Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Atomic Tail Lights: Minutiae of the Minute

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Atomic Tail Lights: Minutiae of the Minute

It’s getting harder and harder to distinguish different cars. For example: I’m quite sure the Hyundai Azera, Acura RLX, Toyota Avalon and Lexus ES are all the exact same vehicle, just with different badging. Perhaps the Asian manufacturers have banded together to give GM a taste of its own medicine.

There are, however, a few unique touches that set apart today’s crop of new cars. And the very best is Hyundai’s “atomic” tail lights.

The atomic tail lights are only included on the Sonata Hybrid, which should probably the subject of its own minutiae column for the insane number of tiny details it has over the regular Sonata. But of all the details, these tail lights are the coolest.

Let’s start with the obvious: these things look like atoms. Just like you learned about in high school, with the electrons orbiting the nucleus, and of course, a large degree of other highly complicated things whose names I have completely forgotten thanks to automotive knowledge.

I believe this is, therefore, the coolest tail light in the history of the car industry. It’s far cooler than the tail light in my Range Rover, which – like all Land Rover tail lights – is now full of condensation. And let’s be clear: condensation isn’t anywhere near as cool as atoms.

The only problem with the Sonata Hybrid’s tail light is that they’re rather difficult to see. When the lights are off or the brake lights are on, they’re very faint. You can really only see them when the tail lights alone are illuminated – and you have to be looking at them from the right angle. This very much makes them automotive minutiae. But also a totally justifiable reason for purchasing a Sonata Hybrid.

14 Responses to “ “Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Atomic Tail Lights: Minutiae of the Minute”

  1. Kyle says:

    Wow, I had no idea about this. And I thought that the little “VW” symbol embedded in my wife’s CC headlights was cool. What other unique details have been added to the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid?

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      Just badging, wheels, etc. This is by far the coolest. The next time you see a Sonata Hybrid, try and look at the tail light from the angle in the image above. If you stand over it, you won’t really see it. It’s very cool!

      • Lenn says:

        The front bumper is completely different, too. It appears as though its poised and ready to inhale a SMART car.

  2. Alex says:


    It is topics like these that make you my newfound (as of 3ish weeks ago) favourite thing on the internet, mainly because topics that go this in-depth are only attractive to such a small segment of the petrol head that you execute them perfectly (TELL YOUR PARENTS).

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      Hah! In fairness, my parents are actually OK with my career choice. They call and say things like: “Stop making fun of us on the Internet!”

  3. Mark says:

    Love the blog. Makes me chuckle quietly in my little neutral colored office.

    Let me know when you’ve grown enough to need more road test authors for cars you’ve never actually driven. I could totally do that. I’ve never actually driven tons of cars and probably won’t in my crushingly average life, but you’ve opened my eyes to the possibilities. I could even not travel to exotic locations to not test drive my review subjects and report back!

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      Haha – I chuckled at this in my dimly lit apartment (which, it should be known, is palatial for a writer). I need to do more of those car reviews – they’re insanely fun to write but they take forever, mainly because you have to assign attributes to cars you’ve never driven. This is actually harder than you might think!

  4. Steve says:

    There are quite a few of these in the DC area and I’ve never noticed — perhaps because you have to be standing on your head to see them perfectly. Does NTSA know this? And I thought I was bitchin’ with my xc60′s tail lights.

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      The XC60′s tail lights are possibly the second-bitchin’-est tail lights in the industry. I only wish the XC60′s brake lights were as cool as its tail lights.

  5. HaloNHorns2002 says:

    Wow… I have to agree, that is by far the coolest tail light I have ever seen. Who’d a thought it would be on a Hyundai of all things… a Ferrari? Sure. Something strange from the mind of Elon Musk? Of course! But a Hyundai? Never my first guess!

  6. Darren says:

    I agree with Alex, I love this kind of stuff. I was just over at TTAC, and while I love that site, it’s a little heavy on politics and industry news, but not the GOOD kind of industry news, ya know? This is more my speed–noticing the little things that make cars cool no matter what brand they’re from and not really caring about how that brand is doing financially or politically. Plus, you worked for Porsche, so you have that going for you.

    • Doug DeMuro says:

      Worked being the key word! But I appreciate the kind words. When creating this site I decided to do something that appealed to me, and also the least number of other people possible. But those of us who do appreciate it are very loyal to our car knowledge!

  7. Mike Livshiz says:

    I’m now going to be looking for these on every drive. Cool as all hell.

  8. JMII says:

    On my 350Z when you open the door the a/c vent (which connects the dash vent to the door air deflector) has a little “Z” icon inside it. Talk about a tiny detail. Here is a picture of it:,_LeftRight_Sides,_A247.JPG
    in this picture its laying down sideways, normally its in a vertical position thus “Z” reads correctly.

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