2006 Hyundai Sonata Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Hyundai Sonata Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Hyundai Sonata Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 162 hp @ 5800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/30 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Hyundai Sonata

  • The 2006 Sonata is the best Hyundai car yet, with plentiful features and an excellent highway ride that make it a serious contender in the midsize sedan segment.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    More upscale-looking than its predecessor, powerful and refined V6, smooth highway ride, roomy interior.

  • Cons

    Still doesn't match the segment leaders when it comes to overall refinement, front seats can be uncomfortable.

  • What's New for 2006

    The Hyundai Sonata is completely redesigned for 2006. It's also the first Hyundai car to be built in the U.S.

Full 2006 Hyundai Sonata Review

What's New for 2006

The Hyundai Sonata is completely redesigned for 2006. It's also the first Hyundai car to be built in the U.S.


Hyundai has had a tough road in America. Despite the fact that its more recent cars are competent and competitively priced, many people still remember the Hyundai Excel which earned a reputation for being both underpowered and unreliable. Almost two decades later, J.D. Power gave the 2004 Hyundai Sonata top honors for initial quality, rating it the "Most Appealing Midsize Car" two years in a row.

Hoping to capitalize on the previous-generation car's relative success, Hyundai has completely redesigned the Sonata for 2006. Unlike Sonatas before it, this one is built in America at Hyundai's new factory in Alabama. The new car is bigger than the old one and offers a more spacious interior that's filled with higher-quality materials than we've seen in any previous Hyundai car. The roomy rear seat even has an inch more legroom than the family-friendly Camry. Officially, the Sonata is classified by the government as a "large car" due to overall interior volume. Still, from behind the wheel, the 2006 Hyundai Sonata doesn't feel appreciably larger than other midsize sedans like the Accord or Altima.

The exterior look is a big departure from the old Sonata's conservative sheet metal. We especially like the '06 version's dual exhaust outlets and the 17-inch wheels on the LX model. All in all, though, the Hyundai Sonata looks a lot like the current-generation Accord, especially from the rear. We're not sure this is an altogether bad thing, but Hyundai would probably be better off giving the Sonata a more distinct look. Like previous Sonatas, the '06 model is available with two engines, a four-cylinder and a V6. Both are all-new engines and both will be built at the Alabama factory, though early versions of the smaller engine will be built in Korea. The V6 comes standard with a new five-speed automatic transmission.

With competitive prices, long warranties and stylish new products, Hyundai is looking more and more like a young Toyota than the company that intentionally sold the Excel. The 2006 Hyundai Sonata represents an excellent value for family car shoppers. Even without its price advantage, the car still holds its own by offering an inviting interior, lots of standard features and capable engine choices, all wrapped in an attractive body. With the 2006 Hyundai Sonata's many improvements, midsize sedan shoppers will now have to stop at one more dealership before making their final choice.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The Hyundai Sonata is offered in three trim levels: base GL, midlevel GLS and loaded LX. The GL comes with features like six airbags, cruise, ABS, stability and traction control, remote keyless entry and an MP3/CD player. The GLS has extras like 16-inch alloy wheels, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and automatic headlights. The LX adds features like a V6 engine, leather upholstery, a power driver seat, seat heaters, a sunroof and 17-inch wheels.

Powertrains and Performance

The GL and GLS come standard with a 162-hp, 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the GL, while the GLS has a four-speed automatic. A 3.3-liter V6 is optional on the GLS and standard on the LX. The V6 makes 235 hp and 226 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard with the V6. Both automatics offer manual-shift capability.


For 2006 even the base GL comes with a host of safety features. ABS, traction control, electronic stability control, front side-impact airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active head restraints are all standard equipment on every Sonata. In NHTSA crash tests, the Hyundai Sonata was impressive, scoring five stars in both frontal- and side-impact tests. In the IIHS frontal-offset crash test, the Sonata received a score of "Good," the highest possible rating. Side-impact testing resulted in an "Acceptable" rating, the IIHS' second highest.

Interior Design and Special Features

GL and GLS models come with cloth seats, while leather is standard on the LX. The leather looks nice, but in our experience, the cloth seats are more comfortable. The interior of this midsize sedan is filled with lots of soft-touch surfaces and comes off as being much higher in quality than any Hyundai car to date.

Driving Impressions

The power and refinement of both engines is notable, though the V6 is the more fun and responsive of the two. Still, the smaller engine doesn't sound or feel harsh and those who prefer the fuel economy and lower price of a four-cylinder car won't get shortchanged by choosing the GL or GLS. The ride is pleasing and especially refined on the LX. The Hyundai Sonata remains quiet on the highway even at very high speeds.

Read our Hyundai Sonata Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Value for a to b

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Hyundai Sonata GL 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

If you're looking for a car to get you from point A to point B that's reliable, cheap to own and decent looking, you've found the right car. If you're looking for handling, performance or fun, go somewhere else. Safe, reliable and cheap! Over 250,000km's and still going strong. No rust, heck, the car still looks new. It's never even been rustproofed and I live in Canada.

Buikd quality misses

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Hyundai Sonata LX 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 5A)

There are certain build quality issues with Hyundai and I believe that this was good first serious attempt to challenge Toyota and Honda. But the cup holders are horrible and should have never ever made it to production. What was hyundai thinking? One can only assume that Koreans think that every drink Americans have are supersized big gulfs? (they did address this with the 2010 updates). The Sunvisor breaking arm issue should have been a recall and not a TSB. The Sunvisor arm breaks and then comes down while you are driving, so I guess it's okay that the visor comes down and blocks your view causing an accident. And the final pet peeve are the break lig

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

230,000 mile road dog

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Vehicle: 2006 Hyundai Sonata LX 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 5A)

I bought my Sonata in 07 with 22,000 miles (previous rental). Overall I have LOVED my car, very dependable! There have been some little issues with sensors going off along the way, but just annoyances. My car has a ton of highway time, it has been a commuter for the last five years and never let me down. The only major mechanical fix $400 alternator repair at 217,000 miles. Otherwise just brakes battery, oil, tire maintenance. I give the interior a little lower rating as the quality seems a bit too plastic and I have broken visors, cup holder, center console etc-but my car takes a beating. Interior just hasn't held up as well as I had hoped.Seats are a bit uncomfortable for long drive

2006 4 cyl gls

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Vehicle: 2006 Hyundai Sonata GLS 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 4A)

We bought this car 3 years ago for our daughter. It was a one owner, well cared for car with 90K miles. It now has 105K miles and has been good to us. I had the usual 90K mile service done when we first got the car (change fluids, belts, hoses) and all has been well. While the engine may be slightly less refined than my wife's camry, the build quality and fit and finish is better. I am a car guy a really like this car. The mass air flow recently failed but this is relatively minor and the car sits outside at college day after day and this may have had something to do with it. Mileage is good and would buy the car again.

Warning: it costs $4,000 for

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Hyundai Sonata GL 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

My clutch failed at only 85,000 miles (and half of those highway miles), and to my dismay I found that this car has a "dual mass flywheel" that can not be resurfaced and costs $4,000 to repair (even MORE if you have the dealer do it). I've also read online that brakes are REALLY expensive to repair on this model - but I haven't had to do that yet. So, if you buy this car (and probably other Hyundai's) be aware that you will have huge repair bills down the road. I'll sound like a shill for saying it, but my mechanic literally told me that I should have bought a Honda. It's too late for me, but not for you.

Outstanding value, power and handling

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Hyundai Sonata LX 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 5A)

Our 2006 Hyundai Sonata LX has 68,000 miles. My wife used it for daily commuting for 5 years with an occasional road trip. We are both retired now and it is mostly used for road trips around Minnesota and one or two long trips to Arizona and other vacation spots. It is by far the best family car I have owned. I have it regularly serviced at our local Hyundai dealer and I have experienced only one minor issue with rear brakes. Otherwise...zero problems. It is a joy to drive on the highway or twisty back roads. I am on my second set of tires and brakes. This week I will replace the original battery. We fully intend to keep this car forever, God willing.

Talk About The 2006 Sonata

2006 Hyundai Sonata Discussions See all Started By

Any news about the new 2005 hyundai sonata? I just heard it'd get an all new 3.8 liter V6 engine probably good for 220-230 hp. Hyundai would think about introducing it in August....

So my 2006 hyundai sonata recently has been having engine problems and i replaced the ecm already and it still acts up it loses power only when i go down hill to fast it just cuts out and will barely ...

So recently purchased my 2006 Sonata V4 for a very resonable price, replaced engine, which I knew would be an issue given that I had got the vehicle for such an amazing deal, car has 114,000 miles on ...

Gas Mileage


  • 21
  • cty
  • 30
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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