2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Blue Drive – Click above to enlarge

Next Wednesday at the New York Auto Show, Hyundai will unveil its first U.S. market hybrid model based on the just released Sonata sedan. Unlike the Fusion and Camry hybrids which are barely distinguishable from their conventional counterparts, the Sonata Hybrid gets a completely new front fascia. The new look adds a massive lower grille inspired by the Blue-Will Concept that shown at the Detroit Auto Show in January.

We believe the Sonata hybrid will retain the same 2.4-liter direct injected inline-four found in the sedans that are on sale now. However, it may be re-tuned to operate on the more efficient Atkinson cycle like other hybrids. Unlike the gas-electrics from Ford and Toyota, Hyundai's system is expected to use a conventional six-speed automatic gearbox in conjunction with a 30 kilowatt electric motor.

The Sonata hybrid and a range-topping gasoline 2.0-liter turbo model will both be revealed during a live video webcast on HyundaiMediaLive.com at 1:35pm on Wednesday, March 31. Following the presentation, CEO John Krafcik and sales VP Dave Zuchowski will be online to answer questions from the audience. You can submit your questions now at the site and tune in Wednesday for answers.

[Source: Hyundai]