2009 Hyundai Sonata Review

Pros & Cons

  • Beautiful interior, velvety ride, spacious cabin and trunk, impressive value with long features list, lengthy warranty.
  • Numb feel to the steering, V6 still doesn't quite have the gusto of main competitors.
List Price Range
$3,800 - $7,995

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Edmunds' Expert Review

With a brand-new interior and improved engines, the 2009 Hyundai Sonata re-establishes itself as a serious contender in the cutthroat midsize family sedan segment. It should definitely be on your shopping list.

Vehicle overview

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. But what happens when the imitator becomes better than the imitated?

For years now, Hyundai has had its sights set on Toyota. The Japanese giant's strategy for its vehicles is to make them reliable, impeccably made, conservative in style and comfortable to ride in. Hyundai has taken that approach to heart, and the 2009 Hyundai Sonata is proof positive that it has gotten it right. In fact, not only has the updated Sonata caught up to the mighty Camry, it's driven past it.

For 2009, Hyundai's midsize family sedan sees several key changes. Both the four- and six-cylinder engines have received an influx of power, while raising fuel economy at the same time. That's worthy of a thumbs-up any day. The biggest news, however, resides inside. While this generation Sonata's original cabin was hardly an environment worth shaking a finger at, Hyundai was never pleased with it from the get-go. This year's complete makeover performed on the center stack, gauges and center console has led to an overall design that is more user-friendly and better looking. Materials have also been improved, while the top-level Limited trim boasts a tasteful blend of color combinations, wood-grain accents and alloy trim. To be frank, this is the Lexus-lite interior we were expecting when Toyota's all-star was last redesigned. Hyundai has delivered it instead.

When the Hyundai Sonata was redesigned three years ago, it gave the top family sedans a run for their money -- in fact, we ranked it over the Accord and Camry in a 2006 comparison test. Since then, both of those rivals have been completely redesigned, as have the impressive new Nissan Altima and Chevrolet Malibu. The changes for 2009 bring the Sonata back closer to par. Although we're not sure it's still the class beater, the case can certainly be made that Hyundai has built a better Camry than Toyota did. Perhaps the imitated should become the imitator.

2009 Hyundai Sonata models

The 2009 Hyundai Sonata is a midsize family sedan available in GLS, SE and Limited trim levels. Standard equipment on the GLS includes 16-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, heated sideview mirrors, a tilt steering column, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob (V6 only), a 60/40-split rear seatback and a six-speaker stereo with CD/MP3 player, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. Optional features include an eight-way power driver seat, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a trip computer.

The SE adds those items plus 17-inch alloy wheels with performance tires, a tilt-telescoping steering column and leather/cloth upholstery. Optional features include an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a sunroof (also optional on GLS), a universal garage door opener and an upgraded stereo with six-CD changer and subwoofer.

The Sonata Limited has the SE's features plus 17-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires, chrome exterior trim, full leather upholstery, two-level heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, wood-grain trim and a premium Infinity sound system. A touchscreen navigation system is optional on the Limited.

2009 Highlights

The Hyundai Sonata receives minor exterior styling updates and an all-new interior for 2009, giving it one of the most upscale cabins in the midsize sedan class. Power and fuel economy have also been increased for both four- and six-cylinder engines, while the automatic transmission has been retuned for smoother shift quality. An auxiliary audio jack has been added to the standard features list, while the Limited trim level adds two-level heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and an optional navigation system.

Performance & mpg

The standard engine on all Hyundai Sonata trim levels is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine good for 175 horsepower and 168 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on GLS and SE trim levels with the four-cylinder, while a five-speed automatic is standard on the Limited and optional on the other trims. Optional on all Sonatas is a 3.3-liter V6 producing 249 hp and 229 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic is the only transmission available with this engine.

The Sonata's fuel economy is good for the family sedan segment; the four-cylinder Sonata earns 22 mpg city/32 mpg highway ratings, while the V6 returns 19/29 mpg ratings, respectively.

Safety

All Sonatas come well-stocked with antilock brakes, traction control, stability control, front seat side-impact airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. The 2009 Hyundai Sonata scored five out of five stars in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's front- and side-impact tests. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the Sonata earned a "Good" rating (the highest) for frontal offset protection and an "Acceptable" rating (second-highest) for side-impact protection.

Driving

Like most other Hyundais, the Sonata has been designed to prioritize ride comfort over precise handling. It smothers bumps well and delivers a luscious highway ride, but with significant body roll and vague steering, it won't be challenging sportier competitors like the Honda Accord or Nissan Altima to a corner-carving contest any time soon. With the infusion of additional power for 2009, the Sonata now features more competitive acceleration. This is particularly true with the four-cylinder versions, but in a class where horsepower wars are at full Blitzkrieg, the optional V6's respectable 249-hp output still comes up a few Panzers short.

Interior

Hyundai interiors just keep getting better and better. Soft, high-quality plastics abound, switchgear is excellent and the overall design is eye-pleasing. The topsy-turvy ergonomics of the outgoing design have been replaced with stereo and climate controls placed high atop the center stack, leaving room for a spacious bin below. The Limited trim level is particularly upscale, and is certainly the most elegant environment one can inhabit for less than $25,000. As before, the 2009 Hyundai Sonata boasts an especially spacious backseat and a trunk that measures a class-best 16.3 cubic feet. If interior space and perceived quality is a top priority, it's hard to beat the Sonata.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2009 Hyundai Sonata.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Seven years and still strong
MICHAEL SLEVENS,02/27/2016
SE V6 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
Bought this car in 2009 as a dealer demo with 5000 miles on it. Now 2/26/2016 has 55,000 miles and still drives and smells like a new car. Only problems I have had are the rear brakes, which I fixed myself with new calipers and rotors. Got tired of Hyundai denying the design defect and their refusal to fix under bumper to bumper coverage. The car is well designed, tight and as others have written the V-6 and transmission is fast. Pickup is faster than my 2006 Mustang GT. This is one the nicest cars I have ever owned and I have had Lincolns and Cadillacs. It isn't a plush ride but it is soft for a small car. Staying away from the Dealers and doing maintenance and repairs myself. Doing a brake job takes 30 minutes a wheel and changing the oil is just as fast. I just refuse to pay the Dealer $59 to have a $9 Cabin filter (another 15 min.) replaced. AUGUST 2016-UPDATE: Front speakers became intermittant. Always thought there were only two sound systems in the 2009 but found out I have a third..one with an external amplifier in the trunk passenger side wall.It is not an Infinity System. Repair price $275, replacement from Hyundai $550, bought a Rockford Fosgate 4 channel for $200 and cut the old one out . Didnt realize how bad the Hyundai System sounded . Everything working fine now. Car is still performing well although shift patterns sometimes get strange . UPDATE: AUGUST 30, 2017-Car still performing well, another 5k miles on it with no issues. So far very reliable. Will not even consider buying a new one with all the problems reported with them. UPDATE AUGUST 31, 2019- Another two years and 3k miles on the car. Retirement has reduced the amount of usage and we use the Suburban for our long trips. So far no issues, and did bring the car back to the dealer for recall campaign and free oil change. Still very happy with the car.
Best car ever owned.
Geo,10/27/2015
GLS 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A)
Most reliable vehicle, more so than the Corolla, Tacoma, Civic parked in the drive. 123,000 miles, never an issue. Picked it over the Camry & Accord because of comfort. Bought in spring of '08, but is an '09 model. Up to 37.5mpg hwy. Will definitely go Hyundai again. As of 10-28-16, the Sonata now has 123,419 miles, and I won't give it up! Runs perfectly on it's eight and one half year birthday. A couple of issues: First, the dashboard has too much glare in daylight, making it about impossible to see the speedometer with the sun beaming directly into the cockpit. Second, the dimmer rheostat doesn't dim the dash enough for nighttime driving, and as I work nights, it is a bit bothersome. Third, something new for this updated report - some rust on the driver's door, where the door skin folds over to the lower corner closest to the latch, it is crumbling, so it will be interesting to see how severe it becomes. I do wash and wax the car, regularly and it has not been driven on the salted NY winter roads. The car is now parked at our second home in Florida, so I am hoping the rust will not progress. I've also oiled that surface hoping to stop the rusting.
Like A Best Friend
Anthony,05/20/2016
GLS 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A)
I love Sonatas. This is my second one and it has been great overall! Pros: * This car is a work horse and a good cruiser. * Fuel economy is outstanding! I've gotten 40 mpg on the highway many times, during non-stop driving and doing between 70-75 mph. * The satellite radio is a great option, you can listen to your favorite station anywhere! Otherwise the CD/flash-drive (USB) is another good option. * Other than routine maintenance performed at the dealership, this car is solid. * Love the stability control! Some cons: * The driver's seat is uncomfortable. It is narrow and lacks support, however, on long trips, you do tend to settle in and forget about it. * The 4 cylinder engine, while effective for, is somewhat under-powered. When the car is loaded for those long, summer trips, or with the a/c running, it can easily lose up to 20hp and you'll notice it when attempting to merge onto a highway. I should have opted for the 6 cylinder version instead. * Tires are very important! Do not go cheap on them and always get the original or better. You will be thankful, especially when it rains as the car tends to lose grip upon accelerating from a stop or going around corners. * I wish navigation was available when I bought it.
BEWARE!!! Hyundai Manufacturer "Bumper to Bumper" Warranty Not Always Honored by Dealerships!!
jbcanderson,09/15/2012
Limited V6 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
I bought an 09 Sonata V6 Limited in Dec of 08 and an Azera in Mar of 09. Both cars have needed repairs which I was assured by Hyundai Motors were covered by their bumper to bumper warranties, but which a local dealer, Doral Hyundai, refused to warranty, claiming owner fault rather than factory defect. They are [non-permissible content removed] extraordinaire! It is impossible to get them to fix anything under warranty; they always try to charge the vehicle owner. Hyundai has no way to make a dealer honor the factory warranty, claiming dealers are franchises and they can't make them do anything! Each dealer decides what they will or will not warranty. I had to "shop" for a dealer that would honor the warranty.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    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
    Acceptable
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2009 Hyundai Sonata

Used 2009 Hyundai Sonata Overview

The Used 2009 Hyundai Sonata is offered in the following submodels: Sonata Sedan. Available styles include SE V6 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 5A), Limited V6 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 5A), GLS V6 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 5A), GLS 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A), Limited 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A), GLS 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5M), SE 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A), GLS PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A), Limited PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5A), and SE 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5M). Pre-owned Hyundai Sonata models are available with a 3.3 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 249 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2009 Hyundai Sonata comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2009 Hyundai Sonata comes with a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 10 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2009 Hyundai Sonata?

Price comparisons for Used 2009 Hyundai Sonata trim styles:

  • The Used 2009 Hyundai Sonata GLS is priced between $3,800 and$7,995 with odometer readings between 97098 and195603 miles.
  • The Used 2009 Hyundai Sonata GLS V6 is priced between $6,000 and$6,000 with odometer readings between 110730 and110730 miles.

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Which used 2009 Hyundai Sonatas are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 Hyundai Sonata for sale near. There are currently 5 used and CPO 2009 Sonatas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $3,800 and mileage as low as 97098 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2009 Hyundai Sonata.

Can't find a used 2009 Hyundai Sonatas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Hyundai Sonata for sale - 11 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $16,536.

Find a used Hyundai for sale - 3 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $7,723.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai Sonata for sale - 9 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $23,956.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai for sale - 11 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $14,480.

Should I lease or buy a 2009 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.

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