2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Sports a Solar Panel Roof
Mainstream design proves eco-friendly cars don't have to look weird.
Earlier this year, the sultry new generation 2020 Hyundai Sonata debuted with two conventional gas engines. At the 2019 New York Auto Show, the Korean automaker announced that a hybrid will follow suit along with an N Line model that promises over 275 hp. Well, now we finally get a glimpse of the fuel-sipping hybrid because it just had its global unveiling in Seoul, Korea.
If you want a hybrid that doesn't scream its green credentials, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has your name all over it. Sporting the same eye-catching exterior design as the gas-only model, the electrified variant proves you can have an eco-friendly vehicle with desirable looks. The signature LED lighting is complemented by a grille with its own special pattern, and there is a subtle rear lip spoiler. There's nothing remotely alien or unusual about the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, and the only other ways you can distinguish the hybrid variant from its gas-only siblings are the tiny BlueDrive badges on the front fenders.
The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid will be the first vehicle to use Hyundai's solar panel roof, which recharges the vehicle's battery and prevents unnecessary battery discharge. Hyundai says that the solar panel roof can extend the Sonata Hybrid's travel distance by an extra 1,300 km (808 miles) annually provided that it charges for six hours daily.
Under the hood is a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine from Hyundai's new Smartstream engine family with 150 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque. It's paired to a 38-kilowatt electric motor for a combined output of 192 hp. The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid's new party trick is its six-speed automatic transmission, which features Active Shift Control (ASC), a logic software used on the hybrid control unit that smooths out and reduces shift times by 30 percent via aligning engine and transmission speeds. Hyundai says ASC also improves acceleration, fuel efficiency, and durability, the latter of which is achieved by minimizing friction during shifts.
When it goes on sale next year, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid will feature all the latest tech introduced in its gas-only sibling including the Digital Key and a full array of active driver assists. Expect the Active Shift Control software to find its way to other hybrid models. Look for it to possibly end up in the Hyundai Ioniq and Kona hybrids, and Kia Optima and Niro hybrids. Expect a plug-in variant to follow the standard Sonata Hybrid.