25 Best & Worst Hyundai Sonata Years (With Facts & Stats)

The Hyundai Sonata is a midsize sedan that was first introduced in 1985.

It offers excellent value for money, impressive fuel economy, and a stylish design. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the standout and most troublesome model years…

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Hyundai Sonata Are:

The best Hyundai Sonata model years are 2024, 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2005, 2004, and 2003. The worst model years of this model are 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2009, 2010, 2000, 2001, and 2002. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Hyundai Sonata?

2024 Hyundai Sonata

The 2024 Sonata is the most technologically advanced model year produced so far. It comes loaded with state-of-the-art tech and safety features, offers a roomy interior with strategically placed storage compartments and stellar fuel economy.

For 2024 the model features refreshed styling inside and out, an enlarged and enhanced center touchscreen, and the availability of all-wheel drive.

Excluding the hybrid variants, there are 2 trims to choose from: SEL and N Line.

Base pricing ranges from approximately $29,000 to $36,000.

The SEL is considered to be the mainstream version. It comes with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine (191 horsepower, 181 pound-feet of torque), an 8-speed automatic transmission, and either a front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive.

The N Line is a sporty version of the model. It is packed with a turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine (290 horsepower, 311 pound-feet of torque) and only comes with an all-wheel-drive configuration.

According to the EPA, you can get a combined (city and highway) driving fuel economy of up to 29 MPG for the SEL and up to 27 MPG for the N Line. 

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.2 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 80 / 100

2023, 2022, 2021, and 2020 Hyundai Sonata

The 2023, 2022, 2021, and 2020 Sonata models are solid choices.

These are the first installments of the seventh generation that sport a massive redesign, a sharper-looking interior and exterior, and a whole bunch of standard and optional tech features.

There are a total of 5 available trim levels: SE, SEL, SEL Plus, N Line, and Limited. There are a couple of special variants and packages peppered throughout these models as well, such as the N Line Night Edition.

The SE and SEL come with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine (191 horsepower). The SEL Plus and N Line are equipped with a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine (180 horsepower). 

Finally, the top-spec N Line has a turbocharged 2.5-liter engine that outputs 290 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. 

2023 Hyundai Sonata:

  • Edmunds: 4.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.2 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 80 / 100

2022 Hyundai Sonata:

  • Edmunds: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.2 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2021 Hyundai Sonata:

  • Edmunds: 3.8 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.2 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 80 / 100

2020 Hyundai Sonata:

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.2 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2020 Hyundai Sonata, Edmunds Review:

“I bought the Sonata Limited and I absolutely love it. I spent 3 months researching and driving different cars and selected the Sonata. So far it has exceeded all my expectations… Cooled and heated seats. Surround cameras, Bose sound system, smooth 8 speed transmission, and it looks great. I am still pleased with my decision.”

2019 Hyundai Sonata

The 2019 Sonata is the final model year of the sixth generation. It is a top choice thanks to its wide array of standard features, spacious interior, intuitive tech and upscale design.

There are 6 trims: SE, Eco, SEL, Sport, Limited, and Limited 2.0T.

The entry-level SE is powered by a 2.4-liter engine (185 horsepower). 

The Eco has the same features as the SE but instead comes with something else under the hood, specifically a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine (178 horsepower). It was also designed to be the most fuel efficient variant among all trims. 

The midrange SEL, Sport, and Limited trims share the same engine as the previously discussed Eco. 

The top-of-the-line Limited 2.0T has a turbocharged 2-liter engine (245 horsepower, 260 pound-feet of torque). 

Notable safety features include the following:

  • Blindspot with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Smart Cruise Control with Stop-Start
  • Lane Keep Assist

This model year also secured a perfect 5-star NHTSA overall safety rating. 

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.3 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 81 / 100

2019 Hyundai Sonata, Edmunds Review:

“I drove this car as a loaner while my 2010 Hyundai Genesis was being serviced, and I kept it for 3 days, this is not an ownership review. Nevertheless, I have been impressed by this vehicle, and I am aware that it is the base model. What I noticed right away is the accuracy of the steering. I had to drive 80 miles one way to the dealership for 120 K service on my car, and there is no doubt that this car was easy to drive on the highway…”

2005, 2004, and 2003 Hyundai Sonata

Despite their age, the 2005, 2004, and 2003 Sonatas emerge as notable models among numerous problematic vehicles of their era

They all offer a pleasant highway ride, a powerful and efficient engine, and tons of storage space.

According to online reviews, these are the best aspects of the models:

  • Value for money
  • Appearance
  • Driving experience
  • Comfort
  • Interior
  • Reliability
  • Manufacturing quality
  • Ride quality

There are 5 trims: GL, GL V6, GLS Special Value, GLS, and LX.

According to the EPA, these variants can reach anywhere between 20 MPG and 23 MPG for combined city and highway driving. 

2005 Hyundai Sonata:

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2004 Hyundai Sonata:

  • Edmunds: 4.8 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2003 Hyundai Sonata:

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.4 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2005 Hyundai Sonata, Edmunds Review:

“First car. Purchased used at approximately 112k miles. Even with so many miles, an absolute smooth ride. Brakes made a loud scraping noise every morning after first starting the car but then went away. Seems the body dented somewhat easily. But not a huge problem. Very very quiet ride. Surprised, actually, at how quiet the car was…”

Consumer Scores For Best Hyundai Sonata Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2024 Hyundai Sonata4.2 / 5.04.2 / 5.080 / 100
2023 Hyundai Sonata4.2 / 5.04.2 / 5.080 / 100
2022 Hyundai Sonata4.0 / 5.04.2 / 5.081 / 100
2021 Hyundai Sonata3.8 / 5.04.2 / 5.080 / 100
2020 Hyundai Sonata4.4 / 5.04.2 / 5.081 / 100
2019 Hyundai Sonata4.3 / 5.04.3 / 5.081 / 100
2005 Hyundai Sonata4.7 / 5.04.4 / 5.0NA
2004 Hyundai Sonata4.8 / 5.04.4 / 5.0NA
2003 Hyundai Sonata4.7 / 5.04.4 / 5.0NA

Related: 7 Most Common Hyundai Sonata Problems (Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The Hyundai Sonata?

2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 Hyundai Sonata

The 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 Sonata model years are undeniably the most problematic versions ever produced.

Bestowed as both “Beware of the Clunker” and “Avoid Like the Plague” by CarComplaints.com, these models had a handful of severe steering and engine-related issues that rendered the models completely unreliable and ineffective for most of its lifetime.

Chief among the myriad issues of these cars is engine failure. A significant number of owners complained about the vehicle stalling (and subsequently having difficulty starting up again) while traveling.

“We bought this used car for my daughter, then I found out there were issues with the engine. We had it for 6 months and the engine seized as she was driving it on the highway. She got to pull off to the side of the highway. We had it towed to our mechanic, hoping it was the battery or something simple. He told us it was a blown engine…” – CarProblemZoo.com

Other widespread engine-related issues include the following:

  • Engine knocking
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Check engine light flashing
  • Loss of power and acceleration while driving

Some owners had warranty claims denied for faulty engines, forcing them to either write off their cars or pay heavily for repairs and replacements.

Owners also reported frequent steering failure due to a defective electronic power steering system, significantly hindering precise vehicle maneuvering, especially during lane changes or turns.

“There is looseness/excessive play in the steering, causing a jerkiness motion side-to-side with minimal movement of the steering wheel. There is also a clunking noise when turning and when going over bumps in the road, sometimes the bumps cause the steering wheel to jerk to the side resulting in the car veering to the left or right. When this occurs traveling at a higher speed, I’m afraid it could result in either veering into the ditch or into oncoming traffic…”  – CarProblemZoo.com

  • The 2011 Hyundai Sonata had a total of 869 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 4,392 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2012 Hyundai Sonata had a total of 255 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 2,087 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2013 Hyundai Sonata had a total of 244 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 2,337 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2014 Hyundai Sonata had a total of 86 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 906 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2015 Hyundai Sonata had a total of 252 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 1,326 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Common problems:

  • Engine seized
  • Engine stalled while driving
  • Excessive engine noise
  • Engine failure
  • Clicks when turning
  • Engine runs roughly
  • Engine knocking
  • Wire harness broke
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Noise from panoramic sunroof

2006, 2007, and 2008 Hyundai Sonata

The 2006, 2007, and 2008 Sonata model years received a multitude of airbag-related complaints, underscoring notable safety concerns.

Owners frequently experienced the following issues:

  • Persistent airbag warning light flashing
  • Faulty passenger seat sensor (OCS)
  • Defective seat belt pretensioners and tensioners
  • Airbag deployment failure

All of these issues (and more) were caused by none other than the infamous Takata airbag recall.

The Takata airbags were defective due to a propellant that could degrade over time, leading to explosive ruptures and posing serious injury risks to occupants.

However, the airbags were linked to various other problems too.

“Airbag light stays on all the time. This is already a recall for my make, model and year, but my VIN is not part of the recall. This is a safety issue and should be a recall for all vehicles affected.” – CarProblemZoo.com

  • The 2006 Hyundai Sonata had a total of 81 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 1,378 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2007 Hyundai Sonata had a total of 63 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 881 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2008 Hyundai Sonata had a total of 81 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 1,378 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Common problems:

  • Broken piston
  • Damaged connecting rod
  • Airbag light on
  • Instability while driving
  • Blown engine
  • Paint peeling off
  • Engine seized
  • Ticking noise
  • Transmission issues

2016, 2017, and 2018 Hyundai Sonata

While not as problematic as the initial batch of model years discussed (2011 to 2015 model years), the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Sonatas suffered from a few engine-related issues. Some of which were severe enough to affect the overall safety of vehicle use. 

These models reportedly guzzled and burned excessive amounts of engine oil, indicating underlying engine problems.

Owners also complained about engine stalling, overheating, premature internal engine wear and tear, cylinder misfire, and frequent speed reduction (limp mode).

“Engine began misfiring, spark plug coated in oil which indicates piston ring defect. I get regular scheduled maintenance, often needing oil far before maintenance would be due. This is a known issue and Hyundai is not taking responsibility.” – CarProblemZoo.com

  • The 2016 Hyundai Sonata had a total of 89 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 842 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2017 Hyundai Sonata had a total of 83 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 770 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2018 Hyundai Sonata had a total of 45 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 327 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Common problems:

  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Paint peeling
  • Died while driving
  • Power steering failed
  • Check engine light on
  • Hard downshifts
  • Rodents eating soy-based wires

2009 and 2010 Hyundai Sonata

Owners of the 2009 and 2010 Sonata widely reported brake-related problems. Specific issues include brake caliper failure, brake system overheating, and premature wear and tear. 

These issues were also accompanied by issues on the electronic side, specifically the Electronic Stability Control (ESC), as evidenced by the illumination of the corresponding ESC warning light and erratic braking behavior.

Some owners were fortunate enough to have the needed repairs answered for by their respective dealers (under warranty) but most had to pay out of their own pockets just to be able to reliably drive the car.

“The problem as reported by so many others is that the rear brake system has an inherent failure in the caliper/rotor/brake pads. I have vested nearly $2500. 00 on the three aforementioned parts and labor over the last 4 years. Between midas and now a private mechanic has tried better lube on slide pins but the problem still persists. A little research states that the caliper piston doesn’t retract from the rotors and in turn heating up the brake components to the point of failure…” – CarProblemZoo.com

  • The 2009 Hyundai Sonata had a total of 85 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 579 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2010 Hyundai Sonata had a total of 132 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 398 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Common problems:

  • Abnormal rear brake wear and tear
  • Loss of power
  • Vehicle stalling while driving
  • Engine knocking
  • Door handles fall off
  • Engine failure
  • Paint peeling

2000, 2001, and 2002 Hyundai Sonata

The 2000, 2001, and 2002 Sonata models had a unique set of issues, most of which revolved around the vehicle subframe. 

Owners observed severe rusting and corrosion affecting significant sections of the subframe. This has led to overall structural weakness which could then affect other aspects of the vehicle (such as the suspension and steering systems).

While driving, owners have reported first-hand experiences of the consequences of a damaged subframe, including:

  • Vehicle pulling to either side
  • Detached front wheel
  • Sudden stops
  • Flashing of various warning indicators
  • Vehicular accidents and collisions

“ … My entire subframe, front and rear, is completely rusted and deteriorated. Nothing has been done to fix it, but it is very dangerous and I was told by the dealership that this car is unsafe to drive and could cause an accident at any time.” – CarProblemZoo.com

  • The 2000 Hyundai Sonata had a total of 7 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 376 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2001 Hyundai Sonata had a total of 7 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 289 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.
  • The 2002 Hyundai Sonata had a total of 13 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 400 problems based on CarProblemZoo.com data.

Common problems:

  • Rotted and rusted subframe
  • Difficulty in accelerating
  • Brake lights do not work
  • Headlights and tail lights shorting out
  • Transmission shifts late
  • Air conditioning not working
  • Difficulty filling tank
  • Airbags failed to deploy in accident

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
2024 Hyundai Sonata
2023 Hyundai Sonata5391
2022 Hyundai Sonata0762
2021 Hyundai Sonata2913
2020 Hyundai Sonata51143
2019 Hyundai Sonata11840
2018 Hyundai Sonata453271
2017 Hyundai Sonata837703
2016 Hyundai Sonata898426
2015 Hyundai Sonata2521,3269
2014 Hyundai Sonata869067
2013 Hyundai Sonata2442,3379
2012 Hyundai Sonata2552,0878
2011 Hyundai Sonata8694,39214
2010 Hyundai Sonata1323982
2009 Hyundai Sonata855792
2008 Hyundai Sonata525325
2007 Hyundai Sonata638817
2006 Hyundai Sonata811,37811
2005 Hyundai Sonata562181
2004 Hyundai Sonata192761
2003 Hyundai Sonata132366
2002 Hyundai Sonata134007
2001 Hyundai Sonata72893
2000 Hyundai Sonata73764

Related: Hyundai Elantra Best & Worst Years? (With Facts & Stats)

What Problems Do Hyundai Sonata Have?

  • Engine seized
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Engine stalls while driving
  • Excessive engine noise
  • Clicks when turning
  • Engine runs roughly
  • Noise from panoramic sunroof

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Hyundai Sonata?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Honda Accord8.1$27,896 – $29,910City: 29 /Highway: 37
Toyota Camry8.1$26,420 – $36,845City: 22 – 28 /Highway: 31 – 39
Kia K58.0$25,390 – $31,790City: 24 – 27 /Highway: 32 – 37
Hyundai Sonata7.9$24,950 – $34,975City: 23 – 28 /Highway: 33 – 38
Subaru Legacy7.7$24,895 – $38,195City: 23 – 27 /Highway: 31 – 35
Nissan Altima7.4$25,730 – $35,430City: 25 – 27 /Highway: 34 – 39
Chevrolet Malibu6.8$25,100 – $31,500City: 27 /Highway: 35

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com











  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...