rev match just right so it can change ratios without grinding.
    EdwinTheMagnificent, xcel and BillLin like this.
  7. Trollbait

    Trollbait Well-Known Member

    Those existed before Toyota used them, and I don't think any of the current Toyota hybrids have the option.

    This is just a plain hybrid; the battery probably isn't big enough for 2 miles of EV. "Mileage increases by about 2 miles per day" This could bump up your MPG by 2 as it offloads accessories and maintaining the 12 volt from the drive train, an all year benefit during the day.
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  8. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    I found a closeup of the dash at the media site. Down to the left of the column, by the IP dimmer, there is a "12V Reset" button. To me, that sounds like they are using the same strategy as the Ioniq, with a bit of the HV battery serving as the 12v source instead of lugging around 50 pounds of lead and sulfuric acid.
  9. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    Impressive mpg and not expecting that given the earlier numbers they indicated at their overseas introduction. But seems that's because it's a special (trimmed?) lighter model. The higher editions are bit lower at 45/51/47.

    Also great they have folding rear seats. One thing I don't like as much is the exterior design. I've seen now a few and to me the back droops bit too much for my taste. But that's personal preference.

    Also wished they would offer PHEV but I guess that will be now reserved for future SUV's/Crossovers.
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  10. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    The older Sonata hybrids never had a torque converter. A torque converter isn't needed on a P2 type hybrid since the electric motor always gets the vehicle underway after a stop. I'm wondering if they still use the conventional planetary gear auto. The dual-clutch auto of the Ioniq is more efficient and if they haven't gone to that, I wonder why not.
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  11. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    The Sonata transmission is still three planetary gearsets. The dual clutch isn't that much more efficient since the electric fluid pump provides the oil to apply the clutches and the torque converter - which accounts for most of the energy loss in an automatic - isn't there. The dry dual clutch is cheap and efficient but it gets a lot of negative reviews both in the press and in customer feedback. For a full size car that will likely sell to those of us who remember what a full size sedan represents, the bump-bump-bump when rolling away from a red light would be considered a dealbreaker.
    Trollbait, xcel, Carcus and 1 other person like this.
  12. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    That “droop” is actually a .24 Cd teardrop! —- quite tasteful, IMO

    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
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  13. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    I cleaned up the release a bit as I am home now.

    Chris, the new 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid will not have a Pano or std. sun roof available. This is very unfortunate as the Solar roof is a waste of engineering effort and excess mass for little to no gain. As Jay and Trollbait posted above, few if anyone are going to leave their $40k or more vehicle out in the sun for 6-hours to receive an additional 2 miles of additional range. That would be a mile range for the first drive in the morning from the day before added power, and another few hours for another 1-mile range for the day time charge.

    Luxury today begins with a full pano roof and the Sonata lost a lot of panache with the new solar roof.

    BillLin likes this.
  14. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Carcus:

    Hyundai usually does not fool around with the EPA ratings as they were slapped years ago. Until we drive one however, the 50/54/52 rating my be a unicorn. More impressive however is that the 2020 Hyundai Sonata's Blue trim at 50/54/52 mpg city/highway is essentially the same as the 2020 Toyota Prius LE through Limited's 54/50/52 mpg city/highway rating. The 2020 Toyota Prius LE is essentially the L Eco so it should be rated at 58/53/56 mpg city/highway/combined so maybe just he XLE and Limited.

    If the SEL was equipped with the Blue trims 16" wheels, it would match up dead on with the XLE and Limited trim Prius'.

    Depending on pricing, who would drive a 2020 Toyota Prius XLE/Limited when you can drive a much larger, more comfortable, and far better equipped 2020 Sonata Hybrid SEL with the same efficiency instead?

    BillLin likes this.
  15. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Luke:

    The rear drop off is an unfortunate compromise for aero but the 2020's trunk volume of 16.0 cu. ft. is 2.6 cu. ft. larger than the current generations 13.4 cu. ft. of cargo volume. That is a big deal to me as well!

    The 2020's passenger volume of 104.4 cu. ft. is 1.7 cu. ft. smaller than the current generations 106.1 cu. ft. despite riding a shorter 110.4 in. wheelbase vs the 2020's 111.8 in. wheelbase.

    BillLin likes this.
  16. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    I'm very grateful that I have a garage , but some folks have no other place to park , but in the sun.
    Still , I'd rather have massive solar panels on my HOUSE.
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  17. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Just ask Wayne about his experience with a Hyundai DCT. Or anyone who bought a Focus or Fiesta with a DCT.
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  18. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    Cargo space is pretty big and they caught up and partially surpassed hybrid competitors in many areas. I miss Honda's lane watch and seems they got something similar now.
    This would be a big hit I think few years ago but people moved to crossovers/SUV's so cargo will still be a compromise for most. Now if only it would be a liftback...

    I miss a pano roof in my PHEV. If they don't offer that then yet another compromise. Regardless, I think they did an amazing job with their redesign in this segment.
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  19. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    Find a sunny spot to park ‘down by the river’. You could watch Netflix on your solar powered Sonata’s infotainment system—- who needs a house?

    / now, if I could figure out how to install a solar powered roof on my ebike....:rolleyes:
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
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  20. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    For the measly 200W (max?) solar panel output, it would be better to just install solar panels at home yourself and charge batteries. Charge your ebike off that battery. Conversion losses? Sure, but it is free and clean energy. Alternatively, put that solar output through a grid-connected inverter. For small outputs like <500 W, I don't believe you need to be concerned about needing a net metering agreement. (fine print - check your local rules and regs) This 'extra' energy offsets your home energy consumption. You don't need to make the major investment to reap some incremental rewards.

    I have the latter setup to offset various things. I have the panels on my deck right now since we don't use the deck in winter. I'll be doing a more permanent setup come spring.
    kbergene and xcel like this.

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