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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For The Sonata is comfortable and practical. It's cheap to buy and reliable, too

Against It's outclassed on the road by nearly all of its contemporary rivals

Verdict High spec and a low price, but not a great buy

Go for… 2.4-litres

Avoid… All others

Hyundai Sonata Saloon
  • 1. Any gremlins should be ironed out quickly and quietly during the generous five-year manufacturer warranty
  • 2. Every model comes with leather upholstery and the soft-touch dash covering
  • 3. Ensure all the electrical gadgets, including the climate control, work
  • 4. If the alloys are scraped or the tyre tread uneven, check for misaligned suspension
  • 5. The boot is huge and the rear seat splits and folds for extra carrying potential
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Hyundai Sonata Saloon full review with expert trade views

It looks in a different league from the previous version of the Sonata. You wouldn’t call it handsome exactly, but it’s certainly strong, clean-lined and tidy.

The interior also has a more classy look than the old car's. Every model comes with leather upholstery, and the soft-touch dash covering and door cappings add to the sense of luxury. There’s also just about every gadget you could expect – and a few more besides – to keep you comfortable and safe.

It isn’t short of space, either, for passengers or their luggage. The boot is huge and, should you need it, the rear seat splits and folds for even more carrying space.

For all that, though, the Sonata just doesn’t cut it on the road. The engines are mediocre and the dynamics are worse. Most family cars – never mind executive contenders – do it all so much better.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Good for towing a caravan, you wouldn't buy one for any other reason

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

This Audi-meets-Honda-shaped Sonata was launched in 2005 with a 158bhp 2.4 petrol engine, and this is the pick of the bunch for its all-round balance of price, performance and economy.

In 2006, however, it was ditched and three new engines appeared. The cheapest of those on the used market is the 143bhp 2.0 petrol, while a 138bhp 2.0 CRTD turbodiesel gives more muscular real-world pull and good economy. The 232bhp 3.3 V6 petrol version is hot-hatch swift (0-60mph in 7.8 seconds, and a 143mph top speed) but it’s far too much power for this chassis to cope with.

CDX is the only trim level – and you’ll want for nothing. All models come with climate control, leather seats, 17-inch alloy wheels, sat-nav, electronic stability, an alarm and six airbags. The V6 version also has an auto gearbox, six-disc CD changer, rear parking sensors and electric sunroof.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Difficult to retail unless very cheap, best to avoid big engines

James Ruppert
Used car guru

For the age of car you’re getting and the amount of kit, the Sonata looks cheap. However, take care not to stump up too much for a nearly new car because the Sonata depreciates rapidly in its early life.

Servicing bills are steep – you’re looking at the kind of money it takes to maintain a BMW 5 Series and a big chunk more than for a Ford Mondeo. Still, the remainder of the original five-year warranty should cover any reliability issues. If not, Hyundais tend to be cheap to fix, according to Warranty Direct.

Economy's fine, too. The 2.0 turbodiesel stretches to a wallet-friendly 46mpg. Even the 2.0 petrol is gentle on the juice at 35mpg. Both qualify for group 10 insurance, again easy enough to stomach.

The 2.4 petrol will net you group 12 insurance and an average of 33mpg, but you’ll feel the pinch with the V6 model (group 15 and 28mpg).

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Good for towing a caravan, you wouldn't buy one for any other reason

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

The previous Sonata had bullet-proof reliability, and this version looks like being the same. So far, there are no reports of major problems to concern used buyers. That may be because any gremlins are ironed out quickly and quietly during the generous five-year manufacturer warranty. Even so, the Sonata does give the impression of being robust and long-lived, if serviced on time.

A full service history is an absolute must-have. It’s vital if you want to enjoy the balance of that original warranty and you’ll find it harder to resell the car without it.

Be choosy over condition, too. Ignore anything with body damage, a scruffy cabin or kerbed alloys unless the price reflects it. If the alloys are scraped or the tyre tread uneven, check for misaligned suspension. Other than that, ensure all the electrical gadgets, including the climate control, work.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Difficult to retail unless very cheap, best to avoid big engines

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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