I bought a 2001 Hyundai Sonata back in, well, 2001. I had been dating my soon-to-be wife for a few months, and already knew she was the one. So when I took out the car for a test drive, I asked her along as I figured the day would come when this car might be hers.
The 2001 Sonata was not a pretty car. It was, however, roughly the same size as the Honda Accord, and its cost was more than $3000 less. And, Hyundai had a 100,000 mile warranty. My daughter, who drove a rusted-out Accord ridiculed me, but I bought it anyway.
The wife and I married in 2002, and she proceeded to put nearly 25,000 miles on it per year as I had her marooned out on the farm. I was frankly amazed that she could put that kind of mileage on a vehicle. She was on the King of Saudi Arabia’s Christmas card list. In the five or so years we lived there together, she had accumulated about 130,000 miles, and all it took was two sets of tires, two sets of brakes, and about 20 oil changes. There was a scare with the transmission, but it turned out to be only a sensor. We took it on trips and, after we moved to our current house, the yearly mileage went down, but when we were ready to get a new car, it was up to about 180,000 miles.
I gave the car to my folks who put on an additional 20,000 miles over a couple of years. Finally, in 2012, I gave the car to my son who finally managed to kill it, but not before it topped out at over 200,000 miles.
In 2009 we came back from a year in the UK and went looking for another car. Hyundai had a year-end sale going on, so we went to the dealership and looked at the Sonatas. At the time, my car was a 1999 Ford F-150 pickup truck. I really like riding high, and in my old age, have a tough time getting in and out of passenger cars. We test drove the 2010 Sonata, and it felt like an old friend. However, when we went back to the warmth of the show room, there was an electric blue Tuscon, which is Hyundai’s small SUV. I asked the salesman about it and he said it was last year’s model, and that Hyundai was changing the design for 2010. This was the last one they had left, and he would be a major hero if he could sell it. He made an offer that Vito Corleone would’ve been proud of and I drove it home.
With my insane 100-mile-per-day commute, I have put about 95,000 miles on this vehicle. Once again, I’ve only changed brakes, tires and oil. I expect to get my 200,000 out of this one, too.
Hyundai, unlike some other Korean company, has been great with customer service, although I really haven’t had to use them much (knock on wood).
Rick’s rating for Hyundai: 5 sticks
If I needed a new car, I’d buy another Hyundai. If I needed a fleet of cars, I’d have a fleet of Hyundais, If I had a second dog, I’d name him Hyundai.
An interesting side note on Hyundai. The guy was actually born in North Korea before the war. He wanted to go south to make his fortune, but he had no money, so he stole a cow from the farm where he worked, sold it, and used the proceeds to start one of the biggest industrial companies in the world. Later, he had delivered to the descendants of the farmer 100 cows to pay him back.
Ain’t that cool?