Driving A Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid-1020147

The Golfblogger-Mobile went back into the shop yesterday for more work related to the rear end collision I suffered back in October. Undetected in the initial assessment and repair was that the seats had broken free of their welds to their frames.

My loaner car for the repair is a Hyundai Sonata hybrid. Thus is my first time with a hybrid, and it has been an interesting experience.

The first thing I noticed about hybrid is the lack of the usual sort of driving feedback. It starts without noise or vibration. From a stop, I find it impossible to tell whether the car is on without looking at the animated instrument panel.  The Sonata Hybrid changes speed without the usual up and down shifting sensation—another initially disconcerting feeling. Even at higher speeds, there is virtually no engine vibration or noise.

It is in many ways like driving an electric golf cart.

What I learned from driving the hybrid is just how much I depend on a variety of sensations while driving. Engine vibrations, the feel of the gas pedal, the rev of the engine and tactile gear shifting all are part of my driving feedback loop. With the hybrid, so much of this is missing.

That’s not to say that it is a bad experience. To the contrary, once I got used to it, the Hyundai Sonata is fun to drive. The ultra smooth, quiet ride is quite pleasant. It feels like gliding. The vehicle has a lot of pickup and handles well.

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid-1020146

One of the fun things about the car was the animated panel which showed the energy flow. Another panel showed your Eco Score, which I suppose turns driving into a sort of green friendly video game.

Interestingly, mileage on my round trip to work wasn’t that much better than I normally get in the Subaru. The Sonata Hybrid got 27 mpg on my work commute. My Subaru Forester gets 24. It could just be the nature of that kind of drive, though. I am sure that there are optimal and sub-optimal driving conditions for hybrids.

What I’d really like to do at this point is to take an extended test drive of a true electric vehicle like a Tesla or Chevy Volt.

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