HYUNDAI SONATA vs TOYOTA CAMRY vs HONDA ACCORD – STRICTLY NUMBERS


The 2011 Hyundai Sonata is, strictly on visual terms, a striking automobile. You might not like it, but in the months ahead, you’re not likely to deny the alarming effect it has on you is far greater than a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry.

GoodCarBadCar.net often plays host to an opinion which says something like this: the merit of a vehicle can only be judged in the context of its price, and its opposition at that price. Hyundai has typically sold cars at substantially lower prices than Honda, Toyota, or any other automaker. In recent years this led to people – automotive media and consumers alike – suggesting Hyundais were “great cars considering….” or “terrific based on the price at which they’re being sold” or “quite a lot of car for the money”.


That’s not a problem in and of itself. However, we need to know more. Yes, the Hyundai must be judged on its merit at a specific price. A more in-depth analysis should also reveal at what price the Hyundai could be justifiably purchased. The same car which is great at $18,000 may only be impressive at $20,000, decent at $22,000 and a ripoff at $24,000.
In truth, determing the true value of a product is a decision you can make after a test drive. Last year, 356,824 new Toyota Camrys were registered in the United States. During the same twelve months of ’09, 290,056 Honda Accords were sold in America. As for the outgoing generation of the Hyundai Sonata, “only” 117,357 were purchased or leased in 2009. Now that the 2011 Hyundai Sonata is exclusively a 4-cylinder car; now that its design could be perceived as polarizing; now that Camry sales will suffer slightly in Toyota Turmoil, will anything be different?

Here are some Numbers to keep you informed before heading out for those test drives. For each car – the Hyundai Sonata, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry – the absolute base version’s spec sheet is used. Add freight/delivery/pdi and you’ll come up with some interesting figures. Check’em out below.
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19,915 – lowest MSRP possible on a 2011 Hyundai Sonata, the GLS model
21,765 – lowest MSRP possible on a 2010 Honda Accord, the LX model
20,400 – lowest MSRP possible on a 2011 Toyota Camry, the Standard model
198 – horsepower under the hood of every 2011 Hyundai Sonata, along with 184 lb-ft of torque
177 – horsepower under the hood of the Honda Accord LX, along with 161 lb-ft of torque
169 – horsepower under the hood of the Toyota Camry in Standard trim, along with 167 lb-ft of torque
24 – city fuel economy, as rated by the EPA in miles per gallon, for the Hyundai Sonata GLS with a 6-speed manual transmission, a car capable of 35 mpg on the highway
22 – city fuel economy, as rated by the EPA in mpg, for the Honda Accord LX with a 5-speed manual transmission, a car capable of 31 mpg on the highway
22 – city fuel economy, as rated by the EPA in mpg, for the Toyota Camry with a 6-speed manual transmission, a car capable of 33 mpg on the highway
1 – total number of cars in this trio with Bluetooth connectivity fitted as standard equipment, that being the 2011 Hyundai Sonata GLS. All other major interior equipment is equal across the board: power windows, air-con, and audio
100,000 – total number of warranty-covered miles remaining on a brand new Hyundai Sonata’s powertain, if 10 years doesn’t come sooner. Bumper-to-bumper coverage is 5 years/60,000 miles. Corrosion is covered for 7 years or an unlimited number miles.
60,000 – total number of warranty-covered miles remaining on a brand new Toyota Camry or Honda Accord powertrain if 5 years doesn’t come sooner. Bumper-to-bumper coverage is 3 years/36,000 miles. Corrosion is covered for 5 years or an unlimited number of miles.
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  • bradkley

    So the question is, for an extra $2,000 is it worth it to lose power, length of warranty, and fuel economy? I doubt any Accord or Camry buyer ever asks this question.

  • whitworth

    Worth point out that the Sonata has more passenger space than the Camry, almost as much as the Accord, and has a bigger trunk than both the Accord and Camry.

  • billyoucanrun

    The warranty is the only number hear that matters in reality. The MPG works out to nearly identcal expenses. The price is a couple less trips to Starbucks per month. The power would likely feel similar in 95% of driving conditions. That leaves people deciding if they will stick with the norm and get an accord or buy a car that will either last forever or have Hyundai pay to make it last forever.

  • conwelpic

    for Feb '10 in the US:
    Honda Accord – 22,456
    Toyota Camry – 16,552
    Hyundai Sonata – 7,506
    it will be interesting as the months go along how this compares when more of the new Sonata's get into the system
    Now if only we had figures for Canada – lost my source! (843 for the Sonata for Feb). It will also be interesting to see what happens when the new Kia Magentis/Optima comes onboard for 2011.

  • conwelpic

    I stand corrected, the Canadian figures for Feb came through and the Sonata is in 4th place behind the Fusion, Camry and Accord. It's ahead of the Malibu, Altima and Mazda 6

  • Anonymous

    Most recent figures, August 2010:

    Toyota Camry: 30,764
    Honda Accord: 22,506
    Hyundai Sonata: 21,399

    Despite it's all new look ("fluid" design), lower price, more powerful engine, bigger interior etc., the Sonata is still at number 3. That despite all the bad-mouthing Toyota is getting.

    Quite telling: customer loyalty / long-term reputation I guess?

  • More recent figures. Take note, as well, @anonymous: Sonata sales over the last few months in the USA – up 57% in May, 49% in June, 33% in July, and 50% in August. Camry sales, meanwhile, were down 6.6% in May, up 7.7% in June, down 0.6% in July 41.2% in August. Notice the trend? Total sales tell only half the story.

  • Anonymous

    The Sonata sounds good on paper. But in the end the cost says it all. You get what you pay for. That why I would recommend the Accord or Camry because they are both good quality cars made by quality companies. Hyundai has only just recently started to build more quality vehicles but in the past has had a bad history. In conclusion the Accord or Camry are a complete class higher than the Sonata.

  • Anonymous

    I'm a car enthusiast. And I say stay away from Sonata. I drove Sonata 2.0T, Accord EX-L V6, Legacy Limited, and Camry V6 SE. I ended up with considering Accord EX-L V6 or Legacy Limited. First of all, performance on Sonata is not as impressive as I thought, too similar to an Accord. Second, Accord and Legacy are much safer cars. Legacy having better accident avoidance and over all safety where Accord won the overall crash test and luxury. I don't want to go into details on glitches over steering wheel, transmission, and ABS on Sonata. I own a Suzuki Forenza, which is a knock off old parts from Daewoo, and the steering and transmission still behaves better. Even so, I had to bring it in to get my auto transmission fix twice within the course of 4 years. Invoice from Sonata is also cheaper while the company spent so much money trying to improve their cars. You do the math. Material on Sonata sux. So, yes, you get what you pay for. 2011 Accord EX-L V6 for performance and luxury and 2011 Legacy Limited for performance, safety and other little features. That's all I'm going to say. I tell you this much, Korean transmission and steering is so bad that you will risk your life driving on the freeway. I had no choice but to use my experience and cope it to drive that Forenza on a freeway. It's just one of the cars that I own, which I'm getting a new one.

  • Anonymous

    As a current Hyundai driver for the last 6 years (2005 Hyundai Elantra) I can attest that it is very reliable. I used the car for commuting back and forth from college to home which was a 50 mile commute one way. Then after college I still commuted 50 mile plus one way to work and I still get a reliable car. I haven't needed any work on the car (knock on wood). No transmission, tune ups, or any other big deal repairs. I will admit when I first got the car I was apprehensive because it was a Hyundai, but I will now recommend it to anyone. And FYI I am now looking a replacing my car and have been thinking about the 2011 Hyundai Sonata. I hope it gives me the same reliability as my Elantra did.

  • Anonymous

    @billyoucanrun if you think 30 hp coupled with increased efficiency is something the every day consumer would not perceive or notice in a new car you do not have the authority to be commenting on cars. 30hp itself is a complete wonder in this day of ever competitive engineering, and is certainly something I noticed when I drove the Camry and the Sonata. Fuel economy is such an every day tribulation that I, as a consumer, would notice as little as 1 mpg difference. Add to that the eco drive assist on the Hyundai, and you have a car that out-performs the old class leader by a long and embarassing shot. Whenever a class leader of 10 plus years is out done by a new rookie it is quite an amazing feat. I have not even mentioned the 5mpg increase in economy and 8hp gain you acheive when you compare the 2.0t to the Toyota 6 cylinder. I am certain that if you made this decision at the gas pump (purchasing gas that would either give you Camry performance and efficiency or that of the Hyundai Sonata) with either "Camry" gas or "Sonata" gas, you would undoubtedly get the "Sonata" gas every time. Only a fool would not.

  • I bought (3) Hyundais since 2004 and attest that they are extremely reliable. I sold one of the elantras(as I was buying a Veracruz ) and got a decent resale value. None of them let me down at anytime. People should accept that engineering has evolved and Hyundai has improved leaps and bounds and is competing with the best in business. Honda and Toyota are more popular but obviously not worth the price they are charging for. Hyundai has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the same quailty can be offered at lower proice…

  • Anonymous

    I've never driven the 2011 Sonata but I drive a 2003 Tiburon GT V6 and I have driven my sister's 2010 Sonata. They are both excellent cars, and extremely reliable. My Tib now has over 100k miles on it and it has only needed one significant repair (a new transmission at 90,000 miles because the previous owner didn't care for it that well, and which was completely covered by the warranty). As for concerns about the handling and transmission on Hyundai cars, you have no idea what you're talking about. Both the Tiburon and the Sonata have excellent transmissions and steering.

  • Anonymous

    I love the Hyndai Sonata!!! It has no problem. And fuel consumption is very good

  • Have you see any Hyndai last over 200,000 miles? I had a Toyota with 205,000 and I sold this car for $2,000 last week. Origin bought $19,500 in 1999.

  • Well Richard:
    I owned a Toyota Avalon (1997). I didn't get to 60,000 miles. The Avalons from 1997 through I think 1999 had problems with oil jelling.
    I returned mine at least 8 times because of dark smoke coming from the exhaust, never a recall and nothing was done until 2005 when they finally had to recall them. By then they said my car was too old to repair even though I had been taking it in for the problem for 6 years. So you can't sell me a Toyota ever again. All
    cars have their problems when they are allowed to put parts on that they know will cause problems later. Now everyone is concerned with doing it right once they've been caught. I have had the same issues with Ford, and GM. I went to Toyota after ford put a busted engine block in the LTD 1996 that I had bought new. Took 3 years to recall with everyone adding oil all the time. Yes I got a new engine but that turned me from Ford. I bought a Toyota Celica and it was wonderful. It lasted so long I had to give it away and it's still running, but not the Avalon.
    Now I own a Sonata and I love it.
    I love the style, the performance, the size and you can't beat the price and warranty. My sister has had one for 10 years and it still runs well. I'll be sticking with Hyundai as long as they make cars
    that continue to hold up well and are reasonably priced. Hoorah for Hyundai!!!!

  • Anonymous

    give the 2011 sonata a chance and I think we'll see plent of them going over 200,000 miles….this is to the owners of the toyota camry's out there…some of which most recently have had numerous recalls

  • Anonymous

    My friend bought a sonata in 2008 and the car is already rusting and has had plastic pieces fall off of panels on the interior. Yes everything has been warranteed and replaced, but he take great care of his cars and the thing still falls apart. He hasn't had any engine problems yet at around 55k, but the quality of the overall build seems to be poor. I do agree with the saying, you get what you pay for, and for cars there is no arguing that this isn't a true statement. Anycar you buy new is going to last you at least 100k, what happens after this is where the true quality cars start to shine.

  • Anonymous

    Honda has had problems with its transmissions the Odysseys with the 4speed automatic and when it switched to the 5 speed auto have had premature transmission failures which has been well documented. I also have personal experience as my 2001 Odyssey had its transmission fail at around 70K and was replaced and at 130K that tranmission failed and had to be replaced. I really don't think the Accord would be that much more reliable than the Sonata and since the Sonata is a better buy feature and performance wise and is less expensive and carries a superior warranty to the Accord (plus it looks much more impressive than the Accord)I would buy the Sonata over the dated Accord without hesitation.

  • I used to be the biggest Honda fan, had 2 accords an '88 and a '00. Honda has fallen flat on its face in the last 10 years but fail after fail and not making cars ppl want. The only reason the sales are up there in any respect is because of the 80s and 90s reliability, not its looks. Im so glad a company like Hyundai is making some hott looking cars that last along time. Sonata will out pace Accord and Camry in the next few years easily the way they are going. Maybe it will wake Honda up, but only time will tell.

  • I am trying to decide what car to go with. Had 2 toyota pick-up, accord ex-lV6 & civic ex. I really like the new Sonta price,inside room,power, etc. I just got a smoken price for a 2011 camery se leather 4cyl. I know the camery has history, but what about the new car on the block? I've read all the comments. HELP :}

  • Anonymous

    Get the accord its best all around. Ive campared it to nearly everything in its class,and nothing beats it in terms of quality, refinement, resale value, reliability. I just purchased a 2011 Accord EX-L, and it makes me feel a class above the rest extremely wonderful car.

  • Paul in Canada

    I have the Sonata Turbo and I love it! I drove my 2002 Sonata for nine years, virtually trouble free. This company is going to take out the Japanese and the American companies as it beats them in value and styling.

  • Anonymous

    Camry is over rated, Honda Accord is ok.We owned a 2005 EXL nice car needed a little more power. We had an issue with the transmission at 36,800 miles with the first gear shift valve. I changed it for 80 bucks. When I first called Honda they said it was out of warranty. I had to get it checked at a dealer then they would decide if they would reimburse me. I can only imagine what the dealer would have charged. Wake up with the Toyota and Honda being the best, they have issues also. We just purchased a Sonata Limited, so I shall see…..

  • Anonymous

    Honda And Toyota Are Awesome HYUNDAI'S Are Junk
    My Brother In Law Has One And It Is A Piece Of Crap Always Getting Repaired