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The 2009 Hyundai Sonata – A Well-Rounded Family Sedan (Detailed Review)

When it comes to family sedans, the 2009 Hyundai Sonata is a well-rounded option. It has plenty of features to keep you and your passengers comfortable, while also providing a reasonable amount of power when you need it. Even better, the 2009 Hyundai Sonata is affordable, making it a great choice for budget-minded buyers, especially now that it’s more than 10 years old.

The 2009 Hyundai Sonata is a large, contemporary, comfortable sedan with ample passenger and cargo space. It has excellent safety scores, proven reliability, and a long warranty. But with muted looks and a bland driving feel, it doesn’t feel like a sports sedan at all, despite an optional V6 engine.

The Hyundai Sonata tries to be both a sporty sedan and a comfortable family carrier, and it doesn’t quite manage to meet the brief of both these things. As a spacious and comfortable five-seater, it excels and has lots of value to offer for its price.   

2009 Hyundai Sonata Review

Family sedans are a dime a dozen in the United States, but few have such allure as the 2009 Hyundai Sonata. Because, despite competing in the midsize sedan segment, it’s considered a large sedan by virtue of its dimensions. And with this comes the benefits of space and comfort.

2009 hyundai sonata rear

With an optional V6 in the lineup, there’s also loads of power on tap and a features list that covers all the most critical aspects. But is this enough to help you see past the bland exterior looks and the somewhat numb steering feel?

The 2009 Hyundai Sonata Exterior

The main complaint about the 2009 Hyundai Sonata is how it looks. It’s simply a generic-looking sedan with very little to make it stand out or catch the eye. The base model rolls on 16-inch wheels, while the mid-spec and sporty 2009 Hyundai Sonata SE rides on 17-inch alloys. Topping the range, Limited has model-specific ten-spoke Euroflange alloys of the same size.

2009 hyundai sonata

Standard features for the exterior include power heated side mirrors with chrome accents on the front grille. The SE trims add fog lights, solar control glass, a rear spoiler, and chrome window belt moldings. The Limited deletes the sportier aspects of the rear spoiler, but it gets a power tilt-and-slide moonroof as standard.  

Size And Cargo Space Of The 2009 Hyundai Sonata

With a length of 188.9 inches, a wheelbase of 107.4 inches, and a width of 73.1 inches, the midsize sedan technically qualifies one size up. It also stands 58 tall, and with dimensions such as this, the 2009 Hyundai Sonata interior is bound to be spacious.

The cabin is spacious, but there is ample cargo space with 16.3 cubic feet available behind the rear seats. The seats can fold down if you need to load more significant items.

2009 Hyundai Sonata Interior And Passenger Space

We’ve waxed lyrical about size and space, but the 2009 Hyundai Sonata is simply that impressive in this regard. The automaker maintains it has more room inside than the likes of the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and the Nissan Altima.

With 40.1 inches of headroom up front and 43.7 inches of legroom, the Sonata does impress. But are the rear passengers equally blessed? 38.2 inches of headroom and 37.4 inches of legroom is more than most rivals offer rear-seat passengers.

2009 Hyundai Sonata’s Cabin Look And Feel

Although the exterior is a little on the bland side, the interior benefits from a refresh that sees it looking and feeling a little more contemporary. The 2009 Hyundai Sonata GLS is the entry-level model, and it comes with premium cloth upholstery as standard. Still, there is a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob if you specify the V6 engine.

2009 hyundai sonata interior

The SE gets a combination of leather and sports cloth on sports seats that feature more bolstering in the middle of the range.  You also get leather on the shifter and steering wheel regardless of which powertrain you opt for, and the driver’s seat is imbued with eight-way power adjustments. The cabin features Metal grain interior accents to go with its athletic approach.

2009 hyundai sonata seats

The top-end Limited seeks to provide a more refined cabin, so it sports standard leather upholstery and heated front seats. Woodgrain trim accentuates the cabin, and premium door sill plates are used.

2009 Hyundai Sonata Performance Specs

The 2009 Hyundai Sonata engine choices vary, with a 2.4-liter engine available that makes 168 horsepower and 163 lb-ft of torque. The more powerful option is a 3.3-liter V6 with 249 hp and 229 lb-ft. The base motor has the choice between a five-speed manual or five-speed auto, while V6 models get a Shiftronic five-speed auto exclusively.

According to Hyundai, the Lambda V6 makes more horsepower than a BMW 528i and is more fuel-efficient. This is courtesy of all-aluminum blocks and heads, variable valve timing, dual overhead camshafts, and a variable intake system. Still, while the Sonata presents sporting aspirations in SE guise, the performance doesn’t back this up.  

Sonata’s Driving Feel

As a family cruiser, the Sonata feels perfectly suited to the task. It is comfortable and has a soft, cushioned feel that most will be happy with. Those who want more oomph will have to opt for the 2009 Hyundai Sonata V6 models, probably in SE spec, to make the most of the available sport suspension.

2009 hyundai sonata

While this does tighten things up, it’s not a genuinely engaging sports sedan, and it doesn’t have the dynamic feel of German rivals. With curb weights ranging from 3,292 pounds to 3,494 lbs., the Sonata is more suited to ferrying people around in comfort.

2009 Hyundai Sonata Gas Mileage

Gas mileage figures are suitable for the 2009 Hyundai Sonata, with the EPA awarding the models with the 2.4-liter engine 22/32/25 mpg city/highway/combined when equipped with the auto 21/32/25 mpg for the manual. The V6-engined models are thirstier, with figures dipping to 19/29/22 mpg. All models have a 17.7-gallon fuel tank.

Features And Tech In The 2009 Hyundai Sonata

There is a long list of standard features supplemented by even more available options. The basics include stability control, traction control, ABS, and brake assist on the mechanical front. At the same time, comfort is taken care of by air conditioning, remote keyless entry, power windows, a tilting steering wheel, a center console armrest with cupholders, and an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with Satellite radio. The steering wheel gains adjustability on the SE, as does the driver’s seat. Heated front seats are standard on the Limited, and these models also get dual-zone climate control and an upgraded audio setup with a six-CD changer, amplifier, and subwoofer. In-dash navigation is optionally available.

2009 Hyundai Sonata Safety Scores

The NHTSA awarded the 2009 Hyundai Sonata five stars for all crash tests, with only the rollover test scoring four out of five. The IIHS was less optimistic, with Good for moderate overlap front and head restraints/seats, but roof strength scoring only Marginal. Side crash tests only scored Acceptable. Still, there is a consignment of airbags and positive accolades from the NHTSA.

2009 Hyundai Reliability And Problems

In terms of the 2009 Hyundai Sonata problems, two recalls were issued for this year’s model. The first is for crossmember corrosion that may cause a loose control arm and affect the vehicle’s handling, while the second pertains to a stop lamp switch that may function intermittently.  

Still, the 2009 Hyundai Sonata has a class-leading warranty of 10 years/100,000 miles for the powertrain and a new vehicle limited warranty (with roadside assistance) for five years or 60,000 miles.

Hyundai Sonata 2009 Price And Value

Pricing as new started at around $18,700 for the entry-level car, while top-end Limited models had a starting cost of around $26,550. The 2009 Hyundai Sonata price could increase by a few thousand dollars with options.

2009 hyundai sonata rear seats

Second-hand, Sonata models from this year, can easily cost between $5k and $10k, depending on condition, options, and mileage.

Conclusion

As far as family cars go, the 2009 Hyundai Sonata is an ideal combination of space and comfort with a long list of available features. The powertrain, especially in the V6 guise, is capable and relatively fuel-efficient, too.

But for a car that likes to look for all the world like a sporty sedan, the Sonata doesn’t pull this off – there isn’t enough handling prowess to earn this label, and feedback from behind the wheel is relatively muted. Still, it serves extremely well as a family hauler in every other way.

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