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2017 Hyundai Sonata: What You Need to Know

U.S. News & World Report - Cars logo U.S. News & World Report - Cars 8/4/2017 U.S. News & World Report
2017 Hyundai Sonata© Hyundai Motor America 2017 Hyundai Sonata

The 2017 Hyundai Sonata has a long list of standard and available features and delivers a smooth ride. It gets excellent gas mileage, and the trunk is among the largest in the class. With so much to like, it's easy to see why the Sonata is near the top of our midsize car rankings.

The 2017 Hyundai Sonata is ranked:

Is the Hyundai Sonata a Good Car?

The Hyundai Sonata is indeed a good car. It's one of our highest-ranking midsize cars because it has many strengths and few, if any, substantial weaknesses. The Sonata has a smooth ride and two rows of roomy seats. There are plenty of standard and available features, and the infotainment system is easy to use. The Sonata has a large trunk as well, and it's backed by one of the longest warranties on the market. The main drawback to the Sonata is that its base engine and the available turbocharged engines won't really excite you. Their acceleration and overall power output are adequate, though, and the gas mileage is good. The Sonata is one of the best-rounded cars in the class and should be a consideration for any midsize car buyer. The Hyundai Sonata is also the winner of the 2017 Best Midsize Car for the Money award because it has the best combination of quality and value in the class. 

Should I Buy the Hyundai Sonata?

It's definitely worth a look. The Sonata has one of the lowest starting prices in the class, and even a fully loaded Sonata is comparably priced with other fully loaded midsize cars. And because of the many standard and optional features and its high class ranking, the Sonata can be a value at several different price points.

Having said all that, the Sonata isn't the only midsize car worth considering. The Honda Accord has many of the same strengths as the Sonata, making it a worthy competitor. The Toyota Camry is another well-rounded car that you might like. If you want a car that's more fun to drive, you might consider the Kia Optima or the Mazda6. The midsize car class is one of the most competitive, and the Sonata is one of many good choices, but it's worth shopping around because with so little dividing these cars, your final decision will likely be a matter of personal preference.

We Did the Research for You: 27 Pieces of Data Analyzed

In an effort to provide you with all the information you might want while car shopping, our team reviewed 27 pieces of data about the Hyundai Sonata, including crash test results and other professional reviews. We put this kind of effort into every one of our car reviews in order to make sure you have the tools you need for your car buying research.

Why You Can Trust Us

With a combined 75 years of experience and nearly a decade of rankings under our belts, our team has the expertise to give you the information you need on the cars we rank. You can count on us to deliver an unbiased appraisal because our editors do not accept gifts or trips paid for by automakers, and all advertising on our site is handled by a third party.

How Much Does the Hyundai Sonata Cost?

The Sonata SE starts at $21,950, which is one of the lowest starting prices of any midsize car. Even though the SE is the base trim, there's still a decent amount of value thanks to the Sonata's long features list. Bluetooth, satellite radio, and Hyundai's BlueLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay are all standard.

The Sonata Eco trim starts at $23,125 and has the same features list as the SE trim. However, the Eco trim features the most fuel-efficient (and arguably most enjoyable) engine in the Sonata's lineup.

For only a few hundred dollars more than the Eco, you can get the Sonata Sport, which is the lowest trim to offer some of the Sonata's optional features. Adding the Value package ($950) gives you a sunroof, push-button start, heated front seats, and a hands-free smart trunk. The Sonata Sport 2.0T features a turbocharged engine that's more powerful, but that trim costs $3,200 more. The least expensive point-of-entry for a Sonata with this engine, the Sport 2.0T model, is $26,600.

There's also the Limited trim, which starts at $27,150. Many of the features available in lower trims are standard in the Limited, and even more are available, including heated rear seats, a premium Infinity audio system, navigation, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. Like the Sport, there is a higher Limited trim (Limited 2.0T) that features a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. The Limited 2.0T costs an extra $7,200, though many additional features come standard in it. A fully loaded Sonata will cost you around $35,000, which is comparable to the price of many other fully loaded midsize sedans.

There is also the Sonata Hybrid and Sonata Plug-in Hybrid. They start at $30,100 and $34,600, respectively. 

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Hyundai dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Hyundai deals page.

Hyundai Sonata Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Hyundai Sonata or Kia Optima?

The Kia Optima ranks highly among midsize sedans when it comes to performance. Its engine lineup is essentially the same as the Sonata's, and it handles with composure whether you're on the highway or a curvy back road. The Optima features quality cabin materials, with some saying that the Optima's interior is one of the nicest in the class. The front seats are comfortable, and the rear seat offers ample legroom. Cargo space in the Optima only slightly trails the Sonata and is still one of the largest in the class. The Optima's starting price is also below the class average. If you like the Sonata, the Optima is worth considering. However, the Sonata gets better fuel economy, has more cargo space, comes with more standard features, and has a lower base price, making it the better buy of the two cars.

Which Is Better: Hyundai Sonata or Honda Accord?

The Honda Accord is one of the reasons why the midsize car class is so competitive. It's available as a four-door sedan or a two-door coupe and features a handsome, well-built interior. The front seats remain comfortable on long drives, and the rear seats have plenty of room in the sedan, though they're less accommodating in the coupe. Several driver assistance features are part of the Accord's long features list. Unlike the Sonata, the Accord is available with a V6 engine. The Accord also offers a continuously variable transmission – which is a type of automatic – that helps to put its fuel economy on par with the thrifty Sonata Eco trim. Still, the Sonata is probably the better option of the two cars because it features a slightly nicer interior and more cargo space, and it has a lower starting price.

Which Is Better: Hyundai Sonata or Toyota Camry?

The Toyota Camry is one of the most popular cars on the road and has an excellent reliability rating. The well-appointed cabin is quiet even at highway speeds, and both rows of seats have enough space that even tall passengers can ride comfortably. The Camry has a long list of features that includes an easy-to-use infotainment system. Cargo space is above average for the class as well, though the Camry still has a smaller trunk than the Sonata. The Camry's ride is comfortable, and it's available with a V6 engine that's more powerful than any of the Sonata's engines. With so much to like, it's no wonder the Camry finishes near the top of our midsize car rankings. Choosing between the Camry and Sonata may just come down to personal preference, but the Sonata probably has a slight edge because its base price is about $1,100 less than the Camry's.

Sonata Interior

How Many People Does the Sonata Seat?

The Hyundai Sonata seats five on standard cloth upholstery. Leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, sport seats with more side support, heated and ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats are available as options. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, while the back seat is roomy enough to hold adults. Taller rear-seat passengers, however, might want more room.

Sonata and Car Seats

The LATCH car-seat system in the Sonata can be frustrating. All the top tether anchors are easy to find and distinct from other hardware, but the lower anchors are too deep in the seat. On the driver’s side rear seat, it is also difficult to maneuver around the lower anchors. Overall, the Sonata's LATCH system earns a rating of Marginal from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Sonata Interior Quality

The Sonata's interior isn't too flashy, and some might even call it bland. Still, the cabin has a pleasing look, and the materials quality is typical for a midsize sedan. In higher trims, there are some additional cabin accents and upgraded trim materials that make the Sonata feel a little more upscale.

Sonata Cargo Space

The 2017 Sonata offers 16.3 cubic feet of space in the trunk, which is among the largest in the class. That's plenty of space to put luggage for a vacation (a standard carryon is about 1.3 cubic feet) or to pack several sets of golf clubs for a weekend round (golf bags are about 4-5 cubic feet).

The rear seat can be folded down to increase capacity or allow for storage of larger items. An intuitive feature that is rare for the class is the hands-free automatic trunk, which opens automatically when you stand behind the car for a few seconds while in possession of the key fob. 

Sonata Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The 2017 Sonata’s standard features include Bluetooth, a USB port, a six-speaker sound system, satellite radio, HD Radio, a 7-inch touch-screen display, and Hyundai’s BlueLink infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Optional features include a sunroof, proximity key entry, push-button ignition, automatic climate control, a nine-speaker Infinity premium audio system, and an 8-inch touch screen with navigation. 

It's easy to select things on the 7-inch touch screen without much distraction. The optional 8-inch screen with navigation also draws praise. The display is sharp, and the interface is responsive. The Sonata also features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which are excellent smartphone connectivity tools. They pair your smartphone to the vehicle and set up the display screen to look like your phone, making it familiar and easy to use.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Sonata Performance

Sonata Engine: Eco Worth a Look

The base 2017 Hyundai Sonata comes with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 185 horsepower. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The base engine is comparable to the four-cylinder engines you'll find in class rivals. Its acceleration is adequate, and there is ample power to get you from A to B.

Sport and Limited models also come standard with the same engine/transmission combo found in the base model. However, these higher trims are available with an optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 245 horsepower. Despite the higher horsepower rating, the 2.0-liter engine isn't much more exciting than the standard engine, and it's probably not worth the extra $3,200 you'll have to pay to get it.

The Sonata Eco model features a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 178 horsepower. Eco models feature a seven-speed automatic transmission. While this is the least powerful of the three Sonata engines, it may be the most engaging, as it delivers quick acceleration.

Sonata Gas Mileage: Better MPG Than Many Competitors

The Sonata with the standard engine gets an estimated 25 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, while the Eco model returns 28 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway. The base Sonata gets better gas mileage than rivals like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. In fact, the average Sonata driver will save about $100-$150 per year in fuel costs compared to driving those two rivals, which is like getting three or four free tanks of gas throughout the year. Opting for the Eco model will save you an additional $50 or so per year, and more if you frequently drive in the city. The Sonata is also available as a hybrid and this model is more fuel-efficient than nearly every other midsize car. It gets 39 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway.

Sonata Ride and Handling: A Comfortable Cruiser

The front-wheel-drive Sonata provides a smooth ride and does a good job absorbing bumps and shocks from the road. It offers precise and balanced handling, though it falls short of being sporty or engaging. The poised, comfortable ride makes the Sonata a great vehicle for daily driving or road trips.

Sonata Reliability

Is the Hyundai Sonata Reliable?

The Sonata earns a predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power and Associates. A rating of three is considered average, so the Sonata fares well in predicted reliability.

Hyundai Sonata Warranty

Hyundai backs the 2017 Sonata with a five-year/60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. That's one of the best warranties on the market. The Kia Optima has identical warranty terms, but many class rivals, including the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, only have three-year/36,000-mile limited warranties and five-year/60,000-powertrain warranties.

Sonata Safety

Sonata Crash Test Results

The 2017 Sonata receives a five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, scoring five stars in every individual assessment but rollover, where it earns four stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Sonata a rating of Good (the highest rating) in all five crash tests they perform and named the 2017 Sonata a Top Safety Pick. In a class where nearly every model gets excellent safety scores, the Sonata matches up well.

Sonata Safety Features

Contributing to the Sonata’s great value is the inclusion of a rearview camera, which is standard in all trims. However, to get any other driver assistance technologies, you’ll have to purchase a higher trim and then a package. These features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, rear park assist, and adaptive cruise control.

To get all of those features in the Sonata, you have to move up to the Limited trim, which starts at $27,150 ($5,200 more than the base model) and add the Ultimate package. The Ultimate package costs $1,750, but in order to add it, you also have to add the Tech package, which costs $3,400. So you're really talking about adding more than $10,000 to the price tag (compared to the base Sonata) to get all of the driver assistance features.

For comparison, the Honda Accord (starting at $22,455) offers Honda Sensing, which includes lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation braking, and road departure mitigation, in every trim. It costs an extra $1,000, and you also have to add $800 to get the automatic transmission over the standard six-speed manual. However, that still only brings the price tag to $24,255 for an Accord with numerous advanced safety features.

Which Hyundai Sonata Model is Right for Me?

The Sonata was completely redesigned for the 2015 model year and has seen few changes since. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2015 through 2017 model years.

The 2017 Sonata is available in six trim levels. A 2.4-liter four cylinder engine is standard and two turbocharged four-cylinder engines are optional: in 1.6- and 2.0-liter sizes. Front-wheel drive and an automatic transmission are standard in all models. Hyundai also makes a Sonata Hybrid, which is covered in a separate review on our site.

Choosing the right trim comes down to which engine you prefer and how much you're willing to spend on the available features. The Eco model features the 1.6-liter engine, which is probably the best engine in the lineup and also the most fuel efficient. If you're looking for an engaging drive and the best gas mileage, the Eco is for you.

However, the Eco isn't best choice if you want the most features because Eco models aren't available with many of the high-end comfort and convenience options the Sonata offers. For drivers looking for the most comfortable experience, the Limited trim is the way to go. If you add all of the optional features, the Limited approaches luxury-brand levels of tech sophistication while keeping the price around $33,000.

Hyundai Sonata SE

Starting at $21,950, the Sonata SE has one of the lowest prices in the class. Standard features are plentiful, especially considering the price, and include cloth seating, Bluetooth, a USB port, a six-speaker sound system, satellite radio, HD Radio, a 7-inch touch-screen display, Hyundai’s BlueLink infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a rearview camera. There are no additional option packages available for SE models.

Hyundai Sonata Eco

The Eco comes with the smaller 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and retails for $23,125, with the same options as the base Sonata. The Eco trim is the most fuel-efficient Sonata, earning 28 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway. There are no additional option packages available for Eco models.

Hyundai Sonata Sport

The Sonata Sport starts at $23,400 and adds an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat along with more aggressive exterior styling. With this version, you can also purchase the Value Edition Package for $950 that includes a sunroof, proximity key entry, push-button start, sport seats with leather side bolsters, heated front seats, and a hands-free smart trunk that can automatically open when you approach with the key on your person. $26,600 will get you the Sonata Sport with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and sport-tuned steering and suspension, as well as standard heated front seats, sport seats with leather trim, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

Hyundai Sonata Limited

The Limited trim retails for $27,150 and brings more comfort and convenience features, as well as access to other advanced options. Amenities included at this price include a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable passenger seat, heated front seats, leather seats, proximity key entry, push-button ignition, an automatic hands-free trunk, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. An optional Tech package costs $3,400 and includes adaptive headlights, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, rear window sunshades, a nine-speaker premium Infinity audio system, a 4.2-inch color display in the gauge cluster, and an 8-inch touch screen with navigation. You can also purchase the Ultimate package for $1,750, which includes driver assistance technologies such as automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, rear park assist, and adaptive cruise control.

Finally, starting at $34,350 the Limited trim with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine includes the tuned steering and suspension of the Sport model, a panoramic sunroof, leather sport seats, and all previously mentioned features and options as standard equipment.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Hyundai dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Hyundai deals page.

The Final Call

In such a crowded class, it's hard to stand out. However, the Sonata manages to elevate itself to one of the top spots in our midsize car rankings thanks to its plethora of desirable attributes. Though the engines aren't overly impressive, the Sonata gets some of the best mpg ratings in the class. It has a spacious interior, and usable technology litters the Sonata's lengthy list of standard and optional features. It has a larger trunk than most competitors as well, and it provides all this while still boasting one of the lowest starting prices in the class. There are plenty of midsize sedans that will satisfy most buyers. The Honda Accord and Toyota Camry are – like the Sonata – solid all-around performers, and the Kia Optima delivers an engaging driving experience. But at the end of the day, the Hyundai Sonata is a car that will satisfy the needs of almost every midsize car shopper.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

Read the full 2017 Hyundai Sonata reviewon U.S. News & World Report for more details, photos, specs and prices.


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