Used 1999 Hyundai Sonata Review

Edmunds expert review

What's new for 1999

Hyundai's Sonata is completely new and much improved for 1999.

Vehicle overview

Hyundai is hoping for a fresh start with the 1999 Sonata, its completely redesigned midsize family sedan. And from what we can see, they just might get it. On the outside, Sonata's sheetmetal is all-new and highly attractive for a car that competes in a traditionally conservative segment of the market. One-piece headlamps with integrated turn signals lend a European flavor to the Sonata's front fascia, and a sweeping character line connects the side panels with the trunk.

The Sonata's unibody construction increases structural rigidity and reduces excess noise from outside the cabin. Using a supercomputer analysis, engineers were able to develop a rigid, stronger frame without adding extra weight to the car's body. Riding on a front double wishbone suspension and a rear five-link suspension, the Sonata's ride and handling is stable and smooth this year.

Under the hood of this refined contender is a standard 2.4-liter DOHC engine making 149 horsepower and 156 foot-pounds of torque. Buyers can upgrade to a more powerful, optional Delta V6 or get it standard if they spring for the GLS trim. This new V6 from Hyundai is an aluminum, 2.5-liter DOHC motor that makes 170 horsepower and 166 foot-pounds of torque that peaks at 4,000 rpm, which means power off the line may be lacking for some.

Available in two trim levels (base and GLS), Sonatas can be ordered with automatic or manual transmissions mated to either engine. Inside the cabin are plush seats, an adequate driving position, well-laid out controls and a nice-looking dashboard. Seat-mounted side airbags are also standard fare on the Sonata this year, making for a safer ride.

Prices for 1999 start at $14,999. For an inexpensive car, the Sonata is nicely equipped. The base model comes with air conditioning, rear window defroster, AM/FM stereo, rear child safety door locks, power windows, power locks and power mirrors, seven-position tilt steering wheel, tinted glass, halogen headlamps and side airbags. The step-up GLS (last year's GL and GL V6 trims have been dropped) brings with it a 100-watt, six-speaker stereo with CD player, air filtration system, center console with an armrest and storage space, heated side mirrors, cruise control, upgraded seat cloth, six-way adjustable driver's seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, four-wheel disc brakes, V6 engine and alloy wheels.

The GLS with automatic transmission starts at $17,799. Antilock brakes (complete with traction control) are optional on the GLS. Load up the Sonata GLS with ABS, moonroof, leather package and power driver's seat, and it peaks at around $20,000 - no longer a bargain except when compared to a loaded Camry or Accord.

But Hyundai still has another ace up its sleeve. Called the Hyundai Advantage, the company's new warranty program is a great incentive to buy a Hyundai over one of the many other choices on the market. With the purchase of any Hyundai vehicle, consumers will receive an awesome 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. If the car is sold within those first 10 years, the new owner will still be entitled to a five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Also part of the program is five-year, 100,000-mile corrosion coverage and a limited bumper-to-bumper warranty for five years or 60,000 miles. Additionally, the program offers free 24-hour roadside assistance for five years, which includes towing and lockout service. Overall, Hyundai and the Sonata may have a reputation to overcome, but this year's model deserves your attention.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.