8 Best & Worst Hyundai Sonata Years (Stats & Examples)

The Hyundai Sonata is an attractive option among car enthusiasts and ordinary drivers alike, owing to its elegant look, comfy interior, and strong performance. 

However, not all years of production are created the same, as Hyundai has made different changes and alterations over time. 

In this article, we will look at the best and worst Hyundai Sonata years, taking into account a variety of variables such as reliability and overall customer satisfaction.

The Best and Worst Years for Hyundai Sonata Are:

The best and most reliable model years for the Hyundai Sonata are from 2005, 2009, 2010, and 2018. These models demonstrate high-reliability scores from industry experts. However, due to more significant issues, you should be cautious when looking at the 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015 models. 

What Hyundai Sonata Years Are the Most Reliable?

The Hyundai Sonata has built a reputation for being a reliable choice in the midsize sedan market. 

However, not all model years are created equal when it comes to dependability. 

Whether you’re considering a used Sonata or looking for guidance on a new purchase, read on to discover the model years that have proven to be steadfast companions on the road, providing peace of mind and a rewarding ownership experience.

2005 Hyundai Sonata

The 2005 Hyundai Sonata is a midsize sedan that has garnered a reputation for its reliability and solid performance. 

Here are some key points to consider when evaluating the reliability of the 2005 Sonata:

Engine Options: Offers two engine options; a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a 2.7-liter V6 engine. Both engine choices have been generally reliable, with proper maintenance and regular servicing. 

Transmission: Available with either a four-speed automatic transmission or a five-speed manual transmission. While automatic transmissions can be prone to more issues over time, the overall reliability of the Sonata’s transmissions has been satisfactory for most owners. 

Build Quality: Hyundai made significant strides during this time to improve overall fit and finish, resulting in a more robust and reliable vehicle. However, it’s worth noting that individual experiences may vary.

Reported Issues: These include problems with the power windows, electrical components, and occasional engine-related issues like oil leaks or timing belt replacements.

Owner Satisfaction: Overall, many owners of the 2005 Sonata have expressed satisfaction with its reliability. The vehicle’s longevity and dependability, coupled with a comfortable ride and spacious interior, have contributed to positive ownership experiences for many drivers.

It is clear to observe that the 2005 Hyundai Sonata has earned a reputation as a reliable midsize sedan. 

2009 – 2010 Hyundai Sonata

The 2009-2010 Hyundai Sonata stands out as a reliable choice among midsize sedans, offering a combination of safety, performance, and overall customer satisfaction. 

Here are some factors that contribute to the reliability of these model years:

Excellent Safety Ratings: With its exceptional safety ratings and crash test results, this model year proves its commitment to passenger protection. Its high safety scores provide peace of mind for drivers and passengers alike.

Impressive Performance: Opting for the V6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission can greatly enhance the performance of the 2009-2010 Sonata. The Sonata’s ability to perform effortlessly while maintaining fuel efficiency makes it an attractive choice.

Recognized Reliability: The 2009-2010 Sonata has been recognized for its reliability by J.D. Power, earning high ratings in its reliability surveys. This acknowledgment underscores the model’s durability and long-lasting performance, instilling confidence in potential owners.

Positive Consumer Reviews: The 2009-2010 Sonata has garnered positive consumer reviews on reputable platforms like Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book. High ratings and favorable feedback from owners further reinforce its reliability and desirability.

Limited Recalls and Complaints: With only two recalls according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)  for the 2010 model and a manageable number of consumer complaints, these model years showcase Hyundai’s attention to quality and reliability.

Overall, the 2009-2010 Hyundai Sonata offers a reliable and satisfying ownership experience. 

With excellent safety ratings, strong performance, recognized reliability, positive consumer reviews, and limited recalls and complaints, these model years are dependable choices for midsize sedan buyers.

2018 Hyundai Sonata

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata boasts a strong reputation for reliability, making it a standout choice in the midsize sedan market. 

Several factors contribute to its reliability, as supported by reviews, ratings, recalls, and consumer feedback.

When it comes to safety, the 2018 Sonata excels. 

It has earned top-notch safety ratings, providing peace of mind for drivers and passengers. The inclusion of advanced safety features, such as automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning, further enhances its reliability as a safe and secure vehicle.

The infotainment system in the 2018 Sonata is another area where reliability shines through. 

With standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, owners can enjoy seamless connectivity and access to popular infotainment platforms. 

This ensures that the system remains up-to-date and reliable, providing drivers with a user-friendly and technologically advanced experience.

Looking at reviews and ratings, the 2018 Sonata has received positive feedback from both consumers and experts. It has garnered high ratings in various categories, including consumer satisfaction and expert reviews. 

These accolades highlight its overall reliability.

In terms of recalls and complaints, the 2018 Sonata has a relatively low number of reported issues, with only one recall and a limited number of consumer complaints.

Overall, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata is a reliable midsize sedan with performance, safety, and technologically advanced features. 

What Hyundai Sonata Years Should You Avoid?

When it comes to purchasing a used car, it’s crucial to do your homework and consider which model years might be best to avoid. 

In the case of the Hyundai Sonata, certain years have garnered a reputation for potential issues or lackluster performance. 

In this section, we will explore the Hyundai Sonata’s history and highlight the years that have been known to present challenges, whether in terms of reliability, safety, or overall customer satisfaction. 

2011 – 2013 Hyundai Sonata

Unfortunately, the 2011 to 2013 Hyundai Sonata models have gained a reputation for their significant reliability issues. These years have been plagued by a range of problems that have affected the overall dependability of the vehicles.

One of the most concerning and prevalent issues is the engine seizing problem, particularly prominent in the 2011 Sonata. 

Numerous owners reported sudden engine failure, often while driving at high speeds. This unexpected failure can be incredibly dangerous and costly to fix, with some owners facing repair bills as high as $5,150.

This problem continued to persist in subsequent model years, including the 2012 and 2013 Sonatas.

In addition, these Sonata models also suffered from excessive engine noise. 

Many owners complained of loud and disruptive banging noises emanating from the engine, which could be a cause for concern. Addressing this issue often requires engine replacement, which can be a costly endeavor, with repair costs reaching $5,000 or more.

The consistent recurrence of these engine-related problems across multiple model years, from 2011 to 2013, is a significant factor contributing to the overall unreliability of the Hyundai Sonata during this period. 

These issues not only pose safety risks but also result in expensive repairs and potential inconvenience for owners.

CarComplaints.com, a reputable source for consumer feedback, has labeled 2011, 2012, and 2013 Sonatas as models to avoid, and they have received numerous complaints from owners. 

Additionally, the high number of recalls for these years further underscores the unreliability of these models.

Prospective buyers should exercise caution and consider other options when considering a vehicle from this particular period.

2015 Hyundai Sonata

The 2015 Hyundai Sonata, while an improvement over its immediate predecessors, unfortunately, continued to face significant reliability issues. 

Despite some positive aspects, the car garnered a “Beware of the Clunker” label from CarComplaints.com, reflecting its 1000 complaints and nine recalls. 

One of the most prevalent concerns reported by owners of the 2015 Sonata is excessive oil consumption. Many owners were dismayed by the abnormal amounts of oil the vehicle consumed between oil changes. 

In some severe cases, this issue led to engine failure, necessitating costly engine replacements.

Another troubling problem reported by owners is engine stalling or complete engine failure while driving, even at high speeds. 

This sudden loss of power is highly concerning and can pose serious safety risks. Several potential fixes have been identified, including engine replacement, manifold replacement, or fuel injector replacement, all of which can be costly and time-consuming.

These mechanical problems experienced by owners of the 2015 Sonata have contributed to its overall unreliability.

The high number of complaints and recalls associated with this model year indicates that these issues are widespread and not isolated incidents.

What Are Some Typical Problems With the Hyundai Sonata Models?

Hyundai Sonata models have typically been well-regarded for their dependability and performance, but like any car, they are not without traditional problems. 

While it’s important to remember that not all Sonata models have the same difficulties there are a few reoccurring issues that some owners have noticed. 

Here are some common difficulties linked with Hyundai Sonata models:

  • Seat belt problem
  • Engine failure issues
  • Transmission issue
  • Fuel leakage problem
  • Speaker errors
  • Parking lights issue
  • Steering issues
  • Timing belt problem
  • EGR switch valve problem
  • Accelerator pedal position sensor issue
  • Suspension issue
  • Self-healing paint issue
  • ABS fire issue

For more, please read our article about common issues with Hyundai Sonata cars.

Final Thoughts

It’s crucial to note that these faults don’t affect all Sonata models, and the severity varies from vehicle to vehicle. These issues can be mitigated with regular maintenance, prompt repairs, and thorough inspections. 

Furthermore, Hyundai has taken steps to address and eliminate these issues in newer model years through recalls, extended warranties, and improved manufacturing methods.


Go Back: Overview over best and worst years for all Hyundai car models.

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.