Used Hyundai Sonata Saloon 2001 - 2005 review

Category: Family car

It's fine if you want a large, undemanding, toy-laden saloon that's cheap to buy

Used Hyundai Sonata Saloon 2001 - 2005
  • Used Hyundai Sonata Saloon 2001 - 2005
  • Used Hyundai Sonata Saloon 2001 - 2005
Used Hyundai Sonata Saloon 2001 - 2005 review
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Steve Huntingford
Published01 January 2006

What's the used Hyundai Sonata saloon like?

The Sonata is the kind of car that lures people in because they can't believe they can get something with so much kit and so much space for so little money.

Don't think for a minute that you're buying a cut-price refined Japanese or dynamic German executive car, however.


It's fine if you want a large, undemanding, toy-laden saloon that's cheap to buy

  • There's plenty of kit for your money and it should give trouble-free motoring
  • The Sonata's styling is odd, the drive is dull and the car lacks any real executive class

The Sonata is all about undemanding mediocrity on the road - and in some respects it doesn't quite make it as far as mediocre. The engines aren't refined and your passengers won't like the body lean in corners or the unsettled ride around town. The handling is unrewarding, too.

It's much better on a cruise, though. The ride improves, it's reasonably quiet and you can enjoy the roomy, well-stocked cabin.

There's also a massive boot and, if that isn't enough, the rear bench splits and folds. To cap it all, the driving position is good, the controls are easy to use and you get a lot of comfort and safety kit, too.

Ownership cost

What used Hyundai Sonata saloon will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Hyundai Sonata saloon?

For a fully loaded, large V6 saloon - the one to go for - it's cheap to buy. The worst of depreciation will have already taken its toll, so you shouldn't lose much when you resell it.

Servicing is every 10,000 miles or 12 months, but it won't work out that cheap, especially if you go to a franchised dealer. A BMW 5 Series is likely to work out cheaper, although you won't be looking at Mercedes E-Class or Jag S-Type money.

If a Sonata does go wrong - and it's out of its very generous five-year warranty - it shouldn't be too much of a wallet-basher to sort it. Hyundais are among the cheapest cars to fix, according to Warranty Direct.

Insurance costs are average (group 10 for the 2.0, 12 for the 2.5 and 14 for the 2.7), much like the fuel bills. Expect about 30mpg from the 2.0 and high-20s from the V6s.

Our recommendations

Which used Hyundai Sonata saloon should I buy?

The Sonata is one of the cheapest ways to get a big V6 saloon - and V6 is the route to take. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol doesn't have enough puff and is more unrefined than the V6. Yes, you'll save some money at the pumps, but not enough to make it worth it.

There are two V6s available - a 160bhp 2.5 on earlier cars and a better 176bhp 2.7 on later models. Even so, don't expect strong, smooth pull. The V6s sound a bit diesel-like when cold and they're coarse when revved hard.

GSi models are the cheapest, but even these are crammed with kit - air-con, remote central locking, electric windows and mirrors, anti-lock brakes. However, we'd go for CDX trim with its alloys, CD player and, on V6 models, climate control, extra airbags, leather, traction and cruise controls and CD multi-changer.

Hyundai dealers have the best used Sonatas, but the classifieds can throw up good cheaper ones.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Hyundai Sonata saloon?