By year’s end, there will be several new plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) on the U.S. market. Along with the Mercedes C-Class and S-Class plug-ins, we will get a number of SUVs offering electric range and well as standard hybrid driving modes in 2015. However, in the midsize sedan class, the preferred car class of American families, only the 2016 Hyundai Sonata is bringing EV technology to the game. Here’s a look at the Sonata PHEV compared to competitors on the U.S. market.
Note: The 2015 Chevrolet Volt was excluded from this list because it is classified as a compact car by the EPA and offers fewer than 400 miles of range.
1. 2016 Hyundai Sonata PHEV
According to Hyundai, the 2016 Sonata plug-in will be able to cover 24 miles on electric power, which will make it the midsize sedan with the longest gas-free range on the market. The automaker estimates it will also get 93 miles per gallon equivalent plus 40 combined miles per gallon in gasoline mode. Power comes from a 2.0-liter GDI DOHC engine and 50 kW electric motor, combining to produce a maximum 202 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission comes standard.
With a Level 2 charger (240V), a full battery charge takes about three hours, and the total driving range is an impressive 605 miles. That range, as well as the 9.9 cubic feet of cargo space, is best of the three cars in the segment that includes Ford Fusion Energi and Honda Accord PHEV. Being the latest model to market of the three, the Sonata plug-in will also feature the greatest battery energy density. Pricing is not released but Hyundai says this model will be available in “late” 2015.
2. 2016 Ford Fusion Energi
Ford has impressive specs in both its standard hybrids and plug-in Energi models. The main knock on these vehicles is they have not been improved upon since their original release. Back for 2016, the Fusion Energi ($33,900) will continue to offer 19 miles of electric range, 195 total horsepower, and 88 miles per gallon equivalent (38 miles per gallon on gas). It runs on a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Charging takes about two hours and total range in the Fusion Energi is 550 miles. At 8.2 cubic feet of cargo space, it offers significantly less capacity than the 2016 Sonata PHEV. Fusion Energi is able to hit the highest top speed (80 miles per hour) on electric power alone in the segment.
3. 2014 Honda Accord PHEV
The not-so-widely available Honda Accord plug-in hybrid ($39,780) is a strange bird in the segment, largely due to its sky-high sticker price, a mere $17,675 more than the standard 2015 Accord. If money is no object, this model offers impressive economy specs of 115 miles per gallon equivalent in gas-electric operation and 46 miles per gallon in gas-only mode. The drivetrain offers a maximum 196 horsepower with a 2.0-liter Atkinson engine and electric motor running on an electronic CVT.
Electric range in the Accord plug-in is lacking at 13 miles. A full battery charge will take one hour with a Level 2 charger and three hours in a standard 120V outlet. Total range is 570 miles and cargo capacity is 8.6 cubic feet, placing the Accord PHEV between Fusion and Sonata in both metrics.
The 2016 Hyundai Sonata will offer the most cargo capacity, the best electric range, and the most power of the three cars in its small segment upon release. Whether it will reach a significant market depends on how the automaker prices it.