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2004 Hyundai Sonata

$906 — $6,454 USED
Sedan
5 Seats
23-26 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 4 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Price and value
  • Interior space in front seat
  • Ride comfort
  • Performance and driving ease
  • Visibility

The Bad

  • Seat comfort and support
  • Rear headroom
  • Resale value
  • Uncertain reliability record

What to Know

about the 2004 Hyundai Sonata
  • Four-cylinder or V-6
  • Shiftronic automatic-transmission operation
  • Standard side-impact airbags
  • 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Vehicle Overview
Little has changed for 2004 on Hyundai’s midsize front-wheel-drive Sonata sedan. The Sonata was last redesigned for the 1999 model year and then reworked for 2002. The current model is related to the Kia Optima, which reached the U.S. market for 2001. Available with four-cylinder or V-6 power, the Sonata comes in base, GLS and LX trim levels.

Hyundai also produces an upscale XG350 midsize sedan. Ranked as South Korea’s largest automaker, Hyundai also owns Kia. Even though Kia sells the Sonata-based Optima, it has different front and rear styling.

In recent years, the quality of Hyundai’s products has been steadily improving, and the Sonata has edged closer to the class-leading Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Even though the Sonata’s resale value lags behind these two vehicles, Hyundai’s long warranty and modest sticker prices make it a car worth considering. Hyundai covers the entire car for five years/60,000 miles, major powertrain components for 10 years/100,000 miles and corrosion for five years/100,000 miles. Free roadside assistance is provided for the first five years.


Exterior
Measuring 186.9 inches long overall, the Sonata is nearly 5 inches shorter than the XG350 and a couple inches shorter than the Accord and Camry. Styling touches include a waterfall-style grille and dual-oval headlights. Riding a 106.3-inch wheelbase, the Sonata stands 56 inches tall. Top models have 10-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels, and a glass moonroof is av...
Vehicle Overview
Little has changed for 2004 on Hyundai’s midsize front-wheel-drive Sonata sedan. The Sonata was last redesigned for the 1999 model year and then reworked for 2002. The current model is related to the Kia Optima, which reached the U.S. market for 2001. Available with four-cylinder or V-6 power, the Sonata comes in base, GLS and LX trim levels.

Hyundai also produces an upscale XG350 midsize sedan. Ranked as South Korea’s largest automaker, Hyundai also owns Kia. Even though Kia sells the Sonata-based Optima, it has different front and rear styling.

In recent years, the quality of Hyundai’s products has been steadily improving, and the Sonata has edged closer to the class-leading Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Even though the Sonata’s resale value lags behind these two vehicles, Hyundai’s long warranty and modest sticker prices make it a car worth considering. Hyundai covers the entire car for five years/60,000 miles, major powertrain components for 10 years/100,000 miles and corrosion for five years/100,000 miles. Free roadside assistance is provided for the first five years.


Exterior
Measuring 186.9 inches long overall, the Sonata is nearly 5 inches shorter than the XG350 and a couple inches shorter than the Accord and Camry. Styling touches include a waterfall-style grille and dual-oval headlights. Riding a 106.3-inch wheelbase, the Sonata stands 56 inches tall. Top models have 10-spoke 16-inch alloy wheels, and a glass moonroof is available.

Interior
Slightly wider than the Camry at 71.7 inches, the Sonata allows backseat passengers more room to spread out. Three people can fit in the rear seat, but it will be a tight squeeze. Headroom and legroom are sufficient for taller occupants. The split, rear seatback folds down for additional cargo room. Trunk space totals 14.1 cubic feet.

Competing against Honda and Toyota, Hyundai provides a sizable helping of features at a lower price. Standard equipment on the base model includes air conditioning, a CD player, cruise control, a tachometer, remote keyless entry with an alarm, and power windows, locks and mirrors. A cassette/CD stereo goes into the GLS sedan. The LX adds leather upholstery, an eight-way power driver’s seat and automatic climate control.


Under the Hood
Hyundai’s 170-horsepower, 2.7-liter V-6 engine is standard in the GLS and LX sedans and optional in the base model. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder produces 138 hp. Both engines may team with either a four-speed-automatic or five-speed-manual transmission. The automatic transmission incorporates a Shiftronic provision for manually selected gear changes.

Safety
Side-impact airbags for the front seats are standard, which gives Hyundai an edge over some competitors that either offer them as an option or don’t make them available at all. Hyundai’s Passenger Presence Detection system ensures that the airbags will not deploy if a seat is empty or occupied by a small person. Bosch antilock brakes and traction control are optional.

Driving Impressions
In its current form, the Sonata has closed in quickly on the league-leading Accord and Camry. Considering its substantially lower price and enhanced warranty, Hyundai’s sedan could be the better value.

Even though the ride is pleasantly smooth, it’s not quite on par with the Honda and Toyota models because the Sonata’s suspension tends to take an extra bounce at times on rougher pavement. The Sonata is an easy car to drive. It doesn’t deliver an athletic driving experience, but it handles perfectly for everyday driving. Though ordinarily quiet, a touch of engine noise is present during acceleration.

Performance is more than adequate, and the automatic transmission shifts capably with only an occasional abrupt gear change. Otherwise, downshifts are prompt and easy, and the manual-shift provision isn’t often needed.

The Sonata is spacious up front but short on headroom in the rear. The seats are on the hard side and feature minimal side bolstering and support. The gauges are ordinary but easy to read. Visibility is good in all directions due to the car’s ample glass area.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.5
29 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.3)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.4)
Comfort
(4.6)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.6)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

Great Starter Car

by Kr8619 from NJ on October 26, 2018

The car met all my need until I could afford a better, newer car. Definitely worth the cost considering running and longevity. Best car to get for a new driver. Read full review

(5.0)

A great buy indeed...never had an issue.

by accordccr from New Orleans LA on October 17, 2018

This car was exactly what my family needed. It definitely made me think about buying a Hyundai for another future purchase. I always got compliments on the looks and the comfort. The ride was nice and ... Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2004 Hyundai Sonata currently has 1 recall


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2004 Hyundai Sonata has not been tested.

Latest 2004 Sonata Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Sonata received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker