"This is probably more than you would want to know about this car, but here goes.
I owned a used '97 Sonata GL for almost two years. When I first saw it, I was impressed with how well it had held up. Upholstery was like new, the carpet one color, dash had no cracks, door panels, etc. were in really nice shape.
The plastic panel for the passenger air bag had faded at a different rate, or to a different hue than the rest of the dashboard, so it looked a little funky.
I had the fluids changed, a small leak from the oil pan fixed, put new tires on and drove it - in a little more than one year - for about 30,000 miles.
Only had two failures, a door window motor and a door lock actuator. Each was about $200 to fix.
Performed routine maintenance and changed all the belts. Changed the transmission fluid twice and put on some front brakes.
I was told they use this model - still - for taxis in S. Korea.
It's very quiet, has very comfortable seats front and rear. Has a lot of room in the back and a great trunk. I also regularly got between 27mpg and 32mpg. The interior still looks great.
This car made me look more than twice at their new models, and I would definitely recommend one to a friend."
"Overall, I believe this car has been a good vehicle for me. I bought this GLS back in 2003 for $5500. I have had to repair/replace a few items such as a window regulator ($75), a rear wheel bearing/hub ($110), and a transmission input shaft speed sensor ($55), but other than that it has been a pretty reliable vehicle. I took the car to AutoZone when the check engine light came on and got the codes and researched online to decipher the most likely culprit. I bought all the parts online - except the hub- and I did all the repairs myself and I am not a mechanic. A lot of times, just stepping back and assessing the situation will serve you well in the repair process. The car runs smooth and is very quiet at low rpms. It has good power and acceleration for a small six and averages around 24-25 mpg combined. I like the exterior styling of the 2002 GLS. I call it a poor man's Jaguar :) It corners well (although it has a little more body roll than I like) and has a fairly smooth ride because of the independent rear suspension. The plastic used in the car is of decent to good quality. I have the leather option in my car and while the seats have good support the leather is of only fair to decent quality, but hey, considering the price I paid and what I can still get for this car if I sell it, this car has been a good investment. If I were recommending this car to a prospective buyer I would highly recommend spending a little more and getting the GLS model with the V6."
"Mu husband worked for Toyota when I bought my car. He said I was making a mistake and I should buy a Toyota but that it was my car and I could get what I wanted. A couple of weeks after I bought it, he was sold. The more he drove it, the more he liked it and he was amazed with all the features it had. Then he was telling people he worked with that it had MORE features than the Camry but was HALF the price. I haven't had any problems and have only done basic maintenance. The only down side to this car is the road noise but, with the stereo turned up, it doesn't matter anyway. This car has been reliable and it really scoots. My husband is looking to buy another car and is saying it's going to be a Hyundai."
Cons: "Headlamps blow often. Stereo not the greatest."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought my Sonata new in 2004. As a single mother I needed something reliable yet I wanted something stylish. Since I purchased it I have had NO that is ZERO problems with it. The body style looks much more expensive than what I gave for it and everyone asked me what it was. I got my Sonata fully loaded with ALL the bells and whistles it came with at the time. No one could believe I gave less than 20K for it.
It is now 9 years old and I have yet to have to do any major work to it other than basic maintenance. Brakes, tires, battery, etc..... My Sonata was plenty big enough for myself and my children, even the trunk was big enough to take all of the gear we needed when we would travel out of town to visit family. Now that they are teenagers and basically full grown men it is a bit cramped but it still runs and looks great! As a matter of fact my older son is looking forward to it becoming his when I buy myself a new car (without a doubt another Hyundai) later this fall.
On the down side, even with the upgraded sound system the stereo was weak and I did have to replace the head lamps fairly often."