$27,990 – $36,990
Good: NOTE: DISCONTINUED IN AUSTRALIA JUNE 2010. A conservative, smart design; great for leisurely highway cruising. A well priced and extremely fuel efficient turbo diesel option.
Not so Good: It’s no Medium Class leader and could be described as more of a ‘comfy slipper’ than a ‘trendy sneaker’ (but of course, everyone has different tastes and needs!). Replaced by the far superior i45 in May 2010.
Design and Engineering
Good : The elegant exterior design has elements of the more expensive VW and Audi European designs. It’s well built and small details like paint quality are impressive.
Not so good: The hint of VW or Audi design relates more to the start of the decade rather than 2010. Not exactly an incredibly exciting design. The chassis is starting to feel dated.
Interior and Styling
Good : Plenty of standard equipment and creature comforts (in both grades). There’s more than enough space for most modern families and the rear seats split-fold to create a large cargo carrying space. Plus there are nice little touches like a flock-lined glovebox.
Not so good : Some drivers may find it difficult to find a comfortable driving position and the ‘old school’ steering wheel isn’t great to hold. Like other parts of the Sonata, the interior feels a little dated; the interior plastics are quite hard and there’s a lack of second row storage compartments.
Good : Turbo Diesel has sufficient ‘get up & go’ whilst remaining very frugal at the bowser – and is relatively quiet on the move.
Not so good : The Sonata’s 4-speed automatic is behind competitors’ 5 and 6-speed auto transmissions.
Ride and Handling
Good : Relatively refined at highway speeds; the mid-year ’08 facelift brought along improved steering and suspension.
Not so good : Not great over rough Aussie roads – you’re better off taking it easy and enjoying the ride. The steering is still lacking in feel and feedback when pushed. The suspension is too soft for spirited driving compared to leading Medium Class competitors which are way more fun to drive.
Buying and Owning
Good : Design is standing up well to the test of time; standard safety equipment; excellent fuel economy (diesel grade); generous five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. The Hyundai brand is continuing to improve its quality and reliability.
Not so good : Replaced by the i45 – a far superior car in so many ways to the Sonata.
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