The Hyundai Sonata has long been a popular choice among car buyers looking for a reliable, stylish, and affordable midsize sedan. In this review, I will be focusing on the 2014-2018 models of the Sonata, which represent the seventh generation of this popular vehicle. This generation marked a significant improvement in terms of design, performance, and features, making the Sonata a strong contender in the competitive midsize sedan segment. With a renewed focus on fuel efficiency, safety, and technology, the Sonata has become an even more attractive option for those looking for a well-rounded sedan that offers a great blend of performance, comfort, and value.
The Hyundai Sonata is available with two different engine options: a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine and a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine. The 2.4-liter engine is capable of producing 185 horsepower (hp) and 178 pound-feet (lb-ft) of torque, while the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine offers 178 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. Both of these engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, allowing for smooth and responsive gear changes.
As part of the seventh-generation Sonata, Hyundai introduced the release of a plug-in hybrid variant in 2015. The blended mode is up to 27 miles (43 km) as rated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the total combined range is 600 miles (970 km).
In terms of performance, the Sonata delivers a comfortable and composed ride, with accurate steering and predictable handling. The suspension is well-tuned to absorb road imperfections, providing a smooth ride quality that is appreciated by both the driver and passengers. The Sonata’s braking performance is also commendable, with a firm pedal feel and consistent stopping power.
One important note to consider is that the Sonata is equipped with a timing chain, rather than a timing belt. This means that there is no need to worry about the replacement intervals associated with timing belts, which can be a costly maintenance item for some vehicles.
Safety Features, Recalls and Ratings
The Hyundai Sonata has always been a strong performer in terms of safety, and the 2014-2018 models are no exception. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the Sonata with a 5-star overall rating, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave it a “Top Safety Pick+” designation.
Some of the key safety features found in the Sonata include front and rear airbags, electronic stability control, traction control, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Optional safety features include a rear-view camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane change assist, and adaptive cruise control.
In terms of recalls, the Hyundai Sonata has had a few notable issues, including problems with the bearings in the engine short block, automatic transmission shift cable, fuel line cracks, faulty airbags, and front seat belts. However, these recalls have been addressed by Hyundai, and the affected vehicles should have been repaired by conscientious customers.
Fuel Efficiency and Emissions
The Hyundai Sonata offers competitive fuel efficiency in the midsize sedan segment. The 2.4-liter engine is rated at an EPA-estimated 25 miles per gallon (mpg) city, 36 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined. The 1.6-liter turbocharged engine is slightly more efficient, with EPA estimates of 28 mpg city, 37 mpg highway, and 31 mpg combined.
In terms of emissions, the Sonata is classified as an Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV), meaning that it meets strict emissions standards set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Interior Design Features
The interior of the Hyundai Sonata is both stylish and functional, with a well-designed dashboard, comfortable seats, and a plethora of convenient features. Infotainment options include a standard touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as an available premium audio system with satellite radio and navigation.
The Sonata also offers a rear-view camera, which is a valuable safety feature that helps drivers to see what is behind them when backing up. Seating features include comfortable and supportive front seats, as well as ample rear legroom and head height for adult passengers.
Storage and cup spaces are abundant in the Sonata, with a large center console, door pockets, and cup holders in both the front and rear of the vehicle. Overall, the Sonata offers a pleasant and practical interior that is well-suited for daily driving.
Hyundai Sonata Commonly Reported Problems
While the Hyundai Sonata is generally regarded as a reliable vehicle, there are a few common issues that owners have reported. These include problems with the engine, such as excessive oil consumption and engine knocks, as well as issues with the electrical system, including problems with the starter motor and alternator.
It is important to note that Hyundai has addressed many of these issues through recalls and warranty extensions, so if you are considering purchasing a used Sonata, be sure to check its recall and repair history.
Hyundai Sonata Expert Reviews
Expert reviews of the Hyundai Sonata are generally positive, with many praising the vehicle’s comfortable ride, attractive styling, and impressive list of standard and available features. Critics have also noted the Sonata’s competitive fuel efficiency and strong safety ratings, which make it an appealing option for families and commuters alike.
Some reviewers have expressed concerns about the Sonata’s handling and driving dynamics, which they describe as less engaging than some competitors. However, this is a subjective matter and may not be a deal-breaker for many drivers who prioritize comfort and practicality over sporty performance.
Hyundai Sonata Customer Reviews
Overall, Hyundai Sonata owners are quite satisfied with their vehicles, citing the comfortable ride, spacious interior, and attractive design as some of the top reasons for their satisfaction. Many also appreciate the Sonata’s fuel efficiency and comprehensive list of features, which contribute to its strong value proposition.
Common complaints from Sonata owners tend to focus on issues with the engine and electrical system, as well as occasional build quality concerns. However, it is important to note that these issues are not universal and may not be present in every Sonata.
Comparison with Competitors in the Midsize Sedan Segment
The midsize sedan segment is highly competitive, with many strong contenders vying for the attention of buyers. Some of Sonata’s top competitors include the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Nissan Altima.
The Honda Accord is known for its excellent reliability, comfortable ride, and engaging driving dynamics, making it a top choice for many buyers. The Toyota Camry is another strong contender, offering a smooth and comfortable ride, as well as a reputation for reliability and strong resale value. The Nissan Altima is a popular choice as well, with a comfortable and spacious interior, as well as competitive fuel efficiency.
While each of these vehicles has its own unique strengths, the Hyundai Sonata holds its own in this competitive segment, offering an appealing combination of style, comfort, and value.
Tips to Look Out for When Buying a Used Hyundai Sonata (2014-2018)
If you are considering purchasing a used Hyundai Sonata, there are a few key factors to keep in mind. First, be sure to check the vehicle’s recall and repair history, as well as its maintenance records, to ensure that any known issues have been addressed.
Next, pay close attention to the condition of the engine and electrical system, as these are areas where some Sonata owners have reported problems. Be sure to take the vehicle for a thorough test drive, listen for any unusual noises or vibrations, and check the performance of all electrical components.
Finally, consider having a pre-purchase inspection performed by a qualified mechanic, who can help to identify any potential issues or concerns before you commit to buying the vehicle.
The Hyundai Sonata (2014-2018) is a strong contender in the midsize sedan segment. With competitive fuel efficiency, strong safety ratings, and a comfortable and well-equipped interior, the Sonata is a practical choice for drivers needing a larger car to transport friends, family, or work colleagues around safely.
While there are some known issues with the engine and electrical system, many of these have been addressed by Hyundai through recalls and warranty extensions. By taking the time to research and inspect any potential used Sonata thoroughly, you can ensure that you are getting a reliable and enjoyable vehicle that will serve you well for years to come.