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Hyundai Sonata vs. Honda Accord vs. Toyota Camry vs. Ford Fusion

choe13choe13 Posts: 348
edited March 21 in Ford
Now that the 2005 Sonata has been out for a good month and change, i think this comparison makes sense.

I have driven all three cars recently since i'm planning to buy a new family car and all three cars are very good to be qualified as genuine family cars(quiet, quality and not overly sporty(no offense mazda 6 or altima owners)) but after making my analysis i have my mind only on one unless otherwise. I would also like to hear your compararo analysis which will help me with my decision.

Styling : Sonata
Elantra + Audi A6 = Sonata. Hyundai even has admitted they borrowed many cues from the Audi, i even tend to believe this car would make Audi proud. Very clean, classy and will age very well. Honda looks ok, some design cues don't work together very well. Same goes for the Camry, and i hate it how the wheels look so small on this car. Not very tasteful

Interior: Sonata
The layout was very good, good materials, alot more room and comapared to the accord or camry, has a more airy classy feel to it. Sonata was slightly more quieter on idle and while driving, but all three cars are pretty quiet in general. Accord has a more sporty appeal, but felt like it was tight compared to the sonata or camry. Camry feels roomy, and even though the interior is of high quality, there is no class about it.

Engine : Accord 4 cylinder
Fantastic engine that feels like has an added turbo, that kicks in when needed. Smooth revving and a great transmission to go along with it. Camry pulls well but nothing fancy nor does it have any extra juice, but all the time driving it , i thought about the engine, i thought about quality. Sonata has the same feel as the camry. Honda wins

Driving: Even
All three cars are very good in absorbing bumps and are quiet. Camry though has a numb center that bothered me little while driving on the 70 zone. Accords engine made straight driving a pleasure, and the sonata's added quietness made me feel as i was driving a much more expensive car. essentially no outside noise or engine vibrations could be heard

Handling: Sonata
Accords handing is good, but it lacks the elastic feel on its steering. The turning is a little absurb and too eager to please. Camry has the worst handling out of the three, and i just felt really nervous especially if a quick lane change was needed for some reason. Sonata's steering is a little light, but when u try to make a quick change it does not disappoint. I was frankly amazed how composed it was when changing lanes even though on standstill doesn't feel like it has any athletic abilities. I personally liked the way they designed it this way, and has a poor mans mazda 6 steering feel.

Intaginbles: Sonata
More room, more equipment and a large trunk. Accord doesn't have much of an intaginble unless the H emblem means something and the Camry has the biggest trunk out of three and also feels roomy. But the sonata i think did some more homework, and put alot more effort in general.

Price: Sonata
even with the rebates offered for the Accord or Camry, sonata still was over a grand cheaper and had more bells and whistles that came with it. Better value for a car on such par with the accord or camry.

So basically in my analysis the sonata is the winner. The accords heart, its engine is a teaser, but everything else about it turns me off. Camry's steering feel scares me in general, but it is a nice family car for those who like to take their time driving. I have heard about the mid cycle changes happening soon for both Accord and Camry, and when asking the sales man about changes to the car other then exterior and interior look and some extra add ons, everything else(like driving dynamics, engine etc) will stay the same. I'm thinking about the silver Sonata 4 cylinder with 17 inch rims option for it. I welcome any other analysis
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Comments

  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Last week, I had the chance to take a test drive a fully loaded Sonata LX and was very impressed. Over the weekend, I was at Philadelphia Park Racetrack for a Hyundai sponsored and very enjoyable competitive assessment program; the Accord EX V6 and Camry XLE V6 were on hand (as well as many Sonatas). Overall, I'd say the Sonata is the victor, especially at 3K less than the other two.

    Snaking through the pylons as quickly as I could, I found the Sonata LX, with its V6 and well programmed stability control, the easiest to pilot, and the most forgiving. The steering is well weighted and the 17 inch tires provided good grip. The steering didnt feel particularly quick, however, and body roll was less contained than in the Accord.

    The Accord easily provided the best steering feel, with good feedback and sharp response. BUT- even having driven the Accord three times around the same track, I really didnt feel as confident. Without any available stability system, it felt too easy to break tire adhesion and rotate the rear end. The tires were unimpressive and the car felt as if it 'slid' around the course more than it did feel as if it was negotiating it.

    The Camry XLE V6 surprised me. I thought it was going to feel like a barge, but decent tire grip and the VSC (which beeps very annoyingly when activated) helped me cut clean lines. The steering is more similar to the Sonata's than the Accord, but the VSC is more intrusive than in the Sonata (which is typical of Toyota systems). It was not sporty, but it felt more reassuring than the Accord.

    In terms of acceleration, the Accord literally LEAPS off the line. The Sonata is similar, but subjectively, it felt like the Accord might beat it by a few ticks through the quarter. The 210 horse Camry didnt slingshot out of the gates like the other two, but it felt plenty strong, and theres a new Camry around the corner in 9 months. (Plus, theres the 225 horse variant that wasnt at the test drive).

    Braking would seem to go to the Sonata, IMO, with decent but not outstanding pedal feel but what felt like plenty of stopping power. The Accord's pedal is outstanding, but of the three vehicles, it felt as though it had the LEAST raw braking power.... ie.. I got the impression it would stop last. The Camry's pedal is softish at the beginning of its travel.

    I found it amusing that twice I had to abort driving agressively because the folks in front of me were driving so slow that I caught up to them. For the rest of you who attend this event, HAVE FUN! You can be gentle when you buy the car, lol.

    I also drove the Sonata GL 4cylinder around a course that did not feature a competitor. It was fine, but really, the V6 is such a gem in refinement and power that I really cant see purchasing the 4. Around the cones, it had noticeably more limited tire grip than the LX, and I found the 4 speed transmission easily perplexed when I nailed the accelerator, as compared to the V6's 5 speed.

    I dont believe that this 4 cylinder would clock times like the Altima or Accord 4s, perhaps maybe on par with the Camry, but even in the Camry I can get the tires to bark off the line without brake torqueing. (And yes, I know the Sonata has TC, but it didnt activate on the start).

    Thats all the time I have now, but I'll post my impressions on interior and room based on my dealership test drive shortly. Overall, this is a winner among the mainstream sedans, IMO, but moreso in V6 guise. The 4 cylinder is good, but it doesnt stand out as does the 3.3L.

    ~alpha
  • bklynguybklynguy Posts: 275
    Do you think VSA and 17" tires would have made a difference on the Accord EX V6 ? (two features that will probably make it onto the MY06 Accord in about 2 months)

    If I was in the market for the Sonata V6, I would wait at least 7-12 months (new plant, new model, new engine, etc.). Also by that time, the new Camry and better deals will be available. If I was in market for the 4-cylinder and didn't mind Hyundai's omission of folding-mirrors (like we do), I would go for it, but based on Alpha's review, the 4-cylinder appears to fall short in some areas so the V6 may be the one to get.

    ~bklynguy
  • zupzup Posts: 15
    You mean 2006 Hyundai Sonata, the 2005 is the older model.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    Theres no doubt that VSA would have corrected the fishtailing, IMO. But I dont necessarily feel 17 inch tires would have done the trick any better than gripper 16 inch tires. The Camry despite having greater though not excessive body roll, felt gripper. I apologize, but I didnt not have time to check to see which brands/models of tire each wrore.

    FWIW, I didnt say or intend to imply that the 4 cylinder falls short. It is definitely ON PAR with the 4 cylinder Camrys and Accords that Ive driven. However, it isnt necessarily the huge leap forward that the V6 is.

    Best value, IMO, is the GLS V6 w/ Premium Sport Pkg.

    ~alpha
  • gkelgkel Posts: 2
    Which sonata did you buy and what did you get it for? I'm trying to decide between the sonata, accord and altima. So far, I've received a quote on a V6 Sonata with cloth and sunroof for 21875 including taxes and tags.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Afwun, I moved your post to our Sonata Prices Paid & Buying Experience discussion since that's the best place for it. Here's the link - afwun, "Hyundai Sonata: Prices Paid & Buying Experience" #465, 27 Jul 2005 2:07 pm - congrats on your new ride!
  • mbx4stevembx4steve Posts: 21
    Anyone know if the Sonata has been crashed tested? If it has the same or better ratings than Accord, this would be a great car to have.
  • choe13choe13 Posts: 348
    for changing to 2006 sonata.
  • choe13choe13 Posts: 348
    hasn't been tested yet, or the results hasn't been released yet

    but i assume this they added traction , stability and all these extra airbags, the company is taking safety features very seriously. Crash testing could be expected to be above average to stellar
  • jontyreesjontyrees Posts: 159
    Just got back from a trip to Chicago, across to Ohio, and back, in a rented '05 Sonata, and I have to hope that the '06 V6 is a huge leap forward. The thought crossed my mind that they do more than just eat dogs in Seoul - they design them too! That's probably a bit harsh (as well as a gross generalization of the Korean diet), as it did ok on the 4hr Turnpike drive, but it was borderline hazardous going around corners, and the acceleration when merging or in traffic was underwhelming to say the least. The drivers seat was saggy and unsupportive, and the wait for anything to happen when I put my foot down was seemingly endless. Hyundai has somehow managed to build the handling of an '80's Regal into a compact sized car. The 2.5l Altima I rented on the exact same trip last year was light years better in every respect. Here's to the '06!
  • janeencjaneenc Posts: 29
    After reading your description of your recent road trip I had to reply. I have never driven the 05 Sonata but I do own the 06 Sonata. I can safely say that none of the mentioned driving experience you had is any part of the 06 lx v6. I have owned camrys, corollas and others and the 06 handles fantastic. At one point I would have never considered a Hyundai, but they have done an incredible job on the 06 and many credible auto reviews have also agreed. The reviews are what got me interested in even considering them in the first palce.Next time rent get an 06. Handles well in all weather conditions(haven't been in snow),seats are firm,headlights light the road very well. Corners without problems and gets you around semi's on the interstate without hesitation.I have never felt the need to write about any of the others cars I have owned in the past... but when i joined this site recently I can't help but defend the quality and performance. ;)
  • I purchased my LX in February of this year. I love this car. The best I have ever owned. Surpasses my Saturn L200 by far........

    I have heard good things about the 2006 model but I prefer the styling of the 2005 over the 2006...

    Bob
  • bhmr59bhmr59 Posts: 1,598
    I had a totally different experience. Bought a new '05 GLS SV in Naples, FL in April. Drove it back to south west CT 2 days later. The drive, including the seat comfort, handling, wind or road noise, acceleration and gas mileage was excellent. The trip was roughly 22 hours on the road in two days. Plenty of other cars would have worn me down in 8 hours or less per day.

    All but 200 or so miles were on I-95 (or off shoots). Once I got on the Garden State Parkway in NJ, I encountered curves, hills, stop & go, congested toll booths with idiots cris crossing from lane to lane.

    What trim level was your rental car? When you were on the winding roads did you keep your speed to near the speed limit?
  • jontyreesjontyrees Posts: 159
    I don't think it was the lowest trim level (it was the V6), but it did have the cloth seats not leather. I'd guess that the leather is better, maybe helping the foam support a little more. Amenities were fine - power everything, etc, and I never really took it down winding roads - it was the freeeway off ramps that were the biggest problem. I rented it because we wanted to listen to a book tape on the drive, and it was the only car Avis had with a tape player.

    I read the C&D review that praised the '06 extensively, so it loks like Hyundai is making strides. I'm pulling for them to add more good competition and keep the Japanese companies on their toes.
  • bhmr59bhmr59 Posts: 1,598
    The GL (base model) is available with the V-6, so that really doesn't tell. The GLS and higher models have 16 inch wheels compared to 15's on the GL. This does help the handling. Did the rental have a leather wrapped steering wheel, power antenna, illuminated visor mirrors? If not, you had the GL.

    My GLS SV handles well but it does not handle like a car with a sport handling package. The car rides so well on the highway that it is easy to be going faster than I realize. Going into an exit ramp at 20+ MPH over the ramp's posted speed can be adventurous! :)
  • Midsize imports comparison thread ?

    It seems the Sonata lovers are posting twice, once in each thread.

    I wish the new 2006 Sonata well, but time and long term relaibility are unknonw and will be the telling factors.

    6-speed 2005 Accord Coupe,

    MidCow
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I've explained my logic. If you disagree with it.. no worries, but Im not going to reiterate the same points again.

    In regards to your comments...I personally dont feel that the Altima and 6, Altima in particular, handles better than the Accord, for example. And the 6 doesnt offer more power than the Accord, and Im not certain that the Altima does either.... its 175 horse 4 and 250 horse V6 HAVE NOT been rerated according to the more stringently define SAE ratings of 08/04.

    Have you actually driven a Malibu V6? Sure, its not sporty, but its a competitve American entry, with good room, power, ride, efficiency, ergonomics, crash scores, and its pretty cheap. Its pushrod engine isnt the most refined, but its interior is at LEAST on par with the Nissans.

    ~alpha
  • rmeynrmeyn Posts: 2
    I also did my comparison shopping and unfortunately I chose the Sonata GL 4 cyl. I was originally impressed by the "value" received with all the extra goodies however, I am very disappointed with this car. The primary reason for my purchasing the Hyundai was the suggested gas mileage "33" MPG on the highway, the 100K warranty and the price. I was willing to sacrifice comfort for better gas mileage since I do approximately 160 miles a day, mostly highway. I am averaging 24-26 MPG which is worse then my 2000 Toyota Avalon (27 MPG)with close to 100,000 miles. The seats are very poor especially if you spend 3 or so hours a day; there is no support. I have since tried to pass the car off to my wife and get my Avalon back and under duress she gave in however, she to commented that the seating on the Sonata has no support.

    If you haven't made a decision yet and still want a 2006 Sonata with under 3,000 miles, I'll give you a deal and go buy a Honda.
  • zed421vzed421v Posts: 28
    I have a 2005 Camry SE V6. My wife's 15 year old car finally started to give us trouble. My wife bought a 2006 Hyundai Sonata V6. When she brought it home, I said oh God what did you do. She handed me the keys and said drive it. I will never put down Hyundai ever again. This is one nice car. The rear doesn't bounce like my Camry. It has a good radio. I'm 6'4" and find it very comfortable. Way to go Hyundai. Just hope the wife will let me drive it.
  • guyfguyf Posts: 456
    3,000 miles is too early to judge gas mileage. Wait until 10K to get a realistic figure. The seats won't get any better however.
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