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Roadshow Video Reviews
2011 Hyundai Sonata HybridHyundai launches its first hybrid, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, and tries to avoid looking like a copy cat.
[ Music ] >> Hyundai's one of only two car makers that didn't lose their ass in 2009. They actually gained market share. So how do you keep that ball rolling? By bringing out everybody's favorite headline maker, a hybrid, and here it is. This is the new Hyundai Sonata, now even newer because they've got their first hybrid version. First hybrid ever from Hyundai. What's going on here before we even get to the technology is the look of the new Sonata accented by a new face. Doing that to draw attention so it's not just another hybrid you don't notice. They want this car on the road to say, what is that? Oh, what do you know, Hyundai has a hybrid. Now, of course, the headline on a Sonata hybrid is the hybrid. Here it is. Two and a half liter inline four gas engine, 169 horsepower. So nothing impressive there, but, of course, you add in the 40 horsepower of an electric motor in hybrid configuration, and now you've got a good 200 plus horsepower. Performance should be fine, but this is not a sports car. Mileage is really good, 37/39 is their claim, and Hyundai is also taking some measures to keep costs contained. They are not using one of those relatively fancy and advanced continuously-variable transmissions, but instead a standard 6-speed transmission. That's considered a little bit hyridical [phonetic] and kind of a little bit throwbackish, but they think it works just fine. The battery technology in this car is different than other hybrids as well. Most other makers use nickel metal hi-dry batteries, which are pretty heavy and environmentally kind of nasty. The future is lithium ion. Hyundai is using lithium polymer. Very similar to what's in your iPod or iPhone, hint, hint. Among the benefits are lightweight moldability and shapeability, a gel-like construction that makes them safer in the event of potential runaway, and they can also be cooled via air and not require a complicated expensive liquid-cooling mechanism. All good things in the car. Now, of course, this car more than anybody has to compete successfully against you know who, Toyota's Camry hybrid. That car's about 264 right now. We don't know pricing on the Hyundai Sonata hybrid yet, but you know where their target is. The other target is MPG. This one does 37/39. They've already got the Camry beat there by about four or five miles per gallon on both counts. This should be an interesting battle. [ Music ]