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2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid tops Accord, Camry with 54 mpg highway

50 miles per gallon in the city isn't anything to shake a stick at.

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- 02:37

The grille is so much better.

Hyundai

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata is a fan-freaking-tastic sedan, with a look all its own, world-class tech and a smooth, refined demeanor. Now, Hyundai's new midsizer adds another feather to its cap: 54 miles per gallon highway, thanks to the new Sonata Hybrid, which debuted at the Chicago Auto Show on Thursday.

That 54-mpg number bests every other gas-powered midsize sedan on the road today, including the Honda Accord Hybrid (47 mpg) and Toyota Camry Hybrid (53 mpg). City and combined mileage numbers aren't too shabby, either, at 50 and 52 mpg, respectively.

Of course, that's for the most efficient Sonata Hybrid Blue model, which is optimized for efficiency. The SEL and Limited models take a slight fuel-economy hit, but are still EPA-estimated to return 45 mpg city, 51 mpg highway and 47 mpg combined.

The Sonata Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-liter I4 engine, producing 150 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with Hyundai's Active Shift Control tech, that helps smooth out gear changes. A small electric motor provides a supplemental 51 hp, and Hyundai says total system output is rated at 189 hp. For comparison, the Accord Hybrid and Camry Hybrid put out 208 hp and 212 hp, respectively.

The Sonata Hybrid's solar roof panels power the 12-volt and hybrid batteries.

Hyundai

However, neither of those competitors has the Sonata's coolest feature: solar roof panels. Hyundai says the solar panels directly charge the 12-volt and hybrid batteries, with an electrical output of 205 watts. Assuming your car gets enough sun on the daily, Hyundai says the solar energy could provide up to 800 miles' worth of electric drive energy per year.

Otherwise, the Hybrid looks like any other Sonata -- mostly. On the plus side, we love that the Hybrid gets the Korean-spec grille we first saw on the Sonata, rather than the US-specific design you get on turbocharged models. On the other hand, the smaller, aero-optimized wheels aren't super attractive. You win some, you lose some.

Moving inside, the Hybrid gets the same feature set as other Sonatas, with an available 10.25-inch central touchscreen that runs Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Hybrid also gets the Sonata's full roster of driver-assistance tech, including forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring and more. Hyundai's Highway Driving Assistant, which combines adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, as well as the company's digital key are also available.

The 2020 Sonata Hybrid first debuted in Korean-spec guise last July, and following its North American premiere at the Chicago Auto Show, will arrive in Hyundai dealerships this spring.

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