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Nissan Altima vs Hyundai Sonata

starryknightstarryknight Posts: 31
edited March 15 in Hyundai
I've been trying to decide on an 07 I4 Altima or an 07 or 08 Sonata V6 and it's been much harder than I thought. I test drove both vehicles. I didn't want the 4 cyl Sonata because I didn't feel it had quite enough power. The I4 Altima seems to be just enough hp and torque to satisfy my needs. The V6 Sonata definately had enough hp and torque. There are pros and cons to each car. Comparably equipped, I can get them both for about the same price. The Sonata has a longer warranty, more standard safety equipment and a little more power but also has lower mpg and higher depreciation. There are other comparision that I have found that make one better then the other that I won't elaborate on now. I am sort of leaning towards the Altima but I am still not convinced it is actually the better car. If anyone else has had the same problem deciding but did end up buying the Altima or Sonata, please explain what was the deciding factor(s).
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Comments

  • jaeger1jaeger1 Posts: 43
    I looked at the Hyundai before buying my Altima, though I ultimately ended up comparing V6 to V6. Hyundai are to be congratulated for the strides they have made - they really have turned out an excellent product in the Sonata. That said, here are a few reasons why I would probably still grab the Altima, even in 4 cyl. form.

    1) Style. Subjective, to be sure, but a clear advantage in my my view to the Altima. The Hyundai is a handsome (if derivative) design, but ultimately very safe and conservative. The Altima's lines are among the most attractive and distinctive in this class.

    2) Transmission. The V6 motor struck me as not quite as strong as its numbers suggested, while the Altima's 4 cyl. impressed as having a bit more grunt than in should. I put it down to the Altima's CVT extracting the most out its 4 cyl. mill, while the slushbox in the Hyundai felt very slushy indeed - muting the otherwise strong performance of the motor. Also, (though I strongly favor manual transmissions in any case) I was very impressed by the manual mode offered by the Alti CVT. Responses to tip-tronic "shifts" through the 6 "gears" were quick and decisive.

    3) Convenience. Having lived with the smartkey and push button start for several months I simply can't believe the extra degree of convenience over the traditional key-fob / crank starter. You literally never need to touch or handle the key in order to unlock doors / trunk, and a mere touch of a starter button fires the motor and you're on your way. True, the smartkey has been a little bit dumb when it cvomes to getting along with certain cell phones, but the fix is in for that. I'd no more go back to the days of fishing a key fob out of my pocket and pressing it's tiny buttons than I would to winding up manual windows.

    4) Resale. The Hyundai makes a more compelling case the longer you keep it, and you ned to keep it a loooooooong time or you will get HAMMERED on resale value.

    5) Driving dynamics. I found the Hyundai very soft. Too soft by a good measure for my tastes (yours may differ). It wasn't as bad as an LE Camry but couldn't lay a finger on even a base Altima in the handling department.

    Having reflected upon it while writing and remembering how favorably impressed I was with the 4 cyl. Altima, there I'll retract the "prabably" qualifier and say I'd definitely still go Altima.

    Hope that helps.

    Jaeger
  • allenh1allenh1 Posts: 1
    I prefer Hyundai Sonata. Here's the reason: I have owned 2000 Nissan Altima GXE 2.4 since 2004(I bought used one). Its advantage is on its powerful engine. Great acceleration. Good window angle. Easy drive. I felt Camry is harder to drive.

    Huge disadvantage is on its maintenance. Fristly, my Altima had serious rough idle. Most of mechanics couldn't find the reason. I think its computer scan code was P0407 - 4th cylinder misfire. The problem was on intake manifold gasket torn down due to its design issue(it is too close to 4th cylinder). It cost me $650. This is well-known problem. I could find 7 more people who complained on the forum.

    Secondly, the air conditioner malfunction. There is no problem with condenser and compressor. Cold air used to come out but suddenly it only worded intermittently. Then, only hot air. It's killing me in Florida. Many other Nissan owners said it was temperature control amplifier. I replaced it but still it did not work. I had been to dealership and they said that ECM computer had to be replaced($1100) but I installed the used one($300) and it does not work. I still could not repair the air though I had been to 4 other service shops. The problem will be likely electrical one. Nissan is famous for its complex electricity system - hard to repair when problem occurs.

    There were also several other problems. CV joint was broken. Power steering oil leaked.

    There are many others who had bad experience with Nissan cars. One of my friend who bought a Sonata recently said his Nissan SUV(forgot the name) had so many problems and he was tired of repairing it. Electrical problem is famous. Four other people whom I know that owns Nissan cars experienced electrical problems.

    Having gone through these problems, I decided to buy a new Hyundai Sonata 2007 GLS 2.4. The price is much cheaper than Altima. Sonata had shown very good review about its safety features and review score is pretty high. Its brand name is going up, so resale value after 5-10 years may be improved. Considering money to the value, Sonata has the best deal among mid-size cars.

    Overall, my bad experience with Nissan may not be so relevant to your decision since Nissan has changed Altima quite a lot since 2003. If you like the power engine and acceleration, then go with Altima, every one that I know loved that. But check your friends about repair cost before making a decision.
  • caazcaaz Posts: 203
    It makes you wonder how negligent the previous owner of the 2000 Altima was. Even finding 7 others in the forum who have had some pelectrical problems is a very small number compared to the 350,000 Altimas that were sold. cv boot & joints are usually due to hard driving as in running into concrete parking barriers etc. But it sounds like you sort of got a lemon. Just as i have heard many Sonata owners with similar complaints.. They're both very good cars and you'll always find some problems with each manufacturer. I'd take the Sonata for size and comfort......but i'd take the Altima for long term reliability, resale, and looks.
  • latashalatasha Posts: 2
    Don't buy an Altima. Look at the numberous posts on Altimas dating back to the 2002 model which I have. These cars have many problems including bad engines causing oil consumption problems.

    I live near the Smryna, TN plant where I have relatives and friends that work there. In a company poll of why employees were not driving Nissans, the employees commented on the quality and price.

    I am planning to go back to the Camry. Have you check out the new design?
  • macakavamacakava Posts: 775
    Nissan's quality and reliability ratings, with the exception on the Infinity line, have deteriorated badly in the past years - just look at CR and JD Power for reference. Titan, Armada, Sentra are among the terrible ones.

    Won't be surprised if it is due to their ownership/influence by Renault - which tried to unsuccessfully to sell their cars in USA at least twice before.

    Sonata is recommended by CR. And Hyundai was rated 3rd behind Porsche, Lexus, and ahead of Toyota by JD Powers in their IQS. It took Toyota 50+ years and Hyundai 25 yrs to get to their level of similar high quality of today. That's impressive!
  • caazcaaz Posts: 203
    since this is just the Alt vs Sonata forum...i went with the Altima in my previous statement....however...hands down i would take the Camry...but thats not this forum...and id take a hybrid...as far as CR & JD are concerned......I havnt read 1 single forum yet......where anybody who has had issues or problems with thier Hyundais'.....Although impressive with a 100k 10 yr warranty....( every single comment i've read in edmunds)..and i've read alot...Cant get thier Dealer to fix jack.... So whats the great warranty for if EVERYTHING...falls within Hyundais alotted guidelines and accepted standards.???..Hyundai writes a great warranty...and off sets it by never fixing anything beacause its within thier tollerences.......NOT GOOD!....now i know you think im anti Hyundai.....but i'm not...i just havnt heard anything positive about getting anything under warranty handled.....

    p.s. on june 30th I purchased a new 2007 Elantra....so NO..im not anti hyundai.... i just hope it never breaks so i dont have to deal with the dealers......and hear its o.k., because it falls within hyundais tollerences....i.e. having a speedometer off by almost 5 MPH at 60....thats not acceptable....but 4.9 is to hyundai?????/
  • macakavamacakava Posts: 775
    The best warranty is one that you never use!

    My wife's 2004 Honda Ody became 3 yrs recently and it never had to go back to the dealer for any repairs of any kind. I have been doing my own PM (engine/tranny oil, brakes, etc) as well as unscheduled repairs on all my cars for the past 35 yrs as a matter of personal interest and aptitude. We have 5 cars in the family today.

    With that kind of reliability in the Honda, I would want the same for my replacement cars. So with my 13 yr old Continental due for replacement, I researched many cars including the Sonata in detail. Its good reliability record in the past 5 years plus the approvals/blessings from CR and JDP impressed me. What impressed me most was its price -a fully loaded new 2007 Sonata Limited at under $20K, which is at least $8K cheaper than a comparably equipped Accord, Camry, Maxima, etc. These are reliable cars too, but an extra $8K cannot be justified.

    When I took delivery of the 2007 Sonata, I told the dealer GM that its quality benchmark was my Honda Ody with no reliability problems. He was up to the challenge and referenced the same JDP quality ratings (I knew already) of Porsche, Lexus, Hyundai and Toyota, Honda in that order.
  • Yes, I considered the Camry, but after reading many complaints in several forums concerning transmission hesitation, I decided not to include the Camry in my choices. One of the things that concerned me about the Altima was the issue with the key fob being deprogrammed by a cell phone. I realize they fixed that issue but my first thought was, what will wipe out the programming next.....maybe your car being near a lightening strike?? Or a static discharge (that happens alot in the winter)?? Kind of makes me nervous but maybe I'm being over cautious.
  • macakavamacakava Posts: 775
    Key FOB is just a fad to be like some others.

    As many car magazines and other authorities would attest to, the good ole fashioned keys are still the best.

    One is much more likely to be stranded by a deprogrammed key fob for many reasons you stated than a malfunctioning ole fashioned steel/aluminum key. And what for? - to be/appear fashionable? Another French (parent Renault)connection? How silly!

    Another likely French connection with Nissan was the placement of the instrument guages in the center of the dashboard of the large minivan Quest. It was a distraction and unsafe for driving. Well after 3 yrs, they finally got it and moved it back where it normally should be - directly infront of the driver!! Probably too late now for damage control in turning off earlier potential customers.

    The BMW I-drive is another nuisance that some may copy. The I-drive is very complicated and require a PhD to understand it. Whatever happened to the KISS principle?
  • xj220xj220 Posts: 78
    I've never had a problem with my Hyundai dealer. In fact, not to long ago I had a headlight assembly replaced on my 2003 Elantra because water had condensed on the inside and they gave me a loaner (no charge) and it was done within a matter of hours. They NEVER asked me if I've been maintaining my car, and I've never taken my car to a Hyundai dealer until then. Don't believe the crap people spew about Hyundai dealers...sure there are some problems with dealerships accepting warranties...but that happens with every manufacturer. People just like to put Hyundai on the limelight because it was their 10-yr warranty that was so revolutionary and people say whatever they can to tarnish it. In fact, J.D. Powers rated Nissan below Hyundai in Customer Service. And it's true... Nissan's quality has definately taken a nosedive as of late, while Hyundai's is skyrocketing. So you made a good choice jumping on the right ship at the right time. ;)
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    Won't be surprised if it is due to their ownership/influence by Renault - which tried to unsuccessfully to sell their cars in USA at least twice before.

    Renault has nothing to do with how nissan builds, designs, or sells its cars. renault doesn't own nissan. The just purchased a large stake in the company, and as a result, recieve a very fat check every quater........like every other shareholder. they build their own vehicles in separate factories and compete against each other in most countries, the US being the one of the few that they don't.

    as someone else said, every manufacture has its lemons, and an online message board is hardly an indicator of vehicle reliability. the best indication of the quality of any car is in its resale value. Car "A" will not resell for more than car "B" for no reason. cars that are built better and last longer resell for more $$.
  • macakavamacakava Posts: 775
    No one invests huge amounts of money in any business venture without exerting any influence. If one does, financial danger lurks.

    It would be rather naive to think that the two organizations would not work to consolidate ideas, cultures, resources, supply chain in the spirit of cost reduction. Corporations are forced to operate that way.

    The best measurement of car quality is in the number of defects per vehicle(such as warranty repairs) over a period of time. Resale is what is perceived/acceped as its market value by the buying public at the time. When gas was cheap, big SUVs had high resale value; today they are a dime a dozen.
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    No one invests huge amounts of money in any business venture without exerting any influence. If one does, financial danger lurks.


    It wasn't a huge amount of money, at least in the automotive world. and they did exert influence in that they fired all the top management. that was nissan's problem. good company, quality product, but horrendously managed. renault bought into them as an investment, and and, anytime you buy into a troubled company finacial danger is quite possible. but they never have, and don't now, tell nissan how to build their cars. they simply bought in, brought in a new ceo and management team, then sat back and collected their share of the profits.

    we could argue resale all day. but the bottom line is, if nissan vehicles were such (french inspired) pieces of crap, they wouldn't hold their value as well as they do. 7 people on a message board who had problems doesn't realy mean much. I've owned three nissan vehicles, and between the 3, over 375k miles and 17 years, I might have spent 2k in repair bills. but that too, doesn't really mean much. how a car holds up is determined by a lot of things. how well its maintained, and how its driven can make even the most reliable car look like junk.
  • colloquorcolloquor Posts: 482
    Depreciation only affects you if, and when, you sell or trade-in your car. I typically keep my cars for at least a decade, sometimes much longer, so depreciation or resale value is somewhat moot.

    Another factor is the delivered price. Last year, I purchased a new 2006 Hyundai Sonata LX V6 (the predecessor trim to the current Limited) for a price of $17,600, plus tax, title, and license. When you pay considerably less than MSRP to begin with, increased depreciation is again somewhat nullified. It's only a matter of time until Hyundai's resale value improves, as they are building excellent products today.

    My brother has a 2006 Elantra, and it's never been to the dealer for any warranty work whatsoever. So, the 10 year power train warranty, and 5 year bumper-to-bumper warranty, are just icing on the cake for him. Personally, I really like the looks of the new Altima, but would shy away from the first year of a new generation.

    My Hyundai dealer treats me exceptionally well. It's the best experience I've ever had, both from a sales and routine service point of view. And, I've owned Honda, Toyota, Nissan, SAAB, and Volvo cars before with various extremes of dealer experiences.

    One other thing - as to the length of warranty offered by a manufacturer. As one who has worked in management for an electronics manufacturer, I can state that the length of a warranty is not determined by how much warranty work is expected or projected over that time period, actually the opposite is true. A manufacturer that offers a long warranty feels that the product is built so well, that the warranty WILL NOT be needed. It's simply used as a marketing tool. If the converse was true, manufacturers who offer long-term warranties would suffer extraordinary expenses and costs which would ultimately bankrupt them.
  • macakavamacakava Posts: 775
    "anytime you buy into a troubled company finacial danger is quite possible."

    Financially troubled organizations need to be led by influencial leaders for a successfull turnaround - these involve changes from the leading organization in all aspects of the business. Unless you have a blind organization leading another blind one, i.e. Sears and K-Mart. IHOP and Applebees are shaping up to be the same...

    Like Colloquor, I keep my cars at least 10 years after which trade-in value is of insignificant concern. My latest trade-in was my 13 yr old Continental.

    The best warranty is one that you never use. The legal liability of a longer warranty like Hyundai's 10 yr warranty is very expensive to the manufacturer - so it has to have high confidence that their product is so reliable that their repair costs over the 10 years is tolerable. Since I keep my cars 10+ yrs, I know that I am covered for the first 10 years.
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    these involve changes from the leading organization in all aspects of the business

    nissan didn't need changes in all aspects of its business. just the management of it. thats why renault made that change. It's not really a matter of debate, you can look it up. the primary thing Ghosn did when he took over was to layoff, close plants, and fix the dealer network. they don't use the same factories, engineers, design teams, engines or other components. never have, and don't now. with the sole exception of one platform (gblobal B i think its called) that they designed together.

    And I'm the same way also, don't trade in cars, unless they are at the end of their life, just to get whatever (usually $500 or less) money I can from the dealership.

    But the point remains, if nissan vehicles were half the pile of junk you make them out to be, they wouldn't hold their value like they do, or continue to increase sales and market share like they do. They would be in the same boat that Ford, GM, and mitsu are in now.
  • macakavamacakava Posts: 775
    Management determines the success of any business. Don't matter what is said, responsible/successful management always pokes its head in every aspect of its business, whether it is supply chain/engineering for cost containment, finance, etc.

    I am not saying that all Nissan cars are bad. Our 2006 Maxima SL, one of 5 in the family, is holding up very well. Our 2004 Honda Ody just became 3 yrs old and is holding up better and it never needed any warranty service. Good feedback/indicators about vehicle quality and reliability can be had from many sources like CR,C & D, JDP, etc. The last JD Powers rating was Porsche, Lexus, Hyundai, Toyota, Honda in that order. Honda and Toyota have the highest resale value of Japanese cars for those so interested. It took the Japanese 50+ yrs to get to where their quality is today; the Koreans took 25 yrs for similar quality. Toyota and Honda stand on their own feet and are not influenced/rescued from extinction by a bigger/stronger body like Nissan was by Renault. Mazda is in a similar predicament with a Ford rescue - another blind leading the blind...Ford parts(engines) used in Mazda vehicles - USA companies are more aggressive in using common parts for cost containment.
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    Toyota and Honda stand on their own feet and are not influenced/rescued from extinction by a bigger/stronger body like Nissan was by Renault

    thats the part you don't seem to get. renault doesn't run, influence, or controol nissan. they run thier own comapany, and its always been that way. that is one of the reasons the renault nissan partnership has been heralded as the best ever in the auto industry. two entirely different companies, two totaly different business cultures, that managed to sucsceed precisly because renault understood those differences and didn't get too involved. what nissan and renualt did is entirely like anything else that had been done before in the automotive business. Its nothing like the ford/mazda arrangement, nothing like the mercedes/chrysler deal, or any other.
  • maximafanmaximafan Posts: 592
    But I thought I read in one of the car mags that vehicles such as the new Sentra share the
    engine with the Renault Megane(not sure of the
    spelling on that one.)
  • I've been trying to decide on an 07 I4 Altima or an 07 or 08 Sonata V6 and it's been much harder than I thought. I test drove both vehicles. I didn't want the 4 cyl Sonata because I didn't feel it had quite enough power. The I4 Altima seems to be just enough hp and torque to satisfy my needs. The V6 Sonata definately had enough hp and torque. There are pros and cons to each car. Comparably equipped, I can get them both for about the same price. The Sonata has a longer warranty, more standard safety equipment and a little more power but also has lower mpg and higher depreciation. There are other comparision that I have found that make one better then the other that I won't elaborate on now. I am sort of leaning towards the Altima but I am still not convinced it is actually the better car. If anyone else has had the same problem deciding but did end up buying the Altima or Sonata, please explain what was the deciding factor(s).

    Folks, looks like this discussion has taken a detour. I would appreciate it if the discussions can relate to my above inquiry. What company bought into what company or how good or bad someone's dealer is (unless it's one in the seacoast NH or southern Maine area), is irrelavent for getting the answers I'm looking for. For those of you who gave your choices and why, thanks. It is useful information.
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