Which Hyundai Sonata Years to Avoid and Why? (Explained)

Hyundai Sonata has quite a sleek look and exclusive performance. However, some of the models of Sonata came out bad as a batch. 

Among the various problems of Sonata, transmission issues, engine seizing, fuel leaks, and parking light problems are common. Unless the problems are big and messy, you can fix them at home if you have some technical knowledge.

In this article, I will share my research about the years you should avoid of Hyundai Sonata.

Hyundai Sonata Years to Avoid (List of Years)

Hyundai had many bad years to deal with. Many of the models of Sonata came out quite problematic which was very normal for any kind of car brands. But they managed to bring out some great cars and SUVs as well.

Here are the years that you should avoid:

  • 2011 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2012 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2013 Hyundai Sonata
  • 2015 Hyundai Sonata

The 2011 and 2012 model of Sonata have common problems with their engines. There was bad fuel economy and some other minor problems with the transmission and engine.

These two models have quite many problems. However, not exceeding the previous models in terms of complaints.

The most common issues mentioned by many users is the transmission problem. Other than that, there were electric issues and interior problems as well.

Worst model of Hyundai Sonata?

Now, if you want to know the worst of them all, then it has to be the 2011 model with most complaints in Carcomplaints website.

Most of its complaints were about the engine. In most of the cases, people had to change the engine as the faulty one became beyond repairing or the cost of repair was too high.

What Makes These Hyundai Sonata Years Worth Avoiding?

2011 Hyundai Sonata Problems:

Hyundai Sonata 2011 was brought into the market to compete with the other cars in the price range. And many people have purchased them and many of them were disappointed with this model.

Users have mentioned some of the most common problems are associated with the engine. And this is kind of a serious problem as the cost of repairing the engine or changing it is high.

There was the banging sound coming from the engine which many owners have heard and when diagnosed properly it was pinpointed to the engine issues.

 Some people have criticized the cars when they suddenly stopped on roads randomly or sometimes in critical situations without any notice.

Poor fuel economy is another downfall for this model. People had to use more oil for this car which cost them highly. Some users said they had to refill the tank more than two times a day in some cases.

And when the cars went out of oil or were low in oil there were other problems related to it. Such as, overheating, engine halt, etc.

2012 Hyundai Sonata Problems:

The 2011 successor Hyundai sonata 2012 could not do better in the engine section. Many users have complained about some engine issues which were very unexpected for a newer version. The most common problem with the engine was the engine seizer. This caused lots of money to repair and users were very disappointed.

Engine failure is yet another issue found in this model. It happened to people quite suddenly and put them in trouble. In some cases, while on the road the car stopped running.

The engine stalls sometimes which was reported by some users. They said that while they were driving for a bit and the engine made some noise and stalled.

The engine knocking was also something that you should be aware of. The Sonata 2012 model often made engine knocking which may be due to the malfunctions in the engine components such as, when the bearings are damaged or knock sensors are faulty. Or maybe there was some problem with belt tensioners or maybe the fuel level was low. 

Idle rough and zero acceleration were also seen in this year’s Sonata.

2013 Hyundai Sonata Problems:

Hyundai could not improve much on the next model of Sonata. There were several issues found in the 2013 model.

The most common complaints were about the faulty engine and other related issues. Most of them were saying that they had engine seizures or the engine dying while driving, rough running, and causing the oil consumption to be high.

Smoke coming out of the engine is another issue to be concerned about.

If you are checking the Sonata 2013 you should be aware of the steering problem. This model had worn-out steering which led to steering problems. People also told that their steering shifted to one side automatically and caused some strange noise. This kind of sensitive steering is dangerous for people.

In these cases, some of the users mentioned that even the dealers could not support them properly and had to change some equipment along with the steering wheel.

Some minor interior problems were also found in this model. Problems such as Bluetooth not working properly, faulty navigating system, uncomfortable seats, etc. were causing some trouble for some users. Lights not working perfectly was also reported by some car owners.

2015 Hyundai Sonata Problems:

You’ve most likely observed this since 2011. There are significant issues with the engine system. The 2015 Hyundai Sonata is yet another model with engine failure issues.

However, Hyundai claimed that it had improved the systems and engines. Yet, still, there were some reports of a faulty engine.

The gearbox made the transmission unusable. The dual-clutch was also behind this problem. Furthermore, sometimes the axel shaft came apart.

Furthermore, there was an electrical system failure seen in this Sonata 2015 model. The electric power steering often got disconnected as people have mentioned in a different medium. 

All these problems made these models troublesome and people should avoid these year models.

Which Years are Safe to Buy Hyundai Sonata?

Surprisingly, the newer versions of Sonata were found with more trouble than the older versions were great at performing. Here are some good Sonata models that you can buy.

2006 Hyundai Sonata:

Hyundai Sonata 2016 is a bit old for now. However, this was one of the best models with a special edition design. You can still look for it if you want to buy one. But the problem is you will not find a newer one and may need to buy a second-hand car.

With an exquisite look and a great number of amazing features, this model did not let its customers down. Even now this will amaze you if you are looking for a second-hand car.

Even the experts have praised this model. High-quality yet simple elements make this Hyundai Sonata 2006 stand out from the crowd.

This model has a big space inside for a comfortable riding experience. You will not feel congested inside the car.

Moreover, the engine used in Hyundai Sonata 2006 can outclass some of the newer engines. And people did not complain anything about the engine performance.

It is a proven car with a dependable safety system which will be a great option for you to buy.

2007 Hyundai Sonata:

After the successful year of the 2006 model, Hyundai brought Sonata 2007 which is more advanced and equipped with better parts and engines. It has won recognition from various critics and customers as well.

It has a great engine that outperforms the previous model. The interior design and comfortable seats are one of the main attractions for people. The design is excellent with nothing fancy in it yet simple and elegant.

The safety features are top-notch and users have mentioned how great this car was for driving. You can take a look at this car if you consider it an old model.


Sonata from Hyundai is promising some newer and improved features in their upcoming Sonata model.

But if you are here to check on the previous versions, be aware of the worst models of the Sonata that I mentioned. You can get in trouble if you buy one of them.

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