HYUNDAI SONATA HYBRID PLUGS INTO THE CHICAGO AUTO SHOW

Hyundai is showing off two hybrid variants of its latest Sonata sedan at this year’s Chicago Auto Show. The new Sonatas, a plug-in hybrid and a normal hybrid, both feature new exterior and interior styling, a host of extra features and new powertrains. The hybridized Sonatas borrow much of their new styling from the updated nonhybrid Sonata, so the fresh looks might not be too surprising. The main exterior differences are the hybrid’s wheels and the different fog lights.

With plug-in hybrids, the car’s electric-only range is one of the most important numbers, and the new Sonata Plug-in Hybrid doesn’t gain any more range — it’s the same as the currently available 2017 model at 27 miles from its 9.8 kWh lithium-ion battery. The engine, too, is the same as the outgoing model: a 2.0-liter I4 making 154 hp and 140 lb-ft on its own and 202 hp with the electric motor.

The Sonata Hybrid effectively uses the same powertrain as the plug-in model, only with a smaller 1.76 kWh battery and a less powerful electric motor. Combined output for the regular hybrid is 193 hp, with the gas engine giving the same stats as the plug-in. Both are only available with a six-speed automatic. Neither will be the fastest car in your neighborhood, but the Sonata Hybrid should get 650 miles to a tank of gas while making 39 mpg and 45 mpg on the highway.

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