Hyundai's 2018 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid has arrived with the updates already seen on the other refreshed 2018 Sonata models, along with a $1,350 cut in the starting price from the 2017 base model and 1 extra mile of EPA-rated electric driving range. The car's fancier Limited trim level starts $250 higher, but it gets some new standard features, including more safety technology.
Hyundai revealed refreshed 2018 model-year versions of the Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, and you can get more details on both updates in our coverage here. The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid's pricing follows a $500 cut in starting price for the plug-free 2018 Sonata Hybrid when it went on sale earlier this year.
The base 2018 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will start at $34,135 including destination. It currently qualifies for a $4,919 federal tax credit along with additional subsidies in certain states. The EPA now rates the car with 28 miles of all-electric range and a 39-mpg combined city/highway rating when operating as a gas-electric hybrid. Its starting price stacks up competitively with plug-in hybrid versions of the 2018 Ford Fusion ($34,295), Kia Optima Plug-In ($36,105) and Honda Clarity ($34,295); all prices include destination. The Fusion has less electric range but a higher mileage rating when running on hybrid power. The Clarity and Optima are higher on both counts, the Clarity significantly so for range. Compare the 2018 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid with them here.
The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid comes in base and Limited trim levels. Both get similar updates to other Sonatas — notably nicer interior details and a better dashboard — and Hyundai will offer more safety options, including a collision warning system with automatic emergency braking and lane departure steering intervention.
The Limited trim level, which adds leather upholstery and other upscale features, now starts at $39,735. Additional equipment on all Limited grades includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure steering intervention, adaptive LED headlights, a driver attention warning system, heated steering wheel, backseat USB port and wireless phone charging.
Both grades have a 2.0-liter gasoline engine and 50-kilowatt (67-horsepower) electric motor mated to a true six-speed automatic transmission as opposed to a continuously variable automatic that's more common in hybrids. Fully charging the 9.8-kilowatt-hour battery from empty on a 240-volt charger takes just over 2.5 hours.
While plug-in hybrids get less attention than all-electric cars, Cars.com's real-world test of a 2017 Optima Plug-in Hybrid found its EPA-rated range more than accurate. It could handle most city needs as an electric car but provide flexibility for longer distances without worrying about range. A plug-in hybrid could be a good option for households that want to be greener but stick with just one vehicle.
The 2018 Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is at Hyundai dealers now.
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