I purchased this vehicle in 2002 with 15,000 miles from the original owner's estate. It presently has about 50,000 miles, including 4 cross-country trips from SFO to ORD and back. Hyundai reported no warranty claims prior to my ownership, and I've had none.
Owner 1 did only basic maintenence, according to Hyundai records, and I've done the same: oil and filter, coolant, trans and filter, battery, tires.
It's a solid, comfortable, reliable, economical and
completely practical car, and it's served me well for nearly 10 years. It's not as much fun to drive as my Miata, but I can't carry lumber on a roof rack of a Miata.
I'll gladly purchase another Sonata, with even better value.
There's not any single, specific feature that stands out, either "good" or "bad". Everything is at least "Ok", and sometimes reaches "quite good". Engine is adequate, but hardly "quick" or "fast". When accellerating, turning off A/C (or defroster) noticeably impproves the performance. Power is "adequate", just. Transmission was *much* happier with installation of a $30 "trans oil cooler". 2nd best money I ever spent on trans maintenence. (1st best was oil flush and filtter every 24 months). Front seats are comfortable on long drives, suspension mostly smooths the ride, but seems "floaty", compared to a Miata. (giggle) HVAC mostly works well, but the defroster doesn'tt clear side windows.
Brakes are adequate, but rear drums are obsolete. 15 inch wheels wouldn'tt hurt, either. I'm amused that this Sonata shares wheel size with a Miata half the size and weight. Styling was already greatly improved; it looks like the smooth, swoopy, Taurus-era styling, never my favorite. Lots of refinements, but so far, so good.
I bought new in 1999 at only 84 miles. Now in 2010, I'm at 149,000. 4-cylinder is decent during daily commute and actually smooth and quiet during highway cruising but don't even think about fast lane changes or quick acceleration on entrance ramps. Fuel pump and Tranny were problems during first 50,000 but warranty was in effect. Timing belt replaced after 80,000. Car groans over speed bumps, brakes have always squealed, and paint is chipping now, but other than regular oil changes every 3k, she's had no major repairs in her old age. Still averaging an impressive 28mpg highway today. I'm finally getting another car but this one's lasted longer than I expected.
Hyundai gives a lot of car for a low price. Although ride is uninspiring, it's still smooth on cruising speeds.
Warning sound when the lights are left on (I too have had to get a jump several times because I didn't realize the lights were left on).
Was happy with my purchase, even though I had a lot of warranty work done on it during the first 5 years. Beginning in the 7th yr., I've dished out more money for repairs than I care to remember, every six months or so. Nothing less than $200 each trip to the service dept! Now, for the past 2 yrs., I'm paying for repairs every other month, in the neighborhood of $700-900 per visit. I've owned other Brands that didn't have the problems I'm having with this Sonato! It drives like a dream, but these costly repairs are a nightmare. Don't think I'll buy another Hyundai. I normally keep a vehicle 10-12 yrs, before buying a new one, but don't think I can put up with these problems much longer!!
The smooth highway ride.
Thicker outside body material(less dings/dents), and better underhood components.
We bought the car when it had about 60,000 miles on it. My wife drove it basically around town. At about 90,000 miles I thought it needed the wheels aligned but our mechanic said the cradle bolt (sub frame) was rotting out and it was unsafe to drive. The part from the dealers cost $1500. We checked availability from junk yards and the common response was laughter. Since we were not the original owners, Hyundai did not offer any recourse. We sold it to a mechanic who said he would take a chance on it.
I was surprised to see the review by leon written 1/15/2008. I have just experienced the exact same failure on my Hyundais' front passenger side wheel collapsing. My local dealership also refused to repair my sub-frame rusting under warranty. This seems to be a wide-spread problem. And I too believe this should be repaired under their 10 yr bumper-bumper warranty. The Sonata is a fun, sleek and enjoyable car, but Hyundai often waffles on their warranty coverage; which was one of the major selling points that impacted my purchasing decision. .
Comfortable & spacious interior, easy to drive, excellent handling.
Excellent car I wish they would honor their warranty claims. Hyundai of America needs stronger and more stringent oversight. Most Hyundai dealerships are seemingly undaunted by the threat of being reported to HOA.