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The Hyundai Sonata is a midsize sedan that was first introduced by the South Korean automaker Hyundai in 1985. The first-generation Sonata was designed to compete with popular models such as the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. It featured a front-wheel-drive layout and was powered by a four-cylinder engine. Over the years, the Sonata has undergone several redesigns and updates, with many of these generations facing major engine and transmission issues. 

Introduced in 2011, the sixth generation Sonata featured a more modern and sporty design, along with several new features and technologies. However, this generation faced some issues with the transmission and poor fuel economy and is considered the worst Hyundai Sonata. Nonetheless, recent safety advancements have been a significant game changer for Hyundai in beating its competition. Here are some of the worst Hyundai Sonata model years to avoid if you’re looking for reliability and safety.  

Why 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2018 are the worst Hyundai Sonata models years

2011-2013 Hyundai Sonata

The 2011, 2012, and 2013 model years of the Hyundai Sonata have been criticized as the worst due to several transmission issues. Many owners have reported problems with the car’s six-speed automatic transmission, including sudden and unexpected shifting, hesitation, and even complete failure. These transmission issues were so prevalent that Hyundai issued a recall for the 2011-2013 Hyundai Sonatas to fix the problem, according to HotCars.

Additionally, the 2011-2014 models were also found to have a poorly designed front grille which caused problems with visibility while driving. The front grille design was criticized for being too low and having a thick frame that blocked the driver’s view. Moreover, the 2011 Sonata got poor safety ratings, which further added to its reputation as a problematic model year. This was due to its poor headlights and ability to prevent a collision in the small overlap front crash test.

2018 Hyundai Sonata

Elsewhere, the 2018 Hyundai Sonata is also considered a bad year for the car due to reliability issues. Many owners reported problems with the car’s engine, including stalling, hesitation, cruise control failure, brake issues, and power loss. These issues were found to be caused by a faulty valve that caused the engine to lose power. There were also reports of problems with the car’s suspension, including rough handling and poor ride quality, that caused several complaints from owners.

Why the 2022 Sonata is the only model year that Consumer Reports recommends 

A rear exterior promotional photo of a red 2022 Hyundai Sonata midsize sedan model
2022 Hyundai Sonata | Hyundai Motor America

The 2022 Hyundai Sonata is the only model year that Consumer Reports recommends so far. This is due to several factors that make the new model stand out from previous years. First, the 2022 Sonata is equipped with an array of advanced safety features and technologies, including automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. These features help keep the driver and passengers safe on the road and have been well-received by CR.

Additionally, the 2022 Sonata offers several comfort and convenience features, including a large touchscreen display, a wireless charging pad, and more. The 2022 model year also features several powertrain options, including a hybrid powertrain that is said to be one of the most fuel-efficient in its class. This can help to reduce the cost of ownership over the long term. It’s worth noting that a well-maintained Hyundai Sonata can reach 250,000 miles. This is a testament to the car’s durability and reliability, and buyers can expect to get a lot of use out of their vehicle for many years to come.

Overall, the 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2018 model years of the Hyundai Sonata have earned a reputation as problematic vehicles that potential buyers should avoid. Some of these problems include transmission, engine, steering issues, fuel efficiency, visibility, safety, and reliability issues. That said, the 2022 Hyundai Sonata is well-regarded by Consumer Reports due to its advanced safety features, comfort and convenience features, powertrain options, and durability. All of these factors make it stand out from previous model years and make it a highly recommended car for buyers.

Related The Most Common Problems With the Hyundai Sonata You Should Know About

The Most Common Problems With the Hyundai Sonata You Should Know About