Is the Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid a Good Car?

If you’re in the market for an affordable hatchback PHEV, the Hyundai Sonata Plug-In hybrid edges out its competition.
Written by Brad Marley
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Aug 8, 2022
If a hybrid is in your future, one that reduces the money you spend on fuel without emptying your bank account, the Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid might be the car for you. 
Good fuel economy? Check. Comfortable ride? Check. A classy interior cabin? Check. The price? $23,200. What’s not to love about this affordable plug-in hybrid?
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Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid

Some of the plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) on the road look too futuristic for our tastes, which turns some people off.
The Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid does the opposite. This brand new model — for the time — does the opposite. It brings together a solid combination of quality and value, with a splashy interior and smooth exterior that captures attention in a way only it can. 
Excellent gas mileage and smooth driving abound as this vehicle slots into its rightful place among the more affordable PHEVs on the road. 
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Pricing

Pricing for the Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid begins with an MSRP of $23,200, which is very affordable. The top-of-the-trim-line Limited edition, starting at $33,000, is still one heck of an affordable PHEV, all things considered. No matter what trim level you choose, you’re going to get your money’s worth.
All Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrids are eligible for a $4,919 federal tax credit.

Performance and fuel economy

The Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid comes complete with a 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder engine that is married to an electric motor and six-speed automatic transmission. This equates to an estimated fuel economy of 39 mpg for the gas engine. The fuel economy for the gas/electric hybrid option is around 43 mpg.
Since it’s a plug-in hybrid rather than a regular hybrid, you can drive the Sonata PHEV in all-electric mode for limited periods of time. Its total driving range as an EV is 28 miles
You are surely also thinking about how long it takes to charge. To get a full charge on a standard 120-volt charger, it’s going to take nearly nine hours. If you have a Level 2 charger, it will take just under three hours.
If you’re wondering about how it drives, here’s the rub: it won’t blow your socks off with power, but it’s also not going to disappoint. It just does what it’s supposed to do.

Exterior styling

The grille sits prominently on the front of this car, while sharp lines and LED lights give it some personality when you’re on the outside looking at it. If you go for the Limited version, a panoramic sunroof is available, while the rest come with a tilt-and-slide sunroof. 
One cool new feature is that the truck release is hidden in the “H” of the logo on the back. When you open the trunk, you are presented with the largest trunk in the Sonata’s class.

Interior and comfort

The Sonata interior was redesigned for 2018, and the last version of the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid came away unchanged. It has intuitive controls inside that are within easy reach of the driver, with a raised touchscreen that adds a pinch of class. The climate and audio controls are also just where you want them to be, which makes driving this car a breeze.
And like we mentioned before, with 13.5 cubic feet of cargo space, it has the most out of all of the Sonatas.

Technology

Any car that embraces the future should also come chock-full of technology that allows it to feel right at home in a futuristic setting. Drivers of the Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid will appreciate features such as the Connected Cabin—which includes wireless phone charging, navigation, and satellite radio—and a tech package that includes the following assistance tech:
  • Automatic high beam assist
  • Smart cruise control
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Automatic emergency braking
In addition to what’s listed above, the vehicle also comes with seven standard airbags, power windows, heated side mirrors, and blind-spot detection.

Warranty coverage

A big checkmark in favor of buying a Hyundai is its unbeatable warranty coverage. The standard limited and powertrain warranties apply to the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid, along with a battery warranty that is ten years or 100,000 miles, whatever comes first. This also applies to all hybrids. 
Here is how the rest of the Hyundai warranties break down:
  • Powertrain warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first)
  • New vehicle limited warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles (whichever comes first)
  • Battery warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles (whichever comes first)

Trim levels and options

The Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid comes in two trim levels: SE 2.0L and Limited 2.0L. The SE 2.0L comes stocked with everything you want in a base model, such as a back-up camera, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and heated mirrors.
If you want to jump to the Limited 2.0L, you will get more options when it comes to convenience and comfort, as well as entertainment. But for the extra few thousand dollars, you also get fewer miles per gallon, which doesn’t seem like a proper trade-off.
If you have to make a decision, we think you should opt for the base model and see those savings come back to you at the pump.
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The bottom line

The Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid is a very affordable PHEV, although you can no longer buy it new since it was discontinued in 2020. But it does what every car should do, and does so reliably and at a great price, so you don’t have to worry about unexpected issues popping up.

Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid vs. Toyota Prius Prime

How does the Hyundai Sonata Plug-In compare to the Toyota Prius Prime? 
The Prius Prime gets an impressive 54 mpg combined fuel economy on gas alone and a robust 133 MPGe with gas and electric combined, which certainly gives it a leg up on the competition. But its electric-only driving range is just 25 miles, and it’s more expensive. Toyota fans may prefer the Prius Prime, but the Hyundai Sonata Plug-In offers a better value.
Model
Starting price
Fuel economy (gas only)
Fuel economy (gas + electric)
Driving range
Charging time (Level 2)
Hybrid battery warranty
2019 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid
$23,200
43 mpg
99 MPGe
28 miles
3 hours
10 years or 100,000 miles
2021 Toyota Prius Prime
$29,245
54 mpg
133 MPGe
25 miles
2 hours
10 years or 150,000 miles

Hyundai Sonata PHEV vs. Toyota Camry Hybrid

Another major competitor for the 2021 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid is the Toyota Camry Hybrid, starting at $27,270
The Toyota Camry Hybrid is not a plug-in vehicle, but it does provide nice fuel economy and cargo space that’s comparable to the Sonata. At 52 combined mpg, it’s better than the Sonata PHEV, but there isn’t a full electric mode available.
Model
Starting price
Fuel economy (gas only)
Fuel economy (gas + electric)
Driving range
Charging time (Level 2)
Hybrid battery warranty
2019 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid
$23,200
43 mpg
99 MPGe
28 miles
3 hours
10 years or 100,000 miles
2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid
$27,270
52 mpg
105 MPGe
N/A
N/A
10 years

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