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Hyundai Sonata Saloon engines, drive and performance

2005 - 2010 (change model)
Performance rating: 2.5 out of 52.5

Written by David Ross Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

The Sonata was originally launched with a stop-gap 2.4-litre petrol engine, this was later replaced in 2006 with a 2.0-litre, while the range grew to include a modestly powered 3.3-litre V6 and a 2.0-litre diesel. All provide acceptable levels of performance, but feel a generation older than what’s expected from saloons at this price. The 3.3-litre is one to avoid – the 2.0-litre units are more affordable to run and the diesel manages a respectable 46mpg plus a 0-62mph time of 10.7 seconds.

The CRTD engine also feels fairly refined on start-up and when cruising, but push it harder and it quickly becomes coarse and noisy. It’s still preferable to the 2.0-litre petrol though while the optimal four-speed auto on both models is poor – it’s sluggish and hunts for gears.

Initially the Sonata feels far better able to deal with demanding roads than any of its predecessors, with a tauter feel to the suspension and better grip. However previous Hyundai saloons are no great benchmark and the Sonata still rolls in corners and while the suspension soaks up most imperfections in the road at lower speeds, it takes too long to settle after hitting bumps on A-roads or expansion joints on motorways.

The light clutch and lifeless steering are poor too and make for a very detached and forgettable driving experience. You could make a long list of similar price saloons that are more rewarding to drive.