2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: Prices rise significantly, and so does mpg

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid offers the best EPA highway rating of any sedan on the market. While that is going to save some gas money, the automaker announced Wednesday that the new sedan will cost more than its predecessor, a difference that may take longer to pay off with savings from the pumps.

A well-equipped Sonata Hybrid is no longer a price standout against the Toyota Camry Hybrid or Honda Accord Hybrid—not unless you place a high value on the Solar Roof System, that is.

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

The 2020 Sonata Hybrid Blue achieves those stellar EPA ratings of 50 mpg city, 54 highway, 52 combined and a driving range of 686 miles, according to Hyundai. As the most affordable version of the Sonata Hybrid lineup, it starts at $28,725—about $2,000 more than the entry version for 2019, the Sonata Hybrid SE—or $30,875 for the mid-level Hybrid SEL (all including Hyundai’s $975 destination fee for 2020).

The top Hybrid Limited that includes much more equipment (like a new Android-smartphone digital key system) and represents the top technology of the lineup—with the solar roof included—now costs $36,275. 

The 2020 Hybrid Limited costs more than $4,000 more last year’s Hybrid Limited, but when you look at what’s included the price hike isn’t as dramatic as it sounds. The 2019 model left a lot of the most desirable features that are now included (such as a heated steering wheel, premium audio, and wireless charging) for a $3,200 Ultimate Package. 

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Last year’s most expensive model in the lineup was the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid, which could cost up to $39,885 in Limited form, but was eligible for a $4,919 federal EV tax credit, as well as a $1,000 rebate in California. Hyundai has said that the plug-in hybrid isn’t coming back, and a plug-in version of one of Hyundai’s utility vehicles is expected to arrive later this year instead.

A non-hybrid 2020 Sonata Limited costs $34,475. Admittedly, the non-hybrid version doesn’t get the solar roof, which generates about 700 emissions-free miles per year by topping off the hybrid and accessory batteries, according to Hyundai. But it does offer something the hybrid doesn’t: Smart Park, which can pull the car in and out of parking spots without the driver inside the vehicle.

To compare to top rivals, in top-trim form the Sonata Hybrid is now the most expensive hybrid sedan in its class. Including destination fees, the 2020 Honda Accord Hybrid lineup has starting prices from $26,575 to $36,245; and the Toyota Camry Hybrid has starting prices from $29,385 to $33,685.

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid - First Drve - Portland OR, April 2020

2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid – First Drve – Portland OR, April 2020

Overall, it’s a different pricing strategy than what’s used by rivals, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. In those model lines, the hybrid versions are priced between base non-hybrid models and those with the top-performance powertrain (2.0T for Accord, V-6 for Camry). 

Hyundai’s strategy to price the Hybrid as the top powertrain in the lineup is questionable this time around, especially as Toyota moves toward making hybrids their standard powertrain and Honda adds more affordable base-model hybrids. The Sonata Hybrid isn’t particularly responsive or quick-accelerating, but its improved drivability and super-quiet cabin bring it to the front of the pack for faster-flowing American commute conditions. And as we noted in our first drive of the Sonata Hybrid, it also returns excellent gas mileage numbers vs. the Camry Hybrid in those conditions.

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