By J. Sheats (Nashville, TN)
(reprinted from Tennessee Tribune)
Gas prices are approaching $5 per gallon, Nashville is growing at a rapid pace, and a sputtering but improving economy is a recipe for car buyer uncertainty … until now.
“Going green” is no longer just a vision for the future but a reality with the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. This electric car with a battery that recharges while you drive is not only an economical answer at $32K (fully loaded) but ecological as well, with a combined fuel economy of 37 mpg.
As I examined the car for the first time, I couldn’t help but notice its style. The exterior is mean with a chrome grill that resonates with hard-core car enthusiasts and a sleek design that’s visually stimulating. The dual sunroof and perfectly aligned turn signal and brake lights only enhance the appearance of this work of art. This car has serious “wow factor.”
The interior is simply remarkable for the price. The optional leather interior is plush and the instrumentation placement is well thought out resulting in a wonderful driving experience. Inspector Gadget would be proud of all the features within easy reach of the leather wrapped steering wheel, including digital readouts providing information on everything from energy consumption to Bluetooth activity. The navigation is like the Word in that you tell it where you want to go and it will clearly direct your path. The iPod/USB connections are conveniently located between two 12volt outlets in case multiple passengers need a charge. The seating is adequate for four adults and tight as a pair of skinny jeans for five, but still manageable.
The overall performance is good but initial acceleration tends to stutter. The transition from gas to electric and vice versa occurs automatically according to your speed. Initially, it’s so quiet that you may not realize the car is even running but, as you pick up speed, the engine comes alive. The response above 40 mph is great and smoother than it is at lower speeds– it seems to glide down the highway at higher speeds. The steering is firm, yet very responsive.
Having recently watched film and music awards, it’s only fitting to describe the overall Hyundai experience in relation to some of our “old school” entertainers: The Sonata has a grill as hard as Denzel in Training Day, a ride as smooth as Lionel Richie, an interior as funky as George Clinton, and a price that makes you smile like Richard Pryor.
If “going green” means more to you than just a popular debate topic, I recommend you take the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid for a spin. If Hyundai can make sure that their vision for the Sonata matches with their execution in building it, they are bound to have a hit or, better yet, a classic in the hybrid electric car segment.
Base price: $25.8K