At the 2020 Chicago Auto Show, Hyundai debuted its newest Sonata Hybrid sedan, complete with a slew of new designs and tech features. Eager to set itself apart from the competition, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid has one unique feature that makes it one of the coolest hybrids out there. Here’s how a simple roof change could catapult the newest Sonata Hybrid into the top spot in its segment.
The 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: why its roof is the best part
Solar panels are an easy way to gather a supply of energy, but they can be heavy, expensive, and not the most efficient. But Hyundai’s massive division of engineers found a way to mount solar cells to the roof of its newest 2020 Sonata Hybrid, “able to charge both the hybrid powertrain’s battery pack and the 12-volt battery that powers the starter motor and accessories,” according to Digital Trends.
The panels are specially-designed to be as subtle as possible, adding its own unique personality to the overall design of the Sonata. According to Business Insider, this solar roof on the newest Hyundai Sonata also “helps prevent unwanted battery discharge in the event that the A/C or infotainment system is on while the engine isn’t running.”
The newest 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is already hitting dealerships. If you want to take advantage of the solar roof, however, it’s only available on one of three 2020 Sonata Hybrid trims. Out of Blue, SEL, and Limited trims, the solar panel roof is only currently available on Limited variants.
How a roof change is making waves among the hybrid segment
According to MotorTrend, adding a solar panel to the roof isn’t a new idea, but it isn’t exactly common. While Toyota offers this feature as an option on its Prius lineup in Europe and Japan, solar roof paneling isn’t something you can easily find in an American hybrid/electric vehicle.
But Hyundai claims that the new solar roof on its Sonata can generate “enough electric power to increase driving range” by roughly two miles each day. This can equate to an average of 700 extra miles per year, all generated freely from the sun.
Even without the solar panel roof, the Sonata’s fuel efficiency is impressive. The lowest available trim, the Sonata Hybrid Blue, earns high fuel economy ratings of 50 mpg in the city and 54 mpg on the highway. The other two trims, SEL and Limited, both earn an estimated 45 mpg in the city and 51 mpg on the highway. Already proving to have some of the best fuel ratings of any new hybrid, the solar roof capabilities only launch it further from its rivals.
The roof isn’t the only cool thing about the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Its new solar roof isn’t the only thing to like about the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid. While most EVs and hybrids are known for being compact and economic, the Sonata doesn’t compromise on interior space. In fact, the 2020 model year features a newly placed battery that now sits under the seats instead of the cargo floor to maximize space.
Hyundai updated the Sonata’s powertrain, making it quieter and more responsive than ever, with capabilities of up to 192 hp. According to Car and Driver, “new shift programming means that the six-speed automatic is smoother and quicker-shifting than in the previous generation.”
Owners will also get Hyundai’s standard suite of safety features, a standard 10.25-inch touchscreen, and a completely redesigned exterior. Designed to look sportier and stand out from the crowd, the 2020 Hyundai Sonata may become the standard for all others to follow.