2002 Hyundai Sonata CDX 2.0 from UK and Ireland


Great value and reliable


Gearbox oil cooler pipe had rusted through and needed replacing, as the transmission fluid was leaking.

Radio antenna needed replacing, as it was not extracting fully.

General Comments:

This car is a used gem. Very cheap for what you get. People think it looks like a Jag.

Engine and gearbox are based on Japanese engineering from Mitsubishi, so the basics are sound. Also the 2.0 litre is easy to work on with good access; cam belt change cost £50 for example. Spark plugs are easy to change. Oil filter requires the driver's side wheel to come off, but other than that, it is straightforward as well. Any mechanic should feel comfortable working on this car, as it is all standard design, and nothing 'clever'.

Handling is OK, but it designed for the American market, so is not up to European standards of cornering at speed.

Fuel economy of the 2.0 is standard for this year and size of engine - 23 mpg in town, and 35 on the motorway.

The car is in its element on the motorway, being quiet at 70 mph, and the seats being large and comfortable. I recently completed a 7 hour journey, with no major discomfort felt.

The boot is large and held clothes, toys etc for the 2 kids and adults with no trouble.

The interior is its weak point, being cheap looking for the European market. However, it is still large, spacious, with all round electric windows, aircon and a drink cup holders for all 4 occupants. Good storage as well for bits and pieces whilst inside. I find that people like being driven around in it, as it is so 'nice' inside.

The auto gearbox is good, seems to find the right gears most of the time, and you can use the manual override when going up or down very steep hills.

Car tax has gone up to £245, as the government wants to encourage drivers to use smaller cars.

Group 10 insurance - standard for this type of car.

Obviously, it is a Hyundai, so people will not rate it. But you can quietly count all the money you have saved whilst driving around in a very comfortable, quiet and capable car. Then other peoples opinions on what badge you have seem somewhat irrelevant.

Highly recommended as a budget secondhand buy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th August, 2010

11th Jun 2011, 19:11

I would just like to say that I agree completely with this review. I have owned my Sonata 2 Litre CDX Auto for 7 years, and in that time, all that has broken has been a couple of engine sensors and a side light bulb.

With reference to the comment that the interior looks cheap, all I can say is that it has stood up to 7 years of ownership very well indeed, and it looks as good today as it did when I bought the car with 22000 on the clock.

Some may smile, but the one thing that keeps me scratching my head is that my car is still on the factory exhaust system that it had from new??? To my mind this is nothing short of amazing, considering the penchant of the British authorities for scattering liberal amounts of salt on our roads every winter. In the same context, I would add that the bodywork / paint work looks as good as the day I bought it too.

In conclusion, I would just like to add that if you are in the market for a comfortable and spacious family car, that is a relaxing drive, that feels well planted on the road, and is capable of a bit of press on driving if required, at very sensible money, give a Hyundai Sonata some serious consideration.

2002 Hyundai Sonata GLS 2.4L 4 cylinder from North America


A great "A" to "B" and even "C" car, with great fuel economy for cruising


Major issues:

Rusted engine cradle was discovered. This problem was found a mere three weeks after a safety check in early June 2009. Hyundai would later commit to a recall and would cover my initial cost.

Engine coil pack:

More of an annoying issue, but I have had the coil pack changed on my car upon initial purchase through the purchase of the car at the dealership (not a Hyundai dealership). Every time it rains excessively, the coil pack gets wet and doesn't properly regulate the spark to my spark plugs, therefore it idles rough and the engine light turns on, saying there is a misfire for cylinder three. Once it dries, the problem is gone and the engine light disappears.

Minor issues:

Timing belt: Ever since I have owned the car, the timing belt would squeal on a wet, humid or snowy day. It would even squeal when the engine was cold. It would also squeal when you would drive through a puddle, or if there was a lot of snow on the road you were driving on. I changed all four of my belts and it still squeals; not really a big issue when you know what it is. I have even adjusted it many times, and it would only be a temporary fix for about a week, and it would restart doing it again.

General Comments:

I bought the car used in 2009 after my 1992 Honda Accord had met its demise. I was in hurry to buy a car and needed a midsized sedan, and for my price range, the Sonata was a steal. I loved the fact that it was a 4 cylinder, had a six speaker sound system, power group, and was probably one of the cleanest cars I have seen (with barely any scratches, although the rear panels around the fenders would later begin to rust at an alarming rate).

When I first test drove the car, it made a great first impression. After trying well over 15 cars in one day, ranging from similar era Sentra and Accents, those cars felt too small to me and underpowered. The Sonata felt right at home in size and performance, even for a 4 cylinder. The suspension, though not as tight as my Accord, was more comfortable and less choppy, but you could feel the weight of the car a bit more, and there was slightly more body roll compared to my Accord.

For a 4 cylinder, I was impressed; it wasn't quick off the line, as the 1st gear for the automatic was sluggish, but the car would wake up at around 50 Km/h, and would gain even more speed once you hit 2nd. This car was easy to bring up and even keep to highway speeds. The cabin was very quiet, no rattles, barely any wind noise, only mild tire noise could be heard. I bought the car that very same day for a just price of $5500 CND.

The problems began right after first buying my car, but in all justice, it wasn't the cars fault; more of the backroad dealership's fault, as they gave me the car "safetied and e-tested" but that's it. No fluid changes, and it desperately needed it as the tranny fluid was as black as my oil, and my oil wasn't changed for well over 5,000 kms. My technician estimates that the tranny fluid was never changed in the life of the car (106,000 kms old). The car was never cleaned, inside or out.

My technician began to change all fluids, and that's when he noticed that by merely tapping at the engine cradle, his fist went through the structure of the car. He immediately took pictures of the cradle, and we would begin our long 2 weeks of trying to have our questions answered of how this car passed safety with three burnt out tail lights, and a terribly rusted engine cradle. Thanks to our persistence, the dealership covered the cost of the brake lights and the engine cradle repairs, as well as the sway bar links that needed to be replaced due to changing the engine cradle. The sway bar links were so rusted, that they snapped when they tried to remove them.

One month after owning the car, I took the car on a 3,000 plus trip to Prince Edward Island. On the first day, it rained for almost 10 hours straight, and my engine light would come on for no reason in Quebec City. It would stay on and off throughout the week, depending on the amount of rain we would have up there. This is where I later learned about the coil pack getting wet, even though it was changed at the garage a mere 3 weeks earlier. It was also on this trip that the belts began squealing during excessive rain, which I would later change, and they still squeal to this day, even after numerous adjustments.

Since that first month of owning the car, the last year has been very good; no issues except the one of this afternoon where my power steering hose was so terribly corroded, it bent and would leak excessively.

One thing I learned about this car, is if you don't rust proof them regularly (which in 7 years, it was never done except on my first year of owning it), they rust very quickly. Make sure before buying one that you put it on a lift and check the undercarriage, the fenders, the bottom of all four doors, and the pillars of the doors for rust.

I am still very impressed with the performance of the 4 cylinder, although I would have preferred it as a manual, since the 1st gear is sluggish, but the tranny works great and shifts smoothly, and it has plenty of passing power, even for a 4 banger. I manage to get a strong 39-40 MPG Imperial gallons for a mixture of city and highway on a spring and summer day, and about 29-30 mpg on the coldest winter days (-37 degrees Celsius).

I would definitely own another one, or another Hyundai. It's a great car for long trips and hauling people, with plenty of trunk space to go around for a week trip for 2 people in P.E.I. It has great fuel economy, and it rides confidently at 130 Km/h in New Brunswick, and I still get 36 MPG.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st June, 2010