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2008 Hyundai Sonata

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2008 Hyundai Sonata Review

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Quickly becoming a major player in the U.S. market, Hyundai demonstrates an uncanny ability to produce high-quality products at bargain-basement prices. The latest example of the company's accelerated design evolution is the Sonata, a roomy and well-equipped sedan challenging the dominance of the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry (at least on paper) but costing thousands of dollars less. Built at Hyundai's factory in Alabama, the Sonata boasts an impressive list of standard safety equipment, helping it earn a five-star crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're attracted to the idea of a feature-filled mid-size sedan that won't bust your budget, the Hyundai Sonata should be one of the cars on your list. Also worth noting is Hyundai's very real commitment to including a high level of standard safety equipment on every vehicle.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The Sonata carries the unenviable burden of competing in the same category as the Accord and Camry, perennial industry benchmarks not only in popularity but also in quality. For anyone accustomed to that top-level refinement, the Sonata's higher level of equipment for the money might not be enough to tip the scales in its favor.

What's Significant About This Car?

The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is now available on all trims, while the GLS trim can now be had with a V6 engine. XM Satellite Radio is standard across the line and the SE receives a power driver's seat. Limited models now feature a six-speaker Infiniti sound system with separate subwoofer.

Driving the Sonata

Driving Impressions The Hyundai Sonata drives like a small car. On the plus side, that means more nimble and confident handling. On the flip side, that means a ride less insulated from...

rough roads. Over smooth highways, our V6 Sonata GLS was comfortable and quiet, even with its low-profile tires. It also delivered brisk acceleration—both off the line and in short-order passing situations—while the five-speed automatic transmission shifted smoothly and responded quickly to manual commands. Overall, the new Sonata does many things well. But, unlike some of its world-beating competitors, the new Sonata is merely equal to the sum of its parts.

Automatic Air Quality System
When a sensor detects an excess of pollen or diesel fumes, for instance, the ventilation system automatically switches into the recirculation mode.

Aggressive Low-Profile Tires
The same tires you might expect to find on a sporty coupe help to make the V6 Sonata a worthy companion on meandering roads.

2008 Hyundai Sonata Details
2008 Hyundai Sonata photo Interior

Although the Sonata competes in the mid-size sedan category, the EPA actually groups it in the "Large Car" category due to its generous interior space. Even though it barely makes the "Large Car" cutoff, the Sonata treats front and rear passengers to a cabin that is spacious and comfortable, although some might find the front seat cushion lacking in thigh support due to its minimal up-angle adjustment. The attractive environment also features nicer materials and cleaner designs than many might expect, with the possible exception of the center of the instrument panel, and the Sonata's designers have done a fine job in minimizing the effects of inexpensive plastic.

Exterior
2008 Hyundai Sonata photo

The Hyundai Sonata features significantly more contemporary styling than previous generations, though some might argue the design is also somewhat generic. The SE trim's available features, like dual chrome exhaust outlets and 17-inch aluminum wheels equipped with aggressive Michelin Pilot tires, provide a little more character. Overall, we like the Sonata's new styling, even if it's squarely on the conservative side, and don't see any single design feature likely to turn anybody away from the car.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

One of the Sonata's key selling points is its impressive equipment list, including an admirable array of standard safety features. The base Sonata features a sophisticated 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system, cruise control, keyless entry, power windows and door locks, heated power side mirrors and leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel (V6 only). The long list of standard safety equipment includes front, front-side and front- and rear-curtain airbags, electronic stability control, traction control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS) and whiplash-reducing active front head restraints.

Optional Equipment

Available upgrades include a 234-horsepower V6, four-speed and five-speed automatic transmissions with manual gear select, sunroof, Infinity AM/FM/6 CD/MP3 sound system, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, automatic headlights, trip computer, fog lights, heated front seats, eight-way power driver's seat and auto-dimming rearview mirror. Many of these features are standard on the SE and Limited.

Under the Hood

The base powertrain package in the 2008 Hyundai Sonata is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder mated to a five-speed manual transmission, which complements the car's nimble handling better than the same engine in combination with the available four-speed automatic transmission. With dual overhead cams and continuously variable valve timing, this all-aluminum engine is good for 162 horsepower and 164 pound-feet of torque. The best partnership under the hood, however, is the sophisticated new 3.3-liter V6 and the responsive five-speed automatic transmission. With 234 horsepower, 226 pound-feet of torque and manually selectable gears, it isn't hard to coax the V6 Sonata into having a little fun.

2.4-liter in-line 4
162 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
164 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/31 (manual), 21/30 (automatic)

3.3-liter V6
234 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
226 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28

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2008 Hyundai Sonata Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 757 Ratings for the 2006 - 2010 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    8.9/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    8.9/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

Pleasantly surprised; have liked this car

By on Thursday, August 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Stylish, peppy, fun, comfortable"

Cons: "visors fail, local dealership service was absent"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Cash-in-hand, I went to the local dealership to test drive used vehicles. I tried several but didn't like any of them. However, we've bought several good used cars from this dealership and at his urging, I tried the Sonata. The first surprising thing was applying reasonable throttle and squealing out of his parking lot. The seats were comfortable and over-all I was happy with the steering, responsiveness and fit. White is one of the only sensible colors in GA and I much prefer cloth seats. (At the time of purchase, there was a close Hyundai dealership but they closed after 2-3 years. Taking any car to a mechanic who's not factory trained for the specific model makes me uneasy. That was my major complaint; nearest dealership, about 40 miles away. Second major complaint: around year 4 after purchase, both visors had broken shattering the mounting plastic all over the dash and front seats. (I'd heard that there was a period of time the dealership would have replaced the visors for free, but I missed out on that. I doubt that the replacements would have lasted more than 4-5 years since I suspect faulty design and/or materials was the reason they failed). Over-all the car has been reliable and mileage has been 23 mpg mixed hwy/city and 29 mpg loaded with 2 adults and a trunk full of luggage. The paint has held up well and so has the upholstery and seat supporting materials; the driver lumbar adjustment is great."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

An excellent car.

By on Friday, July 31, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "An excellent car for the money."

Cons: "There is none."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"The car is outside since i bought it. The paint is excellent and the leather seats are to. The back seat looks brand new, the car has a large trunk . It has an electric sunroof ."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

Best value for design and reliability

By on Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have had nothing go wrong with my car and it has nearly 60,000 miles. It has been super reliable, fun and easy to drive and similar to an Acura Legend in feel"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

So glad I bought this car. Best I've ever owned.

By on Saturday, July 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 168,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Bought this car used in 2007 with around 20,000 miles on it. Besides the routine upkeep any car requires, it's only needed one repair (new key assembly)since. Handles well in snow & is a comfortable ride. Gets relatively good gas milage. Don't feel like i could have asked for more. Will definitely get another Hyundai."

This car rarely needs repair.

By on Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "good mileage, comfortable, feel very safe in it."

Cons: "center brake light replacement and driving lights"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My sister shopped a long time for a new car and paid cash for it. I was so happy when it was left to me after all the cars I have had purchased in the past. Excellent mileage, drives great and reliable. If I could find others at a good price I would get one for each of my 4 kids."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great 2nd car or starter car for new driver!!

By on Sunday, July 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 200,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "still get Great Gas mileage (27mpg Hwy)"

Cons: "CD player sometimes get stuck"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Even though car has high mileage it still performs like a champ. I have kept up with Every service maintainence issue thru the years and same service shop for all repairs can verify condition etc.. Replaced alternator, new battery and tires etc in past year to support the strong,quiet engine.This Sonata still runs Great; City & Hwy!! Interior is in good condition as well... Everything still works; except cannot seem to get airbag light to go off on dash panel.. my service tech has tried numerous times ( manufactor defect on this) But we do know that All airbags etc operate properly. I am only selling car because I am buying newer model and do not have use for 2 cars....GREAT STARTER CAR FOR NEW DRIVER... GREAT CAR FOR OLDER PERSON, GREAT BUY FOR LOW BUDGET/POOR CREDIT PERSON!"

5 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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