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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Now that it's been about two months, I think I have a pretty good handle on the car's personality and quirks, at least enough to drop by with a review of what appears to be the last of the line for this particular model of Sonata. I'll start off with a quote from my wife-- "I love you, little car."

Even at the baseline package we bought, the Sonata is a well appointed car with enough tech perks to make it feel like you got more than you paid for. The interior is clean and the cabin is spacious unless your are vertically gifted. Cruise control and a large display come standard in the 2017 HSH, and the sound system is excellent. With a trade-in and incentives, the vehicle really is a bargain for a hybrid and reminds me of my old 2005 Elantra in terms of value-- a car at the best possible junction between price and value.

Handling is light and precise, sharing more in common with arcade steering feedback than a 'real' car. Some have complained about it, but it's more than acceptable in my opinion. The Sonata's acceleration is continually surprising, even at this stage. While you can still feel the gear shifts, the power curve is amazingly smooth... And quick. All too often I've found myself gliding past eighty and barely realizing it, while and there is enough power off the line to cause tire slippage in sport mode. The brakes are adequate but take some time to get used to. Like most vehicles, they are regenerative but the Sonata Hybrid tends to be "grabby" after a certain point. Finding that gentle deceleration median that will recharge your battery without causing abrupt deceleration can be challenging at first. It's quirky, but nothing you won't get used to after a few hundred miles of commute.

At the heart of the vehicle is a dual gas-electric transmission working in tandem with one another; the electric half of that being where your milage savings comes from. The Sonata's ability to coast on battery alone is at the heart of this and its EV mode can produce some spectacular performance, assuming you can get it to behave. There's no doubt it works. My average 20mi back and forth commute produces 42mpg consistently at realistic highway speed. If it were a flatter drive, I've sure it would manage better and I can navigate my work site and neighborhood entirely on electric.

It has a personality for lack of a better description. Sometimes it will trigger into EV mode on a modest grade, sometimes not. At other times I can utilize almost 40% of the power band on electric alone-- the outer edge of what the Sonata considers eco friendly though in most cases I'll barely be able to hit 20% before breaking EV mode and triggering the gas engine. Cruise control doesn't appear to do it any favors, either. While it is smooth and accurate, the two systems don't appear to communicate to any meaningful degree. I could be on a mostly flat surface and maybe EV will engage, maybe not.

I'm sure there is an algorithm controlling it with any number of conditions (speed, gear, resistance, reserve, etc) but I haven't been able to discern any pattern beyond the fact that it appears to like the battery charged more than 50%. Above half a charge, the governing algorithm seems more willing to give up the power in order to support better EV performance. Even in idle and parked, the gas engine will perk up the moment the battery drops below half... Consequently trashing your mileage in the process. Similarly, the gas engine will idle the moment you start the car whether you need it or not just to warm itself up for use... Resulting in more mileage siphoned away. Even the real time mpg display bar accuracy is dubious at best. With EV mode off, it shows my real-time mpg pegged at 50. My current mpg is 42. Electric or not, my mileage should be going up, except for the fact I lose a tenth every two minutes or so. Last I checked, that's not how math works.

Pet peeves aside, it seems to work well enough for my commute. Yes, there are vehicles that offer better hybrid performance, but the Sonata offers good-enough in a very comfortable package that you're not likely to find amongst its competitors, especially at the price-point it's being offered at. Once the battery's lifetime warranty is considered, the value is incomparable to the point where we are considering another one.

In terms of it's competition, I briefly considered the new 2018 Camry making its way to the market, but the one thing that always comes up is the battery. There are stories of them lasting well beyond the 8yr/100,000mi warranty... And just as many failing; to the point where there is a cottage industry built around aftermarket Toyota hybrid battery replacements. Two to four thousand dollars to replace? No thank you. The Ionic was also considered against the HSH and passed on. It is a completely different class of car, meant to compete with Prius type vehicles. The interior is nice, but not spacious. Passengers in the back seat will be riding on the rear wheel and subjected to amplified road noise. The view through the rear view is almost non-existent. The Ionic is clearly a commuter. The Sonata is a highway cruiser and a very nice one at that.

The 2017 Sonata Hybrid is easily worth the low twenties we paid for it and whatever tradeoffs we encounter are easy to live with. If you're considering a almost luxury hybrid that won't break the bank, this is your stop. The 2018 HSH isn't being advertised in their new show room literature or the Hyundai website. The sales people we've talked to are pessimistic concerning a 2018 release and even the auto show we just attended didn't have a display model, let alone knowledge of a new Sonata hybrid release date.

If you're on the fence, check it out. It may very well be the last of the line.
 

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My electric motor rarely engage when battery is bellow 50%. It is said that in this way battery can have better life span. Hybrid is different than a ev car.
 

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Thanks for the review. The 2017 is on my (rather long) list of potential new cars to replace my 2011 next summer.
 

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My electric motor rarely engage when battery is bellow 50%. It is said that in this way battery can have better life span. Hybrid is different than a ev car.
Is yours a PHEV? My '16 non-PHEV hybrid maintains its normal state of charge between 25% and 50% and the I notice no difference like that. The only thing I can be assured of is that the gas engine will start when the battery gets one bar below 25%.
 

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Thanks for the review. The 2017 is on my (rather long) list of potential new cars to replace my 2011 next summer.

Don't do it Super!! You and I are the last original 2011 owners, let's see how long we can keep them on the road until the battery fails lol.
 
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Is yours a PHEV? My '16 non-PHEV hybrid maintains its normal state of charge between 25% and 50% and the I notice no difference like that. The only thing I can be assured of is that the gas engine will start when the battery gets one bar below 25%.
No, my car is 2011 HSH. Maybe Hyundai changes battery usage strategy.
 

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Don't do it Super!! You and I are the last original 2011 owners, let's see how long we can keep them on the road until the battery fails lol.
Lol I really don't want to, but I'll be flirting with 200K miles by then. I'm very very pleased with what I got out of my 2011, thus the 2017 Hybrid is most definitely on my consideration list.
 

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Is yours a PHEV? My '16 non-PHEV hybrid maintains its normal state of charge between 25% and 50% and the I notice no difference like that. The only thing I can be assured of is that the gas engine will start when the battery gets one bar below 25%.
On my 2016 HSH SE, the battery stays between 1/3 and 2/3 full. Rarely gets even close to 25% before charging via the ICE...
 
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