I’m trying to decide if I should buy a Honda Accord or Hyundai Sonata. I'm concerned about the long term cost to maintain the car. Can you help me decide?
When I was Internet Manager for a major car dealer, the inside scoop in the industry was that Hyundai was the up-and-coming auto maker in the U.S. Hyundai was no longer making cheap cars that didn’t last. In fact, its vehicles were so well built that this Korean auto maker had brought in one of the best warranty programs on the planet. Hyundai was willing to put its money where its mouth was and stand behind its product.
This is one of the major differences between the Hyundai Sonata and Honda Accord. Honda continues to promote its mediocre warranty program that allows just 3-years/36,000 miles on the limited warranty—commonly called the bumper-to-bumper warranty—and 5-years/60,000 miles on the powertrain warranty that covers the engine and transmission. This compares to Hyundai’s limited warranty of 5-years/60,000 miles, and a powertrain warranty of 10-years/100,000 miles.
Anyone who services vehicles for a living knows that the older a vehicle gets, the more it costs to keep running. After all, vehicles are made up of thousands of moving parts and problems arise as they age. That’s why Hyundai’s warranty program is like having money in the bank—or negotiating an extended warranty at no additional cost.
Let’s say you have an electronic module burn out after 55,000 miles. This is covered under the limited warranty and not the longer powertrain warranty. If you own a Honda, the $1,100 cost to repair will come out of your pocket because the limited warranty has expired. If you own a Hyundai, your cost is zero because it’s an issue that is still covered by Hyundai’s longer limited warranty. In this case, good for you for deciding to buy a Hyundai.
Follow the Money
The other significant advantage the Sonata has over the Accord is price. For our comparison, let’s put the Accord EX-L and Sonata Limited side-by-side to see how they compare.
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the Accord EX-L is $27,355. The Sonata’s sticker price is $25,295. That’s a difference of $2,060, and a major advantage for the Sonata.
Car buyers have a big question to answer before they can come to terms with which vehicle is the best buy for them: Is the Honda Accord that much better of a car to justify a two thousand dollar difference in price and a significantly shorter warranty program.
This is a question that no one can answer for you. What will help you decide is taking each vehicle for a test drive and getting hands-on experience before even trying to make a decision. No matter how good a particular vehicle looks on paper, you can only know if it’s right for you by taking it for a spin.