Up Close: Hyundai's New Navigation System


Hyundai is clearly late to the navigation game. As recently as 2007, top-of-the-line models like the Veracruz and Azera didn't have any system, while competitors offered it all the way down to their compact cars. That's changed: The Veracruz, Santa Fe and Azera offer navigation for 2008, the all new Genesis sedan has a different high-end system entirely while the restyled 2009 Sonata debuting at the Chicago Auto Show features Hyundai's all-new proprietary system.

The Sonata's navigation system is the real deal. I spent some quality with a fully operative unit and here's what I learned.

The unit sits high in the Sonata's dash on a 6.5-inch screen — not as big as the 8-inch screen in the Accord, but competitive with most others. The graphics are first-rate, with clear labels for streets and landmarks, though individual buildings aren't outlined, as they are on Toyota's navigation system. Hyundai put a premium on usability, and it shows: There's a POI button on the main map to bring up points of interest, and under the Setup display there's a full help menu with descriptions of each button. Should you need to find an intersection, the system allows you to input the city it's in. That's helpful. I've used systems without a city input, and if you can't remember the exact name of each street (boulevard, lane or avenue?) you can get stuck with every 3rd and Main from here to Cleveland.

The system uses a touch-screen, and it's pretty adept at figuring out what you're trying to do. I wish Hyundai had placed a few more shortcut buttons along the side, though. Honda is a champion of this, as most of its navigation systems employ a joystick to scroll the map. The Sonata's system works like most others, so you have to hold your finger on the map to move around. Sigh.

On the audio menus, the radio presets display their stations, so instead of 1 through 6 you have 93.1, 104.3, etc. That's nice, especially if you forget your presets like I do. On satellite radio, you can punch in exactly which station you want with a number pad instead of having to browse a list of 100-plus channels. (If you prefer, you can do that, too.)

Unfortunately, Hyundai doesn't break out the radio presets onto hard buttons above or below the screen, so setting a station requires holding your finger down on the on-screen button. Other systems that do this prove especially vexing - if you're driving and hit a bump, you're back to whatever old station was there.

All told, this isn't a bad start. I'm looking forward to seeing how well the system routes us around Chicago. Some of my favorite ones have become hopelessly befuddled with foul weather or tricky one-way roads — and if the system can't get you where you need to go, all those tidy graphics start to look a lot less friendly.



So how much is the option? With built-in Navs costing about $2000 and punishing resale values perhaps H could offer it at under $1500. That would represent real value.

Aftermarket units just get better and cheaper but built in units just get better, not cheaper.

They haven't announced prices on the nav yet.


given the Infinity brand marked on the faceplate, I'm going to wager that the navigation is made by Harman-Becker.


Just because it's infinity doesn't mean it's made by them. They license out their technologies to other companies. It's most likely made by LG. Maybe even Hyundai autonet. The Audio system has some harman components. So yeah.

Troy in Ft Walton Beach

I prefer to buy a car on it's design, performance, reliability and resale value. To me, this is just a gimmick to wow the consumer when he/she sits behind the wheel for a test drive or during a first peek on the showroom.

I've driven for the past 20 years all over the country and have not once needed an indash nav system. A 10.00 Atlas and a little pre-trip planning has worked perfectly.


Well, Hyundai tried to hold out on offering navs but clueless consumers demand it so...gotta give the consumer what they want.

Troy, you've been blessed with a sense of direction, of which I have none. I find nav systems a godsend, albeit an expensive one.

Jim and rv65, we spoke with Hyundai and they said the speakers, amp and tuning calibration is by Infinity -- hence the logos on the head unit -- but the unit itself is from Hyundai Autonet.

Is the navigation system DVD or Hard Drive based? Some people say the LG unit in other models uses a memory card. Curious since Hyundai hasn't mentioned this yet.

I sat in a 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe. It has the Navigation system. When the faceplate is "opened" you can see where the DVD slot is. Under the slot you can see where the memory card is installed. The user manual says that it has 128 Mb of SDRAM.
The short answer to the question is neither. Not DVD, not hard drive. It is "flash" memory, kinda like what you find in Tom-Tom.


I just purchased a 2008 sante fe with the In-dash audio, DVD & Navigation system. Everything works good. The only disappointment was finding out that the In-Dash DVD player does not work while the car is in motion. The salesman didn't tell me about that. Does anyone know how to get it to show the picture during driving. You can still hear the movie just no visual.

Any help is appreciated.

That is a safety feature. Meaning you shouldn't be watching video while driving.

You can only disable it via the aftermarket.

According to a gentlemen at the below link, he had a technician disable some sort of cable that attaches to the in-dash nav that detects when you are in motion and now works fine. Here is the details of what he says and a you tube video he posted along with it. I have a 2008 veracruz limited with the in-dash nav and will be getting an aftermarket rear dvd for my daughter and road trips, i'm going to see if I can get the car audio tech running the install to disconnect this cable as well. I can try to repost with further information when I get it.


Thank you,


I'm shocked to see no references in this thread to what is a growing national scandal for the Sonata's Navigation system. I have a 2009 Sonata Limited with 2500 miles on it.

A few weeks ago my nav screen began to act strangely. The screen would stay on the blue 'Hyundai' for a long time before going over to Navigation or Sound system, or would stay on for as long as I drove the car.

A week ago, the blue screen didn't show up at all. Instead, there was only a gray screen that flickered. Within another few days, that was replaced by wild flashes of blue screen, gray screen and video-gone-wild -- like a TV that's gone nuts. And there's no way to shut it off without shutting off the car. It's now completely undriveable at night -- and not much better during the day. I'm worried it might set off an epileptic fit. Seriously.

Here are the steps I took to address the problem:

1: I googled the flickering screen. Nothing.
2: I called Hyundai Net and spoke to a technician, Charlie. Didn't get two words into describing it when he stopped me. Turns out Hyundai has known about this problem for some time. The original units had bad chip sets. Charlie said the chip sets were fixed, the bad units recalled from the distribution centers, and new units sent out.
3: Naively, I called my dealer to arrange to bring the car in to have the bad unit pulled and a new one put in, only to discover that there are NO units. Anywhere in the country. They are on back order for months, if not the foreseeable future.

This is simply unacceptable. I paid a premium price for the car, and an extra $1200 for the navigation unit. That it should not only break after 2500 miles -- bad enough -- but that it should render the car extremely difficult to drive and never mind the fact that I also can't use either the nav system itself or even the radio is outrageous in the extreme.

Here are the steps I'm going to take to be made whole:

1: I will take videos of the problem and upload them to YouTube.
2: I will start a blog about the problem, urging customers to buy any other car but a Hyundai. There will be links to the videos as well.
3: I will contact Consumerist.org and have them report the story and link to the blog and videos. That will get the story and links on Digg, Facebook, and the rest of the net.
4: I will start a Twitter feed, marking every single day the problem remains unfixed.
5: I will take Hyundai to small claims court and sue them for the $1200, bringing the videos with me to be played on my cell phone. I have no doubt I will win.

I urge everyone who owns a 2009 Hyundai model with a Nav unit and who is reading this to bookmark this post. When your unit breaks down -- and if it is an original unit it WILL break down -- you may want to follow in my footsteps. I'll report any progress made back on this thread. Hyundai needs to know that it cannot cause major problems for its customers and refuse to do anything about it.


I had the same problem about a year ago. Luckily (or unluckily) it happened about a week after I bought the car, about 400 miles. I took the car back to the dealership who said, "I don't know what the problem could be." A week later they said "We know about this problem," "The units are on back order," and "We can order you a unit but no telling when it will be here." I bought the car in Chicago, but I was relocating to Oklahoma. Of course I left Chicago without navigation. Two months later I finally got the call that my unit was in. In Chicago. Hyundai had to ship it to a dealership in Oklahoma. Now I have a new unit (XM stopped working) and sometimes it lags but for the most part I am know a happy customer with this unit.

bill curtin

I have the same problem with my brand new 09 Sonata. Didn't want the navigation system to begin with because of the cost. Salesperson talked me into it and told me how wonderful it was, now I am finding out that it was nothing but a lie. It has been one month now and been told the same backorder story with no idea when they will be in. I live in Riverhead, Long Island and I am dealing with a local dealer and very disappointed. I have called Hyundai's main office - spoken to the dealer - they all understand my frustration but nobody can do anything about it. This is totally unacceptable. When it does get fixed and no one knows when, will they extend the warranty on the radio and nav system for the time I was unable to use - I was told no, it is 3 years or 36,000 miles - sorry. I was thinking about having magnetic signs made for the doors explaining briefly the nav system is a major problem in these cars and addvising them not to order this option. I think it would be great if we could get a nationwide movement to do the same.


Just bought a 2010 Santa Fe with Nav option. Taking it in for techs to to correct stutter problem with map voice. BIG problem is that no User Manual is supplied for Nav unit operation. Looking online for one but no joy yet.

Derrick G


P/N MFL37340872 is a 36-page manual for the Nav/DVD player in the Azera, Santa Fe, and Veracruz. It should have come with your car, but your dealer should be able to order it if not. You can see it online by registering yourself as a Hyundai owner at


After you register, you can also see TSB's and the Shop Manual on that site. The Nav manual is under Service Information then OM from the home page.

David B. Dannheiser

I would find it very helpful if there was some kind of class yto teach people how to use all the features the new navigation system offers.something like window offers with a new system. If anyone knows of such class please contact me by e- mail.
Thanks Dave.

Al Cohen

I recently purchased a 2010 Hyundai Elantra with the built in combination Navigation and Bluetooth systems. Even though I own a brand new 2010 cellular telephone I am unable to probram in the phonebook. The manual that came with the vehicle contains 3 pages of telephones that are compatible with the system however the list of telephones contain telephones that are all 2 or 3 years old, hence most are no longer even available for purhcase.
How does one obtain a list of the most current cellular telephones that are compatible with this system?

Al Cohen


I have a 2009 Sonata and the nav system went out before I has 3000 miles on the car. They replaced the unit but it always had problems and now I have over 36K miles on the car it has gone completely out and Hyundai won't talk warranty with me. They have a known problem and should stand by the customer and fix it. So much for "the nations best warranty". Looks like a good class action lawsuit to me.


guys i need this nav and am living in KSA can any one help me how to get it.


As a matter of fact, even today , 10.05.2011, the Hyundai representatives are not dealing with their customers as first class customer and that is a pity.

I have left my Sonata in agent 24 in tehran to be equipped with original Nav. systems but the agent 204 has equipped it with funny caska CA 1622 G model!!!!!!! and collected 800 $ for that unusual Nav. systems

I do not think to Hyundai as my choice for my next new purchase.


I bought a 2011 Sonata with the navagation system, big mistake, my $100.00 tom tom could run circles around it. It will give me routes that make no sense what so ever, I always need to map out my routes, because it may send me out for a much longer ride.

Donald Spiegel

I have a 2009 Sonata Limited with digital navigation system. Bought new in Oct 2009. It worked well for a year or so, but would not get me home by the most obvious direct route. It was pretty good getting me around to most locations and I liked the voice guidance especially. Finally, the other day, it quit working entirely on 1.5/12with only a white screen. None of the buttons worked, but the FM radio works. But you have to use the knob to change the station since the screen is blank. I took it to the dealer on 1/8/12 and it is to be replaced under the warranty. We'll see what problems I have when the new one is installed. I was told the part should come in by 1/11.


I bought the 2012 Sonata Limited with the Nav package, they lied and told me that the map updates are free each yr. You get a post card and just go in to get the update. Well that is a huge lie. It's over 200 dollars depending on where you go and I use the Nav quite often. Just so everyone knows if they didn't, there are big changes each year with the updates every Oct. They have a 3rd party company make it for them and the dealership charges you if you want to update the system. Not only does it update the roads etc...it now has the speed limit in some area's and it loads much faster as well as the interface being sharper and faster to use. POI are also updated. Problem is they told me it was free and just said bring it in when you get the post card. Well they charge whenever you want it and I drive a lot for work. It's not anywhere in writing in any of their paperwork or manuals. Hyundai admits to this and will not pay anything. They just say, pay and we "might" pay you back. I'm going legal with this and please contact me if you wish to as well. Maxefforts@aol.com


Paid the extra $1,500 bucks for the Navigation/XM Radio/Bluetooth upgrade on my 2010 Hyundai Elantra. It's been an absolute nightmare from day one.

1) Every time I start the engine, the radio automatically turns on at full volume. So I literally have to hold my fingers on the volume knob to quickly turn it down before it blows my eardrums out.

2) The Bluetooth has never been able to function with any of the numerous cell phones I've had over the years.

3) I've had consistent problems with the screen freezing up, sometimes just showing the blue Hyundai screen, other times just a black screen with static noise coming through the speakers with no way to turn the noise off.

4) I've taken it in the dealer at least two dozen times over the last couple years, every time getting my car back only to find out the problems still existed. At one point, they actually took the unit out of my dash and said they were sending it to corporate to be fixed, and that I would have it back within a week. I waited a full year!! That's right! I had to drive around with a gaping hole in my dashboard (which also means no working radio) for a year. Talk about customer service.

The only way I could make light of the situation was to tell my passengers that someone stole my navigation...lol! At least it always got a good laugh out of people. Still...here I am after all that and it still doesn't even turn on.

I'll never by Hyundai again after this nightmare!

Darryl LeMaster

I bought a 2009 Hundai Sonata Limited and have had a continuing problem with the GPS unit. I have taken it to the dealer a number of times and the last time they actually replaced the unit, supposedly, and it worked fine for a day, then the next time I started the car the screen would remain dark. Yet the next time the car was started, it may well operate perfectly. As far as the car is concerned, I am very pleased with it, but ... Hundai needs to address this issue asap.


I have a 2010 Santa Fe with a navigation system. I have spoken to dealers and corporate so that I can contact the builder of the unit to buy a button cover. No one seems to know who makes the darn thing so that I can contact them. Can anyone help me please? Corporate has phone blocks for all their employees and the only person you can speak to are untrained voices.

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