Gallery: TEST DRIVE: The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is Our New Favorite Gree...

Are you one of those green drivers who pays obsessive attention to squeezing every mile out of your car? Your hybrid is finally here. The new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is designed in such a way that if you ease off the gas at nearly any speed, you can switch into EV mode and start saving those precious drops of fuel. Add to that the fact that Hyundai has unabashedly borrowed major design elements from recent Mercedes models, and you’ve got a pretty sweet green sedan. We tested the Sonata Hybrid at city and highway speeds, and on all kinds of roads, and found it to be one of the most livable hybrids we’ve driven to date. The mileage averaged just under 40 mpg, so you could do a bit better if mileage is your one and only priority, but hear us out. The Sonata Hybrid has awesome acceleration when you need it, great technology features, drives just about like a regular gas-engined car, and other than its average suspension really does feel luxurious like a Merc. Come along with us as we take you through our obsessive list of awesome details to be found in the new Sonata Hybrid. We promise to be as thorough as you would be.

You’ve probably seen our extensive list of green test drives over this past year, so you’ll understand what we mean when we say we always expect to give something up for green street cred. Whether it’s the manual window controls in the Mitsubishi i EV, the insanely slippery handling of the otherwise awesome Chevy Volt extended-range EV, or the total lack of anything pretty on the walls in any Prius you could buy (and that’s a lot of them now), green cars are always dropping weight and technology to help bring super-efficient cars down to the masses. But, when a carmaker sticks a hybrid system in an existing car (a real one, with nav screen, decent transmission, and insulation in the door panels so you don’t feel like you’re driving a can of tuna), you often have to sacrifice real mileage.

Not so anymore. The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is the type of hybrid that sticks a hybrid system in an existing gas car, so it looks and drives pretty much like any car, except for a slight sluggishness to accelerate when you first get going from a stop. But because this hybrid system was integrated in just the right way with the engine, you can get the car to switch into EV mode at nearly any speed, which means you control your mileage no matter where you drive. Need to get into traffic without getting squashed? You may want to sacrifice a few mpg to save your life, but otherwise, cruise along in this fine car with dual sunroof, XM radio, heated leather seats and electronic everything, and still get the mileage of a subcompact.

We love it. In fact we can’t really explain our enthusiasm away. This car tops the list of our favorites this year, among sportier entrants like the Nissan Juke and Land Rover Range Rover Evoque as just one of the best all-around packages. From Hyundai. We know. If you’re in the market for a hybrid that’s more than just a badge on the bumper, check this one out. We think you will love this one as much as we did. Or, if you think we’ve been sniffing too many fumes, let us know in comments.

+ Hyundai


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