Displaying items by tag: Hybrid

Saturday, 23 October 2021 07:15

Peugeot 308 hatchback review

"The Peugeot 308 is a comfortable, stylish family hatchback with a great interior but it’s not the most practical”

The Peugeot 308 is a family hatchback that’s had a complete makeover; its eye-catching looks are a big selling point but there are plenty of other reasons to consider buying one. The 308 is an alternative to the Ford Focus, SEAT Leon and Volkswagen Golf, and it shares parts with other similar models, including the Citroen C4 and the latest Vauxhall Astra.

There are petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engine options but there’s no choice of gearbox; the only option is an automatic, which means there’s no low-cost entry-level model to compete with basic versions of the Focus or Golf. It’s all part of a plan to make Peugeot into a more upmarket brand within Stellantis' wide range of brands, which is also the reason for the redesigned badge on the nose of the car.

Best hatchbacks

The petrol version uses a 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine with 128bhp, while the diesel is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder unit with the same amount of power. The two plug-in hybrid options use the same 1.6-litre petrol engine, and have a total of 178bhp in standard guise, or 222bhp with an upgraded electric motor. These models offer low emissions and are cheap for company-car drivers to tax, plus they can travel up to 37 miles on electric power alone.

Most people will charge up the battery at home overnight at a standard rate of 3.8kW, but unlike some plug-in hybrids, the 308 is available with faster charging as an option. Equipped with a 7.4kW charger (for around £300), you can use a home wallbox or public charger to fill the battery in about two hours.

The new 308 is good to drive, striking a nice balance between handling and comfort. The Ford Focus is often considered to be the benchmark in the class for handling and the Skoda Octavia is the same for comfort. The 308 sits somewhere in between the two.

Yet one of the best aspects of the 308 is the interior. It feels well made and the materials are good quality, much like you’d find in a more expensive car like an Audi A3. There are some areas that look a little drab but its design is mostly excellent.

There’s also a 10-inch display with a second touch-sensitive panel below it. This looks very modern and is easier to use than the screens in other Peugeots (such as the 3008 SUV). It’s very responsive too, in a big improvement over the previous model.

The new 308 is available in Active Premium, Allure, Allure Premium, GT and GT Premium trim levels. All are well equipped; you get a 10-inch digital dial display, smartphone connectivity, LED headlights, climate control, 16-inch alloys and plenty of safety kit even on entry-level versions. As you move up the range, luxuries such as wireless phone charging, sat-nav, keyless entry, larger alloys and a 360-degree parking camera are added.

The 308 isn’t the most spacious family car around but it’s a great all-rounder that brings together comfort, efficiency, smart looks inside and out, enjoyable handling and plenty of hi-tech equipment. It’s not the best value for money but if you want an automatic or hybrid car, it’s well worth considering. There’s also a 308 SW estate version with more boot space, should you need it.

Peugeot 3008 SUV - MPG, running costs & CO2

Like many modern SUVs, the Peugeot 3008 is almost as cheap to run as a family hatchback

 

The Peugeot 3008 takes full advantage of the latest manufacturing techniques, using strong yet light steel, aluminium and plastics. This means it can be fitted with relatively small engines that offer excellent economy, catering to the thousands of buyers who covet an SUV but don’t want high running costs. It's a shame, though, that more electrified versions weren't introduced for the facelift, to plug the gap between the petrol and diesel 3008 and the plug-in hybrid.

The smaller 128bhp 1.5-litre diesel officially returns up to 60.8mpg and emits 122-157g/km of CO2. This is also available with an eight-speed automatic gearbox without affecting running costs too severely.

Going for a 2.0-litre diesel used to get you more power, but this has now been discontinued. The top-of-the-range 175bhp engine officially returned up to 47.3mpg and emits 162-178g/km of CO2.

Despite traditional SUV trends, petrol power will be an economically viable option for many buyers, especially if most of your driving is done over short distances or in town, purely because you’ll pay less for an equivalent engine, and little more for its fuel. The entry-level 128bhp 1.2-litre returns up to 48mpg and emits 133-165g/km. The 1.6-litre petrol was discontinued in mid-2021 but officially managed around 43mpg with emissions of 148-177g/km of CO2.

Choosing Peugeot’s six-speed automatic gearbox costs around £1,300 and sees economy drop by just a little bit. CO2 emissions rise fractionally if you go for the automatic.

Officially, the most economical model is the range-topping 3008 Hybrid4, which is a direct rival to the Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid, and is said to return up to 235.4mpg. It’s worth pointing out that you’ll struggle to achieve close to this figure unless you religiously charge up the battery and only use the car for short, urban trips. CO2 emissions are remarkably low at 30-41g/km, which will please company-car drivers. The less powerful front-wheel-drive hybrid model is capable of up to 222.3mpg with CO2 emissions of 29-39g/km.

If you have access to a 7kW home charger, the Hybrid4 will fully replenish the battery in around one hour 45 minutes. You’ll need to wait eight hours for the battery to get to full charge if you’re using a standard three-pin socket. A dedicated smartphone app lets you choose when to charge the car (so you can charge overnight on a cheaper tariff, for example) and set the air-conditioning before you get in.

Company car drivers should find the Benefit-In-Kind (BiK) tax rates attractive, especially for the hybrid models. VED (road tax) for private buyers is charged at the standard rate for all petrol and diesel models with the hybrids liable for the discounted rate. Flagship models can cost over £40,000, and these will be subject to a surcharge until the car is six years old.

Insurance groups
The Peugeot 3008 sits in groups 20-38 for insurance. Most models are rated in group 21 and under though, with only the more powerful petrol and Hybrids punching above the group 22 mark.

Warranty
Peugeot’s three year/60,000-mile warranty used to be about average for the industry, but with Hyundai, Toyota, Kia, Mercedes and BMW also offering better protection, we’d argue it’s time for Peugeot to up its game here.

Servicing
Peugeot’s fixed-price servicing packages make budgeting for maintenance easy, and policies start from around £14 each month if you take out a three-year deal.

Peugeot 3008 SUV - Engines, drive & performance

The Peugeot 3008 is competent, comfortable and enjoyable to drive

 

What do you want your SUV to do? If the answer to that question is ‘be easy to drive while providing a high ride height for good visibility and access along with plenty of space for my family’, buy the Peugeot 3008.

If the first thing that sprang into your mind was ‘be great to drive’, you might think you’d be better off looking at the more expensive BMW X3 SUV, or a conventional hatchback like the SEAT Leon.

We've found the 3008 to be impressively composed on an open road, but it doesn't goad you to drive it harder. There’s little body lean to speak of, yet this doesn’t come at the expense of comfort, as the suspension makes a decent fist of softening pitted tarmac and soaking up potholes. The 3008 is also easy to drive around town, while it’s impressively quiet and civilised on the motorway.

The SEAT Ateca may have slightly sharper steering and stiffer suspension, but the trade off is it’s less comfortable than the 3008, which is well rounded in every aspect of its driving characteristics. It has the Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar soundly beaten in the enjoyment stakes, coming off well in comparison to the sharp-handling Volkswagen Tiguan, while the Ford Kuga and Mazda CX-5 steer slightly more sweetly.

There’s no four-wheel-drive option for the non-hybrid 3008, but Peugeot’s ‘Grip Control’ setup (which is essentially a sophisticated traction-control system) costs between £250 and £500, as it requires 18-inch alloy wheels, which aren’t standard on all trims. It should help you out when the going gets tough, particularly if it’s paired with the optional winter tyres.

With an electric motor on each axle, the 296bhp Hybrid4 model has four-wheel drive and it’ll tackle reasonably challenging off-road terrain without needing to start the petrol engine. Both hybrids are much heavier than the petrol models and, while they offer great straight-line acceleration, the extra weight makes them feel much more cumbersome through corners.

Peugeot 3008 petrol engines
The 128bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine in the 3008 uses turbocharging to help keep performance up and running costs down, and they’re familiar Peugeot fare. Our drive of the more powerful of these revealed it to provide the 3008 with pretty swift performance, taking eight seconds to go from 0-62mph. The standard automatic gearbox that comes with this engine also impressed us, as it changes gear smoothly, quickly and with minimal fuss.

The petrol engine is also a smooth operator. This will probably need to be worked hard to shift the 3008’s heft, but it’s certainly worth taking for a test drive, as it offers the cheapest route to 3008 ownership. With this engine fitted, 0-62mph takes 9.5 seconds, although that time is likely to increase if you load the 3008 with passengers and luggage. It's impressively linear in its power delivery, and feels powerful enough for cruising on the motorway and overtaking slower traffic. In mid-2021, the range-topping 179bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine was discontinued. This unit was previously the quickest regular engine in the 3008 range, getting from 0-62mph in eight seconds.

Diesel engines
Many buyers after an SUV still want a diesel engine, so Peugeot offers one with either a manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox. Again, they’re staple Peugeot products, and we’ve driven the 128bhp 1.5-litre version, which is likely to be a big seller. It’s a little raucous when being revved, but once in a high-gear cruise it’s admirably quiet. It takes 10.8 seconds to go from 0-62mph, or 11.5 seconds if you choose the eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The 99bhp diesel is no longer available, and it was the only model to come with a five-speed rather than six-speed manual gearbox, with no automatic option. We'd recommend avoiding this engine if you're looking on the used market.

The more powerful 2.0-litre diesel engine was also discontinued with the arrival of the facelifted 3008. The 175bhp engine was automatic-only and had some extra grunt, which was useful for towing. However, it was only offered in the top trim with a hefty price tag. For that reason, it was a rare choice. This engine manages 0-62mph in 9 seconds.

Hybrid engines
Not every family car is offered with a plug-in hybrid version but Peugeot has offered 3008 buyers two to choose from. Both combine a 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 13.2kWh battery and an electric motor, and both use Peugeot’s eight-speed automatic transmission.

The front-wheel-drive ‘Hybrid’ is the less expensive and less powerful of the two, with one electric motor, 222bhp and a 0-62mph time of 8.9 seconds. Above that is the ‘Hybrid4’ with two electric motors (one on each axle), four-wheel drive and a peak power output of 296bhp. Zero to 62mph takes just 6.1 seconds - quicker than the Peugeot 308 GTi hot hatchback - although the Hybrid4 is expensive.

Peugeot 3008 SUV - Interior & comfort

The Peugeot 3008 has one of the best interiors we’ve come across in recent years

The Peugeot 3008 deserves to be heaped with praise for its interior design and represents the best in class. Peugeot is really spoiling us with the quality of interior materials, which range from excellent soft-touch plastics on top of the dashboard to attractively textured cloth running along the inside edge of the doors.

It’s also pleasing to report that while Peugeot fits the 3008 with a small steering wheel that’s designed to be looked over (rather than through) when viewing the dials, the ergonomics of this now look to have been resolved. Taller and shorter drivers who find the steering wheel obscures the gauges, shouldn’t have the same problem in the 3008.

Thanks to its great interior and ride quality, the 3008 is one of the most comfortable cars in its class.

Peugeot’s decision to fit all 3008s with its i-Cockpit is welcome and generous. This 12.3-inch digital display replaces the speedometer, fuel gauge and other dashboard dials and can be configured to show sat-nav guidance, media playlists or information about fuel economy and journey times. Audi has offered a similar setup for some time, but usually as a pricey option. Peugeot’s decision to make it standard may cause other carmakers to follow suit in an effort to keep up. For the facelift the screen has been upgraded for improved contrast, making it easier to read.

Another nice touch is the row of seven silvered toggle switches below the 10-inch infotainment touchscreen, which has grown for the updated car and now has improved definition. These look almost like piano keys and work in conjunction with the touchscreen, bringing up music, ventilation and other modes. You still have to use the screen itself to adjust the temperature and other settings, though, but the screen is capacitive rather than resistive, so it’s much easier to operate than some setups.

Equipment
The 3008 range kicks off with Active Premium, and choosing this gets you 17-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, all-round parking sensors, an eight-inch display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Moving up to Allure trim adds larger 18-inch alloy wheels and adds sat nav to a 10-inch infotainment system. Costing around £700 extra, Allure Premium brings keyless entry, aluminium roof rails, ambient lighting and a front passenger seat that can fold flat.

There's also a top GT trim with LED headlights, a black roof lining, adaptive cruise control and upholstery with a mixture of leather and Alcantara. This can be upgraded once more to GT Premium for the ultimate 3008 spec, bringing 19-inch wheels, a powered tailgate, enhanced stereo, 360-degree powertrain and heated seats.

Options
Just because the 3008 is well equipped, doesn’t mean there isn’t a fairly lengthy options list. Metallic paint is a near-essential for many and costs just over £500. We always recommend specifying a full-size spare wheel if possible, for which Peugeot asks around £100.

A wireless smartphone charging pad is available, along with Nappa leather upholstery and a panoramic sunroof.

Peugeot 3008 SUV - Practicality & boot space

The Peugeot 3008 is competitively spacious

The Peugeot 3008 is roomy enough for a family of four. The SEAT Ateca and Nissan Qashqai are ever so slightly bigger inside, but the 3008 has a larger boot than those two cars.

Peugeot 3008 interior space & storage

Front-seat passengers are able to stretch out in the 3008, but it’s not quite as commodious as its exterior dimensions might lead you to believe. Still, there’s an argument that many will like the sense of being cocooned in the 3008, especially given the plushness of its interior – and it’s by no means cramped up front.

Those in the rear do pretty well for space. The back doors open nice and wide, while head and legroom are good in the outer two seats. The front centre console extends a long way into the back, and we reckon middle-seat passengers may feel hard done by, as they’ll have to contort their limbs around a not-insignificant chunk of automotive furniture.

Boot space
At 520 litres, the Peugeot 3008 has the Nissan Qashqai (430 litres) roundly beaten when it comes to luggage space and even manages to edge the spacious SEAT Ateca by 10 litres for total load volume. Drop the rear seats using the levers in the boot and the boot grows to an impressive 1,482 litres. The 60:40 split-folding rear seats lie nice and flat, while the back of the front passenger seat can be folded for lugging longer loads.

Because of the space taken up by the batteries, the 3008 plug-in hybrid models aren’t quite so generous. With the seats up, there are 395 litres to fill, and this increases to 1,357 litres if you fold the rear seats. The Hybrid versions also get a 43-litre fuel tank, while regular petrol and diesel models have a tank that’s 10 litres larger.

Towing
If you plan on using the 3008 as a tow car, go for the 1.5-litre diesel, as this can haul up to 1,500kg. The other engines are rated at 1,200kg to 1,400kg, with the Hybrid versions able to tow up to 1,250kg.

Peugeot 3008 SUV - Reliability & safety

Peugeot 3008 is very safe and scored highly in our Driver Power survey

The Peugeot 3008 achieved an impressive ranking in the 2021 Driver Power survey and scored well in Euro NCAP crash testing.

Modern car-building techniques mean a manufacturer or group of manufacturers can get more than one model out of a single platform – the mechanical skeleton that underpins the bodywork. The Peugeot 3008 is no exception to this trend, and it shares many hidden parts with the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso MPV, as well as the Peugeot 308 family hatchback.

After a mightily impressive second place out of 75 cars in our 2020 survey, the 3008 finished in 50th place in our 2021 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. It still scored strongly in every category with a decent rating for reliability indicating how pleased 3008 owners are with the car as an ownership proposition, which is obviously encouraging if you're considering buying one.

Safety
Euro NCAP – the independent body that assesses the crashworthiness of new cars – toughened up its test criteria recently, so it’s good to see the Peugeot 3008 scored the full five stars when it was assessed. It scored 86% for the protection it affords adults and 85% for that offered to children. This is impressive, as many cars do an excellent job at safeguarding larger occupants, but post a lower result (often by as much as 10%) when it comes to smaller passengers.

All 3008s get mandatory kit like electronic stability control, ISOFIX child-seat mounts, a tyre-pressure warning system and a seatbelt reminder. Peugeot also throws in a clutch of airbags and a camera that scans for road signs, relaying pertinent information to a screen on the dashboard.

A lane-departure warning system also comes with all 3008s, as does autonomous emergency braking. This latter bit of kit is one of the biggest developments in car safety to have emerged in recent years, with data indicating it helps prevent up to 38% of rear-end crashes.

(https://www.carbuyer.co.uk/peugeot/3008/155079/peugeot-3008-suv-review-pictures)

 
Published in Peugeot
Saturday, 18 September 2021 06:39

Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV: long-term test review

Second report: West Country holiday lets us put the Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV’s family credentials to the test

 
 
Verdict

The Citroen C5 Aircross was a great holiday car. It felt at home on a motorway cruise, and really delivered on its promise of comfort. It devours miles in a calm and unflustered manner, and left us all feeling refreshed after a coast-to-coast road trip.

  • Mileage: 6,067
  • Economy: 35.5mpg

Family holidays. Stressful in the build-up, and hopefully relaxing when you arrive. That was certainly the case recently, when the Milne clan decamped to north Devon for a week.

The day before we headed off, I noticed that the Citroen’s near-side rear tyre was looking a little low. A quick examination showed a screw had punctured the tread; my worst fears were confirmed when my local fitter said it wasn’t repairable but did, remarkably, have the correct Michelin tyre in stock. At 4.45pm. On a Friday. That’s lucky.

We set off, only to be confronted by an unhappy tyre pressure monitoring system. It turns out that the replacement tyre’s valve had been damaged during fitting, and with a new one installed, all was good.

Otherwise, the trip really couldn’t have gone better, aside from Google Maps sending us on the A303 past Stonehenge, and straight into the inevitable traffic jam.

The C5 Aircross has revealed itself to be at its very best on a long motorway jaunt. Its Advance Comfort seats are cosseting, and the ride, which can be choppy around town, is gloriously smoother at speed. The 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine is quiet, only becoming harsh when accelerating hard, but there’s precious little wind or road noise. It could well be stunning on the French autoroutes, when restrictions ease and all Brits can cross the Channel to visit and travel freely.

Visibility is very good indeed, and aside from the usual grumbles my kids were happy and comfortable; even more so when we arrived. It was then that they could really enjoy the view out, spotting the myriad grazing animals that scatter that part of the world. I was also glad of that good visibility when carving our way through the narrow roads of the county’s chocolate-box villages.

It’s here that the C5 Aircross really shone. It’s as big a car as you’d really need on these roads; larger SUVs feel just too big for the conditions. And it’s as funky and striking as you’d want, too, more than up to the job of standing bumper to bumper with the brightly coloured VW Transporters which seem to account for every second vehicle in Devon’s coastal towns. In fact, strapping a surfboard to the roof might transform the Aircross into a super-cool surf wagon. 

The holiday was the first time I’d really travelled a long distance in it. And while fuel economy has sat at around 34mpg without regular charging, it travelled 41 miles for every gallon of unleaded on the motorway – not bad considering it was fully loaded – against a mainly round-town economy of 35.3mpg. For the next report, I’ll see what it’s capable of with more frequent charging. 

The long and often severe gradients around Devon let me make the most of the Aircross’ regenerative brakes. On many of the longer 10-15 per cent descents, it was perfectly possible to maintain the speed limit without touching the brake pedal, although the ability to vary the amount of regen would be handy. Nevertheless, it’s very satisfying to see the charge meter climb using nothing but otherwise-wasted energy.

I had expected the boot to struggle with our luggage, which is more of a reflection of us not travelling light than the Citroen’s 460-litre capacity. To maximise luggage space we ditched the charging cable, and used the removable tray it’s stowed in to carry sandy shoes and muddy boots.

Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV: first report

Our plug-in hybrid SUV brings the promise of superb economy

  • Mileage: 3,597
  • Economy: 33.6mpg 

Platform sharing. It’s now commonplace for cars to share the same basic chassis toolkit. But that doesn’t necessarily mean everything becomes the same. Sometimes, it allows brands the freedom to take a few risks.

It’s these quirks that I’ve been enjoying most with the Citroen C5 Aircross over the past few months. I love the off-beat styling, the bold paintwork and the funky interior. In a world of Russian-doll styling and monochrome paint – as demonstrated above – it’s a breath of fresh air.

It’s the complete reverse of the Vauxhall Grandland X I ran back in 2018, a car that, like the C5 Aircross, is underpinned by Stellantis’s EMP2 platform. That car was conservatively styled in the extreme, and the fuel economy didn’t impress – two criticisms that can’t be levelled at the Volcano Red plug-in hybrid you see here.

The £35,000 asking price isn’t too bad either, especially when the C5 Aircross undercuts hybrid versions of both the Peugeot 3008 and DS 7 Crossback.

So what do you get for your money? Well, as standard, my Flair model (since renamed as Shine) gets the City Camera Pack with a combination of displays, including a handy composite bird’s-eye view, a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument display, AEB with modes to detect pedestrians (not yet put to the test, fortunately), and traffic sign recognition. It also has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which is a very good thing indeed, because the touchscreen interface isn’t the most intuitive or responsive.  

Of more importance to the young-family car driver are the buttons to disable the rear window switches and to activate the child locks, which puts an end to the need to flick fiddly switches in the door jambs.

The business end of charging works well. There’s a 6.6kW onboard charger that means a full battery top-up takes less than two hours, something that’s good for a WLTP-certified range of 33-40 miles. In reality, and mostly cool weather conditions, I’ve been covering more like 23 miles.

The charging flap is on the passenger-side rear wing, which isn’t ideal because it means I have a slightly tricky reverse parking manoeuvre to execute to get close to my Pod Point wallbox.

Naturally, with any kind of PHEV your efficiency may vary. Early on, and with a full battery charge, the trip readout was indicating 100mpg-plus economy figures. With the battery depleted, it’s settled to 33.6mpg on mostly round-town journeys. So I’ll be hooking it up to my wallbox on a regular basis to try to improve those figures.

All the usual drive modes are available; it’ll default to Electric when the battery has a slug of charge, and Hybrid when it doesn’t. Sport mode is largely redundant, but the charge hold function is handy for ensuring electric-only driving in towns and cities. 

Acoustically insulated front side windows are fitted to all hybrid models, and they certainly help to make electric-only progress really very quiet indeed. When the 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine kicks in, it does so very smoothly, although it gets rather thrashy if you come anywhere close to replicating the 8.7-second 0-62mph time.

While the Aircross doesn’t offer one-pedal driving, an enhanced brake regen mode is accessed by a tug of the gearstick. It’s not perfect though: the gearlever is on the left side of the transmission tunnel – a slight stretch away and likely a result of the switch from left to right-hand drive.

That aside, there’s a healthy amount of storage: wide door bins, cubbies ahead and to the side of the gearlever, and vast space between the front seats for a large pack of anti-bacterial wipes, bottles of alcohol gel and rubber gloves – items that have come to define the past 12 months.

Model: Citroen C5 Aircross PHEV e-EAT8 Flair
On fleet since: February 2021
Price new: £35,370
Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl petrol + e-motor, 222bhp
CO2/tax: 32-41g/km/£140
Options: Volcano Red paint (£545), White Anodised Colour pack (£0)
Insurance*: Group: 27  Quote: £487
Mileage/mpg: 6,067/35.5mpg
Any problems? Puncture

*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

(autoexpress.co.uk)

Published in Citroen
Friday, 17 September 2021 07:06

BMW 330e review

Plug-in BMW 3 Series is an excellent, tax-efficient all-rounder 

 At a glance

New price £40,440 - £51,145
Lease from new From £475 p/mView lease deals
Used price £24,905 - £45,360
Used monthly cost From £622 per month
Fuel Economy 156.9 - 217.3 mpg
Road tax cost £145 - £480
Insurance group 33 - 36How much is it to insure?
New
26.5 - 36.8
Miles per pound (mpp)
 

 PROS

  • Up to 41 miles of battery-only range
  • Lovely steering and balanced handling
  • Great hybrid efficiency and performance

 CONS

  • Not as nice to drive as a standard petrol 3 Series
  • Lacks the sweet-sounding engine of a 330i
  • Reduced boot space compared with non plug-ins
 

Is the BMW 330e any good?

It won't exactly be news to you that the BMW 330e is very good indeed. It already accounts for 25% of all 3 Series sales in the UK thanks to the undeniable tax avantages of running the plug-in version on the company. But the good news is that this is not be the only reason for going for a 330e – it is a genuinely excellent all-rounder.

For one, it's very good to drive. Not perfect, but very good. For another, the electric-only driving range is usable to the point that it will cover most owners' commutes. And finally, there's the XtraBoost feature that cranks the combined petrol/electric power output up to 295hp – if only for short bursts at a time.

So, it's a plug-in that's rational and exciting – read on to find out just what it is that makes the 330e so special.

What's it like inside?

If you're familiar with the standard BMW 3 Series, then you won't find many surprises here, and it's business as usual. The boot space has suffered compared with the standard car, as you’ll find the floor is humped. The hump is actually the fuel tank, which has been moved from its usual position under the seats to make room for the batteries – overall effect is that the standard saloon packs away 480 litres of boot space, while the 330e has just 375 litres.

The infotainment systems and digital dials gain hybrid-related display options, but aside from rearranging a few of the buttons on the centre console, this is the only difference in the passenger compartment.

  • Read all about the standard BMW 3 Series' interior here
BMW 330e interior (2021)
 What's it like to drive?

The 330e combines the same 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo petrol engine you’ll find in the regular 320i with an electric motor that’s neatly integrated into the eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission. The petrol engine develops 184hp and the electric motor adds another 112hp. Very impressive, even if you can’t just add those two figures together to get the car’s total power output.

So, the 330e’s official power output is 252hp, which rises to 292hp when you activate the XtraBoost function for short periods of time under full acceleration. There's no 'push to pass' boost button, it's just activated by flooring the accelerator in either the S or M transmission settings.

On the road, the results are impressive. Floor it from the lights and the 330e springs forward with real vigour. The 0-62mph time is 5.9 seconds, but it feels faster than that, especially considering how on the motorway it builds speed quicker than a 330d. You only get 10 seconds of XtraBoost, but that's more than enough on UK roads.

Handling

One criticism we'd level at the 330e is that it just isn’t that much fun to drive. The four-cylinder engine sounds strained when worked hard and it feels less agile in bends, presumably as a result of accommodating the additional weight of the hybrid batteries.

But it is still a car that devours bends without blinking. It’s just that a little of the fun has gone missing from the process, as exhibited by the slightly light and artificial feel to the steering (again, even in the heaviest Sport setting).

BMW 330e charging port
 
Range and hybrid driving

The 330e is able to drive up to 41 miles on electric power alone, and there are an increased number of options to make the most of it battery. You can set a guide percentage of power pack life you’d like to retain and the car will do its best to manage this on your behalf.

There is also an automatic setting, which works with the sat-nav guidance to choose the most appropriate points on your route to deploy the electricity. You can manually activate full electric mode up to 87mph and cruise there until the remaining range runs out.

Fuel economy and charging times

The official fuel economy for the 330e is a claimed 138mpg in the WLTP real-world test, with CO2 emissions of 39g/km (that’s 10% less CO2 than the last version). You’ll need to be using the electric power a lot and mostly doing short journeys to get close to those figures, however.

You’ll also need to plug the hybrid part into the mains as many times as possible in between journeys; a full charge takes three hours and 25 minutes using a BMW i Wallbox, or five hours and 40 minutes using a plain old three-pin plug.

BMW 330e (2021) rear view, driving
 
What models and trims are available?

As with the standard car, quality is right up there, but the interior design has arguably become a little too generic, and despite the size of the screens available, remains rather cluttered. The 330e is available in SE, Sport and M Sport specification, just like the rest of the UK range.

 
BMW 330e (2021) side view
 
Should you buy one?

If you want a medium-sized plug-in hybrid family car, then this is the best you can buy right now. And as such, we can heartily recommend the 330e in either Saloon or Touring form – with the latter's additional practicality being an additional selling point for us.

Rivals include the Mercedes-Benz C-Class PHEV (in petrol and diesel forms), the Peugeot 508 PHEV, Volkswagen Passat GTE and Skoda Superb iV, and the. There's no Audi in the list – the A4 TFSIe is yet to be announced. And as an overall package, the 330e beats them all.

But while the 330e does the whole PHEV thing perfectly well, it still isn’t the kind of car that works as well as it should for car enthusiasts. This is well thought-out and even enjoyable tool, rather than the kind of genuinely emotional experience a really outstanding BMW can be.

Buy a new, nearly new or used BMW 3-Series 330e Hybrid

See all the current BMW 3-Series 330e deals on Parkers Cars For Sale

What we like

BMW’s plug-in hybrid is blessed with plentiful performance, an extended electric range of more than 40 miles and some other very clever tricks. Its popularity is no accident – you might buy it to save on tax, but you can enjoy yourself at the same time, as it's a BMW through-and-through and drives as it should.

What we don't like

It's all relative, but do bear in mind that if you're opting out of a 330d or 330i, it'll feel marginally less agile in your hands.

(parkers.co.uk)

Published in BMW
Tagged under

Jeep's new plug-in-hybrid Wrangler promises 375 horsepower and 49 MPGe but struggles to smoothly blend its gas and electric power.

The 4xe (pronounced "four by E") sandwiches a 270-hp turbocharged inline-four between a 44-hp motor connected through the accessory belt at the front and a 134-hp motor taking the place of the transmission's torque converter at the back. The motors draw power from a roughly 14.0-kWh lithium-ion battery stashed under the rear seats. Whether the 4xe is running in Electric mode or as a hybrid, torque is routed to the wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission and a transfer case that offers rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive (4WD Auto), and high- or low-range four-wheel drive for the off-road crowd.

 
2021 jeep wrangler unlimited rubicon 4xe

HIGHS: Guilt-free electric motoring, go-anywhere capability, one vehicle that does the job of many.

 In other words, the power flow through the Wrangler 4xe's running gear is, at times, harder to follow than the plot of Inception. At least the net results are easy to understand: 375 horsepower, an EPA fuel economy of 49 MPGe with the battery charged, and 21 miles of guilt-free electric driving before the gas engine kicks on. The 4xe promises to combine contradictory attributes—power and efficiency—into a single product that would have been unthinkable just 10 years ago, like those business-casual sweatpants you can now wear to work. The plug-in hybrid makes the same torque—470 lb-ft—as the V-8-powered Wrangler Rubicon 392, which is rated at just 14 mpg combined.
 
2021 jeep wrangler unlimited rubicon 4xe
In Car and Driver testing, a $62,415 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4xe hit 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, which makes it quicker than anything with recirculating-ball steering needs to be. (The Rubicon 392, a vehicle designed around absurd excess, should be about a second quicker, but we haven't tested one yet.) You'll have to shift into 4WD Auto if you want to hustle the plug-in hybrid that hard, because in two-wheel-drive mode the Wrangler throttles the torque, resulting in a 60-mph time that's 1.3 seconds slower.

LOWS: Sluggish in Electric mode, clunky in Hybrid mode, unexceptional fuel economy once the battery is depleted.

2021 jeep wrangler unlimited rubicon 4xe
When the gas and electric powertrains are working in harmony, this Wrangler drives well enough, but transitions between pure electric driving and hybrid operation are can be slow and jarring. If the battery is depleted or the driver asks for more power than the electric motor can deliver, the inline-four often jumps into action with all the grace of a middle schooler at their first dance. There are pregnant pauses long enough that you might ask out loud "What the hell is happening?" before the Jeep starts accelerating with any urgency. Other times the engine makes a rushed, jerky entrance. Driving the Wrangler 4xe in suburban traffic is a constant reminder that calibrating two powertrains to behave as one is more than twice as complicated as tuning a single propulsion source.

An Electric mode remaps the accelerator so that the gas engine kicks on only if you flatten the right pedal. Annoyingly, if you always want to start out driving electrically, you'll have to switch into this mode every time you start the 4xe. But you probably won't, because driving that way, you're moving a 5318-pound brick with just 134 horsepower. That's enough to keep up with traffic, but treating the 4xe as an EV doesn't have the same fun, torque-rich punch we've come to associate with electric driving.

2021 jeep wrangler unlimited rubicon 4xe
To get the full fuel-economy benefit, you'll have to stay close to home and plug in often. A 150-mile trip with only a single charge tanked our average fuel economy over roughly 200 miles to a dismal 16 MPGe. Owners who are religious about plugging in and puttering around in Electric mode will certainly fare better, although we suspect most buyers will come up well short of 49 MPGe. Once the battery has been depleted, the 4xe actually gets worse fuel economy than a Wrangler powered by the turbo four with none of the plug-in-hybrid hardware (20 versus 22 mpg combined). Blame the extra 800 pounds that the 4xe carries wherever it goes.

If you can tune out the powertrain's hiccups and awkward pauses, you'll find that the 4xe drives like any other Wrangler. There's enough slack in the steering, squish in the suspension, and imprecision in the all-terrain tires to hide the effect of all of that extra weight on the dynamics. Turns out there is an advantage to a numb and vague chassis after all.

2021 jeep wrangler unlimited rubicon 4xe

Wrangler buyers are used to making those compromises. For years, Americans have happily paid a premium for a vehicle that's loud on the highway, thirsty at the pump, and cramped inside in order to own the ultimate do-anything vehicle. As with any other Wrangler, the 4xe can be a family SUV, a convertible, an off-roader, and a daily driver. It can tow 3500 pounds, and it can ford 30 inches of water as easily as it rolls over a curb in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot.

But the 4xe's clumsy powertrain strikes us as a compromise that few people should tolerate, especially given the $10,705 premium over a V-6 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. (Many buyers will be eligible for a $7500 credit on their federal taxes, but even that doesn't balance this equation for us.) Most Jeep shoppers will be better served by accepting that, at least for now, a simpler Wrangler is a better Wrangler.

(caranddriver.com)

Published in Jeep
Tagged under

A smooth gas-electric powertrain, quiet cabin, and premium features give Hyundai's updated mid-size crossover an edge.

Unlike Toyota, Hyundai isn't really known for its hybrids. Although its Ioniq hatchback is a solid shot across the Prius's bow, Hyundai doesn't broadly tout the fuel-sipping virtues of its hybrid powertrains, instead focusing on its familiar narrative of value and accessible luxury. But perhaps that's changing. Over the past year, the company has rolled out hybrid versions of several of its popular models, including the Sonata family sedan, the Elantra compact car, and the Tucson and Santa Fe SUVs.
 
2021 hyundai santa fe hybrid limited awd
 

HIGHS: Smooth handoff from electric to gas power, premium cabin, confident road manners.

At the test track, our all-wheel-drive Limited test ute got to 60 mph in a decent 7.5 seconds and sailed through the quarter-mile in 15.7 seconds at 90 mph. These numbers are close to the Santa Fe hybrid's only direct rival, the Toyota Venza, which was a bit slower in both metrics. Don't worry that the gas-electric Santa Fe is 1.5 seconds slower to 60 mph than the more-powerful turbocharged Calligraphy model we last tested. The immediate throttle response of the hybrid's electric motor at slower speeds makes it feel plenty eager in normal driving. Not only that, but the handoff between gasoline and electric power is virtually seamless. Only occasionally did we notice a slight thud as the four-cylinder deactivated while coasting to a stop, indicating that the power source had changed.

2021 hyundai santa fe hybrid limited awd

The Santa Fe Hybrid's cabin is impressively hushed. We measured a quiet 68 decibels at 70 mph, and the 69-decibel level it produces at full throttle is a substantial 7 decibels quieter than the non-hybrid turbocharged 2.5-liter version. But its ambiance is occasionally disturbed by Michigan's heavily pockmarked asphalt, which the suspension doesn't always dampen out. Otherwise, the handling of our test car on its 19-inch Continental CrossContact LX Sport all-season tires was similar to what we experienced in the regular model. The 0.82 g of grip we measured on the skidpad is adequate, although we'd prefer a shorter stop from 70 mph than the hybrid's 183 feet—some eight feet longer than the standard model. From behind the wheel, there's a feeling of solidity that reminds us of premium SUVs such as the BMW X5, and our test vehicle was decked out with features that bolster that impression.

LOWS: Not as fuel efficient as a Toyota Venza, unremarkable acceleration, occasional suspension shutters over rough roads.

2021 hyundai santa fe hybrid limited awd
Our Black Noir-painted example featured comfortable leather-trimmed seats with an upscale quilted pattern on the backrests. Dual digital displays serve as gauges, and infotainment and other luxuries—such as a Harman Kardon stereo and a large panoramic sunroof—added to the upscale vibe. Some cheaper plastics can be found on the lower, less-visible sections of the door panels and center console, but the top Limited trim easily meets the expectations set by its $41,135 base price. Even at the entry-level Blue model's $34,835 starting point, the Santa Fe hybrid is nicely finished.

But a hybrid also needs to deliver on fuel economy, and the Santa Fe's EPA estimates of 33 mpg city and 30 mpg highway are well below the Venza's 40/37 mpg ratings. We tested both vehicles on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test and recorded 31 mpg for the Hyundai and 36 mpg for the Toyota. That said, the Santa Fe hybrid fares notably better than some nonhybrid alternatives, such as the Honda Passport and the aforementioned Santa Fe Calligraphy, both of which managed 27 mpg in the same test. We averaged 28 mpg during the course of our car's loan.

2021 hyundai santa fe hybrid limited awd
While the auto industry as a whole is moving toward electric-only driving, hybrids such as the Santa Fe offer a means for range-anxious buyers to test the waters. This Hyundai's biggest issue is that it shares showroom space with the 2022 Tucson hybrid, which is nearly as spacious, just as nicely outfitted, and slightly cheaper. A plug-in-hybrid Santa Fe will join the lineup for the 2022 model year, but it'll only be sold in select states. We'll also likely see an all-electric Santa Fe-sized SUV at some point as Hyundai expands its Ioniq range of electric vehicles, starting next year with the Ioniq 5. Until then, the updated Santa Fe hybrid is an attractive two-row crossover with a premium cabin, a well-integrated hybrid powertrain, and above-average fuel efficiency.
 
(caranddriver.com)
Published in Hyundai
Monday, 28 June 2021 06:33

Toyota Yaris Cross first drive

Latest small SUV is good to drive and economical

Is the Toyota Yaris Cross any good?

If you're in the market for a small SUV, you're never going to complain that there isn't enough choice out there. With models from Audi to Volvo on offer, there really is something for everyone. And yet, into this mosh pit of new car activity, Toyota has entered the fray, giving us the hybrid-powered Yaris Cross, a funky new offering based on, yes, the Yaris supermini.

It gets Toyota's new, fourth generation hybrid powertrain, and should appeal to those looking for an economical and fun-to-drive small family car that offers lots of room and a family-friendly interior. The firm says it's a genuine SUV, benefiting from all the experience it has amassed with the RAV4, with two models in the range benefitting from AWD-i intelligent four-wheel drive.

However, it's up against a herd of rivals, and it needs to be good to stand out. Top of your shopping list will be the 2021 Parkers New Car of The Year-winning Ford Puma. But the Peugeot 2008, Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, Skoda Kamiq and Volkswagen T-Cross are all highly-talented alternatives.

The good news is that it has the looks and the hardware to impress in this crowd – as our early drive of a pre-production prototype here in the UK demonstrates.

What's it like inside?

Two words comes to mind after spending time in the Yaris Cross: grown up. It might be closely related to a big-selling small car, but thanks to the high seating position and roomy cabin, it feels like a car from the market sector above. The dashboard, which is similar to its namesake, is fully featured and dominated by a high-set central infotainment screen above digital climate controls (with physical temperature control knobs – yes!)

Features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (both tested wirelessly), with an optional head-up display, adaptive cruise control and a fully digital instrument panel also on offer.

It's solid and well laid-out, with plenty of storage space for your smartphones (room and charging for two), as well as a roomy central cubby hole between the seats and spacious door bins. Our test car was marked down for extensive use of black plastics and dark materials, which means it doesn’t feel as bright and airy inside as some rivals. Having said that, for families, a dark interior is easier to keep clean.

It's 240mm longer than the Yaris hatchback, which allows more room inside. There's plenty of space up front and in the rear, with a pair of tall back-seat passengers being able to make themselves comfortable without too much difficulty. The 40:20:40 split folding rear seat, electric tailgate and split-level boot floor are all positive points. The boot floor panel can be divided in two and the luggage compartment has a flex belt system to keep items securely in place when driving.

What's it like to drive?

The Yaris Cross comes in only one guise and pairs a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor. The total power output of the two is 116hp, which compares well with its rivals. It's based on on the 2.0- and 2.5-litre powertrains in the Corolla, C-HR, RAV4 and Camry, and is good for a WLTP combined fuel economy figure of 65.9mpg and CO2 figures of less than 120g/km (135g/km for the four-wheel drive model).

Maximum speed is 105mph and the 0-62mph time is 11.2 seconds (11.8 for the four-wheel drive version). Although those performance figures don't promise an exciting drive, it feels quick off the mark and smooth in general driving when underway, with the three-cylinder engine humming away quietly in the background. It's best suited to town work, although it's quiet and refined on the motorway, too.

As a conventional hybrid (you don't plug it in), the battery and motor are there to assist the car in certain situations, but a dashboard indictor lets you know how much time it's spent in pure EV mode, and it can be surprising just how much that is. On our mainly urban test route, it reported we were in EV mode for anywhere between 60-75% of the time. We saw it running on battery comfortably up to motorway speeds. Impressive.

Handling is very good, too, with accurate and well-weighted steering, little bodyroll and a feeling of precision that's quite unusual in this market sector. We wouldn't describe it as sporty, but it's certainly keen and will keep you entertained on B-roads if you're cracking on. Despite this emphasis on roadholding, the ride quality is actually above average – it's firm, but well-damped, which means you'll feel the lumps and bumps, but they don't come crashing through uncomfortably. Overall, a very good effort.

What models and trims are available?

There are four models to choose from, plus a fully-featured Premiere Edition version, available for one year only. The entry-level Icon model comes well-equipped, but then it should, as it's not as cheap as many of its small SUV rivals.

It comes with 16-inc alloy wheels, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment set-up with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, reversing camera and automatic headlights and wipers. Next model up is the Design, which adds larger wheels, LED headlights, aluminium roof rails and rear privacy glass.

Toyota expects the Yaris Cross Excel model to be its biggest seller, and with that, in addition to the above you also get 18-inch wheels, power-asssted tailgate with kick sensor, a larger 9.0-inch infotainment scren, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert with auto brake, heated steering wheel and front seats and dual-zone automatic air conditioning.

The top-of-the range Dynamic model adds even more features, listed below:

Bi-tone paint finish with black roof
Door mirrors with auto-retracting function
Power lumbar adjustment on driver’s seat
Optional intelligent all-wheel drive (AWD-i)
The limited-edition Yaris Cross Premiere Edition gains black leather interior, a JBL eight-speaker sound system, and 10-inch head-up display.

What else should I know?

All models feature Toyota Safety Sense and driver assistance systems as standard. It can warn the driver of an upcoming collision and help steer and brake it out of trouble, or at least lessen the effects of a collision. It also has pedestrian and cyclist recognition, Lane Departure Alert and Road Sign Assist.

Toyota Yaris Cross verdict

Should you buy one?

Based on the pre-production prototype we've driven so far, it's looking very good for the Toyota Yaris Cross. It's good to drive, practical, roomy for passengers and luggage and in our hands on a fairly congested test route, very economical on petrol. We'll reserve judgement on just how good it is compared with the class-leading Ford Puma and Skoda Kamiq until we've spent more time with it.

Against the popular Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur, the Yaris Cross looks very good – it's well made and well-equipped although that's reflected in the fact there are no low-priced entry-level models to tempt you into the showroom. But it's a Toyota, so the reliability is a given, the dealer support is excellent, and the warranty cover is now an unprecedented 10 years if you keep it in the dealer network.

It's looking like a safe and sound choice, which might lack the excitement and interest of some of its rivals, but it's looking good for pain-free long-term ownership.

What we like

Despite the bits of camouflage tape on our test car, we can see that it's a good-looking thing, perhaps more so than the Yaris hatchback it's based on. We like the fuel consumption and low emissions, and the fact it's available as a four-wheel drive in the top-of-the-range version.

Handling and ride are definite plus points, as its refinement and smoothness in town. The driving position is good, the controls and features are all easily managed, and there isn't an over-reliance on the touchscreen for basic functions that you'll find in certain rivals.

What we don't like

It's a shame that in offering an all-hybrid line-up in the UK (good), as it comes at a cost (bad). With a starting price well above £20,000, there will be buyers who will be put off going for a Yaris Cross, despite it offering good value for money at a higher price point.

(parkers.co.uk)

Published in Toyota

It doesn't offer the same driving dynamics as the Honda Accord, but the Sonata's hybrid model has the best fuel economy of the mid-size family sedans we've tested.

Hyundai redesigned its Sonata sedan in 2020, hoping that its new styling and updated tech would help it compete with other popular mid-sizers such as the Toyota Camry and our longtime favorite in the segment, the Honda Accord. But while Hyundai sold 76,997 Sonatas last year, Honda moved nearly 270,000 Accords, and nearly 300,000 Camrys found new homes, proving that the winnowing of the sedan category—no more Ford, no more General Motors—has left only the most ruthless competition. And to compete with the Camry and Accord, it's a given that you need to offer a fuel-sipping hybrid model. Hyundai actually offers two distinct electrified Sonatas, the Sonata Hybrid and Sonata Hybrid Blue, with the latter scoring an EPA combined 52 mpg. Unlike the Accord, however, fun behind the wheel doesn't seem like it was part of the Sonata's design brief.

Sonata Hybrids are powered by a 150-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder paired with an electric motor and battery pack, generating a combined 192 horsepower. The updated model has new shift programming for the six-speed automatic transmission, which Hyundai claims makes the shifts smoother. Nonetheless, the transition between the electric motor and gas engine is convulsive, and there's occasional lag when shifting. The Sonata's conventional automatic transmission makes it an outlier in the mid-size hybrid crowd, with the Accord using a one-speed direct-drive transmission and the Camry employing a continuously variable automatic (CVT). The Accord isn't much more powerful than the Sonata—it's rated at 212 horsepower—but it's a full second quicker to 60 mph, taking 7.1 seconds to reach 60 mph compared to the Sonata's 8.1-second plod.

HIGHS: Exceptional fuel economy, luxurious cabin in top trim, solar roof.

Hyundai's new look for the Sonata is generally attractive, even if it looks a bit awkward from a few angles, and our test car's 17-inch wheels, standard on the SEL and Limited models, don't help its looks, either. But small wheels do help with its fuel economy, as indicated by the Blue's EPA numbers—it uses 16-inch wheels. Honda's top Touring trim for the Accord Hybrid can be equipped with a set of 19-inch wheels, which likely hurt its fuel economy in our most recent test.

When we tested a 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, we achieved 51 mpg during our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test. And we barely noticed the fuel gauge ticking down during our time with this 2021 example. The 2021 Sonata Hybrid is EPA rated at 47 mpg combined, while the Blue model earns a 52 mpg rating thanks to a 16-inch wheel-and-tire package and the removal of the spare tire. A Honda Accord hybrid only managed 35 mpg in our highway fuel-economy test, a deficit that can't be ascribed to any one factor. But on the highway, the Sonata's conventional automatic transmission and smaller wheels and tires definitely gave it an advantage. The Toyota Camry scores up to 52 mpg in the EPA's ratings, but the CVT-equipped Camry is also less than enthralling to drive.

LOWS: Looks awkward from some angles, unpleasant powertrain, lazy acceleration.

Exclusive to the Limited model, the Sonata offers a feature unique in the segment: solar panels on the roof. Hyundai says that the solar roof can add up to two miles of driving range per day, and it charges both the standard 12-volt battery and the hybrid powertrain's 1.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Should the 12-volt battery go dead, the Sonata is the rare hybrid that can jump-start itself. Push the 12V Batt Reset button on the dash and the Hyundai will use its high-voltage battery as an onboard jump pack. Very clever.

Hyundai's SmartSense driver-assistance package is standard on all models, and it includes lane-keeping assist, braking assist, and a driver monitoring system. Unfortunately, Hyundai's Smart Park remote parking system—remember that Super Bowl commercial?—is absent from the hybrid's roster of options. Fortunately, the car's surround-view camera and front and rear parking sensors make parking easy.

As soon as you open the solid-feeling door, it's evident that this is a relative of Genesis, Hyundai's luxury wing. The driver's seat seems unusually high, perhaps a subtle bid to keep potential crossover buyers in the sedan camp. Upon start, the gauge cluster comes to life with crisp, animated graphics that look like something from a German brand. However, the 12.3-inch screen behind the wheel is only available on the top-of-the-line Limited model. Touches of Genesis carry over into the climate controls, too, where textured silver rings surround the knobs. The Limited gets a 10.3-inch dash infotainment screen, with other models getting an 8.0-inch screen. There, as in other Hyundai and Kia products, drivers can select an array of calming sounds, like a crackling fireplace.

The Sonata Hybrid slots between the Accord and Camry in price, starting at $28,755 for the base Blue model. Our Limited test car, which included full LED headlamps, the solar roof, and a leather interior, stickered for $36,474, which still puts it well below the average new-car price. The Sonata might not be the performance champ of the mid-size-hybrid segment, but it does have its particular merits, stellar highway fuel economy and styling that dares to have a point of view among them. But you get both of those things on the least expensive model, the Blue, along with an extra five miles per gallon. So, while we enjoy luxury frills as much as anyone, it seems that the most compelling Sonata Hybrid is also the most affordable one.

(caranddriver.com)

Published in Hyundai
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