Sonata Hybrid

In June of 2011 after renting a Hybrid for a week during a trip, we decided to take the plunge and buy one. We went with Hyundai's Sonata because of it's combination of technology and styling. It is now my wife's daily driver. Yes, there have been a few kinks and the limited trunk space is a challenge if you need to take a lot of luggage with you, but so far the issues have been minor and the mileage has been decent. This page is my way of sharing information about our experience with the car. I hope it is helpful or at least interesting to some of you.

A car is only new once and this was the obligatory First Day shot.
The Goals

The goals were really simple
  • Replace our daily driver with a four passenger sedan that is more economic to operate and maintain than our aging Passat W8.
  • Decrease the impact our daily grind has on the oil reserves. Maybe this way there will be more oil left for leisure driving ;-)
  • Decrease the CO2 that our daily activities produce. After all, driving to work is no fun. Why should it be a drag on the environment as well.
On paper things look good:
  • Our previous commuter was averaging around 20 MPG. The new one is being hovering around the 35 - 40 MPG mark as shown in the fuel log.
  • A 47% reduction on both CO2 emissions and barrels of oil consumed is not too shabby for a four passenger car.
  • Significant savings on maintenance. I should know as I had dealers perform regular maintenance on the Passat W8 for almost a decade now (Yes, I have done some as well). Have you checked the price of consumables for that car lately?

Mileage/Fuel Log

My wife has been doing her best to keep a refueling log to figure out how it compares to the car it is replacing. The results are shown below:


Highest Eco Score Achieved to Date

Made it all the way to 1000 and started all over again :(

  • At around 3000 miles the MIL light came on. Like most of the early cars, diagnosis indicated a problem with the NVLD valve. Inspection however showed that it had being delivered with the "SW-102" revised part and so the dealer try to "solve" the problem with an ECU upgrade. It took two visits to the dealer but so far we are happy to report the issue has not resurfaced.
  • At 6,200 miles and 401 Eco Score points we got the second planet displayed.
  • With the 7,500 miles service visit came three updates:
    • Service Campaign TG5 - HEV Multi-ECU Update (11-01-031)
    • Service Campaign TG6 - NVLD Inspection/Replacement (11-01-032)
    • Service Campaign TG8 - Cooling Fan Resistor Replacement (11-01-033).
    • Information about Recalls and Service Bulletins can be found @:
  • At around 8,600 miles and an Eco Score of 601 we got to see the third planet for the first time.
  • At around 11,500 miles we reached an Eco Score of 801 and a fourth planet and the Sun showed up on the display.
  • At the 15,000 mi. service we took care of Service Campaign TI2 - HPCU Inter-lock Circuit Connector (11-01-049). Shortly after we reached an Eco Score of 1000 and the display reset itself to start accumulating planets all over again.
  • At 14 months and 22,500 miles I noticed the paint on the shiny plastic on the lower part of the steering wheel started to rub off. Who came up with that stupid idea?

Posts of Interest about hybrids in this blog:

On a long cruise along Intestate I-5 near Mt. Shasta, California