I’m considering buying either a Sonata or an Elantra, I was wondering if you could critique them for me. I’m really interested in the mileage, reliability, and maintenance, and whether or not the initial savings is worth buying over the Toyota and Honda cars (Accord, Civic, Corolla, Camry)
Hundais have gotten bad rap because of a couple of design problems in specific years and models, but from my observation, most problems with Hyundai’s come from the fact that people who buy them don’t take care of them. Honda’s and Toyotas are not all that much better cars than Hundais, they are just more tolerant of neglect.
I have been favorably impressed with the Hundais that I have rented when on business. I don’t buy front wheel drive cars, but if I did, Hundai would be a contender.
Hyundai has come a very long way from the earlier models that they first marketed in this country, and the newer Hyundais are very competitive with Japanese brands in terms of reliability. In fact, my brother bought an '07 Hyundai Azera on the basis of its better driving dynamics, better reliability, and lower price, as compared to his first choice–a Toyota Avalon. A year or so later, he has not regretted his decision.
One of the areas where Hyundai had lagged the competition was in terms of fuel economy, but the newest Sonata model is now actually rated slightly better in terms of mpg than the Accord or the Camry. The Sonata and the Elantra are now both reliable cars, with competitive fuel economy ratings. I don’t think that you will regret buying either of them, especially when you factor in the cost saving vs. their competition.