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"Electric Blue" - My 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

mbp2112mbp2112 Member Posts: 2
edited February 2016 in Hyundai

Just passed the 1 year mark on ownership of my HSH base model. I bought it in the depths of the 2015 blizzards here in the Boston area, from Clay Hyundai of Norwood, MA. Because the 2015 Hybrid is not on the same platform as the other 2015 Sonatas (which debuted on a new platform while the Hybrid remained on the previous one until 2016), it's a bit of an odd duck, but because of this it was very, very attractive as a buyer.

First off, the platform was thoroughly debugged by 2015, so there was less fear of getting early adoption teething pains. Second, they were priced to move, bigtime. I picked up mine for a shade over $20,500, almost $6,000 under MSRP, for a brand new car with the full Hyundai warranty, including a lifetime warranty on the hybrid system. I also picked up an inexpensive third-party warranty that covers wheel and tire repair/replacement and paintless dent repair. The aluminum wheels on the HSH are unique to the model, so they are expensive to replace.

It's a very interesting car in some ways, and not in others. The feature set for a "base" model car is excellent - dual-zone climate control, steering-wheel phone/audio/cruise/mode/display controls, AM/FM/HD/XM radio with touchscreen display, Bluetooth audio and phone, heated front seats, app-based remote start/lock/unlock (one peeve that I'll get into later) and Hyundai's version of OnStar. The Limited package adds leather, a sunroof, bigger wheels (18" vs. the 17" on the base model) and a nav system. I opted not to spend the extra 5 grand (IIRC) for this.

The hybrid system (or "Blue Drive", as Hyundai terms it) is quite unique. It uses a lithium polymer battery, which is different from the batteries used in the Prius. The batteries are pretty compact, although the trunk space does suffer a little bit. Also, the transmission is a normal 6-speed automatic with manual-shift option, unlike the CVTs more commonly found in most hybrids. The result is a car that feels like, well, a car. The 2.4L Atkinson-cycle engine starts and stops seamlessly, there's no herky-jerky transition unlike the earlier generation of Hyundai hybrids (which, by the way, has now been fixed with a firmware update!). The Blue Drive mode is a little squishy on the throttle response, trying to maximize fuel economy by regulating the speed at which the throttle opens, it seems. If you turn that off and put the car in "Black Mode", the response is much more sprightly, and you get access to all 200 horsepower, which is pretty kick-[non-permissible content removed] for a hybrid, by the way.

Like I said, I bought the car in the middle of one of the worst winter seasons in recent memory, and the car performed beautifully in the snow. The front-wheel drive, ABS and traction control did the job nicely. In the nicer weather, the car tours beautifully. I've taken the car on numerous long road trips with passengers and luggage, and it's always done the job well. It's not quite as good as my '93 Cadillac STS was for cross-country work, but it's a solid performer. There's plenty of horsepower on-tap, and the fuel range is awesome, I've gotten a shade under 600 miles on a tank at times.

All I've had to do so far is change the oil, replace a cabin air filter, rotate the tires and the dealer did a rustproofing recall a couple of months ago. I did notice one weird thing that I suspect might have to do with the current draw on the fog lights drawing down the regular 12VDC battery to the point where the car had a bit of a freakout, but it's not recurred, so I can't say for sure.

19000 miles and counting...
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