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Josh Rosenberg
Josh Rosenberg

We don't just talk cars ... we teach how to buy them.

Older Pre-2015 Hyundai Sonata Guide
And How To Buy At The Best Price

Originally introduced in 1989, it actually took ten additional years for the Sonata to really get its act together. But by the 2000's, the wait was worth it.

It was in 1999 that the Sonata finally came into its own with a an improved look, far better engines and big improvements in noise and ride quality. And with its attractive pricing, car buyers began to take notice. This generation of Sonata, its forth, was produced through the 2005 model year, still remains a solid used car choice and clearly represents a lot of value for the price.

But it's really the next two generations that remain a very attractive value today. Relatively lower mileage models can still be found out there and due to their strong build quality many can be considered both a viable and economical used car purchase.

Hyundai Sonata Limited (2008)

In the Sonata's fifth-generation, produced from 2006 through 2010, there were three initial trims: GL, GLS and LX. In 20007, the GLS became the equivalent to the original GL, while the LX model was replaced by the Limited. And in 2008, the more sport-oriented Sonata SE was introduced.

The standard features you'll find on the already well-equipped base Sonata GLS models include full power accessories, air conditioning, keyless entry, cruise control, heated sideview mirrors, a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel (on the V6 only), and a 6-speaker audio system with a CD/MP3 player, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. Again, just an awful lot of quality features for the dollar.

In addition, these used Sonata GLS models can be found with uplevel options such as an 8-way power driver seat, sunroof, a trip computer and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls.

The Sonata SE is equpped with all of the above except the sunroof, and it adds a combination leather/cloth upholstery, a tilt and telescoping steering column, performance tires, 17 inch alloy wheels and foglights. Used SE models can also be found with optional features such as the sunroof, a universal garage door opener, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an upgraded stereo with a six-disc CD changer and subwoofer.

A used top-of-the-line Sonata Limited has all of the above, plus all-season tires, full leather upholstery, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, wood-grain interior accents, chrome exterior trim and a premium Infinity sound system. And some Limited models can also be found with the optional touchscreen navigation system.

2006 Hyundai Sonata GLS V6

Both of this Sonata's engines are solid performers. The 2.4-liter, 162 horsepower, four-cylinder engine found in the GL and GLS is surprisingly lively and capable, whether driving the five-speed manual (GL only) or the four-speed automatic transmission that also comes with a manual shift capability. For the 2008 model year, the four-cylinder engine became standard on all models while the V6 became optional.

And the very capable 3.3-liter 235 horsepower V6 comes with a five-speed automatic transmission, also with the manual shift capability.

The Sonata's EPA-estimated gas mileage is very respectable for a family sedan at 22 mpg city and 32 mpg on the highway with the four cylinder, and 19 mpg city and 29 mpg highway with the V6.

We've found this Sonata to have plenty of headroom, a spacious rear seat and a very large and useful trunk. The interior is also attractive with a two-tone dashboard and metallic trim.

This Sonata offers front-wheel drive and abundant safety features such as antilock brakes (ABS), traction control, stability control, front seat side airbags and curtain airbags. And in government crash testing, the Sonata was awarded perfect five-out-of-five-star ratings in all front and side-impact tests for both driver and passenger protection.

2011 Hyundai Sonata

The Sonata was also redesigned for the 2011 model year (this sixth-generation was produced through the 2014 model) and elevated itself from a "very solid choice" to "the top of its segment". It offers a myriad of appealing qualities, including its sleek design, smooth drive, capable handling, spacious interior, impressive feature list, large trunk, excellent safety ratings, long warranty and strong value for the dollar.

In addition to its impressive materials quality and solid construction, this ersion's powertrain offers both surprising athleticism and power while still delivering high fuel mileage. It again included more standard features than its competitors while priced $2,000-$3,000 less, making them still very attractive in today's used market.

This Sonata has a standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine which produces 197 horsepower yet with improved fuel economy. Also available is a 278-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo. In 2014, the Sonata got a mild facelift which added a new grille, redesigned front fog lights and LED taillights, slimmer LED mirror indicators, and a new alloy wheel design.

Standard features on the already well-equipped base Sonata GLS include power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, air-conditioning, keyless entry, cruise control, 16-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, Bluetooth, a trip computer, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split rear seatback and a 6-speaker audio system with satellite radio, a CD player, a USB/iPod audio interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

Moving up to the sportier SE model added all the above plus a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, performance tires, keyless entry/ignition, leather/cloth upholstery, a dark chrome grille and foglights, while those choosing the turbocharged SE also get steering-wheel-mounted transmission paddle shifters and dual-zone automatic climate control. Also to be found are those with the optional Navigation and Sunroof package which includes a touchscreen navigation system, a rearview camera, a sunroof and Infinity speakers for the sound system.

2012 Hyundai Sonata rear view

The top-of-the-line Sonata Limited comes with everthing on the SE (except it is equipped with 17-inch alloys rather than the SE's 18-inchers) plus a softer suspension, full leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, a panoramic sunroof, side mirror turn signal repeaters, special interior trim accents, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and an upgraded stereo system with a 6-disc CD changer and HD radio.

The turbocharged Limited model goes on to add the 18-inch alloy wheels, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and dual exhaust tips. Some Limited's can be found with optional an touchscreen navigation system, a back-up camera and the premium Infinity speakers

All in all, we think an older Sonata deserves a close look for people in the market for an affordable, yet feature-laden and well-constructed used midsize sedan.

How To Get The Best Price

Used 2003 Hyundai Sonata

There are actually several different ways to buy an older used Sonata at the lowest price, and even at wholesale. You can click on the links to each of the following methods to get the specific instructions.

First of all, here's a Lowest Price Used Car Buying Guide that details a super effective method, one that often beats down prices even to wholesale levels. And somewhat related to this, here's another excellent method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.

In addition, you can also try the Public Car Auctions in your own geographic area. While there can be a lot of junk vehicles at these auctions, there are often absolute gems sprinkled in as well. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them in your own area.

Also ... for those of you who might be interested in a
brand new Hyundai Sonata, if the price was crazy good, here's info on exactly How To Get The Best Price On A New Sonata. This works just phenomenally well.

Other Pages Of Possible Interest:
  • 2013 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2012 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2011 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2013 Hyundai Elantra
  • 2012 Hyundai Elantra
  • Hyundai Elantra 2011
  • 2012 Hyundai Genesis
  • 2011 Hyundai Genesis

  • Additional Models Of Possible Interest:
  • Used Hyundai Elantra Guide
  • Hyundai Santa Fe 2011
  • Hyundai Santa Fe 2010
  • Hyundai Accent 2011
  • Used Hyundai Auction Info
  • Hyundai Elantra Touring 2011
  • Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2011
  • Used Hyundai Genesis Overview

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