My 2005 Sonata
April 13, 2015
My wife bought our 2005 Sonata as a rental return with 35K miles. She drove it daily to work (all city driving) until 2013 when she bought herself a new '11 Sonata and handed down her '05 to me with 112K miles on it, to replace my '01 Elantra which I handed down to my daughter. The biggest problem with the '05 is that the airbag light is always on. Nobody can figure out why. An internet search of this problem reveals millions of Sonatas in this year range with the same problem, and Hyundai Corp. refusing to address the problem with a recall. That really irks me. In '12 and '13, I too had to replace the low beam bulbs a few times, as other reviewers have mentioned, but haven't had to at all in '14 or now in '15. Here's a tip. If your check engine light comes on, and you or your mechanic can't figure out why, and your OBD-II scope isn't helping, just clean or replace the air filter... problem solved (the air to fuel mixture normalizes, the computer's happy again, and the check engine light goes off without having to reset it via OBD-II. Nice! Now the part that really upsets me about the '05 Sonata. The headlights light the road so poorly at night that I find it very difficult to drive at night. They light the road nicely out to about 30 feet, but then a huge black shadow appears across the entire field of view in the area of the road that you want to be seeing the most... the area that you would think would be lit up the best for safety's sake. Adjusting the headlights doesn't help a bit... the shadow is still there. Also, adjusting the headlights is extremely difficult... a true pain in the ess! Short trips around town at night are manageable, but a road trip of several hundred miles? Try to do it in the daytime. Airbag warning light and headlights aside, all in all, I'd highly recommend the '05 Sonata! Comfortable, smooth riding (unlike our '11 Sonata, which shakes your innards right out of your body! Every little bump feels like a major pothole!) and reliable. At 120,000 miles, all our '05 has needed was a new timing belt at 100K, regular oil and filter chenges every 3K, and I'm ashamed to admit it, but at 120K, she still has her original sparkplugs. I think I'll get those changed this week. Tranny is still tight and shifts smooth, engine just took me 600 miles from Minneapolis to Aberdeen and back in a single day without using a drop of oil. Probably the best, most reliable car I've ever owned. Tows my 14' aluminum fishing boat effortlessly as well! Go for it!