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.
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 so I have that turned off. I would definitely turn it on if on a long highway trip where I might be tempted to get tired and drift. The blind side monitor is great (the outside mirror lights up if someone is in either blind spot). 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: SI 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.
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.
I purchased a 2016 Honda Civic EX in January. Had several quality issues with it including gauge blinking in and out, as well as giving me errors message pertaining to important systems like braking, anti-lock, cruise control and the like. I also hated the radio system in the vehicle. Because it had no buttons and used touch sliders, it was difficult to use and hard to control the volume. Traded it in for the 2016 Sonata Sport and I have been so pleased since.
The Sonata is significantly larger than the Civic, so it is a quiet, very quiet, gentle cruiser, that is perfect for long distance drives. Experience with a 2016 rental Sonata, is what led me to buy one. The car has not disappointed me at all. It achieves about 33 all round gas mileage, but when mainly highway miles, it regularly achieves 39 to 41mpg (if I slow it down to about 65mph). A huge mileage jump from my other car a 1999 Camry Solara. Got the red Sonata with the tan interior, because it looks and feels more upscale and so far, I've kept relatives from messing up the interior (no food, no drinks rules).
I must point out one thing. This is not a strong accelerating vehicle in fact, from 0 to 60 is very leisurely. But once you get around 40mph, there is more torque to achieve 60 and 70mph. Secondly, the steering is kind of loose in that it will drift to the left or right on the highway, if you aren't paying attention. I knew these things from the rental car that inspired the purchase, so it is no big deal for me. However, if you want a little tighter steering, then I'd suggest the Kia Optima. Same drive train, but tuned for stronger acceleration and tighter handling. What you lose is about 3mpg on the highway.
I am pleased with this car and plan to get it up to 300,000 miles before it's life is over.
If you are after a vehicle that has a lot of space and nice features - like a backup camera, adjustable passenger seat (height, too!), automatic mirrors, etc., for a low price, you may consider the Hyundai Sonata 2016. It has tons of passenger room and the seats are pretty comfortable.
The turning circle for a car this size is great (much better than the Accord, for example).
It also has a surprisingly quiet ride and is not too bumpy.
However, Hyundai still does not know how to make a good engine. When you start your car in the morning, it rattles and taps like an old sewing machine. After a bit it quiets down. Also, at a stop when you are idling, it will start to vibrate a lot. It sometimes seems to shudder upon acceleration or even sometimes coming to a stop.
Thankfully it has a good warranty, but if you do not follow the maintenance rules exactly, they will void your warranty in a heartbeat. It is probably best to get them to do the oil changes, even, so that they can't say you did not do it properly. Hyundai is notorious for trying to bug out of honoring their warranty.