1989 Hyundai Sonata, Bought in 1990 - was a dealer demo with 4,000km on it.
Recurring problems with CV boots splitting, replaced front axles at one point due to wear. This is mostly my fault as I drove it under harsh conditions quite often.
Air conditioning compressor has leaked freon since the car was bought; could never maintain a charge longer than 4 months.
Clearcoat on paint peeled, as did many cars the same model year.
Now has 186,000km on it, still driving fine. I think this car doesn't owe me or my family anything; maintenance hasn't been unusual in my eyes.
I am very happy with this car and while it's not looking so pretty anymore, it functions perfectly. I hope every car I buy is as generally reliable as this one has been.
I just acquired a 1989 Hyundai Sonata 2.4 and I love it! I bought it for $500 and it runs perfectly, not to mention its fully loaded. I have plans to drop a turbocharged 300+ hp engine into this beast! I would much rather a 2002 Sonata though... looks better.
If you put a turbocharger in it, please call me! I want to see that (and I'll do the same after)
I'd like to see one with a turbo in it too. I recently bought one. It runs great, except it had a hole in the radiator and I needed to replace the fuel pump.
I own one since 1999 and my mother owns one since 94. If I would have the money, I would swap the engine for a 4G63T (from a turbo eclipse). It's almost a bolt-on swap... The transmission is the same than a 1.6L turbo Mirage and could be used with the turbo 2.0L.
Hyundai has never been known for making a dependable automatic transmission. Their power windows have always been problematic. But oddly enough, with the exception of the door handles, they are very solid well built cars. Yeah, I can't explain it either. I owned a used car lot for awhile and bought all my vehicles. I bought a '95 Sonata, and 2 '96 Accents, 1 hatchback and 1 sedan. All 3 were surprisingly solidly built cars. I was impressed with that. I don't think any of them had major annoying squeaks or rattles. Overall, I was also very impressed with the way they drove. The seats were comfortable, the interiors roomy for their respective sizes, great working AC systems, and good gas mileage. The '95 Sonata was pretty damn problematic, but it was a very nice driving car. Smooth, quiet, fast (3.0L V6), and handled great. The Accents were rough riding and noisy, but they were cheap econo cars, so that didn't surprise me. They were excellent on gas, roomy, and had comfy seats for a tiny cheap car. The hatchback had 103k miles and ran excellent. I did however have to replace the transmission. The Accent sedan had 112k miles and ran even better. No mechanical issues with that car AT ALL. I was impressed. The common issues with these Hyundais seem to be automatics with short life spans and gremlins when they do work, cheap plastic door handles that break way too easily (I think I had to replace 5 between the 3 cars), and windows that burn motors and go crooked off track far too often.
I'm puzzled to see how lightly Hyundai has been treated thinking about how much problems there is with their cars. Transmissions on their compact cars are very bad and you are lucky if it lasts 100K. Effectively it means that Accents seldom have a life expectancy much beyond 100K. We have first hand experience on crappy Accent transmissions. They are not made to last.
Some other brands have problems too like the Ford/Mazda FWD transmissions in the past. When a Mazda transmission blows up at 100K people are shouting all over the place. The same happens in a Hyundai people go 'well it lasted 100K so that's good'.
Maybe because folk doesn't expect anymore from a Hyundai?
I think the above comment is right. People know Hyundai has a bad reputation, so when something major does go wrong, it's not shocking. But people except better quality from other brands, but when those other brands have low quality issues, they are dissapointed. If you get 100k miles out of a Hyundai transmission, that's great! If you don't even get that much out of a Ford or Mazda (with is commonplace), that seems pretty crappy.