Hyundai has launched the 2020 Sonata Hybrid for the US market at the Chicago Auto Show. First revealed in July 2019, this is a conventional, non-plug-in hybrid version of the latest eighth-generation sedan that debut in April last year, and it will go up against the Toyota Camry Hybrid and Honda Accord Hybrid.

The headline dominating figures are a range of 1,104 km (686 miles) and US EPA estimated 52 mpg combined fuel economy rating (18.4 km/l) on the Blue trim. The Hybrid also gains a solar panel roof that directly charges the 12-volt and hybrid batteries and outputs 205 watts of electricity. “Think of it as up to 700 ‘free’ miles per year,” Hyundai says. It also helps prevent battery discharge from infotainment or HVAC systems when the car is off.

Another feature Hyundai is proud of is the Active Shift Control technology to control the electric motor, aligning it with the rotational speeds of the engine and transmission, reducing gear-shifting times by 30% from 500 ms to 350 ms. This synchronisation not only improves acceleration and fuel economy but also improves the durability of the transmission by minimising friction during shifts, Hyundai says.

The Sonata Hybrid is powered by a Smartstream G2.0 GDi HEV engine and a six-speed hybrid automatic transmission. The engine’s output is 150 hp and 188 Nm of torque, while the electric motor delivers 39 kW (51 hp) and 205 Nm. Combined system power output is 192 hp.

The slippery sedan has a low drag coefficient of Cd 0.24, accomplished by active air flaps behind the grille, a redesigned rear spoiler and some underbody measures, which include a bumper lip front- and rear-wheel deflectors, undercovers in the front and back of the engine bay, center floor undercover and rear undercover.

Hyundai did not mention battery pack details, but boot space has improved from 377 litres to 510 litres. Also claimed by the carmaker is best-in-class front headroom and legroom. The NFC smartphone-based Hyundai Digital Key is optional, as are a 10.25-inch central touchscreen and a Bose audio system. The SmartSense advanced driver assistance systems pack using three radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors and five cameras is standard, but the Highway Driving Assist component is optional.