141216_All-New Sonata Hybrid

The covers have been pulled off the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid in its home market of South Korea. Moving to the LF generation, it gets a raft of improvements to the hybrid powertrain for better performance and fuel economy, as well as a number of subtle tweaks to distinguish it from its regular-powered brethren.

This time around, the 2.0 litre Nu mill used in the outgoing Korean-market YF gets direct injection, producing 156 PS and 189 Nm, an increase of 6 PS and 10 Nm. This is mated to an electric motor making 38 kW and 205 Nm, 3 kW more than before. It should be pointed out that the current hybrid model sold elsewhere has a 2.4 litre Theta II engine, so expect the specs of the new car to change when it reaches other markets.

Integrated with the electric motor is Hyundai’s newfangled hybrid six-speed automatic transmission, which does away with a torque converter and utilises a more efficient electric oil pump (instead of the usual power-sapping hydraulic unit), a lighter torsion damper and a new engine clutch with fewer discs.

The battery continues to made from lithium polymer, but now features a 13.3% higher capacity at 1.62 kWh, and is relocated under the boot floor for a flatter load bay, 10.5% more luggage space and the fitment of 60/40 split-folding rear seats. As such, the new car delivers a claimed fuel consumption figure of 18.2 km per litre, up from the current model’s 16.8 km per litre.

141216_All-New Sonata Hybrid (4)

You’ll be able to tell the Hybrid apart from other LF models through a larger hexagonal grille, reshaped HID headlights, unique chrome trim below the doors, clear LED tail lights and a low-drag rear diffuser. Contributing to the increased aerodynamic efficiency of these tweaks are streamlined 16- and 17-inch wheels and a fully flat underbody, delivering an estimated drag coefficiency figure of just 0.24 Cd.

The new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is expected to make its world premiere at the 2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit next month, presumably with a larger engine for more power.