I wanted a vehicle for commuting that was economical, but roomy and comfortable. For the past 20 years I have used luxury vehicles for commuting, mainly because they were provided by my employer. These included 2 BMW 5-Series, a C-Class Mercedes and the last one which I still own, a Mercedes ML 320 CDI SUV. The company stopped providing cars and I bought the ML off lease and used it for several years as a commuter. Being a diesel it did ok for a big SUV MPG-wise at about 21 MPG. At about 100,000 miles I needed a newer vehicle so I did some research and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid seemed price right compared to hybrid competitors from Toyota, Honda and Nissan and compared to the diesels available. I went for the base car with cloth seats. I must say, I really prefer leather seating, but the "Limited" model was substantially more expensive although it did have a larger display, sunroof etc, that the base model did not have. Not having power seats was also a bit of a bummer, as I was used to the feature. However, the price was really right. After nearly 4 years of owning and commuting with it, I have been satisfied. Absolutely no problems after 45K miles. Service is very inexpensive at the dealer, being used to luxury cars where even minor services cost close to a grand. Beyond the comfort issues of the base model, the only issue I have is behavior under hard braking which is different than with non-hybrids, on the other hand, at 45K miles, the brake pads are at more than 50%. This hybrid is also more reliant on the gasoline engine than I would like. I guess they do this to extend the life of the battery which has a 10 year warranty. Also, I get between 32 and 34 MPG, not really great for a hybrid, but it uses regular gasoline so my fuel costs are about half of what they were with the Mercedes diesel for my commute of about 26 miles mixed city and extra-urban. While the tiny display, the lack of power seats. leather seats and no sunroof etc. are a downside, the extra 5-6K for the limited does not seem cost effective. And, the standard model is just as trouble free.
Im not concerned about resale. I bought extended zurich 125,000 bumper to bumper and will drive it stress-free for years. I increased tire pressure to 38 and average 40 mpg around Pittsburgh. I bought compact spare tire on line for $75. I have not experienced stalls, hesitation, or braking concerns. If you looking for investment with high resale, buy an Avalon hybrid. There won't be any dealing, and warranty is limited. If you share my "drive it until it expires mantra", buy the Sonata hybrid. I bought mine new and had $6000 taken of sticker. I'm satisfied.
There is a reason why the hybrid cost the same to buy as a non- hybrid would have been. I had expected the get mileage in the low 40s or high 30s but we have never had a tank full over 32 mpg. I have read a lot of complaints about braking drive-ability but haven't found any but poor mileage instead. As an engineer, I appreciate the difficulty of smoothly integrating electric and mechanical braking and apparently Hyundai has not solved the problem. They seem to have avoided problems by mostly disabling regenerative braking by keeping the battery mostly charged at high speeds so the regenerative breaking is limited by the lack of available energy storage capacity. The result is a system that minimizes law suits and warranty battery replacements. Great for Hyundai to meet government hybrid requirements but I feel used and unlikely to buy another Hyundai - certainly not another hybrid until I am sure they have solved the engineering problems.