2008 Hyundai Sonata Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Hyundai Sonata Sedan

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Hyundai Sonata Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 162 hp @ 5800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 21/31 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Hyundai Sonata

  • Though lacking refinement in a few areas, the 2008 Hyundai Sonata still ranks highly with us thanks to its fine performance, spacious cabin and value for the dollar.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Comfortable ride, quality interior materials, roomy backseat and trunk, standard stability control, lengthy warranty, impressive value.

  • Cons

    Subpar fuel economy with the V6, numb-feeling steering, automatic transmission fussy in manual mode.

  • What's New for 2008

    Hyundai shuffles the Sonata's trim levels for the second year in a row, making the four-cylinder engine standard on all and the V6 optional across the board. The sporty Sonata SE gains performance tires, a rear spoiler and a power driver seat, while the upscale Limited receives an Infinity stereo as standard.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (6 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


Fantastic drive

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Vehicle: 2008 Hyundai Sonata GLS 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

I bought this car 2 years ago in December. It is a manual 5 speed and I absolutely love the way it drives. It handles the road, curves and bumps wonderfully. The seats are very comfortable. The mileage is super with getting 32 in city and close to 38 on hw.




I love my car!

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Vehicle: 2008 Hyundai Sonata GLS 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

I love this car. It is reliable and I feel safe in it. I have the peace of mind of the 10 year bumper to bumper warranty. I take my car on trips and enjoy driving - something I never really did before, and the stability control is a God-send when driving in the winter.




Love, love, love a hyundai!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Hyundai Sonata GLS 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

I went to one dealership. I was looking at the Elantra. Way too small. I asked the salesperson about the Elantra deal and they said "You mean the Sonata deal!" I had no idea. I got over $1400 off. It is a beautiful color and there is as much room as my old Camry. The kids like it. I just need to get used to a standard. The car handles great and I like how huge the trunk is. The glow in dark emergency release lever is great. I love showing it off. I got every kind of warranty that was offered. I feel like I am riding around in a safety bubble.




Great value

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Vehicle: 2008 Hyundai Sonata GLS 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

This is the 3rd Hyundai I have owned since 1999. The first 2 were great cars. I got the GLS 4 cylinder with the 5 speed manual trans. Even though this is the cheapest model it still comes with all the safety features as standard. The car drives great, quiet and smooth. Very comfortable and roomy. I am getting 32 MPG with this car, I guess the 5 speed helps here. I averaged 35 MPG with my much smaller Elantra. This is excellent economy for such a large car. Pretty quick for a four cylinder too. I love the stereo, burned a CD with 125 MP3's and the stereo played them perfectly. Just a great value in a mid size car.




Impressed buy worried

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Hyundai Sonata GLS 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

Looks, feels, rides great but soon after leaving lot noticed gas gauge dropping below empty. Wasn't even sure I could make it to the next gas station as it continued to drop. Made it though. Next day, Passenger airbag light off message came on. Third day, light comes on even though I am the only person in the car. Forth day, I look up the issue and see it is a long- standing issue with Hyundai's that apparently hasn't been fixed yet. First week isn't over yet and I don't feel good about my quick two strikes...?




Great except for 1 rattle

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Hyundai Sonata GLS 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5M)

Got my '08 GL (Canadian model) manual transmission in late June. Car has been great so far except for a rear parcel shelf rattle that I can't get rid of. It is comfortable, smooth riding, roomy and peppy with the manual. The engine is very easy to stall with the manual though. Mileage is also good. Wind noise is fairly noticeable even at normal speeds. Big car feel for a very good price. Overall, I bought a drab but well equipped and competent intermediate for the price of a compact with a good waranty to boot in case of issues.



Full 2008 Hyundai Sonata Review

What's New for 2008

Hyundai shuffles the Sonata's trim levels for the second year in a row, making the four-cylinder engine standard on all and the V6 optional across the board. The sporty Sonata SE gains performance tires, a rear spoiler and a power driver seat, while the upscale Limited receives an Infinity stereo as standard.

Introduction

Once a marginal midsize sedan that scraped by on its low price alone, the Hyundai Sonata is now a worthy player that measures up to the class leaders on nearly all fronts. Upon its debut two years ago, the current-generation Sonata immediately impressed us with its attractive design, fine build quality and spacious interior. In addition, newly competitive four-cylinder and V6 engines and the availability of a five-speed automatic transmission (with the V6) brought its performance up to par in the family sedan segment. To be sure, practical-minded consumers will find plenty to like in the 2008 Hyundai Sonata.

Besides matching the top Japanese-brand sedans in regards to cabin quality and comfort, the Sonata is notable for its packaging efficiency. It boasts enough interior volume for the EPA to brand it a "large" car. In reality, though, its rear-seat accommodations are comparable to what "midsize" competitors like the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry offer. It's hardly a knock against the Hyundai, given that two adults or three children can easily get comfortable back here.

Additionally, the Sonata benefits from Hyundai's two trademark advantages. First, compared to its key rivals, a comparably equipped 2008 Sonata typically ends up priced a thousand or two lower. Second, Hyundai's warranty coverage extends to five years/60,000 miles basic and 10 years/100,000 miles on the powertrain, both the most generous in the industry.

Compared to the leaders in the family sedan segment, the Sonata could still use a little improvement in select areas. The steering, for instance, is vague in feel and transmits too much harshness to the driver's hands over some surfaces, and there are a few odd design elements in the cabin. Hyundai doesn't offer some of the latest techno gadgets, and the V6 returns lower fuel economy than competitors' six-cylinders. None of these flaws are terribly serious, but on the whole, the 2008 Hyundai Sonata feels a bit less refined than the leaders in this class. Still, that shouldn't stop you from scheduling a test-drive if you're in the market for a competent midsize sedan that's big on value.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

A midsize, front-wheel-drive sedan, the 2008 Hyundai Sonata comes in three trim lines: GLS, SE and Limited. The GLS comes with air-conditioning, full power accessories, a CD/MP3 player, a tilt steering wheel, cruise control and keyless entry. The midrange SE adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, automatic headlights, a telescoping function and audio controls for the steering wheel, leather and wood accents, a power driver seat and trip computer. The top-line Limited has those items plus leather seats, front seat heaters, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a premium Infinity stereo with a six-disc CD changer. Much of the SE's content can be added to the GLS, and the Infinity stereo can be ordered on the SE. A sunroof is available on all trim levels, but technology-oriented items like Bluetooth connectivity and a factory-based navigation system aren't available.

Powertrains and Performance

Both of the Sonata's engines are now available on all trim lines. Standard is the 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 162 horsepower and 164 pound-feet of torque. It comes with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic on the base GLS, but only the manual on the SE and only the automatic on the GLS. The optional engine is a 3.3-liter V6 with 234 hp and 226 lb-ft of torque; it's paired to an exclusive five-speed automatic. Both automatics feature manual shift control.

The four-cylinder engine is competitive with class standards. The V6's output doesn't quite match the ever-rising standards set by the competition, but the engine is quiet enough and powerful enough to suit most buyers. The downside is that it's less frugal with fuel than other six-cylinders in this segment.

Safety

All Sonatas come well-stocked with antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, front side-impact airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. The 2008 Hyundai Sonata also scored five out of five stars in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's front- and side-impact tests. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the Sonata earned a "Good" rating (the highest) for frontal offset protection and an "Acceptable" rating (second-highest) for side-impact protection.

Interior Design and Special Features

While not exactly high on style, the Sonata's cabin exudes a fair amount of quality via the precise feel of most controls and an abundance of soft-touch surfaces. Much appreciated are the tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and trip computer found on the SE and Limited. Many of our editors have taken issue with the odd placement of the audio head unit and air vents on the center stack. They are reversed from the usual positions, with the stereo controls placed too high and the air vents too low.

Although early Sonatas of this generation were criticized for their overly high seating position up front, Hyundai subsequently lowered the seat to provide a more natural driving position. Prospective buyers should also note that we've found the cloth seats in the GLS and SE more comfortable than the leather ones in the Limited. Rear-seat and cargo room are areas in which the Sonata truly shines. Space in back is generous in all measurements, with comfort levels to match, and the 16.3-cubic-foot trunk tops most members of the midsize class.

Driving Impressions

Hyundai aimed for a more balanced effort between ride and handling for this generation. While the suspension is still on the soft side and the steering remains a bit vague, the 2008 Hyundai Sonata smothers bumps well while handling precisely and keeping its composure in turns. Braking performance is also impressive for the class, with stopping distances from 60 mph taking less than 130 feet. Despite some tire noise, the cabin stays fairly quiet at all speeds. We've also been a little let down with the slow reactions of the automatic transmission when in manual mode, but that should be a minor issue for most Sonata drivers.

Talk About The 2008 Sonata

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 21
  • cty
/
  • 31
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs