Hyundai updates Sonata Hybrid with solar roof option to give driving range a boost

Dave Kunz Image
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid's solar roof option boosts driving range
Each day of full sun via the solar roof is good for about 2 miles of electric running. That may not sound like much, but over the course of a year, that's over 700 miles of free driving.

Some fun technology arrived with the latest Hyundai Sonata early this year - their Remote Smart Parking Assistant. Hold a button on the remote, and the sedan can glide in or out of a tight parking space by itself. It was famously showcased in a clever Super Bowl commercial. There's also a digital key, which lets you unlock the door with your phone, or a slender plastic card.

But bigger, more useful tech arrived a bit later with the Sonata Hybrid. It's not the first time Hyundai has offered hybrid power in their mid-size 4-door, but the gas-electric hybrid system has evolved to provide even greater fuel efficiency. As gas-electric hybrid power becomes more mainstream than ever in passenger cars, more Sonata buyers could give it a try in this latest version. Base price to get into the hybrid version of the Sonata is $27,760.

Good gas mileage, all wrapped up in a stylish package that doesn't visually scream that it's a hybrid. For many people, that's a plus.

You can say goodbye to the Nissan 370Z, the two-seater that recently helped the company celebrate 50 years of sports car performance.

But if you do want a hybrid that looks like a hybrid, Hyundai has you covered there, too. The Ioniq is available in several flavors, including hybrid and plug-in hybrid. In fact, Ioniq will become Hyundai's electric sub-brand name in the future. The Ionic Hybrid has a base price of $23,200.

The base model of the Sonata Hybrid, called Blue, is rated at a really impressive 54 mpg city. But even the upper trim levels are rated at 51. And if you get the top-of-the-line Limited, it comes with a cool new solar roof. You can let the sun's rays extend your range a little bit.

People have often wondered why electrified vehicles can't just be fully solar-powered. Well, you'd need a solar panel at least 20 times the size of the car to do that with the technology available today. But the Sonata Hybrid with the solar roof offers a bit of a move in that direction.

Each day of full sun is good for about 2 miles of electric running by sending energy into the hybrid battery. That doesn't sound like much, but Hyundai points out that over the course of a year, that's over 700 miles of free driving. And, the roof looks cool too, going hand-in-hand with the electrified nature of the car.

Some cars shout their technology from the rooftops. But others do it more subtly. In this case, the car lets the actual rooftop pick up some free energy. Every little bit helps.

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