1999 Hyundai Sonata V6 2.5 V6
Has proven cheap and terribly faithful
Right. I'm posting this review as a final tribute to the car I have owned for the past eight years. At first, many were surprised at my purchase, as my previous car was a fully tuned Nissan Sylvia, and the one before that was the Toyota Supra. However, circumstances beyond my control forced me to buy the thing.
I was not happy about this.
I vowed to myself that the minute the car suffered a major mechanical failure, I would trade in for something more worthy of a car fanatic. How long could the car last, I scoffed, after all, it's a Hyundai.
So, during my ownership I have thrashed this car like that unwanted stepchild:
Redlining the engine at every opportunity, especially right after a cold start on a winter day.
Performing abusive 'powerstarts' at impromptu street races (this is where you hold the brake pedal down with your left foot while building revs up with your right, resulting in better acceleration and hopefully, through frequent and committed use, major mechanical failure).
Often, when the mood hits me, I've induced massive powerslides at high speeds with judicious use of the emergency brake. Hell, sometimes for days on end the emergency brake served as my main brake.
Oil changes have been infrequent and always performed at the sleaziest, dodgiest fly-by-night establishments I could find.
The car has been driven through streams, the occasional flood and even pseudo off-road conditions, always at a vicious pace.
And I've been careful to park the car in an isolated spot, to take full advantage of the sun's damaging effects.
All this for eight, long years.
And yet, the damn thing just refuses to break.
Despite my determination, I've only been faced the occasional hiccup, never the full blown mechanical failure I have fervently hoped for. God knows I've tried my best.
Apart from my daily commute, the car has gotten me through countless dates, one good relationship, three bad ones, four emergency trips to the hospital, one death, three jobs and numerous trips as the token 'loaner-car' amongst my friends.
I hate it, yet it stays with me.
I'd like to add that this car was not made for the Korean market. I originally bought the car in Finland and brought it back to Korea. Sonatas sold on the home market are clearly different, as several of my friends have suffered severe mechanical faults, often frequently and repeatedly on their cars. The lucky devils. All I've got to show for my efforts is a little cracking on the bumper and a slightly wobbly side mirror.
Finally, the chips have been thrown and I have just given up. Although the Hyundai is still despicably healthy, I'm going to trade it in for another. I was thinking about a ten year old C36 but apparently, this is not a wise choice as your only car, what with the maintenance and whatnot. So I'm leaning toward a new CRV.
So long, Sonata V6! Thanks for a bitter eight years of service.
If you have even the faintest passing interest in cars, do not buy this car.
If your car is used to attract members of the opposite sex, do not buy this car unless you are devastatingly charming, extremely funny, and look like Brad Pitt. Or you like dating blind people.
However, if you want annoyingly reliable transportation, build yourself a time machine, go to a certain Hyundai dealership in Helsinki (July 1999), show me a copy of this review, and buy this Sonata instead of me. I hear Toyota's are good too.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 2nd October, 2007
I'm the person that originally wrote this review.
I traded my car in for a '07 BMW 3 series. Yes, the new car is brilliant. But sometimes, in the wee hours, I find myself missing the old 'Nata. Mainly because you can abuse a Sonata, without incurring too much financial trouble. I found out the hard way that you cannot abuse a modern BMW, these European things require a certain amount of pampering and care. All of which has just added further worries to a life that is already complicated enough.
Just don't tell my BMW.
You think you were lucky? Well, Hyundais these days appear to be holding up very, very well, and are better built than the one you had. A friend has had a Peugeot, a Volvo, two Galants, and their latest one is a 2005 Hyundai Sonata V6 Elite, and with about 90,000 km now, they say it's the best car they have ever had. Quiet (even on NZ's coarse chip paved roads), very fast, solid, surprisingly frugal for a V6, and reliable (they live out on a farm 20 km from the main road). Their next car will be the turbodiesel version.
Also, many Asian manufacturers send their "export quality" stuff overseas, especially Europe (which has special requirements) and keep the bad stuff locally or send them to Asia and poorer countries.
Have been driving my 1999 Sonata for December 2004 with 140k KMs on the odometer. It now reads 218k km and still running well. It has been a faithful car with the usual repair issues. One major problem (self induced) came when I flushed the transmission via a power flush at a local garage. Caused no end of grief and transmission malfunction until an old fashioned tranny place did a gravity drain flush to get all the sediment out and solved my problem.
My question is... how many KMs / miles can you put on a Sonata? Some imports can go for 300k km. Any comments?