Reader Review of the Week: 2009 Hyundai Sonata

Reader Review Our reader reviewer set out to buy a new car and figured he would go with a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, but wanted to test-drive other vehicles in the midsize sedan segment. After taking the new 2009 Hyundai Sonata for a test drive, he was impressed enough to purchase one. A month into owning the car, he's very satisfied with his decision. Read the full review, and check out our own first-drive impressions. Post your own reader review here.

Hyundaisonata

"I was going to buy an Accord or Camry when I decided to also test-drive the ‘08 Sonata SE. As soon as I got in I knew it had something special. I had not expected this out of a Hyundai. I couldn't find an '08 when I was ready to purchase it, so I decided to get the '09 Limited V6 instead. It offers heated leather seats and the works. I opted not to get the built-in Bluetooth or navigation (the fewer distractions, the better).

It offers an excellent, comfortable, quiet ride. After 30 days, here's the scoop: Mileage is about 17-18 mpg local, and I'm averaging 23-25 on the highway (not great, but not bad considering it's a 249-horsepower six-cylinder). The ride is very smooth and the trunk space is impressive. The main difference from the '08 is that the ride is smoother and the engine has more punch, the seats are plusher, the dashboard is cleaner and it has Audi-style redesigned headlights.

"So what if its resale value is not like its peers in its class? Consider the money you would have laid out for the others with the same features. If you're looking for value, style and performance in a midsize sedan, give this car serious consideration versus its competitors (Camry, Accord, Malibu and the like)."

Comments 

"...So what if its resale value is not like its peers in its class?..."

May be this reviewer never heared word "economics".

Brad

Tony is right on the money. Hyundai presents a tremendous value up front, however if you don't keep the car for at least 5-7 years you will take a significant financial hit when you go to sell or trade-in. My neighbor bought a base Sonata as a second car and he's very happy with it. My wife and I went for the Camry for our daughter who's heading off to college this Fall. I figure if she beats the hell out of it in four years it'll still be worth something.

Rob

Wow, either Hyundai wrote this or they have been incredibly successful in their sales and marketing. Of course, legend has it that much of the marketing and advertsing on cars is actually aimed at those who have already bought one, in hopes that they will feel good about their purchase and tell alll their friends.

Russell

Tony, maybe you don't know the meaning of "economics."

Economics means trade offs. Since the buyer paid less for the car compared to higher traded-in value cars, the buyer made an economic decision. It is a perfectly legitimate economic choice. The Trade-in-Value is future value that's not set. The market condition can change and the x-car may not be worth as much as it was predicted before.

Also, cars come with the future trade-in-value factored in with the car. So, even if the Camry has a better trade-in-value, it doesn't mean it is a better choice.

Bowrider

Hey Russell. Don't be mad at Tony. He just likes to put on opinionated posts with no factual basis.

The fact is, guys, that money you save up front on Hyudai will be spent on insurance, which is higher for Hyuindais then Hondas, and depreciation. You will be pressed to find a buyer of your Hyundai, just like their dealers pressed to find them. You right, the market changes. But at this point buying a Hyundai is not wise economical decision. Go to e-bay and find 2 year old Hyundais being sold half the MSRP or 60% of invoice price. Don't forget, the numbers you see are for the cars, which were sold. But many are looking and looking and looking for the new owner. Of course, many people don't give then up for nothing but they can't sell them. American people still afraid to drive Hyundai. Give then 10 years and it will be big difference.

Liger

Tony-

I sold new Hyundais for 4 years (2000-2003), and Hyundai's were not a hard car to sell. It was not unusual for us to run out of Sonata's, Santa Fe's and even the Elantra (after a big sale) throughout the year. All the cars turned very quickly and the Santa Fe's had a strong resale value (at that time anyway), the Sonata's weren't too bad either come trade in time. I had many customers who wrecked their Hyundai, and came back to purchase almost the EXACT same car after they got their insurance money. The dealership I worked at also sold Dodge. I bet we sold 50 Sonata's for every 1 pos Stratus. Now that was a hard sell.

Liger,
it was long time that you've sold your last Hyundai.... Also remember that in your town Hyundai might be more popular then somewhere else. And in your time they had to come from Korea and now they built in quantities here.

Here are some real numbers for 2007:
(some BRANDS)

Chrysler –10.5% at 543,011 (2006: 604,874)
Dodge –2.1% at 1,058,402 (2006: 1,077,579)
Ford –13.9% at 2,101,244 (2006: 2,433,086)
GMC 4.8% at 505,746 (12/06: 481,222)
===========================================
Honda 4.5% at 1,371,438 (2006: 1,308,135)
Hyundai 2.2% at 467,009 (2006: 455,520)
===========================================
Infiniti 4.5% at 127,038 (2006: 121,146)
Kia 3.5% at 305,473 (2006: 294,302)
Mazda 9.8% at 296,110 (2006: 268,786)
Mercedes 1.8% at 253,433 (2006: 248,080)
Mercury –7.2% at 168,422 (2006: 180,848)
Nissan 4.5% at 941,200 (2006: 898,103)
Pontiac –13% at 358,022 (2006: 410,229)
Saturn 5.7% at 240,091 (2006: 226,375)
Subaru –7.0% at 187,208 (2006: 200,703)
Suzuki 0.6% at 101,884 (2006: 100,990)
Toyota 2.9% at 2,291,648 (2006: 2,220,090)
Volkswagen –2.3 at 230,572 (2006: 235,140)


As you see, even today Honda sells 3 times of Hyundai. And I have to tell you that Hyundai is catching up big time. Still, its models not as fuel efficient as corresponding Japanese leading brands and generally, not as advanced technologically. Still they have no hybrid to offer. But unlike some manufacturers, they rolling in the right direction. Eventually they will earn trust from American people and will become sort of... Honda.

Dave

A co-worker of mine just bought a 2009 Sonata this weekend. Her price was $5K below an '08 Accord that had fewer features, a less roomy interior, and worse EPA gas mileage estimates. Her insurance quote was only $8 a month higher for the Hyundai over the Honda. I have never been in a Hyundai before today, and I was truly impressed - even without the economic benefits.

Dave,
your statement is too general. Tell us what model she's got with which options and to which Accord you compare.
As interior goes, Accord's interior is just literally milimeters smaller in the back. But one area they still can't get to Accord is the ride and comfort.
As price goes, I suspect some exaggeration here. Don't forget that right now you can get Accord straight for the invoice.

iSpec

Serious financial hit, really? You'd better rethink your 'economics'

Hyundai's much lower price on a limited ($5k) saves on financing, the 4% resale value difference is eaten up by lower operating costs and the better mileage saves on gas at nearly $4/gallon. Are you taking into account these issues when you figure your 'economics'.
The differences when you factor in all these issues is so minimal that a Sonata is actually a bargain. Most auto publications note this.

gregm

My next car is a Hyundai.. I have been waiting for the Genesis for nearly two years now and the time has nearly come... Hyundai is moving up!

BTW - I drive an Accord. I love it, but I am a man of value, good warranty, tons of value. Hyundai is spot on. I should also say that 5 years ago I would not have touched a crazy "h" with a ten foot pole, since they moved operations to the U.S. I trust the build quality as much as any GM out there. You should also notice that a Genesis sits atop of this website.. look up /\

Russell

Car and Driver just had an article where it says the Hyundai and Malibu's inline-4 have the highest gas mileage.

Also, MPG difference between these cars are very small. They are almost equal. Hyundai engines now have dual vvt.

I recently drove 2009 Hyundai Sonata inline-4. It had 5 speed auto. On the high way it had very good 2200 rpm range. I thought it was V6 because, it was quiet and had low rpm. I usually associate low rpm on high speed with V6 or V8... But this car... was right on.

I have 3.8 Azera right now. Hyundai 4 cylinder is very adequate. Today's $4 per gallon era.. I think 4 cylinder looks like a winner to me. And the car was very quiet, solid, and... had a good feel to it...

I think Hyundai is now on par with Japanese technology. I mean, Hyundai has/had diesel, V6, V8... Honda doesn't. Hyundai/Kia produces more cars than Honda/Acura world wide.

I think Hyundais are very good now.

>

You can save 3500 to 4500 over a comparable Camry on this car, counting in rebates. I concur with Tony the insurance cost is strangely higher for Hyundais, but not that much so.
Plus you do have to take into consideration, financing. Because the car costs more you end paying more interest to the loan company and you are waiting several years to get in your "resale" value...that is if you sell it; many people rather do a easy trade-in on a new car and they aren't getting full pop on their used car.

I think it is smarter have my $4500 staying in my bank account or mutual fund/stock for several years earning income, than wait several years to get my resale benefit. I'd rather have my money working for me, than it being in the loan company's hands working for them.

Car depreciation is a bitch. The easy fix is to keep the car longer. No one's twisting anybody's arm to keep a car for only 5 years.

Alex

We have 2008 Camry LE V6 and just purchased 2009 Sonata i4 limited. My wife who originally even did not want to look at Sonata, now likes it better than her Camry. Don't get me wrong, Camry is a fine car but with Sonata you get so much more for your money! All the bells a whistles for the same price as Camry LE. And we purchased through Costco which means we paid $100 over invoice on both cars. We paid almost the same price for Camry and Sonata, maybe $200 difference.
I get 36MPG on highway according to the trip computer which is greatly exceeds my expectations on mileage.
Camry lately has cheapish plastic inside and Sonata is appointed very nicely, even base model.
Do yourself a favor, if you are getting new car, check out new Sonata. I never thought I would purchase Hyundai but after looking at one I am sold. And I did a lot of homework too on all the safety ratings and reliability.

Also look at new Genesis, now that is the car I would get if it had better mileage!

Sylvia

I am on my SECOND Sonata and am looking to either lease or purchase a THIRD one when our lease is up soon. I absolutely LOVE this car. PLUS - I had a computer glitch with my first Sonata, and had to call the 800 number -- the Hyundai people on the other end did this 1) made sure FIRST that I was in a safe place (wow); 2) they confirmed they had help on the way; 3) they called ME back three times to make sure I was SAFE and still okay; 4) when tow company was not there fast enough, they made sure they were in touch with them to get them to me. I say that is awesome!! Plus, I have a V6 and get almost 30 MPG on highway drives, and no, I do not drive 45mph in the freeway. On long trips, I consistently get 28 to 30 mpg!!!

Steve

Old posts but i am looking at the 2009s now. Tony sounds like a moron. Insurance is no higher on a Hyundai Sonata than a Honda Accord. Also, even Honda reports the Sonata's projected depreciation only 6-8% below the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry respectively . Add to that fact that I can pick up a Sonata V6 Limited for $19K and change (oh yes, I shopped around) and I can't see any reason to choose a Camry or Accord. You canm't get either for anywhere near that.

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