2010 Hyundai Sonata review – 10 years later

It’s been nearly ten years since I bought my 2010 Hyundai Sonata.  It was a big milestone for me because it was the first new car I ever bought, and I got a pretty great deal on it. It’s been a pretty good car, but it’s starting to show its age and enough minor things are starting to break that I think it’s time to replace it.  

First, let me say that the car has been for the most part fantastic.  We drove it to Florida and back in 2011 (which was pretty cramped, but it did great), and even today it gets 32-33 miles per gallon on the highway, even with a 3.3L V6. It’s pretty peppy and I still think it looks great.

Stuff started breaking about two years ago.  The first thing that happened was the driver’s window-down button stopped bouncing back up when you’d press it down.  I had to manually pull it back up. This was so minor I didn’t do anything about it for a year, and then when I brought it into the shop they had to replace the whole mirror switch panel (all 4 switches) which was ~$200.

Then in the winter I tried to open the passenger front door, which was frozen shut, and the door handle broke off in my hand.  I got this replaced (with a spare from a junkyard) and it happened to the rear passenger door handle a couple months later. 

Also around two years ago, when I got into my car after work one day it wouldn’t start.  I called AAA and ended up having to have it towed to a service station, where it turned out the fuel filter was clogged.  That was a relatively cheap fix.

The radio also started doing some weird stuff around 2 years ago.  It would randomly turn off, MP3s wouldn’t play, etc. This is what originally got me started looking for a new car about 18 months ago, but I ended up replacing the radio with a Pioneer head unit last year (the same day I ruptured my Achilles tendon) so I was pretty happy with it for a while.

More recently, in April 2019 I started having some very strange issues, starting with speakers cutting out.  I had installed the radio myself so I figured I had just not done it right, or something had come loose in the wiring.  Additionally the door locks stopped working on the driver’s side doors. I brought the car in to the local mechanic and he worked on this off and on for almost 4 months.  Finally one day he called me at work and informed me that there was a mouse living in the car, it had made a nest in the center console and also inside the door and it had chewed through a bunch of wiring.  He cleaned it all out and fixed the wiring and we had a good laugh and the car was fine again for a while.  

By this point I had already decided to see what the options were for a new car, since it seemed like the car was in the beginning stages of some kind of death spiral.  And then about a month ago the sunroof broke. Some piece of the slider that opens and closes the sunroof cracked and I couldn’t get it closed. I managed to pry it back into place and get it closed, but it can’t be opened, and it was a dealer-installed sunroof so it’s not like I could find parts for it as it’s not even a Hyundai product.  Fortunately it hasn’t leaked so far, but if you press on it it’s not really securely in place and the wind definitely sounds different over it when driving at highway speeds. 

This was really the last straw for me.  I could probably spend a few thousand dollars more to get it back into shape, but I just don’t have the patience for that now.  I don’t demand much of my car, as I normally only put about 10-15 miles a week on it, but it’s already had two door handles break off, the door locks stop working, etc.  My nightmare is I get off the train and head to my car in a blizzard, go to open the door and the handle breaks off, or the doors won’t unlock and I’m just stuck out in the snow.  

Anyway, at this point (October 2019) it’s been 9 years and 6 months since I got the car.  It’s been great and I would definitely recommend Hyundai to anyone, but I’ll probably replace this one in the next couple of months.  Rather than replace it with another sedan I’ll probably get an SUV and use our other car (a 2012 Ford Flex) as my station car.