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2015-2019 Hyundai Sonata: What You Should Know Before You Buy

Published on December 2, 2022 in Pre-owned vehicles by The Car Guide

While it still doesn’t have a standard or optional all-wheel drive like most of its competitors, the eight-generation Hyundai Sonata hits hard design-wise in hopes of standing out from the SUV crowd. We can say that the Korean carmaker has strayed a lot from the former Sonata, which only lasted for five years.  

However, if that’s the one you’re interested in because you need a more affordable vehicle, here’s what you should know about the 2015-2019 Hyundai Sonata …


First, you must understand that the seventh generation was an improvement over its predecessor in every way: sleeker lines, increased dimensions, more sturdiness, more luxury, and more comfort.

Photo: Hyundai.

On the powertrain side, three four-cylinder engines were available: a naturally aspirated 2.4-litre with 185 horsepower (suitable for daily commute), a turbocharged 2-litre with 245 horsepower (much more convincing), and a hybrid system with 199 horsepower in total (with a fuel consumption of around 5.5 L/100 km). However. the latter had a smaller trunk (462 to 343 litres) due to the battery. In all cases, the transmission was a six-speed automatic, and regular fuel was good enough.  

Oh, that’s right: the old Sonata was also offered as a rechargeable hybrid. We tend to forget, but this 202-horsepower sedan could be driven 40 km without a single drop of gas before switching to a 5.9 L/100 km consumption in conventional hybrid mode. A complete charge of the 9.8 kWh battery took only 2.5 hours on 240-volt current. Here, the trunk got even smaller, with 280 litres.  

Without being a complete overhaul, a revision for 2018 brought several aesthetic changes to the Sonata, both inside and outside. That year also marked the arrival of more modern onboard technologies.  

Photo: Hyundai Canada Inc.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Globally, this Sonata was doing well for itself—and still does today—thanks to a generous price/equipment ratio. Many active and passive safety features were also available in various trims. In addition, driving pleasure and comfort were slightly above average for the category. Our preference, of course, goes to the Sonata Sport, which was surprisingly fun to drive.  

Also note that in a midsize sedan comparison test for The Car Guide 2018, the Hyundai model ranked third, behind the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, but before the Mazda6.

Regarding the things you must check on a 2015-2019 Sonata, there can be knocking and abnormal noise coming out of the naturally aspirated 2.4-litre. To solve the problem, the manufacturer has launched several campaigns to update the engine control module so it can detect potential problems before a failure occurs.

Class action lawsuits have even been filed for an alleged “defect that can cause engine seizure, stalling, failure and/or fire”. Hyundai Canada denied these claims but agreed to a settlement to avoid the cost and risk of further litigation.

Finally, make sure that the Sonata you’re considering successfully passes a mechanical inspection, and that the applicable recalls have been addressed before making your decision. 

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