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My old car just broke down, and I am looking to buy another car. I am going to go to the dealership to test drive them to see, but I am also wanting advice from people who know about these models.

I am wanting to stay under $8000, and I have seen 05 and 06 models of these 2 cars go for as low as $6000 at nearby dealerships that I found online. So I should be able to do that.


Things that matter to me:

Reliability, low maintenance, few mechanical problems. Something that will last me 5 years w/o major problems
High gas mileage
Comfortable to drive in with a smooth ride
Safety features
Enough interior room to support a 6' male who is muscular and fat (I'm built like a football lineman. Oh yes.)

Things that really don't matter as me much:

Horsepower (my old car that just broke down had 119 hp, so even the 140hp entry level elantra is a step up. And I never really had problems with 119hp when it came to interstate driving or passing cars). So the 240hp V6 Sonata isn't really a selling point, esp since it has lower fuel economy on the highway. But I get the impression the I4 Sonata, despite having 160hp, has the same fuel economy as the elantra. Either way, I'd be looking at I4 elantras and sonatas, and not really interested in the V6 model.

Tons of cargo space. I am a big person and need a decent sized drivers seat (this is why I don't like the corolla or civic, they are too small). And I know the elantra has a huge interior, and the Sonata does too. but the extra storage size of the sonata isn't really a selling point to me.

As far as luxury items, I think all I really want/need are AC, automatic transmission and cruise control. The other selling points aren't that important to me from what I've seen of them with the SE and ltd models. I would likely buy a GLS model because they come with AC and CC as standard features. I don't know if the Ltd or SE models would be worth the extra money. However if I found a used model and the SE model was only an extra $300 or so, then yeah I'd seriously consider it.


I am under the impression from consumer reports that the used elantra has higher reliability than the used sonata, with fewer mechanical problems. Does anyone else know if that is valid?

However, the sonata has better safety ratings and features, esp for side impacts. Does anyone know if that applies to the older 2004-2007 models, or just the 2010 and newer models?
 
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