13 Best & Worst Hyundai Sonata Years [2023 Rated]

Source: Eldinero

The Hyundai Sonata, a midsize sedan produced by the South Korean carmaker since 1985, is named after the company’s founder. The initial generation of the Sonata was meant to take on established vehicles like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

What’s most significant is that Hyundai is constantly improving the design of this car so that it performs better than the problematic models they’ve produced in the past. This is why you should read this article to find out which years of the Hyundai Sonata were the best and worst.

The model years from 2006, 2011-2013, 2015, and 2016 are the worst Hyundai Sonata years. The best model years of the Hyundai Sonata include 2010 and 2018-2023. This result was concluded from trustworthy sources such as NHTSA, Edmund, JD Power, and Kelley Blue Book reviews.

What Are The Worst Years Of Hyundai Sonata?

I’ll cut to the chase and show you which Sonatas you should never buy. You’d be making a mistake if you even considered one of these models, as they’ve all had problems. So, without further ado, here are the models you should never choose.

#6 Worst Year: 2016 Hyundai Sonata (4.14 Rating)

Source: Edmunds

The least problematic year on the list is the 2016 Hyundai Sonata, which has been criticized for having an underwhelming powertrain. The 2.0-liter turbocharged engine falls short of expectations, disappointing drivers with its lackluster acceleration and power.

The 2016 Sonata is not as appealing as other cars in its class because of its somewhat unrefined 2.4-liter engine, which has trouble keeping up with the competition. Several major problems have been identified with this model, including excessive oil consumption, engine stalling, and paint peeling.

Excessive oil consumption is a typical issue that can cause expensive engine damage and maintenance. Moreover, a car that dies on the road can be highly hazardous, as it might cause the driver to lose control and lead to an accident.

Common Problems:

  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Dead while driving
  • Paint peeling

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

#5 Worst Year: 2015 Hyundai Sonata (3.91 Rating)


While the 2015 Sonata improved over the previous two years’ models, it was nonetheless plagued by severe mechanical issues. Over a thousand complaints and nine recalls earned it the “Beware of the Clunker” label on CarComplaints.

Excessive oil consumption has been the most common complaint in 2015. Dissatisfied customers complained that extra oil was needed after only a few thousand miles. In extreme circumstances, new engines have had to be purchased, which can be costly.

The engines of many Sonatas reportedly stalled or died while being driven. The fact that the engine gave up at such speeds is particularly unsettling. This problem can be fixed in a number of ways, such as by changing the engine, the manifold, or the fuel injectors.

Common Problems:

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

#4 Worst Year: 2006 Hyundai Sonata (3.71 Rating)

Source: Cars direct

The 2006 Sonata can be a wrong choice because it has had over a thousand complaints to the NHTSA and has been the subject of eleven recalls. The main cause is that fixing Sonata’s dependability issues can be costly.

The biggest problem with the 2006 Sonata is the piston or connecting rod breaking. Owners initially reported a clicking or grinding noise as originating from the motor. A weak point in the connecting rod or piston caused the engine failure. However, replacing or rebuilding the engine is an expensive repair option.

The Sonata’s airbag light activating for no reason was another common complaint among owners. Because of the implications for driver safety, this is a significant issue. A possible exception to this rule is an extended warranty. If not, you might have to spend up to $1,300 to replace the vehicle’s seat and sensors.

Common Problems:

  • Broken piston
  • Airbag light on
  • Instability while driving

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

#3 Worst Year: 2012 Hyundai Sonata (3.65 Rating)

Source: Edmunds

Sonata’s luck didn’t improve much this year, unfortunately. CarComplaints reports that the 2012 Sonata has been the subject of over a thousand customer complaints, eight recalls, and the “Beware of the Clunker” label. This is one of the worst possible Sonata years.

The 2012 Sonata’s most significant issue, a prone-to-failure engine, was carried over from the 2011 model year. A metallic, rhythmic hammering noise is again the primary symptom mentioned in the complaints. Due to residual metal particles in the crankshaft, Hyundai issued a recall for the 2011 and 2012 model years.

The irritatingly loud clicking sound the wheel makes when turned is another problem. Some accounts even mention rattling sounds made every time they hit a bump in the road.

Common Problems:

  • Engine failure
  • Clicks when turning

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

#2 Worst Year: 2013 Hyundai Sonata (3.61 Rating)


And the hits just keep on rolling! With over 1,000 complaints and nine recalls, the 2013 Sonata is yet another “Avoid Like the Plague” model year, according to CarComplaints. It’s been another year of terrible engine issues.

Many owners of the Sonata said that despite regular maintenance, the engine seized or died at 80,000 miles or more. The engine lost power, the oil light came on, and the EPS warning light flashed immediately. Under the terms of the extended warranty, many customers received a new engine.

Several reports indicate that it operates only haltingly when the engine isn’t completely dead. Aside from that, the engine will make banging noises when driven.

Common Problems:

  • Engine fail
  • Car dies while driving
  • Engine runs roughly

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

#1 Worst Year: 2011 Hyundai Sonata (3.13 Rating)


The 2011 Sonata is easily the worst model of the car and should be avoided at all costs. CarComplaints.com gave the 2011 Sonata its “Avoid Like the Plague” mark because of the overwhelming number of complaints it received from the NHTSA. Hyundai really messed it up badly with this one.

The Sonata’s engine seizing problem continues to top the list of concerns. More than 180 formal complaints explained how sudden engine failure occurred without warning. The worst part is that it typically occurred at high speeds when the car was moving. This problem first appeared at around 96,550 miles, and the price tag to fix it was $5,150.

Another popular issue about the 2011 Sonata is that the engine is too loud. According to a number of dissatisfied owners, the engine makes dreadful banging noises that would make anyone pause and consider their options. Once again, replacing the engine is the standard solution, and doing so can cost $5,000 or more.

Common Problems:

  • Engine Seized
  • Engine stalls
  • Excessive engine noise

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

What Are The Best Years Of Hyundai Sonata?

Do not hesitate to get one of these Hyundai Sonatas if you are set on getting one. They’re also famously affordable, which helps them gain even more popularity.

#7 Best Year: 2010 Hyundai Sonata (4.45 Rating)


The Hyundai Sonata from 2010 is a fantastic car among the old models. Unlike other midsize sedans, this one has excellent safety ratings and crash test results. It’s worth noting that U.S. News & World Report ranked this car fourth among affordable midsize cars in 2010.

To get the best performance and gas mileage from your used midsize sedan purchase, go with the V6 engine and five-speed automatic transmission. It can generate 259 hp and travels incredibly fast without raising a peep.

In addition, the J.D. Power ratings show this car deserves a reliability prize. They also ranked it as the most reliable option overall.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

#6 Best Year: 2021 Hyundai Sonata (4.22 Rating)


The 2021 Hyundai Sonata shares many positive characteristics with the 2020 model year. The 2021 Sonata is available in various trim levels, depending on your preferences. It has semi-autonomous driving capabilities and seamless gear changes with no jerkiness.

You can save money by purchasing this one rather than a new one. Because of how recently it was produced, even the most heavily used ones will likely be in excellent condition. This vehicle is fantastic because it is both fuel efficient and enjoyable.

The Fun N Line trim of the 2021 Hyundai Sonata is an excellent pick for a midsize sedan since it combines performance and price. The Sonata’s back seats are also quite spacious, making it ideal for lengthy car trips.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

#5 Best Year: 2022 Hyundai Sonata (4.31 Rating)

Source: Automoblog

The only year Hyundai Sonata has received a recommendation from Consumer Reports is 2022. Several features set the new model apart from its predecessors, contributing to its success. Automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control are just a few of the advanced safety features and technology included in the 2022 Sonata.

Several convenience and comfort options are available on the 2022 Sonata. These include a huge touchscreen display, wireless charging, and more. One of the engine options for the 2022 model year is a hybrid that ranks among the most fuel-efficient in its category. This has the potential to lower the total cost of ownership.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

#4 Best Year: 2018 Hyundai Sonata (4.33 Rating)

Source: Edmunds

The 2018 Sonata is a substantial upgrade over previous years, with a revised appearance, retuned suspension, and increased standard equipment. It is the best option if you’re shopping for a midsize sedan with a lot of power and features.

But that’s not the only reason to think about purchasing this vehicle. The top trim comes standard with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that generates 245 horsepower, which is impressive for a family vehicle of its size.

It is a great car. The cabin is plush and of excellent quality, including all the standard technological amenities. Android Auto and Apple Carplay, two of the most widely used infotainment platforms, are standard on this Sonata.

Unlike its rivals, it does not have a powerful engine. Nevertheless, you receive accurate fuel estimations, top-notch safety ratings, and a reliable infotainment system.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

#3 Best Year: 2020 Hyundai Sonata (4.34 Rating)

Source: Autotrader

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata is an outstanding option for those interested in a roomy, quiet, and reasonably priced family car. The Sonata has excellent gas mileage for a car, coming in at 33 mpg on the highway. You can also drive it confidently because of its superior handling and control.

If you desire the newest shape without having to fork over the cash for a brand-new car, you will undoubtedly adore this model because the most recent design is bold and fashionable while still maintaining the practicality of a sedan.

Overall, the Sonata’s combination of technology, storage, and value makes it a well-rounded and practical choice for any driver.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

#2 Best Year: 2019 Hyundai Sonata (4.41 Rating)

Source: Xcel / cleanmpg

People from all over the world have praised the 2019 Hyundai Sonata’s design, and it’s easy to see why. It offers excellent MPG and can be equipped with a 2.0L turbo engine that generates up to 250 HP as an option!

The Sonata is convenient for daily and long travel due to its roomy cabin and large trunk. The 2019 version improves the already superb user interface by including a sleeker, more modern appearance.

This is a great option if you want a car that can handle well and has lots of power when needed. This model’s handling is top-notch, too. When driving this sedan, you will be pleased with your level of control. Last but not least, the Sonata stands out from the competition due to Hyundai’s extensive warranty coverage.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:

#1 Best Year: 2023 Hyundai Sonata (4.45 Rating)

Source: The car connection

The 2023 Hyundai Sonata is the cream of the crop when it comes to Hyundai’s lineup, offering unparalleled performance and features. With a 0 recalls history and a host of impressive features, the 2023 Hyundai Sonata is the champion of midsize sedans.

The 2023 Sonata has received accolades, ranking #2 in midsize cars by JD Power and #7 in the Best Midsize Cars category by Kelley Blue Book, cementing its place as one of the best midsize sedans available today.

It has numerous valuable technologies as standard equipment, increasing safety and convenience. The car’s spacious interior and capacious trunk make it an excellent option for those who regularly transport bulky items.

The Sonata N Line’s engaging performance and reasonable price make it a leading choice among midsize sedans.

Reviews, Ratings, Recalls & Complaints:


1. What Are The Common Problems Of Hyundai Sonata?

Here are some of the common problems with the Hyundai Sonata:

  • Fuel Leakage
  • Transmission Failure
  • Engine failure
  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Seized engine
  • Engine stalling

2. How Long Will Hyundai Sonata Last?

Multiple owners have reported that their Hyundai Sonatas have exceeded the recommended maximum lifespan of 250,000 miles with proper maintenance and care.

Related: How Long Do Hyundai’s Last? | Best Models & Common Issues

3. Is Hyundai Sonata A Good Used Car?

One of the best-used cars available is the Hyundai Sonata. Its popularity includes its excellent fuel economy, comfortable cabin with plenty of legroom, user-friendly infotainment system, and several safety features. And the best part is that these advantages come at a price that most people can afford.

4. Hyundai Sonata Vs. Elantra: Which Is Better?

The Hyundai Elantra is on top in this comparison mainly because it is more reasonably priced and offers superior yet fuel-efficient engine options. In contrast, the Hyundai Sonata is the superior option if you’re looking for a roomier and more pleasant cabin than what the Elantra offers.

Related: 19 Best & Worst Hyundai Santa Fe Years [2023 Guide]


After discussing the best and worst years for the Hyundai Sonata, I am finishing assessing this car. There have been some negative model years, but even better models have overcome them. One of them is the latest model, which has had nearly no complaints.

You’d be making a good choice if you bought this sedan, as it’s pretty reliable. I really hope that this article helped make up your mind about purchasing this car and finding the best model.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments