2016 Hyundai Sonata Review

Pros & Cons

  • Lots of standard and optional features for the money
  • quiet and roomy interior
  • smooth ride complemented by comfortable seats
  • easy-to-use controls and touchscreen
  • solid build quality.
  • Disappointing performance from the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine
  • relatively unrefined 2.4-liter engine.
List Price Range
$8,500 - $25,990

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Edmunds' Expert Review

If you want a midsize sedan with plenty of passenger room and a quiet, easy-to-live-with demeanor, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata definitely has what you're looking for. It's one of our favorites.

Vehicle overview

Read enough industry reports (what, you don't read industry reports?) and you'll likely learn that crossovers are steadily supplanting the midsize sedan as the vehicle of choice for the American family. It seems that nobody bothered to tell Hyundai, though, as last year's redesigned Sonata sells in greater numbers than both of Hyundai's crossovers combined. But we're not surprised. The "A"-rated Sonata is one of our favorite sedans in this class, and improvements to the technology interface and additional standard features make the 2016 Hyundai Sonata an even more attractive proposition.

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata's design is simple but attractive, with LED lighting accents standard on most trims.

The most significant change for 2016 lies with the Sonata's base infotainment system. Last year's smallish 5-inch touchscreen has been replaced by a 7-inch unit that reduces input errors by virtue of its bigger surface area. The new unit adds features already included with the optional 8-inch interface, including Apple CarPlay (late availability) and Android Auto smartphone functionality and the newest version of Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system. In addition to the lengthy list of features on the first Blue Link system, this new version adds remote ignition, automatic emergency contact notification in the event of an accident and destination search powered by Google (if equipped with navigation).

But the revised infotainment system is just one of the many reasons why the Sonata is so appealing. The cabin is cavernous and comfortable, with loads of room in the backseat for when you need to ferry the kids, kid friends or adult friends. The Sonata also drives confidently, boasting a smooth ride quality paired with enough athleticism so it won't float around on the highway and feel like your grandpa's Oldsmoboat. You also get plenty of features for your money. Even if you pick the base SE model you're not going to feel as if you're getting the short end of the stick, while the top-line Limited 2.0T has luxury-car levels of equipment.

Of course, the midsize sedan segment is full of strong competitors that should also be considered. The always popular 2016 Honda Accord has been updated this year, receiving a new touchscreen of its own with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Chevrolet's redesigned 2016 Malibu should be a stronger contender than before, and the well-rounded 2016 Ford Fusion, stylish 2016 Mazda 6, sporty 2016 Nissan Altima and strong-selling Toyota Camry continue to be excellent choices as well. But more so than ever before, the 2016 Sonata is deserving of its continued success.

2016 Hyundai Sonata models

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata is available in SE, Sport, Eco, Limited, Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T trim levels. The Sonata Hybrid is reviewed separately.

Standard features on the SE include 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear lip spoiler, automatic headlights, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, heated mirrors, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column and a 60/40-split folding rear seatback. Technology features include a 7-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera, the Blue Link telematics system (with smartphone integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, satellite radio, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.

The Sport and Eco trims add LED daytime running lights, side mirrors with integrated turn signal indicators, simulated leather cabin trim and an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar). The Eco differs with a special fuel-economy-focused engine, while the Sport gets 17-inch alloy wheels, dual exhausts with chrome tips and unique body styling tweaks.

A Premium package for the Sonata Sport adds keyless entry and ignition, a hands-free remote-opening trunk, partial leather upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air vents and blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems. The Tech package builds upon the Premium package with a sunroof, a navigation system, an 8-inch touchscreen display, an upgraded audio system and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.>

The Limited includes the Sport's features (minus the body styling tweaks) and adds LED taillights, a sunroof, leather upholstery, wood grain trim, a six-way power passenger seat, heated rear seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and all the items from the Premium package.

Leather upholstery is a standard feature on higher-end Sonatas, but seat comfort is very good across the lineup.

Moving up to the Sport 2.0T adds a more powerful engine and includes most of the features of the Limited trim (less the power passenger seat, wood grain trim, heated rear seats and sunroof) along with 18-inch wheels, sport-tuned suspension and steering, a rear diffuser with quad chrome exhaust tips, xenon headlights, sport seats with accent stitching, a flat-bottom sport steering wheel and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

The range-topping Limited 2.0T includes a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlight control, rear parking sensors, a lane-departure warning system, an automatic pre-collision braking system, automatic engine stop-start, driver memory settings, a heated steering wheel, rear window sunshades, ventilated front seats, a nine-speaker premium audio system and technology features from the Limited trim and the Sport's Tech package.

Many of the features from the Limited 2.0T are available as part of options packages on the lower trims.

2016 Highlights

A 7-inch touchscreen comes standard on all 2016 Hyundai Sonata trims except the range-topping Limited 2.0T (which continues to have an 8-inch screen). Both systems feature smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay (late availability) and Android Auto. A rearview camera and automatic headlights are standard on all trims as well. An automatic emergency braking system debuts on the Limited 2.0T, while Hyundai says it has retuned the Sonata's suspension for slightly improved handling.

Performance & mpg

All Sonatas are front-wheel drive, and all engines except the Eco's are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. A 2.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque powers the SE, Sport and Limited models. At the Edmunds test track, a Sonata Sport made the sprint from zero to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds, an average showing for this class. The Sonata SE has an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 30 mpg combined (25 city/38 highway). The Sport and Limited trims are slightly less at 29 mpg combined (25/36).

The 2.0T models come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, producing 245 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. We recorded 0-60-mph acceleration in 8.3 seconds -- an exceptionally poor performance considering this powertrain is meant to compete with V6-powered family sedans that routinely are much quicker.>On the other hand, the Sport 2.0T returns an EPA-estimated 26 mpg combined (23 city/32 highway), and we managed to earn an impressive 28 mpg on our diverse 120-mile evaluation route. The Limited 2.0T is rated at 25 mpg combined (21/31).

The Eco features a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 178 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission is standard (it is technically an automated manual transmission). Oddly, the Eco recorded a highly impressive 7.5-second time for its 0-60-mph run, beating the 2.0T model by almost a full second. The EPA says the Eco will achieve 32 mpg combined (28 city/38 highway), and we validated those figures with our own 32 mpg on the Edmunds evaluation route.


Standard safety features on every 2016 Hyundai Sonata include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag.

All Sonatas also come with a rearview camera and Blue Link, Hyundai's emergency telematics system (includes roadside assistance, crash response, remote door lock control and monitoring features for parents with teenage drivers that include speed, geo-fencing and curfew limits). Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are standard for the Limited and both 2.0T models and optional on the Sport. Lane departure warning, automatic forward collision emergency braking and rear park assist are optional on the Limited and Limited 2.0T.

In Edmunds' simulated panic-stop testing from 60 mph, the Sonata Sport 2.0T came to rest in 125 feet, which is an acceptable distance for midsize family sedans. The Eco and Sport models did the job in an impressive 119 feet.

In government crash testing, the 2016 Sonata earned a perfect five-star overall rating, with five stars overall for its performance in frontal- and side-impact crash tests. In crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Sonata earned a top "Good" rating in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact test and a second-best "Acceptable" in the small-overlap frontal-offset impact test. The Sonata posted a "Good" rating for the remaining side-impact, roof-strength and whiplash protection (seats and head restraints) tests.


Possibly the most striking characteristic of the 2016 Hyundai Sonata is the hushed way in which it goes about its business. This is a seriously quiet car. Dispatching road irregularities with smooth damping and peaceful confidence is this sedan's biggest strength. Ride quality, regardless of trim, is well controlled and never harsh.

The 2016 Sonata rides comfortably but is also well-mannered when going down the highway or around turns.

Though the Sonata feels composed around turns, there's also little that's involving about the experience. Even the Sport 2.0T trim isn't very thrilling, and its disappointing engine performance is hard to explain given its respectable power and torque output. There are a few noteworthy features in the Sport 2.0T, however, including handy shift paddles and a flat-bottom steering wheel, which feels better than the round wheel in other trims. Still, Honda's Accord Sport is more involving, as are the Ford Fusion and Mazda 6.

Strangely enough, it's the Eco trim that provides the most excitement. With discernibly more punch than the lackluster and overly noisy 2.4-liter engine and quicker acceleration than the underperforming 2.0T, it's our pick of the trio. What's more, despite the efficiency-biased tires it wears, its braking ability is better than the base Sonata and neck-and-neck with the 2.0T.


The Sonata SE is fairly basic inside, but materials and build quality are improved over those in the base trim level from the last-generation Sonata. With their plusher door trim and additional cabin accents, the higher trim levels compare pretty well to those of segment rivals. Not surprisingly, the Limited trim, with its available two-tone color schemes and convincing wood grain trim, is particularly appealing. The Sport 2.0T features more thickly bolstered sport seats for added lateral support during spirited maneuvers.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (late availability) come standard on the 2016 Sonata.

While Hyundai hasn't done anything flashy for interior design, we appreciate how the control layout is straightforward and easy to use, with dedicated buttons for primary functions like navigation, phone, radio and media. The climate controls are simple, and Hyundai's touchscreen interface is intuitive. The new 7-inch touchscreen requires less hunting and pecking than the 5-inch unit it replaces thanks to the extra real estate. Bound to the navigation system is an attractive 8-inch screen with uncluttered, clearly labeled maps. From their fun fonts to their sharp resolution, these are precisely what touchscreens from the land of Samsung and LG should look like.

As for passenger space, the Sonata has more than ample room for four adults. The front seats are well padded and supportive, perfect for long-distance cruising. The outboard rear seats are spacious and the transmission tunnel impinges only slightly on middle-seat legroom. The Sonata's sweeping roof line limits rear headroom for taller passengers, but overall this is still a very spacious sedan.

At 16.3 cubic feet, the trunk is a little more generous than average for this segment, and the standard 60/40-split-folding rear seat is at the ready to add more cargo capacity should the need arise. Models equipped with the hands-free "smart" trunk opener automatically pop the trunk if the person with the key fob stands behind the car for more than 3 seconds.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2016 Sonata Limited 2.4 L all options
Limited 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
I bought the 2016 Sonata for myself and my wife got a 2016 Camry XLE a week earlier. I'm very familiar with both. I'm glad I got the Sonata, I prefer it over the Camry (more comfortable, quieter) and my wife has been driving Camrys since 1994 so I know that car well. There are many things that I don't use but I knew that going in. The moon roof is only usable at night or late in the afternoon due to the sun. The lane departure warnings (where the car watches the lines in the road and beeps if I cross them) is annoying most of the time but I have not turned it off just in case. The blind side monitor is great (the outside mirror lights up if someone is in either blind spot) and if I use the directional signals while someone is in my blind spot, I get a warning. Dynamic cruise control is of little use to me because if the traffic is that heavy, I don't want to be on cruise control anyway. So why did I pay for so may things that I have little use for? To get the what matters most - automatic emergency breaking. That's what is supposed to stop the car if someone stops in front of me and I don't see them or if a kid runs in front of the car and I don't see him. My guess is that within 10 years AEB will be as mandatory as seat belts on all new cars. I like a big car that moves over the road with no noise and I got that with the Sonata. It's not rated as a large car but it feels that way to me. It's hard to believe that this has a 2.4 liter engine. The car moves as effortlessly on the highway as 5 liter V8 cars that I've owned. I drove this for a month in Phoenix over the very nice freeways that they have during low volume traffic (weekends, etc). Those people seem to have one speed that they all drive at (80 mph) and the Sonata did that with no wind or road noise and the tach was hovering at about 2200 rpm. Mixed mileage is about 30 or 31 but if I keep it at 65mph on the highway, I'll get around 40 mpg. The GPS is a little better than the one in the Camry but giving it directions by voice is a hit or miss proposition and to type a destination, you have to be stopped. Mine has memory seats which is great if on a long trip and my wife does some of the driving. I have it set so that the seat does NOT move back when I turn the car off. All in all, this is probably the best car I ever owned and I'm very particular. Update after 9 months: I still think this is the best car I've ever owned. Some things I missed during the first review - the emergency brake disengages automatically when I shift out of park and the outside rear view mirrors tilt down when in reverse to show the road. Update after 21 months: Still think this is the best car I ever owned. Update after 39 months: No changes to my earlier comments. I've driven 2018 and 2019 versions of the Sonata and did not like them as much. The ride is not as quiet and smooth. It almost seems like they changed the suspension in the later models. Not sure if I'd buy one of these newer models.
What a Value
SE 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
I bought a 2016 SE to replace my totaled 2013 Outback. I have had the car for 3 weeks and have 1500 miles on it. So far it has been great. I was initially attracted to the car due to the value. I received 5k off MSRP and was out the door for less than $20k. The only other midsize car that I could have gotten for a similar price was a VW Jetta and the Hyundai beat it in almost every way. In no way do I feel I compromised by not going with a more expensive midsize sedan (Accord, Camry, etc). The only feature that we did not get in this car that we wanted was heated seats (3k more to get the trim/options just to get the heating seats). Everything else we were looking for was included in the SE. 7 inch entertainment system with bluetooth/android auto, steering wheel controls, keyless entry, alloy wheels, and the best warranty out there. The car drives very smooth and was completely comfortable on a 800 mile road trip. I cruised at 80 with no issues and returned over 35 mpg on the trip with about 50 miles of heavy city driving thrown in. Car is quiet and smooth. The entertainment system is very responsive. The bluetooth syncs faster than any other car I have used. Rear seats have more space than the outback (we have very large car seats that fit just fine). Hopefully it proves to be reliable. Update: It has been two years and 16,000 miles and our Sonata has been trouble free. It is still comfortable and have had no regrets about the purchase. We are seeing about 27 mpg is mostly city driving and 35+ on the freeway.
I like the car very much.
Ken Dranchek,05/07/2016
SE 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
Purchased new Sonata; Silver, SE in March 2016. Now have 4000 miles on the odo. Replaced OEM Khumo Solus tires with Continental TrueContacts at 900 miles. Transformed the car's ride and handling, much quieter, as well. I'm using the manual shift mode with the auto setting on sport which increases the steering effort. Downshifts from 4th to 3rd are sometimes abrupt. I'm accelerating more aggressively, though not revving past 4500-5000 rpm. The engine is quick and smooth with no hesitation or flat spots. Still haven't floored it 100%. Not sure what the Edmund review meant by "unrefined engine". Changed the break-in oil and filter at 3200 miles; the oil was very dirty. Using Mobil 1 Full Synthetic with factory oil filters and will change both every 5000 miles. I check the oil every week and the level is exactly the same each week. Debating whether or not to install a K&N Oil Screen engine air filter. Will continue to search the web to see if anyone else has done so. The radio switches back and forth from regular to HD on weaker stations often, very annoying. There doesn't seem to be any way to reset the sensitivity level or manually select or or the other. I listen to my Ipod most of the time anyway. I will NOT continue the satellite radio or the On-star. In fact, I placed a piece of electrical tape over that annoying blue light. Getting 30.4 mpg in mixed driving. Using Sunoco regular octane exclusively and Techron fuel system cleaner every 4th tank. It's quiet, comfortable, rides and handles very well. It's a good looking car, too. Overall I really like the car. Despite the traffic and crappy Central Pennsylvania roads, it's fun to drive. Looking forward to lots of trouble-free miles.
Above Competition
SE 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
I am spending 2.5 hours every working day in the car: to me it is not choosing "just a car", but a second home and office. I have invested a lot of time in selecting a new vehicle. Each one of us has different criteria when selecting a vehicle. My top ones were: 1. Ride Comfort 2. Quietness on a highway 3. Ability to absorb road imperfections 4. Android Auto/Apple Car Play as a lot of paid options become unnecessary with personal assistance of the these tools and navigation/online music and talk shows. Here are the reasons I did not buy competitors: Accord EX (pros: awesome screens and interior quality, nice open layout, camera on the mirror, handling; cons: suspension is on the stiffer side, road imperfections are quite noticeable). Altima (pros: the most comfortable seats; cons: engine noise, no Android Auto(AA)). Fusion (great car overall, but the cabin layout is claustrophobic, rear seat room is the smallest, no AA). 2016 Malibu (looks awesome, but the ride is on a somewhat stiffer side, interior is simply "fine"). Camry LE (everything is in place, but it lacks Android Auto/Apple Car, which serves as a live personal assistant during the trip, smaller screen. It falls behind in technology equipment). Sonata is the car where all my stars have lined up: it has definitely the smoothest ride of the bunch, the car irons out all the cracks in the pavement - you do not feel them nor hear them. Sonata is the quietest car on a highway - no tire noise, no wind noise, it feels and rides like a luxury car, even though I got the entry level model without a single option. Cabin layout is very open, you constantly "feel" spaciousness especially with the light interior (light gray or beige). Sonata has a very confident handling, and there is absolutely no "floatiness" as you would normally feel with softer suspensions. Entry-level model comes with the most equipment compared to the cars above: nice 7" HD screen with lots of features (XM data - traffic, weather), high-quality HD backup camera, AA works perfect, seats are comfortable on my long rides, and the price tag is unbelievable if you know how to negotiate - very low 18,000s. The sound system generates an unexpectedly good sound quality - it is not what you would think to get in a "stripped-down model". Paired with the cabin quietness the sound is very good. If you choose very nice options like panoramic sunroof, heated/cooled leather seats and a plethora of safety/electronic features, adaptive cruise control, super stereo system - prepare to pay at least 50% more. In my case - it was not worth the extra money, but everyone is different. Paired with 5 year full/10-year powertrain warranty and very low maintenance costs this Sonata SE is my perfect choice to be my 2nd home/office for the next 5 years.


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover10.5%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2016 Hyundai Sonata

Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata Overview

The Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata is offered in the following submodels: Sonata Sedan. Available styles include SE 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A), Sport 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A), Sport PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SE PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A), Limited 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A), Limited PZEV 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A), Eco 4dr Sedan w/Prod. End 9/30 (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), Eco 4dr Sedan (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), Limited 2.0T 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Sport 2.0T 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A), and Sport 2.0T 4dr Sedan w/Black Leather (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6A). Pre-owned Hyundai Sonata models are available with a 2.4 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 185 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2016 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 2016 Hyundai Sonata?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata SE PZEV is priced between $8,500 and$17,711 with odometer readings between 17051 and148820 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata SE is priced between $9,450 and$14,995 with odometer readings between 65584 and163539 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport PZEV is priced between $11,600 and$19,999 with odometer readings between 15054 and112456 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport is priced between $15,000 and$17,990 with odometer readings between 29406 and66841 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata Limited PZEV is priced between $12,600 and$25,990 with odometer readings between 37219 and92804 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Hyundai Sonata Limited is priced between $17,000 and$21,000 with odometer readings between 36933 and60141 miles.

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Which used 2016 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) 2016 Hyundai Sonata for sale near. There are currently 62 used and CPO 2016 Sonatas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,500 and mileage as low as 15054 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 2016 Hyundai Sonata.

Can't find a used 2016 Hyundai Sonatas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Hyundai Sonata for sale - 1 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $15,385.

Find a used Hyundai for sale - 4 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $24,100.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai Sonata for sale - 10 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $13,778.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai for sale - 12 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $24,233.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 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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