Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Hyundai Sonata 2005 and earlier



  • jimbeaumijimbeaumi Posts: 620
    For the second time someone is debating whether to buy a Malibu. A Malibu?? Get the Sonata. The styling is more distinctive and you can be assured of not having to feel those not-quite-smooth GM switches, knobs and buttons. That was reason enough to trade my Buick.
  • tamu2002tamu2002 Posts: 758
    We're in the same shoes! And we're moving from the southwest TO midwest (also Chicago area).

    My wife and I are leaning more towards the Malibu right now mainly because factoring in ABS the Malibu is a little cheaper. But the colors and looks of the Sonata...Tough decision!
  • jimbeaumijimbeaumi Posts: 620
    I know this is strictly my opinion, with a bit of anti-GM bias (for myriad reasons), but there is a reason GM offers continual rebates on the Malibu. It also appears frequently as a giveaway on The Price is Right.

    Get the Sonata. :)
  • dougndodougndo Posts: 136
    For a little perspective on how a Sonata handles the Nevada desert check out my post #1898 in this forum. I moved to LA from western Michigan and have spent considerable time in Chicago. I would not hesitate to purchase a Sonata, break it in properly, then drive it across the country to Las Vegas, LA, or even Tucson (now that's hot!)

    Based on my experience the Sonata is an excellent choice.

    My few encounters with a current generation Malibu have not been encouraging: a rental car that was just awful to drive for long distances (poor handling, uncomfortable seats, poor ergonomics), and a back seat ride in one to downtown LA (which inspired me to hitch a ride in another car on the way back).

    Some of my Latino acquaintances mock the "mal y boo" as the "bad, scary car." It reminds me of the Nova I owned and hated so much that it became infamous for the dent my foot put in the door when I finally lost all hope in the contemptible thing sitting stalled along I-94 for the umpteenth time: "No va" ("it doesn't go").
  • agnostosagnostos Posts: 3
    I live in Fruitport, near Grand Haven, Muskegon.
  • dougndodougndo Posts: 136
    I lived out in the sticks between the towns of Paw Paw and Lawrence. That's 25 mi. west of Kalamazoo, or for non Michiganders, about halfway between Detroit and Chicago on I-94.

    Actually, that has something to do with me being a Sonata owner. While in MI I started working for a national youth soccer organization, which resulted in my moving to CA. The organization's national automobile sponsor was Hyundai, and I got the use of a 2000 Cobalt Blue Tiburon (loaded but with a stick--yay!!) That car was a great performer for me.

    I work for another organization now, but when the lease on my truck was up, I did some shopping around and found the Sonata to be the best all around package and price I could find. Based on my previous Hyundai experience (both the Tib and the Hyundai corporate people), I had no reservations about getting the Sonata.

    I'm very, very glad I did.
  • snookeysnookey Posts: 19
    I am the unfortunate owner of a 2 month old 2002 Sonata V6. During the second day of ownership I noticed the transmission was shifting very harsh during the first 2-3 shift and also generally bad during downshifts aswell. Thinking it just needed the TCM flashed i went to my dealer where they informed me the production date was too new to be reflashed but they would look into it anyways.

    The next day i got a call from the dealer saying the transmission failed during a road test and I had to wait 9 days for a replacement from KOREA!. During this time I had to argue extensively to get a loaner car which they finally conceeded too. After driving off the lot 9 days later I realized that the problem was still there!. Actually the Sonata devoloped another problem while under the dealers knife aswell. When you accelerate hard the steering wheel shakes like a blender. 3rd party mechanics tell me it is the tranny or motor mounts doing this.
    Either way I was very frustrated that my 3 week old car was giving me this much trouble. I called hyundai Canada and started a dialogue with them to solve the problem fast. Soon after i took the car to another more capable dealer where they had it for 3 1/2 days and basically said they cant find the problem (though they admit it exists) and I should go back to first dealer to get it fixed. At this point I was laughing at the BS Hyundai Canada and its dealers where putting me and my family through. I talked to H.C. again and they asked for the opportunity one more time to fix the problem, so I agreed and an appointment was scheduled.
    After being at the dealer for another 3 days (a total of 15 days of the 60 I have owned it) the dealer informed me they cannot find the problem and they will be in contact with Hyundai Canada and I should wait patiently till then. The funny thing is I and a mechanic at one of the dealers test drove a new sonata just like mine and it was perfect, no vibration of the steering wheel or any harsh shifts.
    My question is this. Is it wrong for me to ask for a new car from Hyundai Canada since they have tried to fix the problem 3 times and spent 15 days in making the original car worse? I think this would be the only fair thing for Hyundai to do and In doing so will help their terrible image among my family and co-workers.

    Any thoughts?
  • agnostosagnostos Posts: 3
    Let's face it, all manufacturers build a lemon now and again. Here in Michigan we have a lemon law. If we truly did buy a lemon, we get a new car. Do you have anything like that in Canada?
  • snookeysnookey Posts: 19
    I have been researching the possibility of a Canadian Lemon law but it seems we have a CAMVAP arbitration plan. I guess the owner and manufacturer agree to the third party decision on the case. I initiated this on friday and I am very anxious to see what happens.

    Yes I agree that every auto manufacturer makes lemons now and then but Hyundai's dealers have amazed me at how they have made the problem worse with their incompetence.
  • jeff3740jeff3740 Posts: 2
    I have a 2000 silver Sonata with 22,000 miles. Recently, I noticed some paint flaking off the plastic door guards and the plastic wheel covers.
    I think the warranty only covers appearane items for 12 months. Any suggestions? Thanks.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    Next generation Malibu will be coming out in a year or so looks to be an important turnaround car for Lutz and company. Especially like the new hatch. It will also quickly make the present Malibu seem very old and very crude.

    Sonata has aged well for a platform now in its fourth year. This means that it's well along in its model cycle but still two years newer than the Malibu. The mid-course freshening of the 02's seems to be very popular. I'd take the Sonata without hesitation given that choice.
  • snookeysnookey Posts: 19
    If I could do it over I would go with a Malibu. It might have more squeaks and rattles, plus cheap plastic but GM knows how to make a great transmission. Hyundai is still learning. Anyone want to buy out my lease?

    Unhappy 2002 Sonata owner
  • hjr2hjr2 Posts: 105
    What? I have a 1999 GLS V6 with automatic. No Problems with any tranny and I am about 190 miles from hitting 80,000 miles, and the car is not even 3 years old, yet.
    You must have gotten a bad Sonata tranny? Oh, we did have to take our Sonata in One time 2 years ago, a recall. They replaced a computer chip that had something to do with the tranny.
    No problems prior to, or after chip replacement.

    I have owned 2 chevies, 2 Nissans, and now 2 Hyundais. As a group, Hyundais are doing better,overall.

    our best car(so far) was a 1990 Sentra, despite the stereo frying out at 7000 miles and the plugs frying out due to No PBI done.

    next best is Tiburon, 2001, with 35,000 miles in 1 year and 2 weeks of ownership. Zero recalls/problems.
    It is tied with Sonata, despite the Sonata recall.

    Sorry you got a bad tranny/or chip maybe?
  • I have not posted in many months but still read this site. Thought it was time for my update.
    Have 2001 GLS,pearl white,leather, moonroof, spoiler,pkg 13, the works.
    Mileage is 17,000. Absolutely no problems except for recall which was done today(wiring for airbag)
    This car is a delight to drive.
    As far as handling in hot weather. Just completed trip from San Francisco Bay Area to Phoenix,Mesa,Chandler, AZ. Then Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff, and Kingman, Az. Back to Calif. via Bakersfield, on to San Fran.Total miles driven was 2,300 miles. Temp. in Needles, CA was 112 the day we went through.Air conditioning was superb.
    Top speed was 95, averaged 80 to 85. Best mileage, not at those speeds, was 29mpg. Worst was 21.5
    This car flat moves, handles and drives. I could not ask for more.
    My car is garaged so looks like the day I picked it up.
    Question about service. Dealer suggested 15,000 mile service which included things not mentioned in owners manual. Valve gap, other items I cannot remember. Cost was $159.00. I took a pass this time. Whats the scoop?
    Also regarding tire pressure. Recommendation on car os 30 psi. I am running 35 psi. This seems to show the best wear. I have rotated the tires twice in 17,000 miles. Should I do something different?
    Anyway, I am sorry to hear about some of the problems owners are having, but I think they are a distinct minority. That does not make up for the disappointment and aggravation but Hyundai is defintely going in the right direction.
  • hjr2hjr2 Posts: 105
    ok. tires at 3o psi. I have almost 80,000 and ned tires changed asap. They hit the 80,000 (Michelins) mile range they claimed to be able to get.

    as for driving, only one problem, Sonata is terrible in over 1" of snow on road. Add wind of 30 + mph to this, and it does not seem to "grip the road" at all.

    Tiburon seem to handle alittle better, maybe due to suspension?
  • shrinkguyshrinkguy Posts: 2
    HJR2, we have an '02 Sonata that went through it's first northern NY winter admirably. Do yourself a favor and chuck the stock Michelin MX all season tires for winter driving, and pick up a set of dedicated snows.

    We picked up four Michelin Pilot Snow Tires (IMHO the best winter tire for this car)at BJ's Wholesale Club. Do NOT try to scrimp & get by with 2 snows, PUT ONE ON EACH CORNER or you will risk swapping ends in a panic maneuver. With this set up, I was as comfortable driving the wife's Sonata as my own 4X4 pick-up no matter how bad the snow & wind.

    As an added benefit, if you buy your tires from BJ's or Sam's Club, (and probably Wally-world as well), the store will remount your snows & summer tires on the rims, & re-balance, for FREE for the life of the tire. Chalk-mark your tires as to which corner you want them mounted on when you take them in, and you have instant, free tire rotation twice a year as an added benefit.
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    for lifetime warranty balance and rotation.
  • sonatabeansonatabean Posts: 201
    Geez 2000 - don't get testy: this is not a grudge match!

    Per the service manager at Hatfield Hyundai, the only reason you could need a recharge every two years is leaky O-rings that really should be replaced. If you are recharging and the dealership is just letting you . . . and letting you pay for it, you're getting screwed.

    The problem with my car was a damper that did not shut all the way, allowing warm air to mix with cold. Same damper that, likely, the installer adjusted for doug.

    As for recharges, the service tech stated they should happen about every 4 to 5 years.

    Car is now cold, I am happy, and the repair was under warranty cuz dampers just ain't supposed to "self-adjust" over time.
  • andil1andil1 Posts: 97
    If any of you have had your Sonata in for this recall, and stayed and waited for your car, how long was the wait? Thanks.
  • sonatabeansonatabean Posts: 201
    I had to wait about an hour - and that was because I did not get seen right away (assuming you mean the airbag wiring harness recall).

    As was explained to me, it's a simple job: it should go pretty quickly.
  • nato1nato1 Posts: 102
    Did you swap the just the tires, or the whole rim and tire when you put on the snows, and what size rim 15" or 16"? I am asking because I picked up a set of 15" steels for making a dedicated set of snows w/studs ( I live in Central Mass ), and my '02 Sonata has the 16" aluminums with the oem Michelins. Did you notice any extra tire roll with the pilot tires? Are the Michelin pilot studable? I have been using winter master w/studs, but that was with my honda accord, and those tires did show some tire roll, but not much.
  • hjr2hjr2 Posts: 105
    read that "aquatread 3's" are supposed to be good for all seasons, and waaay better than Michelins for wet weather(including snow)??
  • snookeysnookey Posts: 19
    Well after getting my 2002 Sonata Back from the shop for the 4th time, Hyundai has concluded that the problems I have had with it are normal and in spec for this car. The problems are

    1) 2-3 flare shift when first driven that sometimes jerks your head back.
    2) When vehicle is slowing down and you put your foot back on the gas it will ALWAYS make a loud clunking sound when in second gear. It is so loud you can hear it over the stereo and you feel the clashing of the gears aswell. I have been told to change my driving style so it will not happen as much. However every morning in stop and go traffic it occurs 15 times atleast!.
    3) Vibration of entire steering column during full throttle acceleration in first gear. The wheel shakes so bad when the engine revs up because tranny mounts or steering rack is loose. I was told it is torque steer but that is BS. Torque steer is when the wheel goes side to side as the tires grab but this is the steering coloumn vibrating back and forth like a blender.
    I have given Hyundai 18 days of shop time and 4 tries to fix my car. They have essentially told me to take them to the CAMVAP arbitration. I have initiated this and hopefully they decide in my favour and make Hyundai buy back the car. This is Canada's form of a lemon law that doesent involve lawyers. I have documents from third party mechanics and now transmission specialists that agree the transmission is faulty. Actually one of Hyundai's people told me that they know there is a problem where there is too much slack or play in the transmission and this is leading to the problem.

    If you have any of the same problems please email me at and tell me about it. I am done with ever owning a Hyundai product again but hopefully we can put pressure on Hyundai Corporate to fix the problems that are out there now.

    PS. If you are sitting there thinking that your sonata is fine, please consider yourself lucky. However I test drove another 2002 sonata with 20 miles on it this week and it had same problem. It seems like 25 percent of these cars have bad trannies so the problem is not very isolated.

  • alc4alc4 Posts: 11
    Does anyone know if a cat-back dual exhaust system is available for the 1999 - 2001 Sonata V-6 ?
  • nato1nato1 Posts: 102
    There is a tsb (although I don't remember the number) for the shift flare. It fixed mine with no problems. I don't know why the dealership said that the shift flare was normal.
  • killerkkillerk Posts: 55
    Just got my 30K Maitenance, O2 sensor & side airbag harness recall works done at Difeo Hyundai on Rt 440 in Jersey City, NJ. The whole thing took 2 1/2 hours. I never rcvd the recall notice for the 02 sensor. However, I suspected it needed work b/c CEL wouldn't go away for a month. And the recall notice for side airbag harness was blank (It just contained yellow address update card)!

    I've had this car for 18 month & racked up 32K w/o any problems. For those of you who have unfounded trust of mechanics, heads up.

    Ever since one mechanic forgot to top off the oil after an engine oil change, I always check the dipstick after the service. When I opened the hood to do the same today, what do you know? This one forgot to put the coolant cap back on!!! I debated whether to let the manager know, but decided against it.

    I head over to Taco Bell next door to get lunch. When I got back in the car to go to work, I noticed a black plastic piece on the passenger floor. Now I was POed b/c I knew this guy forgot to put it back when he was working on the harness recall.

    I go back to complain to the manager & he tells me that piece was supposed to be out as it was replaced w/ something else. I give him the "yeah, right" look, but he assures me that's the case. He also says he'll talk to the mechanic who serviced my car.

    Can't believe they can be so careless.
  • chetbobchetbob Posts: 18
    I had to call Hyundai Corp today with a question. They told me of a recall which i did not receive.They told me to contact a dealer for a Satelite Sensor. Can anyone tell me what this is, how long it should take, and if it would hurt to let go for a couple of months. I bought the 02 Sonota in Florida in March and since have come to Delaware for the summer. The closest dealer to me is 50 miles. When i return to Florida in October the dealer is only 8 miles from me. Thanks for any help. Bob
  • csandstecsandste Posts: 1,866
    Did they go by the book, or add extras? I have a local mechanic that I trust implicitly. I'm seriously considering giving them a check list of the REQUIRED services and limiting it to that.

    (Mine's an Elantra GLS, but the services should be similar)
  • dadscardadscar Posts: 3
    Since the review section was limited to 700 characters, here is my full review:

    I've had my Sonata GLS for a little over a month and a little over 1100 miles. So far I'm enjoying it. I think it's the "I can't believe I got all this for such a small price" feeling.

    The Sonata actually caught my eye in an add at Then I saw a few on the road. I didn't have a lot of time to shop for a car, so I liked that Hyundai had only the 3 trim lines on the Sonata to choose from. I didn't feel the need for leather seats, climate control, and a power driver's seat, so I decided on the GLS, which has everything else. I finally stopped in to test drive one. They didn't have any except the base model to test drive, so that's what I tested. Another reviewer said the 4 cylinder has good power; it doesn't. With three adults in the car there was a noticeable lag in acceleration when I stepped on it. The handling of the base Sonata was ok.

    I figured that the GLS with the V6 and 16-inch wheels, compared to the base Sonata's 4
    cylinders and 15-inch wheels, would have enough power and handle a bit better. Well let me tell you, I'm still pleasantly surprised. The GLS is much more sporty than I had imagined. The 16-inch wheels give it a great, firm, sporty feel. The V6 is very nice. Of course it's not a muscle car, but it has plenty of acceleration to get on highways and to pass. I love the sound the engine makes when it revs a little higher. It's a beautiful sporty sound.

    Ok, I jumped ahead a bit. I ordered the GLS in black. I hadn't seen it in black except for pictures. I made a good choice. It's beautiful in black. The 16-inch alloy wheels look classy.

    When I got in my Sonata for the first time I quickly noted one of the few negatives I have with it. On the back seat, which is black, there are four white plastic buttons on it. These show you where the ISOFIX anchors are. ISOFIX is a new standard child restraint system developed by Volvo. I don't know why these have to be white. They stick out like sore thumbs.

    On the way home the second negative showed up. I had two of my kids with me and they were playing with their windows. I pressed the window lock button so they couldn't play, but then I couldn't put their windows up. I was locked out too. The way the window lock works is it locks all the windows except the driver's window. The way I want it to work is to lock out the other window controls, but let me still be able to put their windows up or down. These are my two biggest negatives with the car, white buttons and a window lock that doesn't work the way I want it to.

    The power locks, keyless entry, and alarm are great. I won't ever scratch the car opening it with the key while my other keys dangle. Another review notes that the keyless transmitter is on the weak side, which is true, but then again it probably isn't a good idea to unlock your car from too far away.

    Ok, get in the car. The seats are firm, but comfortable. I'm thin, but the seats could easily accommodate a bigger bottom. I love the fabric, but my wife hates it. She thinks it will show too much lint. The leather wrapped steering wheel is a nice touch. My wife thinks that the steering wheel is a bit far away, but it reminds me of the FIAT spider I once had, a sporty feel. The faux wood trim is sharp. It looks good. The plastic on the heater panel and CD/tape/radio isn't black enough. It's more of a charcoal gray. They're the only parts that look a little cheap. The instrument panel is ok. During the day, when in a shadow, it can be difficult to read. I read some complaints about the shift lever having the button on top instead of the side, but you only need to depress it to take it in/out of park. You don't need to press it when shifting, so in my opinion it's not a problem. All in all I give the interior a high mark.

    I was looking for the rough shifting, but it hasn't happened. I can say that it drives smoother today than the first day. This could be from the car and driver getting used to each other. The Shiftronic transmission feature, though hardly used, is fun when you do want to play. I only really use it for a little more performance off the line. I've already mentioned that the acceleration and ride are great. The 4 wheel disc brakes are great too.
    Whether it is the Michelin tires or the whole package, I had more confidence and control in my Sonata during a downpour on the highway than in any other car I've driven. It was noisy during the downpour though. The splash of the water on the underside made a racket.

    The sound system is good. Buttons are nice and big. There are 6 presets for AM radio and 12 presets for FM radio. The 12 FM presets are split into 6 on FM1 and 6 on FM2. The volume control is good. On other of my cars I often get stuck feeling if I turn up the volume a notch it's too loud and if you don't it's too soft. With the Sonata the volume control is much finer. I can always get the volume exactly where I want it. You can crank the volume up to uncomfortable levels without distortion. At regular levels the sound quality is excellent. The CD player is great. I haven't used the tape player. It's great that you get a power antenna included in a car of this price.

    The air conditioning works great. The vent louvers function nicely. One thing I don't like is that when you start the car the control automatically switches to outside air rather than the recirculate setting. When starting I always want to get cool fast so I have to press the
    recirculate button again. The trunk has ample room. The 40/60 split fold down seats are nice. Another review mentioned that the rear doors have a cheap sound when they close, and I agree. The front doors though have a nice 'thunk' when you close them. Rear seat legroom is good. Seatbelts are comfortable. I like the theater effect lighting. When you get in at night the interior overhead light slowly fades to off. Fog lights are included, another nice feature.

    Some of the things you don't see make the Sonata a great deal. The warranty is great. There are also dual front and front side airbags for safety. The heated dual power mirrors will be great to have in winter.

    So far the gas mileage is disappointing. Most of the miles are to and from work, which is state highway with traffic lights in traffic. On this tank I got 18.9 mpg, which is also about what I've averaged for the life of the car. I hope those who say this improves with break-in are right.
    All in all I'm still excited about my Sonata. I think I'd still like the car if it cost 2 or 3 thousand more. At this price it is a great car.
Sign In or Register to comment.