Hyundai’s Sonata Hybrid may be the star of the Sonata lineup as far as fuel economy, but the next best thing is the all-new 2015 Hyundai Sonata Eco with higher gas mileage than the base Sonata. Though still a ways off from the all-new 2016 Sonata Hybrid’s fuel economy, Hyundai added new engine and transmission tech to the Sonata Eco to boost its fuel economy 3 mpg in the city, 1 mpg on the highway and 3 mpg combined to 28/38/32 mpg city/highway/combined. A 2016 Sonata Hybrid is rated at 39/43/41 mpg or 40/44/42 mpg depending on the trim level.
The Eco’s 178-horsepower, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and Hyundai’s first dual-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission are to thank for the additional fuel economy, replacing the non-turbocharged 2.4-liter and traditional six-speed automatic in the base SE trim level. We set out to see just how little fuel the new powertrain combo uses on a 185-mile road trip from Elkhart Lake, Wis.. to the Chicago suburb of Streamwood and then 30 miles into the city of Chicago.
The first 134.7 miles were exclusively at highway speeds of 60-70 mph where, driving solo, I observed a respectable 39.8 mpg while averaging 63 mph. It wasn’t unheard of to see the instant mileage readout hover above 40 mpg. And then I spent 51 miles in a combination of bumper-to-bumper traffic and stoplight-to-stoplight suburban driving. The mileage still remained in respectable shape finishing the journey at 34.7 mpg after averaging 37 mph.