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1999 Hyundai Sonata Photo
Reviewed by Nick Twork
Editor, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$13,805
BASE MSRP
$14,999
Quick Take
Until recently, Hyundai cars left a lot to be desired in terms of quality and design. Consequently... Read more »
N/A out of 10
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Until recently, Hyundai cars left a lot to be desired in terms of quality and design. Consequently, Hyundai dealers were left to sell the cars based on their price rather than the merits of their design and features.

That started changing a few years ago, when the Hyundai Tiburon sport coupe debuted. The car represented a new benchmark for Korean-car quality. It was, and still is, a good car for a reasonable price. When the Tiburon hit the market, it was obvious that Hyundai was committed to building better cars.

After driving the 1999 Hyundai Sonata GLS V-6, it seems that Hyundai is committed to this strategy. The car is light-years ahead of its predecessor in every way and is a legitimate competitor to such cars as the much vaunted Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.
 
 

Shocks and surprises from a capable Korean

For $17,799, the Sonata GLS V-6 comes with a 2.5-liter DOHC V-6 engine, an electronically controlled automatic transmission, 15-inch alloy wheels with Michelin tires, power windows and locks, air conditioning, and a 100-watt audio system equipped with a CD player.

But while the Sonata's equipment list is impressive, it stands out more because of the execution of its design, rather than its long list of equipment. The car's high-quality feel and handling dynamics are better than those of any other Korean car we've driven.

A chassis equipped with four-wheel independent suspension, rack-and-pinion steering, and four-wheel disc brakes gives the Sonata its excellent handling manners. And if the Michelin tires were more interested in gripping the road instead of suppressing noise and wear, the car might even have handled better.
 
 

Five ways to more fans

Also adding to the Sonata's appeal is the availability of a manual transmission in all Sonatas, regardless of whether they are equipped with the V-6 or 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Precious few sedans in the United States are available with the combination of a V-6 and manual transmission.

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© 2014 The Car Connection. All Rights Reserved. The Car Connection is published by High Gear Media. Stock photography by izmo, Inc. Send us feedback.