I thought I’d throw in my opinion as a new owner of a 2009 Hyundai Sonata, 4 cylinder, automatic. I have only had it two weeks and it has 600 miles, so still fresh off the showroom floor.
I previously owned three Toyotas in the last 30 years. During the last 23 years both were Camry 4 cylinder. All were purchased new. I drove them for 125K, 225K and 184K miles, respectively.
This time around I looked at the Camry, Honda, Nissan, Kia and Hyundai. I talked to everyone I could find about the Hyundai, owners, auto brokers, plus I read every review I could find. My major concern was reliability, as I keep my cars for approximately 10 years, so I did my research.
I’m satisfied with my purchase, in that I got a great price. It’s good value. That being said, I’m disappointed in some aspects of the car. The ride or driving comfort is subjective, but the noise is more than I expected and the tight suspension and road vibration is more than annoying. When on a glass smooth road you get a glass smooth ride, on a normal road or freeway you run over a penny and you can call it heads or tails from the feel through the steering. Rather than a comfortable ride to me it’s more tiring. It’s something you don’t quite feel during a test drive when you are excited and the new car smell overpowers your sense of observation.
I call it my Camry clone. I like the interior appointments better than the comparable Camry. Great trunk space, although I’d like key entry to the trunk. Dash arrangement is good.
With my previous Camry’s, you couldn’t wipe the new car smile off my face for years. With my first venture away to a Korean Hyundai, the new car smile was gone the third day or first 100 miles whichever came first. Would I take it back, of course not. It’s a good car for $16,000. It’s not to Camry or Honda standards as far as for comfort and drive, but a comparable Camry would have been $6,000 more. So for value car folks this is acceptable. I rated it 7.5 out of 10 points, which is exactly the Edmunds.com test drive rating.
What would I do differently? Well I test drove two different Sonata’s, and just like any other manufactured item, each one will be unique to some extent. I would take the car I was purchasing on a much longer test drive. I wouldn’t pay cash. I would have lower expectations. You shouldn’t compare it with Camry’s or Honda’s or any other car outside of its discounted price range of $15,000-$16,000. In that way you aren’t disappointed that it didn’t meet your expectations. My friends say I’m having Toyota withdrawal pains after 30 years of good drives.
If this is your first car, for the price I didn’t find anything that came close to amenities. But the bottom line, taught by experience, is you do get what you pay for. It’s a good value priced transportation car, not a luxury ride. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to share my thoughts and experience, as Hyundai doesn’t seem to do any customer satisfaction follow-up once the check is cashed.