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Let’s find out who emerges as a clear winner in the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid vs Camry vs Accord battle.
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid adds fuel efficiency and solar roof, compared well Camry and Accord in sedan class.
The Hyundai Sonata is a much-loved sedan, a family car that is practical and value for money. So how does one improve on that? By adding more value additions and giving additional fuel efficiency. It is called improving on excellence.
The car boasts of 686 miles of driving range, and an EPA estimated 52 mpg combined fuel economy rating on the Blue trim. The 2020 Sonata Hybrid comes equipped with the world’s first Active Shift Control (ASC) technology and a Solar Roof System (SRS), which increase the driving range.
The 2020 Sonata Hybrid’ has a unique cross-hole grille with active air flaps, a rear spoiler and aerodynamic alloy wheels. The Solar Roof System recharges the hybrid battery while preventing unnecessary battery discharge. SRS can increase the driving range by a couple of miles after 6 hours of charging.
Another unique feature is the Active Shift Control technology which aligns the electric motor with the rotational speeds reducing gear-shifting times by 30%. Additionally, this improves acceleration and fuel economy and the transmission life is increased as friction is reduced during gear shifts.
The Sonata Hybrid is equipped with a Smartstream G2.0 GDi HEV engine and a 6-speed hybrid automatic transmission. The engine’s power output is 150 horsepower and 139 lb.-ft. of torque. The car’s electric motor delivers a power output of 39 kW (51 HP) and maximum torque of 151 lb.-ft. Combined system power output is 192 horsepower and EPA estimated fuel economy numbers are 50 city, 54 highway and 52 combined for the Blue trim.
The solar-panel roof directly charges the 12-volt and hybrid batteries and outputs 205 watts of electricity. It helps increase mileage by a couple of miles and prevents battery drain when the car is off.
“The development of the world’s first ASC technology is a remarkable innovation that incorporates precise motor control to an automatic transmission,” said KyoungJoon Chang, Vice President and Head of Powertrain Control System Group of Hyundai Motor Group. “It will not only save fuel but also provide a more fun driving experience for our customers.”
The Hybrid control unit of the Sonata 2020 monitors the rotational speed of the transmission through a sensor to synchronize the rotational speed with that of the gasoline engine.
The car is aerodynamically designed and the air flaps help in temperature control. There is a digital key that can be operated via the smartphone. It can unlock and start a car without a physical key.
The 2020 Sonata Hybrid has some advanced features, including an electric parking brake, Hands-free Smart Trunk, Qi high-speed wireless smartphone charging pad with cooling fan, standard Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto®, Text-to-Speech via Bluetooth®, heated and ventilated front seats and split-folding rear seats. It has 10.5-inch touch screen while the cluster supervision display is a full 12.3 inches. The navigations system is the latest in line.
It has a smart sense advanced driver assistance system, which uses the car’s 3 radar sensors, 12 ultrasonic sensors and 5 cameras for safe driving.
The Hybrid SE models are well-equipped and start at $26,000. Hybrid Limited starts at $30,100. The Plug-in Hybrid SE models start at $34,600 and Limited begins at $36,698. Many cities offer tax incentives that can bring that price down.
Historically, the leaders in mid sedan range have come from Honda and Toyota. And the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are both worthy opponents of the new Sonata.
The Honda Accord’s base 1.5-liter turbocharged engine produces 192 hp and 192 lb-ft, and its 2.0-liter turbo engine gives a healthy 252 horsepower and 273 lb-ft. It has the option of an excellent six-speed manual transmission or a competent 10-speed auto.
The Camry comes with more than four cylinders. The top-trim V6 model gives a tidy 301 horsepower with its all-aluminum 3.5-liter V6 and a solid-if-not-earthshaking 267 lb-ft. The base model’s four-cylinder engine holds its own with 201 hp and 183 lb-ft, while the XSE version gets a couple of extra ponies. The Camry has an eight-speed automatic with paddle shift.
The infotainment system in the Honda is less fancy and new than the Hyundai’s. It is half-analog, half-digital cluster but the Accord’s infotainment screen integrates a touchscreen with physical buttons and knobs and is easy to use.
The Toyota Camry’s infotainment system is lackluster. The Entune system now supports Apple CarPlay but has no Android Auto. It is not well designed and nor comparable to what is available in the market within the same segment of cars
The Sonata Hybrid is roomier and has more trunk space than the other two. The Toyota scores by a quarter of an inch in the rear headspace.
Price-wise the Honda Accord 2020 sedan starts at $24,000, the 2020 Camry starts at $24,295,
The Sonata scores pretty high compared to what is available in its class and delivers well in terms of finish, systems, horsepower and efficiency.