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2003 Sonata

Overall rating:  Product Rating: 4.0

Reviewed by 22 users

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Our Heavenly HYUNDAI SONATA (Not My Usual Category W/O)


by gaelkm:      Jul 18, 2003


Product Rating: 4.0 Recommended: Yes 

Pros: Good Sedan, roomy trunk. Hyundai has improved tremendously in recent years!
Cons: Back seat is a bit tight for our tall gang!
The Bottom Line: Our family is surprisingly very happy with our new Hyundai Sonata.



Believe it or not, my husband recently bought his first NEW car since 1978! What this means is that I finally get to attempt to write a review about our new car. (No use writing a review about my old 1985 Toyota, which is still running, but I digress!)


The car he bought is a 2003 Hyundai Sonata. I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. Hyundai, in my mind, has had a reputation as being a cheap car. Well, let me tell you, while this may have been true in the '80's and early in the '90's, these days the line of Hyundai cars have drastically improved. Hyundai automobiles are, as we were told, also becoming one of the fastest selling cars in America.

For starters, the front end of this car reminds me of a Jaguar. It is a classy-looking automobile and very appealing. The lines are very sleek. My husband’s new Sonata is a dark gray color; which looks great! The interior is a slightly lighter shade of gray.


Lucky for me, I was able to drive the Sonata quite a bit. When I first got in the driver’s seat, I felt (and remained) very comfortable throughout the entire trip (3 hours). The seat was supportive and firm for my back. I would even go so far to say that the seats are plush. Driving the Sonata was a good experience too. The overall feel is very solid and I definitely am in control with maneuvering this automobile. As a matter of fact, the entire car feels solid. The handling was very responsive. After reading the owner’s manual, I learned that there is a "4-wheel independent suspension and gas-filled shocks". The steering is rack and pinion. It also has a very good turning radius and I was able to maneuver tight u-turns when I was on a dead end road (made a wrong turn!). Going over bumps and potholes is also just about unnoticeable due to the wishbone shaped front and rear stabilizing bars that provide comfort and safety over rough roads.

The trunk is surprisingly roomy for a small car. We had a ton of stuff packed into the trunk and it always seemed to take just a little bit more, no matter what we put back there. There is also a safety release latch should you find yourself one day locked inside the trunk!

I would have to say the back seat is not especially large; my two 6 foot tall sons were sitting in the back and although they didn't complain, I could see that their knees were right up against the back of the front seats. I guess since we are all tall in our family, it is bound to be a bit tight in the back seat. People who are not quite 6 feet tall would have no problems, I should think.

We found that our Sonata gets great gas mileage. It really does get what the sticker claimed when we looked at it on the lot. Around town it gets about 20 miles to the gallon and for highway driving it gets approximately 28 MPG. This is good for a mid-sized car.

Another great feature (for many people, including me) is the fact that if you are in the habit of walking away with your headlights on, this car's headlights automatically turn off for you when you turn the car off, thus saving your battery.

Other Sonata standard features are interior remote button releases for the fuel door and trunk lid, which almost all cars have these days. It also comes with 12 volt accessory outlets in both the car and trunk, which is great, for example, for charging up your cell phone.


The automatic transmission comes with a feature known as "Shiftronic" which is a choice between fully automatic shifting or manual sport shifting. I found this a little bit confusing at first, but my husband likes it and explained that when you drive up a steep hill, for example, you would downshift into third, and then when you reach the top of the hill, you would go back into fourth gear, which is easily done by manually using the Shiftronic feature. I do this in my manual (stick) 5-speed car, but didn't realize I could do so in the new SONATA. When I downshifted, it really kicked in with lots of power got us up the hill in no time.


The cruise control was easy to operate, even for me, the first time I tried it out while driving down through Los Angeles on the freeway system. It is done by a mere push of the button and setting of the desired speed which is located right on the steering wheel. It automatically disconnects when you hit the brakes or turn the car off. Easy! What I liked about this also was that I didn't have to search the dash to find the buttons and could keep my eyes on the road!

The security key lock does not beep! I really like that. You can see that the car is locked because the headlights flash. That's enough. No loud beeps are necessary. The front end's headlights are aerodynamic halogen headlights. Pretty snazzy!

My husband got the "5 year, 60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper warranty package" which covers nearly every part of this vehicle. He has already taken it back in to have an adjustment made on the side mirrors and he had it accomplished with no problems or hassles whatsoever. This is a wonderful warranty package!



Standard Sonata Specifications:

2.4 liter, 16-valve DOHC 4-cylinder engine
5 speed manual transmission
15-inch Michelin Touring-type radial tires with full wheelcovers
Power-assisted 4-wheel disc brakes
Front fog lights
Air conditioning
Dual front airbags
Front side-impact airbags
Power windows, door locks and mirrors
AM/FM stereo CD player with 6 speakers
Cruise control
60/40 split fold-down rear seatback
Driver's multi-adjustable seat
Remote keyless entry system with alarm
Remote hood, trunk and fuel-filler door releases
Tilt steering column


Thanks to LOGIMOM for arranging this challenging write-off! It's been a learning experience. To read other "not their usual category" entries, please see: http://www.epinions.com/content_3392184452


I hope this review helped in your auto-purchasing decision.

~gael








Amount Paid (US$): 16,500
Condition: New
Model Year: 2003
Model and Options: Hyundai Sonata
Product Rating: 4.0
Recommended: Yes 
Reliability:  
Build Quality  
Roominess:  
Seat Comfort:  

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