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In recent years, Hyundai has been able to design a number of stylish and modern vehicles that are both practical and exciting. Take the Sonata Hybrid, for example. It's reasonably priced, extremely efficient, and nicely appointed. It would be a smart choice for anyone who wants a new sedan that doesn't guzzle too much gas. Whether people want a hybrid for economical or environmental reasons, or both, the 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid should be something to consider.
There are three trims available with the Sonata Hybrid. The first one is called the Blue trim, and it's priced at $27.750. It has numerous driver-assist technologies, a solid infotainment system, and a comfortable interior. The SEL is the next trim, offered for just under $30,000. For that modest price increase, it does come with some more convenient technology and more refined exterior and interior features. Finally, the Limited is the highest trim out of the collection, and it should impress people with its solar roof and advanced components.
This guide will go over the specifics regarding how each trim differs from the next. This should provide consumers with the information they need to make wise decisions.
Compare the 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Blue vs SEL Trim Levels. What is the difference?
These two trims use the same type of engine. In fact, all of the Sonata Hybrid models use the same engine. It's a two-liter, inline four-cylinder engine that can generate 150 horsepower. Alongside that engine is an electric motor, and it provides a boost that lets the Sonata Hybrid have a net horsepower of 192. This amount of horsepower is pretty respectable, and it gives the Sonata Hybrid a pep to its step.
Hyundai has matched this powertrain with a six-speed automatic transmission. Because the transmission has SHIFTRONIC, a driver can manually shift gears whenever he/she wants to have that control. Otherwise, the car can take care of everything and accelerating can be smooth. All Sonata Hybrids use front-wheel drive, and they have MacPherson struts with coil springs in the front and an independent multi-link rear suspension.
This brings us to the real strength of the Sonata Hybrid. It can achieve up to 54 miles per gallon on the highway and 50 miles per gallon in the city. It would be difficult to find a vehicle that does better than this, and it's one of the main reasons why the Sonata Hybrid is getting so much attention. Note that those numbers just mentioned are applicable to the Blue trim. Because it has a slightly different design, the SEL has an estimated fuel economy of 45/51 (city/highway) miles per gallon. The fuel tank has a standard size, with a capacity of 13.2 gallons, so drivers can expect to go a long way in either trim before having to fill up.
The Blue rides on 16-inch wheels, and the SEL is upgraded with 17-inch wheels. Both types of wheels are made with aluminum alloy and have an eco-spoke design. In several other ways, the trims are very much the same. For instance, they both have LED headlights, LED taillights, and LED turn signals mounted in their side mirrors. They also have gloss black front grilles.
Only the SEL, though, has heated side mirrors. This feature might not seem like much, but it can be really helpful on cold mornings and frosty evenings. Whereas the Blue has body-color door handles, the SEL has chrome ones, and these match the chrome moldings around the windows. The SEL's chrome accents contrast nicely with its gloss black side sill molding.
When comparing the cabins of the Blue and the SEL, people might not necessarily see the differences right away. After all, the two trims both have premium cloth seats, paddle shifters on their steering wheels, automatic climate systems with two zones, and eight-inch touchscreens. Those touchscreens come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as Bluetooth, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, HD Radio, and Blue Link technology. With Blue Link, users can connect their smartphones with their vehicles in more ways than one. A phone can be used to pinpoint a Sonata's location, call for emergency assistance, remotely unlock/lock the doors or start the engine, and access information such as service reminders and monthly vehicle reports.
The way in which the SEL has been upgraded might not be apparent at first, but the upgrades are sure to matter to some customers. First, the SEL has a power-adjustable driver's seat that can move in six ways. It also has heated front seats, which are a huge bonus feature that can be very much appreciated in the winter. The audio system on the SEL is enhanced with Bose speakers, and there are 12 total speakers to provide a high-quality listening experience. Other features found on the SEL but not the Blue are wireless charging, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and an additional USB port that eliminates the need to compete for a place to charge a device.
In addition, the SEL has Digital Key technology. This system lets people connect compatible smartphones with their key systems. Instead of having to use their key fobs to enter their Sonatas, people can use their smartphones instead. After a phone has been paired with the vehicle, the Sonata Hybrid can unlock itself when someone holds that phone by the door handle for one second. Then, the phone can be placed in the wireless charging pad and the push-button start function will be ready to go. Since Digital Keys can be shared, friends and family can all take advantage of this ability.
Safety has clearly been one of Hyundai's priorities. The company is known for incorporating many driver-assist systems into even its most basic models. In the Sonata Hybrid, there are numerous things that people can utilize, if necessary. Perhaps the most commonly used features are blind spot and rear cross-traffic monitoring. The Sonata Hybrid can warn drivers when others are in those hard-to-see spots. It doesn't end there, as the Sonata Hybrid can even hit the brakes or correct steering if it seems like a driver is about to back into traffic or change lanes and end up swiping another vehicle.
Another useful system is forward collision-avoidance assist. This allows the Sonata to sense when it's about to hit a vehicle or pedestrian in front of it. In this scenario, it would alert the driver to the issue and potentially apply pressure to the brakes. Other technologies are lane keeping assist, lane following assist, and driver attention warning. Further, the Sonata Hybrid comes standard with automatic high beams and smart cruise control, which can adjust speed based on what other vehicles are doing. Smart cruise control can even bring the Sonata to a full stop if traffic is particularly busy.
Compare the 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid SEL vs Limited Trims. What is the difference?
The price jump from the SEL to the Limited is much greater than the one associated with moving from the Blue to the SEL. Because of this, one would expect the Limited to really stand out with all of its sophisticated details.
One very cool feature about the Limited trim is that it has a solar roof panel. That's right - there's an energy-producing solar panel built right into the vehicle. It can absorb sunlight during the day, whether the car is moving or not, and it can increase the driving range by about two miles each day. This might be an almost negligible daily amount, but it can add up over time, and there are a lot of people out there who would jump at the chance to lead the way in being eco-friendly.
Upon first glance, people might notice that the headlights look more upscale and modern. In the Limited, there are full LED headlights, and these are a step up from the MFR-style LED headlights in the SEL. Full LED headlights shine brightly and can make it easier to see the roads at night. What can't be seen that clearly but can surely be appreciated are rain-sensing wipers. Many people won't miss fussing with their windshield wipers each time the weather changes.
Inside the cabin, the Limited has a vibe similar to what one would find in a luxury model. Leather seats are standard in the Limited trim, and the front seats come with heating and ventilation to improve comfort at all times of the year. The steering wheel is heated as well, and even the dashboard has been spruced up with a leatherette material covering it. The driver's seat and side mirrors come with a memory system that can be convenient to use. Ambient lighting is an elegant touch, and there are 64 different colors to choose from.
Technology has definitely been upgraded in the Sonata Hybrid Limited trim. Rather than having eight-inch touchscreens like the other trims have, the Limited has a 10.25-inch touchscreen. Hyundai has integrated navigation into this infotainment system, and the navigation program can take current traffic patterns into account as it provides drivers with turn-by-turn directions.
When parking in tight spaces, people will love the fact that the Limited has a surround view monitor. This 360-degree perspective can be very useful as a driver tries to maneuver the car in or out of a parking spot.
At night, the auto-dimming function in the rearview camera can prove to be important. It can keep the bright glare away from a driver who's trying to concentrate on the roads. At any time of day or night, the Limited's heads-up display can be helpful. It can project important information, like vehicle speed or a warning regarding safety, onto the windshield. This display isn't distracting at all, and it's been strategically placed so that drivers can keep their eyes on the roads.
Behind the steering wheel is a 12.3-inch instrument cluster display that's easy to read. In this display, the car can show a live video feed of what's in the vehicle's blind spot. This video feed can turn on when the turn signals are activated, and it works for both sides of the vehicle.
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Which Trim to Choose?
When deciding which trim of the Sonata Hybrid would be best, it all comes down to whether the extra features that are found in the SEL and Limited are really necessary.
Remember that the three trims use the same type of electric motor and gas-powered engine, and in fact, the Blue is the most efficient out of the bunch. The Blue trim also has many of the driver-assist technologies that people are looking for, to include blind spot monitoring. Plus, standard in the Blue are an eight-inch touchscreen, smartphone compatibility, and SiriusXM Radio.
The main advantages of driving the SEL are that it has heated seats in the front row, a premium Bose speaker system, wireless charging, and the Digital Key. People would be attracted to the Limited if they prefer to have a larger touchscreen, navigation, a head-up display, a surround view monitor, and heated and ventilated leather seats. The downfall to these higher trims is their price. The SEL is more reasonable, coming in under $30,000, but the Limited costs more than $35,000.
If cost is a concern for anyone, the Blue trim would be the recommend choice. It feels like a well-built vehicle with plenty of advanced components, and its efficiency is stellar. If someone can afford an upgrade, he/she should go for the Limited because it takes things to a different level and feels like a luxury sedan.
• Compare the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Trim Levels