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Sonata vs Optima

lhylhy Member Posts: 48
edited March 2014 in Hyundai
Is the 2004 Hyundai Sonata the same car as a 2004 Kia Optima?

I am looking at buying a used car and possibly choosing between the two.

All things being equal, is one model preferable over the other?

How reliable are the transmissions and engines on these vehicles? (I have heard that the timing belts tend to wear out quickly)

Is the V6 engine better than the 4-cylinder 2.4L engine?


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    naic98naic98 Member Posts: 2
    Test drove the Sonata and the Optima, bought a 2009 Sonata, the 2.4 l engine has a timing chain vice belt that the Optima has, The Optima has a few more gadgets-control of radio from steering whee and fold in mirrorsl, neither was as important as having a timing chain. My 2.4 l gets 31 mpg in mixed driving
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    backybacky Member Posts: 18,949
    The Optima has the same 2.4L engine as the Sonata--timing chain included.
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    naic98naic98 Member Posts: 2
    Must be an error somewhere, I went to both parts departments, the technician looked it up and said a belt on the Optima
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    backybacky Member Posts: 18,949
    On the V6, yes. But you bought an I4, which on both the Sonata and Optima uses a timing chain. Maybe it's just as well you got the Sonata if the people at the Kia dealership are so incompetent that they don't even know the Optima I4 has a timing chain.
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    csandstecsandste Member Posts: 1,866
    Seems like this discussion is centering on the new cars which are quite different. In 2004 they were essentially the same car with different front and rear clips and slightly different dash treatment. I'm not an expert on these as I drive an 07, but I think that both fours and sixes have timing belts-- the new engines are a modification of the co-developed (with Chrysler and Mitsu) world engine and have chains. I'd recommend the four on the new car. I think the six is essentially unchanged (in the Optima, not Sonata) from the earlier car that you're referring to.

    You should be able to pick up an Optima for less money than the Sonata. Can't remember the annual changes with the Optima-- is this the year they had kind of a Hannibal Lechter type of grille? If so, it should go for less than the following year when they got things smoothed out.
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    mickeyrommickeyrom Member Posts: 936
    Excuse me,but the 2.4 in my Optima has the chain,not belt.Not saying it's better than the Sonata,just correcting you.I would add that the Sonata has a nicer ride,but the Optima might handle a bit better.BTW,my Optima is the 2006.5 model.After over 28,000 miles it couldn't be more reliable.
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    csandstecsandste Member Posts: 1,866
    You're still getting 06.5+ answers. Why don't you repost this question on the Optima 06 and earlier thread plus the corresponding Sonata thread?
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    eric2112eric2112 Member Posts: 4
    I was all over buying a 2009 Kia Optima the last 3 weeks.I had an "out the door price"on 09 optima at $15,500 this included auto trans--conv.package w/power driver seat and alloy wheels.This price brought down to $15,500 was trade of 95 maxima I had for 15 yrs since new with 152,500 miles on gave $1500 to the deal off,$3000 rebate on 09 model.I didn't like the Optima dash.It has the 3 barrel speed and gas gauges that look funny.The 2010 Sonata GLS auto trans with blue tooth hands free is what I brought tonight.It was with $1500 on trade and $1000 rebate at $18,000 as a bottom line out the door price.This is like getting below dealer invoice with no fees actually paid if you broke it down.It's $2500 more then the out the door price offered on the Kia 09 Optima.It doesn't have power seat or alloy wheels on the 2010 Sonata.But,This Sonata has a real nice one piece gauges cluster and nice dash layout.Much nicer then the Optima.The Sonata seemed like it is smoother then the Optima too.I understand that the engine is USA made in the Sonata where the Optima is all a Korean made engine.The Optima is put together all 100% in Korea.Where the Sonata is build 100% in Alabama(USA).100% parts for the Optima come from Korea and the Sonata its like 61% USA parts and the rest from Korea?Good Luck Everyone,Eric
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    8babies1dog8babies1dog Member Posts: 122
    looks like the 2004 Sonata is a little larger than Optima, Sonata is a tad
    longer, and interior is a little bigger. The engine I4 2.4L 138 HP or the same
    on both cars, EPA mpg is the same also. If you would like, their is a website
    you can go to and check them out. Go to Google.com and put in search line.

    2004 sonata side by side comparison, then click on site (cars.com) follow the
    side by side comparison and on add a car line, select the year and model you
    want to compare. Then click research vehicle and check specs.
    Hope this will help.

    Just as a note you can do this with any car, change year and make on Google
    search follow side by side comparison. If I'm not mistaken at 1 point the Sonata
    went to the 3.3L v6 & the optima stayed with the 2.7L. As you already know both
    car brands or actually merged under Hyundai, so it is kinda like GM line, Buick,
    Pontiac, Cadillac etc. but each has their own charitistics.
    We just got a 2009 Sonata SE v6 a lot different than the 2009 Optima.
    You'll have a good day!
    From what I hear from the owners the MPG is not that much different I4 vs v6,
    Ours has over 11k miles and have seen up to 33+ MPG on tripmeter "v6" hand
    calculations combined driving city hiway 26.71 since new.
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