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2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid review: The tech lover’s mid-size sedan

Some of the best automotive technologies no longer require you to spend top dollar. With consumers demanding so much out of their vehicles, cutting-edge features are within reach of the average person. Case and point the 2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. This electrified mid-size sedan brings a lot to the table without breaking the bank. Now in its third model year, it remains a tech powerhouse but will it get you to consider something different for your next daily driver?

2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid exterior

2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid front three quarters 01
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

There’s no mistaking the 2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid for any other vehicle. Thanks to the LED daytime running lights embedded onto the chrome trim, full-width LED taillights, and curvaceous greenhouse, it looks bold and has personality even in subdued exterior colors. For some consumers, this is just what the doctor ordered while others may find this too in your face. Hybrid variants get a version of Hyundai’s cascading grille with body-colored surrounds and horizontal chrome inserts. In addition to the hybrid badge on the trunk lid, electrified Sonatas get chrome trim on the lower part of the front fascia and the rear diffuser. The Sonata family is one of only a handful of vehicles in production with a hood that terminates at the grille.

2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid interior

2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid dash 01
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

Once you get inside the Sonata Hybrid’s cabin, you’ll immediately notice that this sedan punches above its segment. The material quality exudes luxury car vibes and everything looks and feels expensive. Closing the doors results in a solid, reassuring thud that gives off a sense that the vehicle is carved out of a single block of metal. There are padding and soft surfaces everywhere including the back where automakers usually put harder plastics. Hyundai did a good job hiding the cheaper bits, ensuring they’re away from areas occupants interact with often.

The Sonata Hybrid is among the quieter entries in its segment thanks to generous sound insulation. Road, tire, and wind noise are minimal even at highway speeds. The former two are likely due to the wheel size maxing out at 17 inches, giving you more sidewall. Hyundai resisted putting super wide tires on the Sonata Hybrid, resulting in narrower contact patches and lower noise levels.

Even with its sexy roofline, the Sonata Hybrid’s interior is surprisingly accommodating. There’s generous legroom for everyone, even those in the rear seats. The scalloped headliner helps maximize headroom; however, we wish the power-operated driver’s seat can be lowered more to give taller passengers extra space. On the bright side, Hyundai did a great job creating useful spaces for small items and mobile devices. The glovebox and center console bin are sizable while the cubby below the climate controls is big enough to accommodate a large smartphone with a cord attached to it.

2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid tech features

2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid gaug cluster 01
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

Hyundai’s infotainment system is among the most user-friendly in the industry. Even though the Sonata Hybrid’s interface isn’t the updated version found in the Tucson and Elantra, it’s still quick, responsive, and most settings are only one to two taps away. The only thing you’re missing out on is the customizable gauges for the available 12.3-inch digital cluster. Otherwise, you get the same 10.25-inch main touch screen Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, crisp graphics, and the fun Sounds of Nature app if you want to have an ASMR moment in the car. The available 12-speaker Bose audio system is clear, immersive, and easy to personalize.

Smart Sense, Hyundai’s suite of active safety technologies, remains among the best for its accuracy and subtle operation. Components like lane centering and steering assist correct your trajectory gently if you start to drift out of your lane. Adaptive cruise control’s distancing component proactively ensures that it maintains the gap you’ve set. If a vehicle cuts you off, it’ll slow the car down to keep you out of harm’s way. Highway Driving Assist, Hyundai’s semi-autonomous system, does a fantastic job keeping you centered in your lane, minimizing stress levels during the daily commute or long drives. The system helps you navigate gentle turns on the highway and slows down ahead of tighter ones so that you can go through them safely.

2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid driving impressions

2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid rear three quarters 01
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

Unlike its chief competitors, the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid uses a parallel hybrid setup. That couples a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor, a 1.62-kWh lithium-ion battery, and a six-speed automatic transmission for a combined output of 192 hp. There’s plenty of power to move the car without much effort thanks to the electric motor’s instant response.

The gearbox provides quick and timely shifts, allowing you to take full advantage of the hybrid system’s available output. However, we wish it wasn’t so eager to get to the highest gear. In certain situations, it results in hunting because it shifts too often. The transmission’s penchant for going to high gears also causes the car to lurch at parking lot speeds. Since the electric motor is sandwiched between the engine and transmission, you’ll notice shifts happening even though the engine is off.

The Sonata Hybrid loves to coast when cruising at highway speeds on flat roads or going downhill. This results in additional energy recuperation, allowing it to stay in EV mode longer. The solar panels on the Limited trim contribute to the car’s efficiency because it reduces the strain on the powertrain by running things like the climate control and infotainment system. It helps charge the main drive battery, too, enabling the car to rely on the electric motor for city driving and steady-state cruising.

If you’re looking for a natural brake pedal feel in your electrified mid-size sedan, the Sonata Hybrid has it. Transitions from regenerative to mechanical braking are seamless and it’s impossible to tell where the handoffs happen even when you have to stop suddenly. It’s easy to bring the car down to city speeds by easing off the accelerator, enabling you to bring the car to a halt smoothly more consistently. On long downhill slopes, it’s possible to fully charge the battery through the energy recovered from regenerative braking.

The Sonata Hybrid is best described as a confident cruiser. It still does a great job absorbing road imperfections and isolating the passenger compartment from harsh impacts yet doesn’t float all over the place. Throwing the Sonata Hybrid into a corner shows off its poised road manners; there’s not much body roll and the car turns in happily. Despite the eco-focused tires, there are respectable amounts of grip, giving the sedan a stable, planted demeanor. Together with accurate steering that’s weighted nicely, the Sonata Hybrid is easy to drive every day and doesn’t fall flat on its face when the road starts turning.

2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid pricing

The 2022 Sonata Hybrid starts at $28,245 for the base Blue grade. Our Limited test vehicle with the accessory floor mats costs $36,764.

2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid final verdict

2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid trunk badge 01
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

For the average consumer, the 2022 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid stands out because of its distinctive exterior styling and efficiency. That’s not a bad thing because, during our week with the car, we easily beat the official EPA ratings for the SEL and Limited grades, averaging a fine 53 mpg over 400 miles. When you look deeper, the harmonious operation of the Sonata Hybrid’s tech features plays a pivotal role in why it’s so compelling even with its quibbles. Despite all of the complexity, this mid-size sedan remains approachable and easy to live with, which is a feat in itself.

At a glance

  • Year: 2022
  • Make: Hyundai
  • Model: Sonata Hybrid
  • Trim: Limited
  • Type: 4-door mid-size sedan
  • Combined horsepower: 192 hp
  • MPG ratings (city/highway/combined): 45/51/47 mpg
  • Pros: Class-above fit and finish, comfortable ride, fantastic tech features
  • Cons: Front seats don’t lower enough, transmission gear hunts a lot, some low-speed lurchiness
  • Base price: $28,245
  • Price as tested: $36,764
Written by Stefan Ogbac
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