Used 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
Edmunds' Expert Review
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.
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Features & Specs
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.
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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.