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    By ditching V-6 engines in favor of improved four-cylinder engines, Hyundai’s clearly making fuel economy a chief priority with its 2011 Sonata but customers who want the utmost in fuel savings will likely look past the standard sedans and shop the new 2011 Sonata Hybrid, which makes its debut at the 2010 New York auto show.

    Contrary to many hybrid variants of existing models, Hyundai has actually made quite a few visual changes to the Sonata Hybrid’s exterior. Among the list of equipment unique to the hybrid version of the Sonata are the headlights and taillights, bumper fascias, rocker panels, front grille, ‘eco-spoke’ wheels, air dam and side sills, badging and paint color. Sure, some of those changes are purely cosmetic, but Hyundai says that many are functional, making the Sonata Hybrid more aerodynamic and lowering its drag coefficient to a slippery 0.25, the same as the Toyota Prius.

    The 2011 Sonata Hybrid marks the first production use of Hyundai’s Hybrid Blue Drive technology. As a full parallel hybrid drivetrain, Blue Drive can operate independently on either its 169-horsepower 2.4-liter gasoline engine or its 40-horsepower electric motor, with total overall power listed at 209 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. In sharp contrast to most of competition which employ CVTs for their hybrids, the Sonata Hybrid utilizes the automaker’s in-house compact six-speed automatic transmission with electric oil pump, which Hyundai says offers similar economy while retaining a more conventional shift feel that resonates better with customers.

    Another key feature the Blue Drive system is its battery technology. Hyundai claims to be the only automaker utilizing lithium-polymer batteries in a production vehicle, the advantages of which are many. According to Hyundai, lithium-polymer batteries offer the same benefits of lithium-ion batteries, but are more robust, lighter, easier to cool, and more easily packaged due to a significantly thinner profile. The automaker further claims that compared to nickel-metal hydride batteries, lithium-polymer batteries are more resistant to changes in temperature, have a slower self-discharge rate, and offer 10 percent greater efficiency with a 40 percent reduction in volume.


    Brought to you, 2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0 Turbo. By strapping a turbocharger onto a four-cylinder, Hyundai can offer greater fuel economy, horsepower, and torque than most competitive midsize V-6 sedans

    The 2011 Sonata 2.0T, which is debuting at the 2010 New York auto show, is powered by Hyundai’s Theta II, 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder producing 274 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, mated to Hyundai’s all-new six speed automatic transmission. Those figures are thanks in large part to direct-injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger that Hyundai promises will give the sedan “instantaneous power delivery.”

    The Sonata 2.0T’s six-speed auto has steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters in addition to some manual control with the gear selector. The 2.0T will be available in SE and Limited trims (not on the base GLS). The Limited model includes a panoramic sunroof and the SE’s 18-inch alloy wheels plus dual exhaust outlets.

    As with all new Sonatas, the trunk, at 16.4 cubic-feet, is huge, and it’s big enough inside that it’s classified as a large car. Brakes are 11.8-inch ventilated discs in front and 11.2-inch discs at the rear.

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