5 reasons to buy and not to buy Hyundai Sonata 6 (YF)

Origins and technology

The name Sonata appeared in the range of passenger cars of the Korean brand Hyundai in 1985. Actually, it was a model Ford Cortina Mk V, which Hyundai produced under the license, slightly refined by the hand of Giorgetto Giugiaro. Since then, the name Sonata has stuck to medium-sized family cars of the brand (segment D). Today on the market there is already the eighth generation of the model, but in this case we are interested in the sixth, which was produced from 2009 to 2014.

In South Korea, sales of the Sonata with factory code YF began in late 2009, then the official premiere of the model at the auto show in Los Angeles. By that time, concern Hyundai-Kia has implemented an active program to capture world markets, and the assembly of the car was set up at three plants: in the Korean Asan, in the U.S. (Montgomery, Alabama) and in Beijing. In most markets, the sedan was sold as Sonata, but in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South America, the model had the designation i45.

The Sonata was Hyundai’s second model to embody André Hudson’s “flowing design” concept in its exterior. An interesting design solution was the panoramic glass roof, offered as an option in the top versions. The development of this car, built on the Hyundai-Kia Y6 platform, took four years and cost the concern 372 million dollars.

From a technical point of view, the car was a fairly typical front-wheel drive sedan. The front suspension is McPherson struts, the rear suspension is multilever. In different markets Hyundai used different engine families Nu, Theta and Theta II, but in Russia, only the atmospheric gasoline engines with multipoint injection Theta II MPI: G4KD 2.0 liter with 150 hp or 178-hp G4KE 2.4 liter. All these engines were developed by the Global Engine Alliance group, which included Chrysler and Mitsubishi in addition to Hyundai. The engines could be combined with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.

Official deliveries of Sonata YF to the Russian market lasted relatively briefly, from 2010 to 2012. Then the marketers of the brand decided that in our country would be more appropriate to sell single-platform, but more “Europeanized” model i40, rather than undergone a small facelift Sonata.

Hyundai i40 2011–15

To date, sedans of this model are sold in the secondary market at a price of 530-600 thousand rubles (for cars in 2010), and for cars released in 2012, can ask from 850,000 to 1,050,000 rubles. Thus, the purchase of the sixth Sonata can fit quite well in the budget, but before deciding to buy such a car, it is worth looking at what its owners write about it. The situation with the problems of the previous generation, which, by the way, was assembled also at us at TagAZ, we have relatively recently considered in detail. Now we shall study the dossier of the Sonata number six.

Hate #5: Image.

Let’s not deny the obvious. Cars of Korean brands can have a lot of various advantages and they can times overtake in sales of the competitors, especially – in a mass segment, but concerning such elusive parameter, as “prestige”, Hyundai and Kia while do not reach the Japanese, not to mention the Germans. Sonata in this respect is not an exception. If you buy an old German sedan of D-class, you risk to get a constant headache, close connections in services, a hole in your pocket, but at the same time you receive respectful looks of your garage neighbors. Well, he has Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes…

The purchase of much younger and quite live Hyundai Sonata is easily followed by a lot of questions in the style of “Could not you find Mazda 6 or Honda Accord?” and “How it is possible to lay out such money for Hyundai at all?”. In general the Russian mentality does not yet approve of buying Korean brands in general and Hyundai in particular for the sums, comparable to the prices for Europeans, and that’s it! And this factor, seriously influencing the liquidity, is worth to be considered at purchase, if you do not plan to drive the car until it finally loses its ability to move independently. As a result, you may encounter statements such as: “I won’t buy a car with such a badge on the grill for such dough anymore”.

Again, by its character and running characteristics, Sonata does not enter into notions about “a patsy car”. A run-down BMW is patsy, even Lada with a “lever” is patsy, but Sonata is not!

This car meets requirements of pragmatic people of average age, able to count money and knowing the price for them, who do not care any more about various “ponzas”, but are interested in an opportunity to deliver comfortably a family from point A to point B. Such people do not care that someone will contemptuously call their car “Solaris on steroids” (and in some aspects these cars really are similar), but they are happy about its equipment and price of possession.

Love #5: Design

I won’t argue that the Hyundai Sonata YF deserves a place in a museum of modern technical art, especially since not everyone likes the car’s exterior. Someone can count it too “Asian”, someone irritates style of “flowing design” that plastic of sides and breakings on a radiator cladding seem too pretentious to them. But it is worth admitting that the vast majority of reviews on the Internet are written by people who have made the decision to buy it “with their eyes”.

“I used to treat the Korean car industry evenly, or rather, I did not treat it at all, until I bought the Sonata. I chose it with my eyes, without looking at the technical specifications. “It looks really good, the appearance IMHO – the strong side of this car. Koreans learned how to make a beautiful car – it’s a fact. “The car, if you say “very beautiful”, it means – to say nothing. And the design, and the exterior and interior, is a delight.

Hyundai Sonata 2009–15

Many admit that the final decision was predetermined by the aesthetic preferences of the wife: “My wife liked the model just as a beautiful car. The only thing, I chose black color for me, and she wanted white”.

Anyway, Hyundai Sonata of the 6th generation could be named very harmonious car, and even today it looks quite modern. Moreover, the design of the front part of the car seems to me more original, than the accepted today corporate style with a hexagonal grille.

Hate #4: visibility.

Alas, one should pay for everything, including beauty. Big slanting of the windshield, which gives impetuousness to look of the car, in a combination with wide and massive forward struts (you cannot avoid from care about safety!) – all this leads to that in reviews you constantly hear complaints about visibility.

“A wide pillar that interferes with visibility. You have to twist your head and stretch your neck when turning right, especially in the dark.” “Poor visibility with side vision due to too wide windshield pillars.” “Visibility is not good. It happens so that you notice a pedestrian when turning right or left at the last moment, because the awkwardly wide windshield supports were hiding him.” There are not just a lot of such statements, but a lot.

The situation with visibility at the back is not better: because of a coupe silhouette the back window is also badly swollen, and one cannot see anything really well in a small saloon mirror. The situation is saved by the rear view camera and very big side mirrors. They really are essentially bigger, than other sedans of segment D. But, as always, “we cure one and cripple another”: these mirrors are located so that only aggravate a problem with a forward/side view: “Sometimes a pair of people are hidden behind a combination of a rack-mirror, and it is possible to pass them on legs involuntary”.

Aerodynamics does not affect the visibility in the best way: the mud from our roads lays down on glasses exactly in such a way, that one cannot see mirrors; also the mirrors properly collect road dirt. And there is plenty of this dirt on our roads, especially in winter after treatment with antifreeze reagents.

Besides, complete sets Sonata YF with automatically folding mirrors often have no heating of these mirrors! And the situation is paradoxical: there are heating elements, but heating is absent. Because of design miscalculation a wire which goes to heating elements, was 5 cm too short!

Add to this very quickly dirty headlights (and again aerodynamics, damn it!). It is not clear how to solve this problem, as there are no washers for headlights.

The visibility is not improved by inarticulate work of a rain sensor: “It waves on almost dry glass, like a madman, I want to shout: come on, wave it, I can not see a thing!!!”. Sensitivity of the sensor is adjusted on the right steering wheel switch, but I think the adjustment function is useless, you still have to drive in the rain in the most “sensitive” position. In a word, visibility cannot be referred to the merits of the model, and you will have to get used to it.

Love #4: Capacity and comfort of the interior.

And here the volume, comfort and interior’s equipment are really possible to consider as advantages! First, as they say, “size matters”. Sonata is the car is wide enough, and on a back sofa it will not be too cramped even for three huge muzhiks. There is also enough space for legs: “I am two meters tall and weigh 115 kg, and I can really sit comfortably in this car. Behind me a person of medium build can sit, but if my wife is 1.6 meters tall, she can also put her leg over her head. Even outspoken critics, who did not get on well with the Sonata No. 6, write: “The interior is big and spacious, the body is nice-looking. To my great regret, that’s the end of the advantages of this car.

Hyundai Sonata 2009–15

The owners are quite satisfied with the volume of the luggage compartment. It is equal to 463 liters (and a set of four wheels on disks can be fully placed in the trunk) plus in case of need the backs of rear seats can be folded, combining the volume of the trunk with the internal space of the interior. As a result, the owners write: “Once we went to the sea: four adults and four children plus a lot of things in the trunk!” “For a family with two kids, it’s a fire car, and you don’t need a station wagon!”

True, there are some complaints about access to the trunk and to the filler neck in winter: “The buttons for opening the gas tank hatch and the trunk just kill me, in the darkness I can hardly guess where to press, even after a year of exploitation I make a mistake with this case. They have an electric drive, by the way, and one cannot get into it after battery failure (and having a frozen lock on a trunk).

Sonata is rich in functions and equipment even in maximum options. The authors of reviews write, that it has everything that is necessary, and even more: electric adjustable and heated seats, folding mirrors, dimming rear-view mirror, engine start with a button and keyless access, heating of all seats (including rear), subwoofer, changer for 6 disks, athermal glazing, paddles” manual gearshift, optitronic dashboard (some blame it for brightness, but actually the backlight is adjustable, and the display of the media system is turned off, you just need to read the instructions sometimes). There is also a built-in navigation, but about it for some reason nobody writes anything – apparently, it does not delight, but also does not annoy.

Of the disadvantages of equipment we can mention the absence of heated steering wheel (all have become accustomed to that this feature is even in the budget models), regular Bluetooth, and the fact that the buttons for opening the fuel tank hatch, trunk, mirror adjustment, door opening and folding mirrors have no backlight.

In many reviews, the authors point out the high quality of interior materials – they say, the car is 8-9 years old and the perforated leather on seats is in excellent condition, and praise the profile of seats and their comfort. I especially like pneumatic adjustment of lumbar support: “Before the car I had a roller in the seat with which you could prop up your back, bringing it to one of preset positions – it is better than nothing, but it did not save from rheumatism in winter. But here it is an electrically inflatable cushion in a seat – just a wonderful thing.

But lateral support is not enough, and in fast turns or rounding movement, according to authors, you hang back and forth. But the driver feels just fine on a freeway and one feels no fatigue during long trips.

The only complaints about quality of materials are that the leather steering wheel and some buttons are quickly frayed. But the authors of reviews differ much in an estimation of quality of assemblage. Some people assert, that Sonata is almost a standard in this respect, and that even in 7 years after purchase they do not hear a single cricket, others complain that they are tired to struggle with them, and that in winter these malignant interior insects multiply especially actively.

Some believe that the panoramic glass roof is the main source of crickets: “All the main squeak, present in the cabin, comes from it. I’ve been to all the centers in the city, and the result is the same – incorrigible”. Others assure that this very roof does not make any creaks, but gives a special airiness and charm to the interior; and a white car with a tinted roof looks especially spectacular.

Hate #3: Dynamics, consumption in a city

It must be said that owners are not too inclined to admire the dynamics of the car, especially with the 150-horsepower two-liter engine. In a city this engine is quite enough not to feel oneself a stranger at a feast of life, but on a freeway one feels the lack of traction: “The engine 2,0 is weak. If I had an automatic, I would probably be dead on overtaking on the highway and uphill.” “Two liters, of course, is not enough, especially with a full cabin of people and a full trunk.

The version with a 2.4-liter motor G4KE in this respect looks a little better, but it also, as the authors of reviews write, “is not a lighter and not a racing bolide”. However, both versions of the engine provide quite confident driving at speeds of 120-150 km/h.

Hyundai Sonata 2009–15

The only (and very rare in our country) version, about which dynamics they write with delight and aspiration, is a modification with 274 hp turbo engine: “After a hundred it just vvvvvuuu – how it goes, it just go and go, the feeling from 100 to 200 as from 0 to 100! Owners of such rarities notice, that their cars desperately lack a full drive, as they do nothing else but grind asphalt when starting from a place, and in winter it is useless to press a gas pedal at all. But, as I have already told, such cars are very seldom.

Those who are not satisfied with measured driving, install a jetter and re-flash the engine control program. As a result of these manipulations (which cost 15 to 20 thousand roubles) the engine power increases to 215 hp and the car starts behaving as if there is a quite respectable V6 under the hood of the 2-liter “4”. True, the fuel consumption also grows, and at least by 3-4 liters per one hundred, and it causes some displeasure.
And if the owners are satisfied with highway consumption – for 2-liter capacity motor and for the version with 2,4L engine it is 7,2-7,5 L/100 km at 90 km/hour and about 8 L at 120 km/hour with overtaking, but the city appetite of 2-liter engine seems excessive to many: “The car was bought for my wife, and she traveled in the city. In this mode the consumption was high, up to 14 liters”. And that’s interesting: if to believe the figures published by the owners in their responses, the appetite of the versions with 2.4-liter engine in a city turns out to be much less, not more than 10-11 liters per one hundredth.

Probably, for this very reason there are a lot of recalls of the owners of 2,4-liter “Sones” in the Internet, but the offers on the secondary market are not so much. And the authors of some reviews directly write, that it is necessary to take only 2,4 G4KE as, firstly, some problems peculiar to the engine of 2,0 liters are not characteristic for it (for example, oil consumption) and, secondly, the two-liter engine is simply not enough for this car. However, they have enough opponents, and claim that for everyday driving, especially in the city, the engine 2.0 is quite sufficient, the difference to 120-130 km / h is difficult to feel, so there is no sense to overpay for 2.4 too.

Love #3: Smooth ride

But if ride comfort and smoothness are much more important to you than dynamics, you can quite agree in character with Sonata YF. “On the road you feel like a captain of a ship, the car does not go, it floats! Of course, I would like the ground clearance more (you can’t go fishing far), but then there won’t be such a soft ride. “Comfort is top-notch! The suspension is soft, you sit in a comfortable chair, listen to good music… So, despite one significant disadvantage, there is a lot of other advantages, and my wife is satisfied with the car, and it is not unimportant.

The owners inclined to analytics mark that the maximum softness of run is observed on regular 16-inch disks and that in this case the automobile is not inferior to Toyota Camry in this parameter.

Hyundai Sonata 2009–15

But the character of the car sharply changes on 18 disks with 45-section tires. The car swallows a slow enough (naturally, at low speed), but all joints are felt, and at speed more than 120 km/h the Sonata turns, according to authors of reviews, “into a stool on wheels”, and at hit any bump you feel a hard blow, and it is distinctly felt on a steering wheel. But at lower speed, up to 110-120 km/h, you drive quite comfortably.

The overall feeling of smoothness is supported by exceptionally smooth work of the six-gear hydromechanics: “The work of the box is excellent, you can’t hear the shifts”. “The transmission is above all praise: it doesn’t go too slow, it knows what kick-down is and shifts very smoothly. Behind the wheel I can’t tell what gear the car is in now.”

Hate #2: The handling

Of course, if it is gain in one place, it is loss in another… Smoothness of motion turns out to be not the best handling, which most owners at best estimate as “average” or “acceptable”. But a great many feel that the Sixth Sonata has a big problem with this issue.

“The car is wobbly, not for racing and draughtsmen.” “The handling is poor (for those who have something to compare it to), the weight distribution is not good, the light rear end leads to oversteer.” “What is extremely disliked is the handling. In a city and without sudden movements – everything is normal, and the speed is good, but the first overtaking almost, sorry, did not shit my pants: the car is extremely wobbly and poorly holds the road. The owners complain that even with not too sharp changes, and in the absence of ruts, the steering wheel should be held at full speed, that the reactionary force on the steering wheel – zero, that one can ride confidently only at speeds of 90-100 km / h, without jumps from row to row. They say that at high speed the car behaves on a highway “like a monkey with a grenade”, yawing and lurching… In a word, there is no confidence, but a steering wheel and a car – are two different organisms which don’t meet together. “God forbid you sneeze at the wheel, run over a small pebble or collide with a large mosquito – for sure it will turn around! It’s not very pleasant to drive at speeds over 160, it’s constant tension, your hands should grip the steering wheel until it dents, your hair should stand on end, look at the road and don’t blink, there’s cold sweat down your spine – in short, this car is not for racing!”

However, there are also dissenters who assert that yes, it is possible to forget about driveability on regular wheels with disks R16. But it is enough to install decent low-profile tires on 18-discs, as everything falls into its places, and the automobile will become almost a bolide; and they confirm it by their stories about trips on mountain serpentines. Many also like maneuverability of the Sonata YF and the automobile behavior on narrow city streets and close parking spaces: “I am amazed, how easily the automobile of such sizes can turn around. The turning radius is its forte!”

Love #2: Price, cost of spare parts and service

Still, the Sonata YF’s main strengths lie in economics. Both when Sonata was still relatively fresh model, and now, when it can be found only in the secondary market, a person who has stopped on it gets “a lot of sedan for rather small money”. “Sonya in a complete set “STYLE” costs 1088 thousand rubles, and it has everything, except for a panoramic roof! What else can be bought for this money? – once exclaimed the author of the review written in 2011.

However, at that time, the criticism was caused by the impossibility to choose the optimal combination of options: “You want to build yourself the options you want inexpensively, for example, the maximum engine displacement, but on the handlebars, with leather interior and navigation – dick to you! You want navigation – it is available only in maximal price, you want leather – only in submaximal price, you want maximal volume – to hell with manual, take automatic! Thus the minimal price is very tempting, but for it you receive a body on wheels, and the last price column differs from the first not by ten percents, but by 2-2,5 times”.

Hyundai Sonata 2009–15

It is clear that today all these complaints have lost their relevance: those who are looking for a used car choose from specific specimens. But even in the reviews of 2020 people write, that the car is still favourable enough purchase from the point of view of initial expenses, and that Sonata is 100-150 thousand rubles cheaper than Kia Optima of the same years of release and in the same complete set.

But all practically all owners of the Sonata number six assess operation costs exclusively positively. They think that the car is absolutely unpretentious in service, and spare parts are rather inexpensive, and with careful treatment and timely attendance of service works there will be nothing broken. “Unlike its classmates, the car is very cheap in maintenance, the cost of consumables is the same as for Solaris. Besides, many expendables fit the Sportage and other models of Kia and Hyundai, i.e. there are no problems with expendables, and the choice is huge.

The repair costs inexpensive as well. “In the services – everything in front of me and for pennies. Replacing the pads with all the lubrication of the guides: pads 800 rubles, work 1000 rubles. Pads – 2 pieces – 600 rubles, work 1000 rubles. Silentblocks together with work – 2300 rubles. What else do you need? For such money our Zhiguli are repaired!”. “In need of replacement of the hand grenade. I was pleasantly surprised at the sum of 1500 rubles”. Plus, the car is quite simple structurally, so you can do any kind of mechanical work on replacing the suspension or attachments yourself.

By the way, it can quite reduce the already not murderously high cost of service. For example, the air and cabin filters may well be bought in a store or online, and then changed yourself in literally 5 minutes. Not having to do this work when you go through maintenance is quite a big savings for your money. One owner wrote that this approach allows him to pay for service maintenance about 4500 rubles instead of 8200. In another review the author writes: “Servicing turned out to be really affordable: the last time I changed the oil in a garage, along with oil and filter – 2300 rubles. You have to admit, for a car of that class it is pennies”.

Owners are happy with the quality of original parts: “Ordinary stabilizer rods passed 100 thousand kilometers and rattled. The struts were replaced and they didn’t bother anymore for over 100k miles.

Hate #1: Noise isolation

Almost in each review about Hyundai Sonata YF it is possible to meet mentions of problems with acoustic comfort. True, we speak about some discrepancy of the level of noise isolation to the class and price of the car: “Except for “noise” I have no remarks”. “Another disadvantage is the noise isolation, but if you don’t get in European cars and don’t compare, it’s OK.” “Noise isolation compared to Audi – 3 points, but compared to the previous model by 4.” “Noise isolation is better than the Japanese, and worse than the Germans.”

The owners consider wheel arches as the main source of noise: “The stones from under the wheels hit like a tin can, and the rubber of Korean model is very noisy”. “I can’t hear the engine when driving quietly, but the wheels (snow, sand, road joints) make a lot of noise, like a tin can. I have to have the arches soundproofed.

Hyundai Sonata 2009–15

However, if the engine is untwisted, it will also contribute to the general acoustic discomfort: “up to 3500 thousand revolutions the two-liter engine is not audible, but after it – the roar of the racing motor”. Many people write that the engine really becomes decently audible after 4000 revolutions, and what is especially offensive, according to authors of reviews, this noise does not correspond to dynamics of acceleration.And even if crickets get started in the interior, it is a trouble at all. These malignant acoustic insects do not appear with everybody and with rather long run, but if they do start it is rather difficult to get rid of them. Especially actively they multiply in winter. It should be said that these squeaks can irritate more than the smooth road noise or the sound of the engine.

Love #1: Reliability

Well, owners consider the sixth Sonata’s main virtue to be its reliability. They note that today many manufacturers make more money on parts than on new cars, but the Sonata YF is not seen in anything like that. “The first time I got into the suspension at 150,000 and first time I changed the brake discs, struts, a couple of bearings, tie rod, ball joints and other small things. It came out to 32,000 rubles, and that’s the biggest investment.” “During four years of owning a Sonata did not spend anything extra, to 100,000 miles changed only the lambda probe and after 100,000 changed the rear struts. Everything else (oil, pads, filters and plugs) – according to the regulations. “Only consumables were changed, at this time at 114,000 mileage, no investment required.” “I have a 2012 Sonata 6 YF, took it with mileage of 75,000 km. For 1.5 years I have covered 220,000 km, as I work in a cab. I do not know a more reliable car!”. “In 7 years of ownership – only suspension work (natural wear and tear) and replacement of the alternator belt (rather just in case).”

There are enough testimonies in the Internet of those who have already driven more than 200 000 km and changed nothing, except consumables. As to reliability, Sonata has recommended itself as the strong and unpretentious car: “I often drive on a bad road, on the ground and even on stones. I am still amazed, how the front end withstands these loads”.

In general, purchase of a used Hyundai Sonata can appear quite a rational decision, but, certainly, only in that case if you “coincide of characters”.Then you will not be irritated neither by lack of drive and charisma, nor by objective lacks, and possession of the car will deliver mainly positive emotions.

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