The Sonata hybrid is unusual in that does not employ a CVT but uses a six-speed automatic instead. This makes for much more conventional, and more pleasant, response when accelerating. It also helps the hybrid powertrain recede into the background.
Although the Sonata Hybrid's distinct face may have had more to do with wind-tunnel testing than the work of Hyundai's talented designers, I actually think I prefer it to that of the standard Sonata. It looks sporty and slightly futuristic, which suits a hybrid vehicle. (The Buck-Rogers-esque wheels, are really, really awful, though.) Plus, it eschews the Prius profile, so everyone doesn't instantly know that you're driving a hybrid. The EPA numbers aren't best in class, but they are better than the Toyota Camry Hybrid by 4 mpg (combined).
Hyundai clearly spent a lot of time and money further developing and refining the Sonata for the 2011 model year. The addition of a turbocharged four-cylinder and a hybrid option to the powertrain menu is certainly impressive, and the fact that Hyundai created the hybrid system in-house is even more so.
2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid