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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 New for 2008

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 779 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

Lemon

By on Monday, June 27, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Cheap Price. Good Fuel Economy"

Cons: "Unreliable, No power"

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

"Cracked head at 64,000 miles. Thats what i get for buying foreign. Be very careful with this car. Fuel pump is also making noise probably need to be fixed before winter."

Economical to own and operate but average quality

By on Saturday, June 11, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
4/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "Economical to drive and own"

Cons: "Poor sound system & body insulation"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Purchased w/35k miles, five years ago. Been reliable, good on gas mileage, affordable to own but has some flaws in quality. Cheap sound system due to poor circuitry design and quality. Poor body insulation resulting in excessive road noise. Passenger seat sets very low making for poor vision and comfort but do like the fully adjustable driver's seat. With routine maintenance and upkeep, is affordable and reliable vehicle with nice features (power seat, sunroof, decent sound quality from stereo), solid suspension and handling. Plenty of passing power when needed. Like the shiftronic auto/manual transmission system. Would classify as a good value for those wanting average quality without spending a lot but who exercise good care & maintenance practices."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Very clean, low mileage, no accidents

By on Wednesday, June 8, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,786

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Very clean, no damage, low mileage, quiet"

Cons: "none in my mind"

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

"This car is very clean, no one has ever eaten or smoked in it, no kids have been in it, no animals (except my kitty but she is in her carrier every time she has ridden in it). My brother told me the other day it smells like a NEW car still. I change the oil every 6 months, it only has 10,768 miles on it as of today (6/8/16). It has a wonderful sound system that I never use and I don't drive it much except to the store once a month and may to go get a sandwich. It is parked in a secure, gated community, has a GPS tracking system on it, and an alarm system."

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

Most reliable vehicle I've ever owned

By on Wednesday, May 18, 2016

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
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great road trip cruiser"

Cons: "paint is cheap"

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

"Absolutely most reliable vehicle I've ever owned. Uses no oil, has only had minor repairs, has never broken down on road. Has never failed to start, never been towed. Bought it new, would definitely buy another Hyundai product. Had a friend that got over 400K miles out of his with the original spark plugs."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

I Have 2009 Sonata Limited V6 - Love this car!

By on Saturday, May 14, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive, great interior & audio system"

Cons: "a bit noisy"

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

"Bought this car with 64k miles on it. No problems found! Well designed. Good overall quality. Almost 250 HP make this car very fast and strong. 24 mpg - is my average which is not bad considering my driving style "be first". Great audio system of course for these money. No lights on the dash such as "Check Engine" etc."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Best car Value on the market today!

By on Friday, May 13, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 126,000

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
9/10

Pros: "V6 power - fantastic engine - Very reliable!"

Cons: "Some DIY maintenance is challenging, firm ride"

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

"I purchased new in August of 2007 and have enjoyed 126,000 trouble free miles. The V6 under the hood was a big surprise. 234 Horsepower, this car will simply GO! I cruise on the highway at 70 - 80 mph and it is extremely smooth and comfortable. I have been in much more expensive cars that do not have the quality or power. Great value in this vehicle - only thing I've done is front brake pads, oil changes every 5-6k. replaced plugs at 100k. I will say the 2 minor knocks are the ride is pretty firm due to the low profile tires and a more sport oriented suspension and for those that like to do their own maintenance, it is not laid very well, spark plug change is a bear. I think most car makers do this now though to favor their dealerships. Anyone looking for a solid, reliable, safe, and powerful car should seek a used V6 Sonata. You will not be disappointed"

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

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