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The 2020 Hyundai Sonata now gets a 52mpg hybrid version

It feels like the auto industry only cares about building big SUVs, but if you know where to look, there are still good sedans out there among the bluff-nosed behemoths. The current Honda Accord, for example, proves you can get a good midsized sedan without breaking the bank, as does Hyundai’s latest Sonata. On Thursday morning at the Chicago Auto Show, Hyundai announced the latest addition to the Sonata line-up—a 52mpg hybrid version, which goes on sale later this spring.

The MY2020 Sonata Hybrid combines a 2.0L, 150hp (112kW), 139lb-ft (188Nm) direct-injection gasoline engine with a 51hp (39kW), 151lb-ft (205Nm) electric motor, for a combined output of 192hp (143kW). That power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission, and in the more efficient Blue trim level, it should return a combined 52mpg (50 city, 54 highway) when the EPA rates it, Hyundai says. The SEL and Limited trims are expected to come in at 45/51/47mpg (city/highway/combined).

In part, that’s thanks to a slippery 0.24 drag coefficient (Cd), made possible by a Hybrid-specific front grille that has active flaps that blank off openings when possible, plus a rear spoiler and particularly aerodynamic wheels. There’s also some new control logic for the six-speed transmission (Hyundai is calling this Active Shift Control), which it says “aligns the electric motor with the rotational speeds of the engine and transmission to reduce gear shifts by 30 percent.”

“The development of the world’s first ASC technology is a remarkable innovation that incorporates precise motor control to an automatic transmission. It will not only save fuel but also provide a more fun driving experience for our customers,” said KyoungJoon Chang, vice president and head of the Powertrain Control System Group of Hyundai Motor Group.

The Sonata Hybrid also boasts a solar roof, which helps keep the car’s 12V and hybrid batteries from draining, and it can power the infotainment and climate control systems while the car is powered off.

Pricing is yet to be announced, although the outgoing 2019 Sonata Hybrid, which starts at $23,750, may provide some clue as to the new car’s price when it does go on sale later in the next few months.

Listing image by Jonathan Gitlin

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