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Hyundai Sonata 2.4-litre Elite 2005 review

A Hyundai Sonata – especially in its Elite kit-out – just might fit the bill. Hyundai has come a long way since the old Excel but the question remained: would the revamped and European-styled Sonata get the family tick?

Size proved an instant winner. This car has buckets of leg room front and back, even with the front seats all the way back. The boot is big and a pat on the back goes to whoever at Hyundai put in a bucket-inspired glove box.

Since airbags came in, most glove boxes barely hold the street directory let alone tissues, assorted fruit, spare pens, notepaper and bag of lollies that go everywhere with us.

And visibility, too, for a family-sized car, was tremendous. Perhaps it's because most car designers are at least 5ft 8in on the old scale, so the height-challenged – like me – usually find themselves looking at the top of the back seat every time they try to check what's behind.

Hyundai has taken extra care of that, too. A little beep sounds every time the car is put in reverse and the reversing sensors kick in when you're too close to anything at the back.

The Sonata was treated to the full family workout – shopping, the Sunday-morning football run and the mad dash to pick up friends and make it across town for a movie.

All the controls were easy to reach and easy to operate. Cruise-control buttons are on one side of the steering wheel, with the sound system control on the other. A six-stacker CD is standard in the Elite.

In addition to that house-sized glove box, there are the two cup holders in the front and a double-layer storage box in the middle of the front seats. The top of the storage hold doubles as an armrest and a slide mechanism allows you to adjust it, although the catches felt like one overly exuberant pull would snap them off.

There was enough zip in the motor to cope with city commuting and a jaunt through the Hills produced a comfortable ride through the corners.

Road noise was minimal but, when accelerating, the engine sounded overworked.

Good news on fuel consumption. Skyrocketing petrol prices can dampen anyone's shopping fun but a standard family week left the economy at less than 11 litres/100km, mainly in city traffic.

Love it leave it

Hyundai Sonata 2.4-litre Elite (auto) 

Love it

Big boot

Plenty of rear leg space

Massive glove box


Leave it

Not enough drink holders

Engine noisy while accelerating

Interior a bit "plastic"

Pricing guides

Based on 11 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

(base) 2.4L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $2,750 – 4,290 2005 Hyundai Sonata 2005 (base) Pricing and Specs
Elite 2.4L, ULP, 4 SP SEQ AUTO $3,900 – 5,995 2005 Hyundai Sonata 2005 Elite Pricing and Specs
GL 2.4L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $2,860 – 4,400 2005 Hyundai Sonata 2005 GL Pricing and Specs