A family sedan that’s comfortable and well-built, the Sonata is a vehicle that’s similar to both the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Fitted with generous amenities, the Sonata is widely available in the used market, as well as being bought brand new.
But does this auto represent good value for money, and can the reliability be trusted? Here’s more info on buying a used Hyundai Sonata.
When it was first introduced in 1985, the Hyundai Sonata was a model beset by problems. So much so, that the manufacturer sold it with an unheard-of 10 year warranty. To put that into context, the warranty was three times as long as other warranties provided by car manufacturers at the time.
Fast forward a few years and things started to change. With a complete wheels-up redesign taking place every 4-5 years, the Sonata has steadily become one of the top-selling models for Hyundai.
From around 1990 onwards, the Sonata has been the epitome of reliability and a popular vehicle in the used market. There is one small exception to this: Sonatas which were manufactured in 2011-2012. A number of cars in this generation of Sonatas suffered from a seized engine with no rhyme or reason when the fault would occur. In some vehicles the engine seized very quickly while in others, it managed more than 100k miles before developing the fault.
According to the NHTSA, this fault was due to small pieces of metal being left in the engine and subsequently Hyundai recalled 2011 and 2012 Sonatas for inspection. As well as checking them over, owners received an extended warranty from Hyundai of up to 120,000 miles.
Although it was just the 2011 and 2012 models that were identified as having a problem and recalled, there seems to have been a trickle of similar complaints on 2013 Sonatas too. However, this has not been officially recognized and Hyundai have not offered any redress for these. Models from 2010 and before, and post-2014 all seem to be free of the issue.
Sonatas tend to depreciate very quickly in the early years with a price that levels off later on. Therefore if you’re looking for the best deals, opt for a Sonata that’s more than a few years old. If you’re looking for a real bargain, Sonatas which are still running from the 1990s have shown to have wonderful reliability.
With reference to cost, another factor to consider is maintenance. Compared to similar cars, Hyundais are more expensive to service; think along the lines of a BMW rather than a Ford and you’ll get the idea. There is a bright spot on the horizon though, any problems tend to be very cheap to fix.
The seventh generation of Sonatas may offer a good compromise between value and performance. The 2015 was named as the Best Midsize Car for the Money, while the 2016 model ranked alongside the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Chevrolet Malibu for top car in the category. Out of the four, critics placed the Sonata top for technology, cabin comfort and safety, and only lagging by a small amount on performance.
Ultimately, the used Hyundai Sonata you choose to invest in will depend on the budget you have available for purchase. Whether you opt for a bargain model from the 1990s or a more recent generation Sonata, you should be the proud owner of an auto which offers reliability, comfort and convenience for many years to come.