Hyundai is the up-and-coming rising star in the automobile industry, eagerly working to redefine itself as an automaker. It was 1998 that this Korean manufacturer made a conscious decision to change its image. Hyundai had been known as providing inexpensive--and some would say, cheap--vehicles to a worldwide market. Now, a dozen years later, Hyundai is known for stylish, well-built cars that consumers are flocking to in big numbers. Hyundai is beginning to give companies like Honda and Toyota a run for their money.
Let’s compare the Honda Accord EX-L with the Hyundai Sonata Limited. Each are on the high end of the luxury scale and offer a similar list of standard features: 2.4L, 4 cylinder engine, leather seats, premium sound system with 6-CD changer, power driver’s seat, hands-free Blue Tooth, 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, and heated side-mirrors.
2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T, La Jolla, California, October 2010Safety features are virtually identical, too. Both the Accord and Sonata offer electronic stability control, dynamic head restraints, side curtain air bags, ABS brakes, traction control and even a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).
2011 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T, La Jolla, California, October 2010Enlarge Photo
Crash Test Ratings
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) crash test rating is similar for each model, though the Accord moves ahead of the Sonata in one category. The Honda Accord achieved a perfect five star ratings on each crash test. The Sonata was almost perfect, receiving four out of five stars on the front passenger crash rating. The rest were five out of five.
Fuel economy ratings were equally as close--and as enviable. The Honda Accord is rated at 23 mpg/city and 34 mpg/hwy. The Hyundai Sonata gets 22 mpg/city and 35 mpg/hwy.
There are two remaining major factors to take into account when comparing these two imports. Each reveals a significant difference between the Accord and the Sonata: warranties and price. Those tomorrow.