Hyundai Sonata Test Drive Experiences

patpat Member Posts: 10,421
edited March 2014 in Hyundai
Considering a Sonata? Have you taken one for a test drive? Tell us about it.


  • bryan200kbryan200k Member Posts: 64
    Over the past year, I've test driven the 2006 Sonata six times. Once in the GLS I4 and the other five times in the LX V6.

    Handling: My experience was that the handling was good for me. On the back twisty roads it responded well and held the road. Much better than my current midsize Malibu. Better than the Camry's I've driven but not as well (or as tight) as the Accord's I've driven. I'd call it a good mix between holding the road and giving a touring type ride.

    Engine noise level: I had an experience at one dealership in which the salesman brought the car up front and parked it where I was waiting. He showed me thru the car and explained features. The whole time the V6 engine was running and stupid me didn't realize it was. It was very quiet.

    Cabin noise level: Seemed rather quiet. I didn't notice any of the thumping or road noise or gas sloshing that other's have talked about.

    Transmission: I like the Shiftronic... the ability to manually shift it myself if I so choose. I did notice a 'downshifting' when I was drifting down a hill. I wanted it to just roll, and the transmission I guess decided that it wanted to downshift to hold down the speed as I was going downhill. ???

    Heated seats: I took one test drive during the winter. Those heated leather seats felt really good! That would probably be good for the arthritis in my back.

    I4 or V6: Even though the I4 had plenty of power, I did get it to really whine at one point, and my son riding with me felt that was wierd, but I will have to say that the Sonata I4 had more get-up-n-go than the V6 in my 2000 Malibu. The V6 in the Sonata was quiet, smooth and great exceleration for me.

    Interior: I didn't have a big problem with the "Buick-like" center stack and dashboard, but I will admit that I like the 'look' of the center stack on some of the competitors better. A plus on the center stack, for me, was that my right leg rested really well against the center console, much better than some of the competitors. Some competitors, even though I like the look of the console, and stack, tend to force my right leg more to the left than is comfortable for me. The Sonata gave me a better 'resting place' for my right foot and leg. I took my wife with me on one of the test drives. She just LOVED the interior space in both the front and rear seats. Overall she loved the car... said it puts my Malibu to shame. As some others have complained about the length (front-to-back) of the seats, I will have to say that Hyundai could have lengthened the seat cushion another inch or two for us long leggers to give better support of the thigh. I'm 6'1" with a long torso. The headroom in the Sonata was wonderful for me, even with the sunroof. Would have liked to have seen power seat controls for the front passenger seat like on the driver seat.

    Controls on the steering wheel: This has been a topic of debate for a long time on these boards. I will have to say to Hyundai, that if you are going to put audio controls on the steering wheel, please add a button to change channels/tracks.

    Exterior styling: Acceptable. Mainstream conservative. Not radical. I could live with it.

    I am definitely considering the Sonata. My purchase is 6 to 12 months out, and I'm hoping that Hyundai will add XM radio later in the model year.
  • somanycarssomanycars Member Posts: 12
    I test drove a 2007-v6 Sonata in early August. I liked the car overall. Acceleration was nice and the 'touring' type ride is fine for me. I found the 'tighter' suspension on the Accord more bouncy than I personally prefer. My one pet peeve on the Sonata which has kept me from actually buying one immediately is the placement of speakers for the premium stereo. Why o why did they put them in the rear doors instead of behind the passenger seat? :confuse: This has the effect ( for the front passengers ) of muffling the range of sound from those rear speakers. Compare this to the Camry and Accord where the rear speakers are better placed and better 'envelope' you with your music.

    I have seen various comments about shimmying etc. The first test model I drove vibrated badly above 60mph. The 2nd one did not.
  • mark156mark156 Member Posts: 1,915
    And loving it!. Really though, we pulled in a mall, and I had my own personal drag strip. Punched the Car, and the rear tire just spinned, not impressive for anyone. Of course I knew the Sonata V6 had all the power I needed, if applied correctly!
    2010 Land Rover LR4, 2013 Honda CR-V, 2009 Bentley GTC, 1990 MB 500SL, 2001 MB S500, 2007 Lincoln TC, 1964 RR Silver Cloud III, 1995 MB E320 Cab., 2015 Prevost Liberty Coach
  • jlindhjlindh Member Posts: 282
    That IS really impressive, especially since the car is front wheel drive!
  • miamixtmiamixt Member Posts: 600
    First I need to say that mark156 did not post that, I did. When I logged in, it seems I was already logged on, but as someone else. Pat, if you can look into that?

    After almost loosing control with my first Front Wheel Drive Car, a Turbo Dodge Colt 20 years ago, you never forget it. The Sonata however is a heavy full sized Car, and spins the rear tire, go figure?.
  • oinktrntoinktrnt Member Posts: 22
    Your test drive didn’t include pushing the radio’s right button, which controls tuning the radio and certain other functions. Pushing it several times gets to the ‘fader’ setting, where you can achieve an ‘enveloped’ setting. I test-drove a 2007 Camry with the speakers mounted in the package shelf. When I examined the trunk those speakers infringed noticeably into the rear folding seatback’s pass-through height. Perhaps this was Hyundai’s way of dealing with this problem.
  • drjamesdrjames Member Posts: 274
    LOL!!! that'd be the most hillarious post if it wasn't in response to an actual post.
  • miamixtmiamixt Member Posts: 600
    Really, and at my expense too :blush: The Sonata is a great new Car, spinning rear Wheel and all. Why couldn't they make it AWD though :cry: :confuse:
  • mwrmwrmwrmwr Member Posts: 1
    I rented a 2007 Hyundai Sonata V6 (not leather) yesterday and have driven it about 150 miles, much of it on a freeway at 70-80 mph. My initial and continuing impression is that it has a lot of road noise, both from the pavement and from other cars (that mostly in city traffic). I've been very surprised that all reviews I can find praise the lack of road noise. The car I've been driving for a long time is a 1994 Volvo 850 Turbo Wagon, not exactly a paragon of quiet refinement (although it has other virtues). I haven't driven a new Camry or Accord so can't compare them. But I'm still surprised at the road noise and the opposite-opinion reviews.
  • cajuncyclercajuncycler Member Posts: 172
    I bought my 2006 GLS in June of last year, it now has a little over 4200 miles on it. Much of my driving in the last few weeks has been highway, Louisiana highways which arguably are some of the worst in the nation. The car is very quiet in my view. I hear almost no wind noise at 70 mph. I have the 16" wheels and only on certain road surfaces can you hear anything from the tires. Not objectionable in my experience. I love the simplicity of the AC/Heater controls which require a minimum of time to adjust and you can see your settings at a glance. The trunk capacity is tremendous and I think that one reason is the fact that they put the rear speakers in the doors. For years I have had cars with rear deck speakers, easily exposed to heat and sun and in the way when packing a trunk and I think the door mounts are the best idea. Of course I seldom listen to music, either on the radio or CD but the speakers work fine for talk radio and I have had no complaints when music was played from the back seat passengers who seemed to prefer the speakers were not right at their ears. There have been many comments about the location of the radio but since the steering wheel has no channel changer having the radio at near eye level to me is safer and more convienent when I have to change channels or mess with the equalizer controls; less time taking your eyes off the road. Conversations are easy in this car, it is extremely quiet at highway speeds. I love the power of the V6 engine and I don't think I would ever go back to a 4 cylinder car after this one. Gas mileage is pretty good. I drove to New Orleans 2 wks ago a 220 mile trip and got a consistant 28 mpg. Around town I average between 22 and 25. The car shifts most of the time without even hearing or feeling the shift points. Also note that this is the first automatic I have owned since my 1975 Firebird. Every other one was a standard. Never want a standard again either, no joy in clutching here. I only wish the car had been offered in a darker interior. Mine is the gray and it does show dirt easily. If Hyundai could do anything to improve this car it would be to make the tilt telescopic steering wheel available on all trim levels, make the forward sliding right armrest standard and make the radio integrate with your cell phone and be bluetooth. All in all a great car for me. I recommend the Sonata to anyone wanting a very nice car at an incredible price. ;)
  • wfnaegelewfnaegele Member Posts: 10
    Having also owned [with great pleasure] one of those toaster-shaped Dodge Colt [Mitsubishi] Turbos of some 20 years ago, I snicker when I hear a test-drive complaint about the "torque steer" of any contemporary vehicle...
  • oinktrntoinktrnt Member Posts: 22
    The Sonata is noisy on coarse surfaces, quiet on others. IMO could stand further sound deadening. I had wondered why others had praised the smooth ride quality when this had not been my experience. After taking a road trip through western Arizona, I found it was San Francisco's rough streets that were at fault, not so much the car.
  • autokritikerautokritiker Member Posts: 65
    I recently rented a 2007 Sonata SE, since I have been considering the purchase of a used 2006 or 2007 Sonata LX, Limited, or SE model.

    For those of you who haven't researched this car, the LX was the top-of-the-line model for 2006. The LX model name was changed to "Limited" for 2007, although the '06 LX and '07 Limited are identical cars (give or take a couple minor options/features).

    The 2007 SE model is basically a Limited with cloth interior and an average stereo. The SE is mechanically identical to the Limited; both models have the 3.3L V6 and 5-speed shiftronic automatic transmission.

    The SE and Limited models also share the same 17-inch alloy wheels and low-profile tires.

    During the time I had the car, I recorded everything I observed. The car I rented had about 23,800 miles on the odometer when I picked it up.

    After going through a full tank of gas (17.7 gallons), I had driven a total of 375.2 miles. This equates to 21.2 MPG average fuel economy. My driving was a mix of about 75% Highway and 25% City. I mapped out all my routes to determine what my driving mix had been.

    On the Highway, I averaged between 75 to 80 MPH. On average, I passed a vehicle on the freeway every 5 to 10 miles. About half of my passing manuevers were full-throttle, and the other half were moderate while staying in 5th gear during some.

    While I was driving in the city, the majority of my acceleration from stoplights/stopsigns was done at 3/4 to full-throttle, up to 40 or 50 MPH each time. I'd say that my driving style could be described as fairly agressive. I am a safe and considerate driver though - yes, I'm patting myself on the back becuase it seems I have to deal with the opposite every day here in Orange County, CA.

    I noticed the ride was a little rough over bumps, dips, and road imperfections. It wasn't to the point of being uncomfortable, though. This is a natural tradeoff for better handling, and the car handled GREAT.

    Most of the vehicles I've owned lately have been smaller cars, weighing between 2,500 to 3,000 pounds. My research shows the Sonata V6 models as weighing about 3,450 pounds, which makes it a pretty hefty car. I was worried the Sonata might not handle well, from experiences I had with larger cars in the past, but this was not the case with my rental Sonata SE.

    The steering feeling was perfect, with good road feedback and was not over-assisted like a lot of cars. When I took twisting rollercoaster type ramps and junctions, the car felt like it was glued to the road and had very little body roll. If I hadn't known any better, someone could've told me I was driving a compact car and I wouldn't have questioned it for a second.

    The car also had very strong acceleration, both off the line and passing. The quickest car I had driven was a 1996 Ford Thunderbird, which had a 4.6L SOHC V8. I had read reviews that my Thunderbird did 0 to 60 MPH in 7.5 to 7.7 seconds, which was pretty quick.

    The Sonata felt substantially faster than my old T-Bird, which leads me to believe the road tests claiming 0-60 in 6.6 to 6.8 seconds are accurate.

    After renting the Sonata SE, I love the car just as much as I suspected I would. I currently have a 2001 Accent with over 150,000 miles, and it is still running strong. As much of an unrefined and buzzy econobox as my Accent is, I will really miss my car because it has never let me down, even after all the countless times I've hit the rev-limiter on that little 4 cylinder engine.

    For anyone who doubts Hyundai vehicles, I highly recommend you test drive or rent one.
  • rhduke00rhduke00 Member Posts: 129
    Excellent post. Your impressions of your rental 2007 Sonata SE mirror my experience with my 2006 Sonata GLS V6 (26000 miles). The 2006 GLS V6 is the same car as the 2007 SE, except for the wheels and tires. Like you I had owned mostly small cars, including a 2001 accent which gave me 67000 problem free miles before I traded it in for a Sonata.
  • oinktrntoinktrnt Member Posts: 22
    It’s a very good idea to rent a car for a week, or even a few days. That will let you ‘live’ with it and give you far more information than even an extensive test drive will. Of course comparing CamCord, Altima, Fusion, Legacy and some others I’ve undoubtedly left out would take quite a while.
  • autokritikerautokritiker Member Posts: 65
    Have you experienced any of the quirks that people have claimed, such as unusual suspension noises or gas sloshing sounds? The '07 Sonata SE I rented did not show any signs of the above mentioned, or any other quirks for that matter.

    What is the average fuel economy you are seeing with your car? I accelerated with the throttle wide open quite a bit, and I'm assuming the car will achieve much better fuel economy with more conservative driving. Although, I was pretty impressed to get 21+ MPG while driving so aggressively.

    I forgot to mention how great the transmission was on my rental car. It shifted very smoothly, and was very intelligent in the way it clutched and held gears during acceleration on level and uphill grades. There was a slight hesitation with some full-throttle downshifts, which was so minor that it wasn't an issue for me, and the transmission never felt like it was confused.

    Another thing I forgot to mention was the brakes. Very good stopping power, no noises or vibration during braking, and the pedal had a solid and confident feel.
  • rhduke00rhduke00 Member Posts: 129
    I do hear the gas sloshing but only when pulling away from the gas pump after filling-up.

    I average 23 MPG with a mixture of 70% interstate and 30% in town. When I'm on the interstate and in the right lane I try and maintain a steady speed of 70 MPH. However, when I'm passing and it's clear ahead, I accelerate to 80 or 85 so as to spend minimum time in the passing lane. I also don't mess around when the light is green nor do I coast to red lights or stop signs.

    Four months ago, when I drove 800 miles (95% interstate) to Virginia I averaged 28 MPG.
  • macakavamacakava Member Posts: 775
    Your comments are quite accurate. No gas sloshing at all.

    I have downsized from a 1995 Continental with the 4.6L DOHC 260hp V8. The Conti was pretty quick for a heavy 4000lb car and had measured 0 - 60 times in the low 7 seconds.

    My 2 month old 2007 Sonata Limited feels much faster and handles very well. Also fun to drive around curves. Uses regular gas vs premium in the Conti. I have surprised many folks at stop lights. Car & Driver measured time of about 6.6 secs for 0 - 60 is quite accurate.
  • paradise_cityparadise_city Member Posts: 2
    Finally got to test the 2007 Sonata SE, I was somewhat disappointed with the comfort of the seat and the way it felt driving over humps, bumps, patches, etc on the roads here in Pennsylvania. Power and handling of the 6cyl is impressive and I would be inclined to purchase a GLS during this DUH sale if the ride would be smoother and quieter on rough pavement. Maybe the low profile tires are some of the reason for the bumpiness of the ride. I do like the Sonata even though it has these issues. ;)
  • bhmr59bhmr59 Member Posts: 1,601
    There's one way to find out: take a GLS for a test driven.
  • backybacky Member Posts: 18,949
    Also, if the car you drove did not have a power driver's seat (optional on the 2007 SE), drive one with the power seat and maybe a telescopic wheel (2008 SE or any LX/Limited). The combination makes for a more adjustable and comfortable driving position, in my experience.
  • mdale007mdale007 Member Posts: 1
    With a six thousand dollar price reduction as incentive I test drove a 2008 Sonata Limited with the four cylinder engine. Simply put I could not touch a comparable Toyota, Nissan, GM, for at least $7,000.00 more. Say what you want about Hunadai, but at the end of the day you will not find more value. The four cylinder is fine especially with gasoline going to $4.00 per gallon. The heated seats, electronic stability control, auto temperature control, alloy wheels, free XM for three months, six cd changer, antilock brakes, 10 year 100,000 mile warranty, Homelink Compass Auto Dim Mirror, are just a few of the items that make this car outstanding.
  • jlindhjlindh Member Posts: 282
    Over the last couple of months, I've been given a low end Camry and Sonata to use as rent cars. The Sonata was clearly the better car in my opinion. I'm aware of the suspension noise and torque converter complaints and could detect neither in the 4cyl GLS I was given.

    Styling is subjective, but for me, the Sonata is attractive while the Camry is not. I just can't get past the wart on the Camry's nose.
  • ceverittceveritt Member Posts: 2
    Does anyone know where I can rent a Sonata in the Dallas area? I'm interested in purchasing one and like the idea of renting one for a few days to test drive it on my own terms. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • backybacky Member Posts: 18,949
    Hertz is known to stock Sonatas, and I've seen 2009 Sonatas at Hertz in other cities recently (I haven't been to Dallas for awhile). You could call Hertz to find out if they have any in Dallas, e.g. DFW.

    BTW that is a real smart idea. I have logged many miles in Sonatas (pre-2009) and gained an appreciation for them that way--much better than a 15-minute test drive. I get to drive a lot of rentals for work, and it's a good way to narrow down the field.
  • dgs4dgs4 Member Posts: 66
    I loved my 1/2 hour test drive, hence I bought the car. I've been loving it every day since.
  • ceverittceveritt Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the tip; I'll give Hertz a call tomorrow!
  • beardwnbeardwn Member Posts: 2
    i rented a sonata in phoenix and drove it to albuquerque and back. i have a pinched nerve in my cervical and lumbar spine but had no back trouble during the trip. i
    would not hesitate to buy a sonata.
This discussion has been closed.