Reliable car. Trusted and rode for over a decade. The brakes are not very sensitive though. And the radio/CD compartment has had issues the last few years though. The door handles' paint also wear off. It was a manufacturer error for this model.
The one thing all buyers should be aware of and this goes for many cars from 1995 to 2008 is that many, even Acura used timing belts. Many of these cars engines are Interference engines which means extremely close tolerances. So, if the timing belt breaks (It will give no warning) , most likely it will destroy your engine. If the engine is non-interference (many 1995 to 2000 were) it means your walking and need to get your car towed, and looking at a $700 repair to reinstall the belt. So, if you are intent to buy one and don't know if that belt was replace, then you must replace it soon or gamble on losing your engine.
The 2002 V-6 Sonata I bought looked almost brand new in and out , underneath and even the engine bay. (I know dealers clean them, but the car was well pampered.) I paid a bit more but this car was outstanding. Not one ding on the car, no accidents , EC interior, and only one very small minor scratch (about an inch ) on the bumper. Pearl White. I did own a 2002 4 cyl long ago and I never had a problem with it. I also own a 2013 Elantra Limited and like that as well.
I know it's early in the process but I put about 550 miles on it so far, and no complaints and very happy. There is a lot of junk out there in that price range. I had Toyota's and they are wonderful reliable cars and would have bought another had the price been right. Anyway, In its present condition it hard to think there will be problems popping up soon, but then again, its relatively new and it is a 14 year old car, but I can tell somethings were replace like the A/C , and front brakes etc. I wrench on cars so I can do somethings when they do come up. I would say the idle is not the smoothest but once in drive it is pretty quiet and a very comfortable soft ride. Quiet in park as well. Tires look almost new, and exhaust doesn't seem that old, so it's relatively quiet, accept upon acceleration. It emits a growl, which sounds kinda like dual exhaust so its not too troubling. No it's not as quiet as my new car on acceleration but hey, it is 14 years old. Power is decent at 170 HP. Handling is good, and visibility is real good. Brakes are firm. Everything works well, including Power sunroof. Dash looks brand new , and its beige in color. I can tell this car spent a lot of time in the garage and not in the sun. Paint shines!
I saw many articles on the rear brakes and how they made lock up. Yes, I think the design was bad. I did take the rear wheels off, and I believe the problem is the metal slide clips they use are a bad design. I sanded down those slides, and also the edge of the pads, and used high temp grease to ensure movement. I just want to avoid possible problems since it seems this was a concern. It's not hard to do this.
This car was honestly the worst thing I could have purchased. I spent a lot of money just to buy it and then ended up having to spend thousands of dollars to fix it the next week after purchase. Although gas mileage was great I would rather have something that would burn through gas then this. It was not reliable and had a mind of its own.
I bought my 2002 Hyundai Sonata new, driving 100 miles from my home to the dealer who had the color and options I wanted. Overall, this car has been excellent. It now has 190,000 miles on it and I can honestly say the problems that I have had have been minimal. Those issues include a bad oxygen sensor, a power steering leak and the starter replaced, all of these things after 120,000 miles. I will admit that I have not been as maintenance conscious as I should have been, but despite that, she continues to run like a champ.
Very comfortable freeway cruiser, very reliable, if not more so than the Japenese competitors, excellent value.
V6 engine's fuel economy is less than desirable. The trade off would be ok if the engine were more powerful. Some parts are susceptible to early wear (outside door handles, leather seat side bolsters, leather wrapped steering wheel)
We bought this car second hand from an owner who did maintain the car and brought it in for all recalls. We have owned it for 4yrs and have only put on 20,000km's. Within the first year of having it, wheel bearings needed to be changed. Then it started to spudder, shorted out and died in the driveway. Turns out there is a problem with the battery connectors and one had almost completely rotted off. I have heard of this issue with these cars. During this escapade it blew the main fuse of the car which was hard to find. Now the transmission is finished, the catalytic converter(S) need to be changed, yes there are 3 on this car and it will cost you 2000+ to change them, there is electrical
issues and even after spending 1000 changing all the suspension there is new squeeks and pings coming out of everywhere. I mean bad enough for people to turn and look. It also blows fuses and bearings like crazy. Last thing that happened was the break lines all rotted out. There will always be something to work on with
I did like the ride however, when it did run, but have never been able to take it more than an hr away. The seat was comfortable, stereo was good, and no bad blind spots.
It scares me this car is rated so high on this site now that I am looking for another car. I never would of thought a well maintained 2002 GLX Sonata with only 153,000kms would be a driveway ornament!!!