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Midsize Sedans Comparison Thread



  • pocono35pocono35 Posts: 89
    My Honda Pilot is mechanically sound. I have driven it 75,000 miles in less than 20 months and have had no mechanical issues. I expected not to.

    What I didn't expect was the poor build quality that is lending to MINOR issues on this $35,000 SUV. They are as follows:

    Electrical Gremlins: One Touch drivers window works sometimes
    Dash and Center Stack: 'Cheaper than Chrysler' plastic and 'squeaks' in cold weather
    Rear Hatch: Does not close flush to body. What, a Honda?
    Rear Hatch Handle: requires costant tightening of screws
    Rear Hatch: Does not have window entry opening like my sisters Tuscon. Someone at Honda missed this!
    Engine: 'Not Quite My Wife's Maxima V6 Smooth' but awful close!
    Tranny: Silky
    Everything Else: It's a $35k Honda, it'd better be good... and it is
  • bobadbobad Posts: 1,587
    No, YOU go drive other cars. You OBVIOUSLY have not driven a Sonata or eyeballed one up close. I am not saying the fit and finish are the absolutely superior. I'm saying the fit and finish are equal to cars costing 10K-20K more. ;)
  • w9cww9cw Posts: 888
    giantkiller wrote: "We'll atract customers and hopefully keep them, then later on increase the price."

    Isn't that exactly the same strategy that all of the Japanese marques have used? For example, do you remember the Subaru 360, or the later Subaru's prices? Now, check Subaru's prices today.

    I believe we are seeing, slowly but surely, a constant move upmarket by the Japanese auto manufacturers. Much like BMW, SAAB, and Volvo a couple of decades before. Remember, those European marques were not originally considered premium brands.
  • ctalkctalk Posts: 646
    I'm saying the fit and finish are equal to cars costing 10K-20K more

    Of course this is from your own opinion ;)

    You keep stating, "You odviously haven't ---" You have to remember that your opinion is not a fact.

    IMO, the Sonata is well built. But I won't go so far to say its Lexus like.
  • venus537venus537 Posts: 1,443
    I was impressed for Hyundai, but it is no BMW or MB. It isn't even VW/AUDI good on fit/finish. They are a top performer in the fit/finish category for their segment, but don't exagerrate as much as you did.

    Though BMW and MB are considered more prestigious brands than Audi, it's Audi that's considered tops in the fit and finish department among those in the industry.

    As far as Hyundai, they have leaped frog comparable domestic makes but still lag behind Honda and Toyota. I will say the Azera is well done though.
  • pocono35pocono35 Posts: 89
    Taming a predisposition takes time. People see what they wanna see. Most people, when speaking of Hyundai, are speaking from a paradigm that is based on previous information, a bad experience and resulting personal perspective. It is very normal for the reality of a company and their product to be ahead of the market perception of that company and product. That is why Hyundai is spending nearly $700 million on advertisinig this year to change the perception. Hyundai knows its a long road and one has to applaud Hyundai for their peseverence and commitment. Many companies would have given up back in 1998.

    Reality is that Hyundai and Kia are changing more rapidly than any carmaker, at any time, in automotive history.

    Consider the JDPower Initial Quality Survey Report of 2004 which sent Ford, GM and others back to the drawing boards on initial quality. Hyundai tied Honda, beat the Toyota brand by 3 points and finished second to Lexus/Toyota combined by 1 point! Dramatic improvement and change!!! Consider the Azera model. Altho Hyundai is spending about $691 MILLION this year on advertising the Hyundai brand, the Azera is not just hype. It's a night-to-day improvement over the 'XG' and even the harshest writers are categorizing the Azera with the best from Toyota and GM. If one merely looks at the technology, performance figures and content of the Azera, any reasonable consumer will determine that Hyundai is now a legitimate world-class automaker. The Sonata is also a legitimate player. And this is the marketing brilliance in it all. Hyundai knows that Toyota, Honda, Nissan and others are rated above them. What they have sought to do, in the short-term is to meet their goals to get on people's radar. If you're not on the radar, people don't even show up to the lot. But if they get on the lot and they are categorized with Honda and Toyota, they will sell more cars. When considering the mid-size class in 2004, most would place the Camry, Accord and maybe the Altima, Taurus with them. On the bottom was the Mitsus, Malibus, Sonatas, etc. Now consider today. Only the Accord and Camry are still tops on the radar but enter Sonata. Hyundai has gone from less than 100,000 volume car to nearly 150,000 and near tier 1 in one offering. Brilliant. Many will not buy the Sonata but many now know that the Sonata is a car to consider.
    Consider their new plant in Alabama. Already running at over 80% capacity, funtioning efficiently, considered the most advanced, automated autoplant in the world, the Montgomery facility by Hyundai is outshining their nearest counterpart, Nissan, in Mississippi, who is is still struggling nearly 3 years later with their quality and efficiency. To date, Nissan is (still) sending engineers to Mississippi to salvage this operation. Recently, the decision was made to cut production. At last count over 100 engineers have been 'indefinitely stationed' in Miss. Consider the Armada and brother Infiniti QX56 rated as the most unreliable vehicles in 2005. Noone would dispute the legitimacy and world-class demeanor of Nissan, but (and by pointing to these issues) I am displaying the inherent difficulties of getting these mega-operations working efficiently. Hyundai has already done it in less than a year!

    To point to anything but the present and the future is underestimating the Koreans and their diligence to compete with the Japanese, not only in sales, but in the more subjective areas of perception and quality.

    In 1998, Hyundai sold a measly 98,000 cars sparking debate so heated that Hyundai was pulling out of the N.American market, that Hyundai took out full-page ads in newspapers nationwide declaring their long-term commitment to this market. What followed in the Hyundai leadership was their committment to become one of the top 5 automakears in the world. Soon after, Hyundai Motor split with the conglomerate, bought Kia and hired the leaders son to rebuild. His vision from the beginning was 'better than Lexus'. Critics laughed. They laughed when Hyundai hired Finbarr O'Neill who developed the now historical and then heard of 100,000 mile warranty. Critics again stated this would 'put Hyundai under'. Since that time, Hyundai has moved from ales of 98,000 to over 700,000, quality has improved dramatically, product is now 'big-leagues' and yet there are still many whose perception of Hyundai actually lags the reality of their product offering. Think about it: from 98,000 to nearly 750,000 in 8 years! In that 8 years, Hyundai has shot past Mazda, Suburu, Mitsubishi, Volvo, BMW, Mercedes and is planning on approaching Nissan in a few short years to become the #3 import! Perception lags reality.

    I would challenge any doubter of the Koreans, who thrive on 'living under the radar', to read the comments of Hyundai's competitors, and not the subjective advertising-driven publications or the perceptionally challenged critics. Read Lutz's comments('I fear Hyundai more than any other brand) and (the Chair ofL Toyota's comments on this conglomerate. One will detect a sense of respect and concern, not dismissal. Even Toyota's Chair sincerely respects Hyundai to the point or requesting a tour of their Ulsan(Korea) plant soon after Hyundai's quality rankings topped the Toyota brand in 2004. He offered in exchange a tour of the top Japanese Lexus plant to the Hyundai Chair. On this occassion it wasn't Hyundai that was dismissed, but Toyota when the Hyundai Chair politely declined.
  • bobadbobad Posts: 1,587
    IMO, the Sonata is well built. But I won't go so far to say its Lexus like

    Nor did I. You're trying to put words in my mouth yet again.

    If I were a Toyota bigwig, I would bring in a Sonata and show it to the Camry designers and engineers. I would show them how close the Sonata is for $6K less money. I would tell them they had better do something about it, and quickly.
  • ctalkctalk Posts: 646
    I happen to recall you saying, "I have never seen such body panel fit. Not in Mercedes, not in any other car I have examined."

    I only used Lexus because some of its vehicles are about 10k-20k more expensive. I recall you stating, "I'm saying the fit and finish are equal to cars costing 10K-20K more."

    Well next time, try to be more specific as to which cars the Sonata's fit and finish are equal to ;)
  • bobadbobad Posts: 1,587
    Excellent post pocono35.

    I appreciate Hyundai's quest in a way that few people can. I myself have been on a campaign to bring a product (nothing you would recognize!) from worst to first, and I accomplished my goal. Nothing was going to stop me! Hyundai's commitment and efforts seem just as obsessive, and that's what is needed to compete with such great products as Nissan, Honda, and Toyota. I must confess that I may have bought my 06 Sonata partly because I understand what Hyundai is trying to accomplish. Their commitment is palpable, and that can only mean they are deadly serious about quality, value, and service. I was a little worried at first, but now I'm very confident my vehicle is worthy of comparison to the competition in every way.
  • ctalkctalk Posts: 646
    I admit Hyundai has been coming out with impressive products. I'm very impressed with the new Azera, Entourage and Santa Fe. They've really come a long way.
  • pocono35pocono35 Posts: 89
    If I were a Toyota bigwig, I would bring in a Sonata and show it to the Camry designers and engineers. I would show them how close the Sonata is for $6K less money. I would tell them they had better do something about it, and quickly.

    I believe the Sonata is a competitor to the Camry, but Hyundai, with this Sonata offering, is trying to get on the radar of Toyota and Accord buyers. This is brilliant because Hyundai knows from studies it is going to take time to change perception and it won't happen with this least all at once. They are aiming for a Camry because the Camry is the 'undisputed benchmark' for consumer perceived quality and sales success. Hey, shoot for the best. It's a great start and the offering is a more a shot across the bow to the big-guys saying 'we're here deal with us' but a death blow to the Galant, Suzuki's and mid-size Camry wannabe's.
    From what I have read from many interviews with Chung, their Chair, Hyundai's goal is 'Top Five' before 2010 coupled with sales of more expensive vehicles to increase profits. Hyundai has an uphill battle because of recent currency flucuations requiring them to get plants up and running here quickly to off-set that. He is also more concerned with 'quality results' in this campaign because Hyundai's growth is dependant on beating others who aren't focused on quality.
    I believe the next 4 or 5 offerings Hyundai releases from the upcoming Santa Fe, new Elantra, RWD Lexus-Infiniti fighter or even the Entourage minivan is a shot across the bow to position them for future top five entrenchment and establishment.

    IMO, the Azera is a shining example of what this company can do so quickly (compared to the XG) and how aggressively they will compete eventually with the establishment.
  • bobadbobad Posts: 1,587
    Yes, I agree. Not yet.

    If my garage burned and the insurance company said OK, you have a choice of an identically equipped Sonata LX or a Camry, I would take the Camry. I appriciate the Sonata, but I'm not a Koolaid drinker. :)

    If I were offered the Sonata and $1000 cash or the Camry? Still the Camry. Sonata and $2000? I would take the Sonata and the cash! That's like saying the Camry is better than the Sonata, but not $6000 better as they are now selling. They are certainly not worth a C note extra on your monthly payment!

    About the Alabama Hyundai plant's capacity: I bet there's room under the roof for another assembly line. I've heard they have been running at full capacity for the entire time they have been open.

    Hey pocono35, heard anything about Hyundai entering into the pickup truck race? I have a feeling they will eventually offer pickup's based on 2 or 3 sedan/SUV bodies. If their pricing and styling are on par with the rest of their line, they could absolutely trounce Isuzu, Mazda, and Nissan.
  • fsowirlesfsowirles Posts: 195
    Yes, lack of pep and not nimble. I used the words of Consumer Reports, but if you paid attention to my posts...I ahve driven my neighbors one month old Sonata on a few occasions. I gave it props, but I would not say it has pep, is gutsy, or a good cornering/handling vehicle....that is, in relation of the top end Sonata to a top end Camry, Accord, Mazda6, base Volvo S60 or mid level S40 (same price segment).
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    You should re-read the CR full test of the Sonata- it states the V6 is smooth and strong, so I'm not sure what youre talking about. They did however, "ding" the Sonata's handling.

    Having driven the Sonata V6- its VERY quick, both it and the Accord having been tested by Car and Driver at 6.6 seconds to 60 in the Dec 2005 comparison test....Were you serious in stating that your neighbor's Sonata wasnt gutsy? What do you drive, an M5? In that frame of reference, perhaps the Sonata isnt quick. Are your sure your neighbor's isnt the 4?

  • jhinscjhinsc Posts: 399
    ...It looks to me that Hyundai is fully competitive in fuel economy in the mid-sized sedan class, which we are discussing here.

    In real world tests, the mileage from Sonata's and Azera's are coming in disappointingly low. Read the long-term test reports. The most recent update in Edmund's long term report stated the Sonata reached an new high of 23.5 mpg. That's not as good as the Accord or Camry, or even the Malibu.
  • kwonc71kwonc71 Posts: 245
    I had 94 Accord with 2.2L engine got less MPG than my Sonata's 3.3L. I get about 24MPG on my LX Sonata with city and HWY driving. I drove like maniac back in when I had Accord, so do now with my new Sonata too. How would you explain that? Maybe the Accord's engine that I had was not normal? Maybe calculated wrong MPG because the Accord did not have trip computer? I get 30 MPG on my Acura Integra which has 1.6L engine on it less than half size engine of my Sonata. Both my Sonata and wife's MDX have trip computer. My wife's Acura MDX supposed to get 17-20 MPG. Actual MPG on trip computer shows 14-15 MPG. Maybe her MDX's engine also not normal? No car get sticker MPG. If you think Hyundai only not getting sticker MPG, you better wake up from your dream.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907's long term test of the 2003 Accord returned an average mpg of 24.1 mpg during the entire test, while the Sonata LX has averaged 21.3 mpg over its first two months. (Edmunds hasn't done a long-term test of the Camry since 1997.) Two things about these numbers:

    * Hyundais are well-known for their engines loosening up and returning better fuel economy as they add miles. I have noticed this on the two Hyundais I own.

    * The Accord long-term tester was an I4, and the Sonata a V6. I don't see how you can say that the Sonata isn't as good in fuel economy as the Accord based on these results, as it isn't apples to apples.

    The long-term test average for Edmunds' 2004 Malibu V6 was 22.6 mpg. That is a little higher than the current average for the Sonata, but it was measured over an entire year. Why not see how the Sonata fares over an entire year before passing summary judgement?
  • Hey Giantkiller,

    You can disagree, but no need to get angry about it. Mitsubishi provided the Engine/tranny for Hyundai and it is well documented that the Excel/Precis were horrid cars because their engines and build quality sucked.

    Hyundai picked Mitsu to provide their technology because they were cheaper than other Japanese engines. I guess the cliche, "you get what you pay for" stands true in this case.

    However since then, Hyundai has made huge strides and has long passed Mitsubishi in sales and quality. If that were not the case, why is Hyundai scheduled to provide the engine technology for Mitsubishi/Daimler/Chrysler I4's in the near future?

    Yes for better or for worse Hyundai has gotten to be that good. Deal with your hatred for Hyundai in a more constructive way than to bash the company in a public forum such as this.

    I admit that Hyundai took their early success for granted and they ran the company stictly as a business to make a profit. However, since the new boss took over, he replaced all the bean-counters (businessmen) in the high office with engineers. It is also well documented that Hyundai is obsessed with quality because of these turn of events. The only one who benefits from this is the consumer. We could get a good reliable vehicle for less $ than the Japanese Big Three (ToyoHondaNissan).

    And to answer another persons question, if I were offered a Camry or a Sonata, I'd take the Camry. I'd sell it and buy a '06 Sonata for thousands less. Camry's boring. The '07's are better, but are not as tasteful as the Sonata.
  • bobadbobad Posts: 1,587
    Yes, lack of pep and not nimble. I used the words of Consumer Reports,
    Sir, you and your Consumer Reports didn't drive the same Sonata that I drive. It goes from 0-80 MPH so fast you're pinned back in the seat. It's ludicrous to say the V6 Sonata is not peppy. Car & Driver magazine reported a 0-60 time of 6.7 Seconds. Have you driven the the V6 Sonata with ESC turned off? It takes the numb feeling away when cornering hard (at the cost of safety). No, you obviously haven't. All you want to do is bash a product you have obviously never tried. Do yourself a favor and drive all the mom cars like I did. Yes, the Honda handles a tad better than the Sonata, but not nearly $5000 better. I think the Sonata had better power and stronger brakes than all the cars in the above list. For some reason that hurts you, but you'll have to learn to live with it. :cry:
  • fsowirlesfsowirles Posts: 195
    Reading comprehension impaired? I have driven my neighbor's Sonata V6 on several occasions. My frame of reference is the following: My current car: 2002 Volvo S80 T6, my previous car 2000 VW Passat V6, 2006 Acura TL (test drives), 2006 Honda Accord EX V6 (test drives), Audi A4 2.0t (test drives), 2007 Camry SE V6 (test drives, and have one on order).

    As for the CR report, I am referring to the comments in their 2006 New Car Guide. The said the ahndling wasn't nimble, and the engine was smooth and strong, but lacked the 'punch' they expected.
  • jhinscjhinsc Posts: 399
    Make sure you double check your mileage by doing manual calculations and see how it compares to the trip computer. Trip computers are not entirely accurate at times. My Infiniti's trip computer was always high by about 4-5 mpg, and the Mercedes is always off by 1.5 - 2 mpg's as well.

    I'm just commenting on various reports from different sources who state their disappointment on the mileage they get from the new Sonata and Azera. I'm not try to "rewrite" or misstate anything. Motor Week's long term test hasn't broke the 20 mpg barrier yet.

    My current 06 Accord EX V6 is returning an avg of 26 mpg in combined city/hwy driving. I live in a rural area where there are no freeways to utilize and must endure the stop signs and traffic lights. Also, financing and payments I have with the Accord was way better than I could get with the Sonata. I really wanted to like the Sonata and Azera, but after all things considered I couldn't pull the trigger on them. I think Hyundai is producing some great products, but for me, I'm waiting until the next round to see how much further they've come along. I think this is the course of action Consumer Reports is taking before they start recommending them. Of course Toyota and Honda will also be farther along with their products too, so until then, I'll wait and see. :shades:
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,907
    ... I'm waiting until the next round to see how much further they've come along. I think this is the course of action Consumer Reports is taking before they start recommending them.

    The only thing CR is waiting for before recommending the 2006 Sonata is for it to receive at least an "average" score on its annual reliability survey. To date, CR hasn't received enough surveys for the 2006 model to rate its reliability.
  • giantkillergiantkiller Posts: 273
    Jumping to conclusions? I owned a Hyundai before you even drove one for a test drive.
    I examined the new Sonata and ther new Camry, Accord and Mazda 6. If you tell me that the fit and finish of a Sonata is better than Marcedes and any other cars you examined, you must be smoking crack. Maybe its has better fit and finish than Daewoo, Ssangyong , Geely, Indicar, Proton but not any other car especially Mercedes.
  • pocono35pocono35 Posts: 89
    I apologize for the long post but want to bounce some ideas off all of you and some little known facts bout this Hyundai 3.3 liter engine.

    First, EPA or MPG numbers:

    I know I am only restating the obvious, but the mileage 'claims' on any car, whether they be a Sonata, Malibu, Camry, Accord, etc. are merely claims and no manufacturers engine should be held to these claims since the testing procedures to arrive at such mileage figures are nowhere near the real world driving conditions. If you believe a Sonata should 'get' 30mph, be reminded that this is driving at around 50mph on flat terrain at ideal temperatures. Since these conditions rarely occur in the real world of driving, much more consistently, I would not hold Hyundai or any manufacturer to these numbers. Also, keep in mind that most numbers we are receiving from owners and publications are during engine break-in periods and should in no way be necessarily construed as actual long-term mpg figures. If a any 3.3 V6 with 235 hp in the world gets anywhere near 25 mpg, well, I would consider that as the trade-off for having 235hp at your disposal. If you want above 25mpg simply drive slower and don't access such power and I am sure that your mpg numbers will rise a bit. I personally feel it is 'practically' impossible to attain the EPA numbers.
    The other issue at hand here is the differences/variables in engines, weight of vehicles, driving habits, location of driving, climate condition, tire pressure, etc., of these vehicles and owners. Do you realize how difficult it is for someone to really try to equate all of these variables and nail down a specific mpg for a vehicle. Let's just consider compromising our arguments while recognizing that a 3.3, 3.5, engine will probably get between 20-25 mpg in the real world driving whether you are living in Indiana or the Colorado.
    Finally, anyone who would state the Sonata engine is anyway inferior is simply not informed about the technology of this design. Most don't realize that DaimlerChrysler will be using the Hyundai built 2.4 and 3.3 engines in some of their upcoming offerings only after working closely with Hyundai, and at one time, Mitsu(who is now out of the pic in this engine/tech devlpmt). Dont forget that this occurred during Daimlers 10% ownership of Hyundai back in 2001 which Hyundai bought back a few years later. Daimler and Hyundai agreed to develp the chain driven engine with a mileage lifespan of 300,000 miles! THis is a fact, I will search for this article, I read some months back, but it unique design of the plastic intake manifolds, aluminum and chain driven design and the strict manufacturing standards Daimler and Hyundai agreed upon to ensure this engine was of the highest quality and durability in todays market. At that time Hyundai agreed to build this design due to capacity availability. This I write to dispell any notion that the Hyundai built and co-developed engine is in someway technologically 'inferior' to a Toyota or Honda design. This would simply not be accurate.
  • alpha01alpha01 Posts: 4,747
    I think it makes more sense to use CR's comments from their full test of the Sonata V6, as opposed to their preliminary impressions published in the the (outdated) 2006 New Car Guide. Even their 2006 April Auto issue reneged on that lack of punch comment.

    Why did you decide on the Camry SE V6 (in comparison to the Sonata, Accord, Fusion..).

    Oh, and my reading comprehension is fine, thank you, for what its worth, I just don't have the time I used to...

    I requested a Fusion from Hertz this week, hopefully I'll get it tonight and gain a better impression of the vehicle.

  • kwonc71kwonc71 Posts: 245
    Honestly, I don't care about MPG. If I wanted save money on gas, I would buy GEO Metro instead, I would not buy a car with 3.3L-135HP engine, and would not race the car whenever I have chance. Average speed on my Sonata shows only 34 MPH plus my maniac race driving makes 23-24 MPG on return, that is not bad at all. Sonata's engine bigger than Accord's and heavier too. In fact, now I wish I can buy an Azera with 3.8L engine that will blow the doors off of V6 Accords, even though my LX already beat Audi A4 Turbo 2.0 the other day. If you worry about saving few dollars on gas, you should get Sonata's $5,000 price advantage that will let you fill gas tank up for free many years.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Something has been done already.. It took place 3 yrs ago. You just have to recognize the signs.

    In addition:
    New Camry is a significant step up above the Sonata;
    Yaris is in place.. ditto...

    Toyota already ID'd Hyundai as the major competitor 5 yrs ago and has taken necessary precautions.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    How about this concept... Hyundai has one of the most modern and productive plants in the US. It probably is as close to Toyota as anyone else. Hyundai can sell it's vehicles at a profit at $4000-6000 under Toyota.

    Is there a conclusion to be drawn here?
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    All of them are eating the lunch oF GM/DC. That's where the growth will come from.

    Mazda, Nissan may also be at some risk.
  • fsowirlesfsowirles Posts: 195
    Alpha: My comment was directed at bobad.

    I chose the Camry for it's ride, options and overall value. I was looking at $30k cars, most of which were closer to $35k, like the TL, Volvo S60R (used or heavliy discounted), stripped out 3 series, MazdaSpeed6, Passat, A4, etc...

    The Camry SE V6 offers (thanks to the new generation) the handling, acceleration, and options I desired in a less expensive, just as reliable package that will hold its relative value in comparison to my top choice, Acura TL.
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