And the Sonata looked almost exactly like an Accord of the same era.
Yep, similar, but I liked the Sonata better, it was a simpler, cleaner design, IMO.
My first impression of the Sonata wasn’t good. The university where I was employed had checked out all the vehicles in its fleet, so a Sonata was provided to me from a rental agency.
I was in a hurry to get to a conference 150 miles away and had to pick up my research partner on the way who was 60.miles away. When I got in the Sonata, the seat was way too low to be comfortable and the seatback was was reclined too much. I pulled on a lever, but the seatback didn’t come up. When I got on the interstate, I couldn’t believe how slowly the other vehicles were going. I was passing almost everyone. I finally looked more closely at the speedometer. On my vehicles, “60” is at the top of the dial. On the Sonata, “80” was at the top of the dial. I was judging my speed by the position of the needle and was probably going about 90 mph.
When I picked up my research partner, she offered to drive and I gladly gave her the wheel. She found the seat most uncomfortable. We switched off driving a couple of times on the way to the conference.
On.the way back, I decided to be a nice guy and drive the first 100 miles. When we reached a rest stop and my research partner was inside, I looked at the seat again. The lever I was pulling to raise the seat back was a pump lever to raise the entire seat. There was another lever we both missed to adjust the seatback angle.
After I figured out the seat controls, we both found a comfortable driving position. We decided that the Sonata was really a decent car. I learned from this experience to take a couple of minutes to become familiar with the controls rather than just get behind the wheel and take off.
Back in, I think the 90’s, I drove a fleet car with the stupidest seat adjust I’ve ever seen. I think it was a Toyota. To raise the seat pan, you twisted a 4 or 5 inch plastic knob on the left side of the seat pan. You had to wedge your hand in between the B pillar and the seat to reach it, and if you were an adult of normal weight, it was hard to get enough torque on that small knob to elevate the seat while you were sitting in it. So lots of people had to get out of the car, twist the knob, then hop back in and see if they got the position right. I felt that to be a monument to terrible interface design.
@shadowfax Another conference I attended with my research partner was about 300 miles away. Again, the vehicles in my university’s fleet were already assigned and I was provided a Nissan Sentra from a rental agency. We gave our paper and left for the trip back home in the late afternoon. When evening came, the instrument panel lights were annoyingly bright. Neither of us could find any rheostat control to dim the panel lights. We finally decided it was a stripped down model and there was no way to dim the panel lights. Several years later when I bought a Toyota Sienna, I found that the panel light rheostat is activated by twisting the knob for the odometer reset button. My guess is that this was the way the brightness of the panel lights on the Sentra.
The last vehicle I drove from the University’s fleet before I retired 10 years ago was a Ford Fusion. The controls were very intuitive and the seat and driving position for me was quite comfortable. If I had been in the market for a sedan, the Fusion would have been high on the list.
That’s how it worked in my dad’s '84 Tercel. I always thought that an odd interface choice, especially since there were acres of blank space all around the gauge cluster that could have been used to place a proper knob. On the other hand, it was probably a good choice. Toyota cut corners a lot in that car, but only where it didn’t impact reliability. No tach in a manual transmission, no air conditioner… Heck, the radio was a dealer-installed option (which dad was too cheap to spring for, much to my chagrin). The seats were covered in the finest unblemished hydes of Naugas. It didn’t even have a passenger wing mirror or a passenger side sun visor.
But on the other hand, that engine was bulletproof. It just kept going, never needing any repair in all the years we had it. It’d probably still be running today if someone hadn’t run a stop sign and smashed into it. I still occasionally see one driving around.
We leased a 2007 sonata. Zero issues. Had 2.4 motor?
Hondas still use the odometer reset as a rheostat for the dash panel lights.
Stay away from the Hyundia/Kia 2.0 “theta” engines - huge recalls and defects and class action lawsuits (do a google search about them). If the Kona has one, don’t get it.