Used 1997 Hyundai Sonata

1997 Hyundai Sonata
List price range
1997 Hyundai Sonata


  • Large and comfortable interior, bargain compared to Ford Taurus and Toyota Camry, interesting front styling


  • Not so much a bargain compared to Nissan Altima and Honda Accord, interesting front styling
Hyundai Sonata years

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Sonata is Hyundai's midsize entry, and faces some very stiff competition in this category. Ford's Contour/Mystique populates this class of automobiles, as does the Breeze/Cirrus/Stratus trio from Chrysler. Perennial favorites such as the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Mazda 626 also go head-to-head with the Hyundai. Heady competition indeed.

Hyundai's forte to date has been budget prices and standard (or low-priced) luxuries that couldn't be matched by competitors. It seems those days are over. The 1996 Sonata GLS we sampled ran nearly $21,500. True, it was well-loaded with automatic, sunroof, leather and power everything, but a similarly equipped Contour SE or Chrysler Cirrus was priced less than the Sonata. Considering Hyundai's quality record, we don't find the GLS to be a viable option in this class, particularly since the Contour/Mystique twins are a real kick in the pants to drive.

That's not to say that the Sonata isn't a satisfying car. The doors thunk shut nicely, it is quiet and comfortable inside, and the leather makes it feel like a much more expensive sedan. Everything looks and functions as though quality has been built-in, but the radio and climate controls are a tad overdone. The back seat could benefit from better thigh and back support, but it isn't any more uncomfortable that the rear quarters of a Dodge Stratus. Overall, we are impressed with this roomy effort from Hyundai.

For 1997, Hyundai stylists have gone hog wild on the Sonata, providing the basic design with additional character through a jutting grille, revised rear styling, and intriguing headlamps. Inside, the horn moves from a spoke-mounted button to the center pad where it belongs, and remote radio controls move from the bottom of the steering wheel to the side. Noise, vibration, and harshness is further quelled by flush-fitting doors and restyled exterior mirrors.

Unfortunately, the Sonata competes with many cars that feel as good and often cost less money. Factor in the depreciation that the Hyundai is sure to endure, as well as the questionable quality levels of past Sonatas, and this new one's shine begins to dull. Drop the price a couple grand, and the leather-lined Sonata GLS would begin to look like a bargain.

1997 Highlights

Sheet metal is all new, and gives Sonata a more substantial look despite somewhat controversial retro-style front fascia and grille. Flush-fitting doors and restyled exterior mirrors help quiet the ride, while horn activation switches from spoke button to center steering wheel pad.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Hyundai Sonata.

Overall Consumer Rating
3.89 reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

99,800 and still going
I just logged 99,800 miles on my 97 Sonata GLS and I just now had my first problem. A leaky valve cover gasket. Can't ask for much better than that.
Loved it!
I just "retired" my 1997 Sonata due to a major mechanical problem and was very upset to have to do so because up until this incident this vehicle performed FLAWLESSLY for me. I had absolutely no mechanical problems whatsoever with this car and it was by far the best vehicle I have ever owned up to this point (I am 35 years old)
Too many repairs!
I bought my car used five years ago. It had 59,000 miles on it, two owners before me, and looked to be in great shape. I LOVED it. It served me very well driving long-distance back and forth from college. The V6 engine gives it great acceleration (though at the expensive of very low gas mileage) and everything about it started out smooth. It was affordable and a very attractive car. Well, after about a year the paint started coming off. My roof is now completely bald five years later and the lovely red paint is not perfect anywhere except maybe the doors. (Of course I've never parked it in a garage and we have harsh winters.) Then about two years in my entire transmission gave out and had to be replaced - VERY expensive. Almost cost as much as the car itself. Then it was the door handle, then the electric window buttons, then the alternator, then all four brakes at the same time. This is spread out over five years, but I've spent well over $4,000 (what I paid for it) in repairs. And it only has 75,000 miles! Today I found out the spark plugs are in wrong so I have to replace them and some other parts. The engine is really loud and clicks when I drive. The transmission can still be a little rough, and when I have the air conditioning on, my car rocks quite a lot. The passenger window is slow to go up. It seems like from the reviews I've been reading, most people have gotten more miles out of their Sonata, but maybe mine was driven hard before me or just wasn't a good one. I'm very attached to it, and it's served me well, but be wary of all the problems that may come along the road!
Timing distruciton
You should get your timing belt changed before you hit the 65000 mark. The car has no saftey engine shut off when the timing belt goes and the engine is therefore ruined and you will need a whole new one because all of the valves get smashed together. I was only in my driveway when mine went without any warning. I turned my car on and boom the timing belt went and so did the engine. Buyer beware.
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Features & Specs

18 city / 25 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
137 hp @ 6000 rpm
19 city / 26 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
137 hp @ 6000 rpm
16 city / 22 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
142 hp @ 5000 rpm
See all Used 1997 Hyundai Sonata features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver1 / 5
    Passenger2 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1997 Hyundai Sonata
Used 1997 Hyundai Sonata Overview

The Used 1997 Hyundai Sonata is offered in the following submodels: Sonata Sedan. Available styles include GL 4dr Sedan, 4dr Sedan, and GLS 4dr Sedan.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Hyundai Sonata?

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Which used 1997 Hyundai Sonatas are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 1997 Hyundai Sonatas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Hyundai Sonata for sale - 1 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $19,716.

Find a used Hyundai for sale - 4 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $13,150.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai Sonata for sale - 10 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $15,708.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai for sale - 3 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $16,357.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Hyundai Sonata?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Hyundai lease specials
Check out Hyundai Sonata lease specials