2015 Hyundai Sonata: A Hotter Hand than Honda?
by Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor on September 4, 2015
The time has come to buy a second car for my family, so I began considering the 2015 Hyundai Sonata in a completely new light. I had taken it on several road trips recently, including a recent blast to Las Vegas, and was intimately acquainted with it. My wife would be the primary driver of this new car and she's liked the long-term Sonata when I bring it home.
The problem is, I've always been heavily predisposed to Hondas. The only thing that could sway me was to see that the Sonata would either save me (us) some bucks or provide superior features. So I put the two cars in Edmunds' most useful car buying tool, the vehicle comparator (it's gone by several names over the years). I wanted to see if any significant difference jumped out.
After nerding-out over all the stats, I only saw three differences that caught my eye. The Sonata is rated at 25/37 mpg, while the Accord gets 27/36. That's not a big deal since Edmunds estimates that gas would cost $10 more per month for the Hyundai. However, our long term Sonata has struggled to get a lifetime average of 25.6 mpg, so the numbers don't tell the whole story.
The second difference is that the Sonata has a 6-speed automatic while the Accord has a CVT. This wouldn't be a problem for my wife, but I've never been a fan of the way CVTs feel and drive.
The biggest difference, not surprisingly, is in the warranty department. Hyundai has built its reputation on the 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and the 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Honda has taken a different tack, building its reputation for reliability, while only offering a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a measly (by comparison) 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.
While it's nice to have all those worry-free years spread out in front of me, I also wonder how long I will keep this car, so it could all be moot.
Comparing prices is more difficult because that would depend, in the final analysis, on what kind of a deal you drove. The base Sonata SE stickers at $21,975, while the Honda Accord LX MSRP is $23,725 and the EX is $26,650.
So, after my blurry eyes returned to focus from staring at numbers, I realized the only way to make a decision is to test drive the Honda — and see what kind of a deal I can get on each car.
Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 13,625 miles