2010 New York Auto Show Preview: 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

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Dramatic designs, quality materials and respectable performance--Hyundai has come a long way since its introduction to the U.S. market in 1986. The latest vehicle to come from the company, the 2011 Hyundai Sonata, offers a potent package of features and style for a bargain price, and now a hybrid version is being prepped for a 2010 New York Auto Show debut this week.

The standard model, powered by Hyundai's new 2.4-liter direct-injection four-cylinder, starts from a low $19,195, and the decked-out Limited runs just $25,295, leaving room for the hybrid to slot in at sub-Camry Hybrid levels. The Camry Hybrid starts at about $26,150, though, so there's not a lot of wiggle room for Hyundai. Of course, offering a competitive car with bolder styling and much less concern over potentially dangerous recall issues may prove a boon to the Sonata Hybrid's sales success.

This latest teaser (pictured alongside the standard model) reveals that the Sonata Hybrid will be immediately recognizable on the road thanks to a unique grille and single chrome wing accent. And that's something owners will no doubt be keen on showing off--the car's lithium-polymer battery pack and 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine are expected to combine for some impressive fuel economy figures. The regular Sonata already scores best-in-class fuel economy without the hybrid system, at 24 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.

The Sonata Hybrid also adds a third contender to the mainstream mid-size hybrid sedan sweepstakes. Right now, the Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan Hybrid and the aforementioned Camry Hybrid are the only options. The Ford Fusion Hybrid is a strong overall package as we noted in our review last fall, and it's priced well to compete with both the Toyota and Sonata, so it won't be a cakewalk, despite the Sonata's good looks.

Stay tuned for an update following the car’s debut this week in New York.


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