Hyundai has long been a symbol of value in the automotive marketplace. From hatchbacks to small crossovers to full luxury cars, the Korean automaker delivers a lot for what you’re paying. With strong reliability, consistently good safety scores, or a long list of standard features, a used Hyundai is a well-engineered vehicle that’s easy on the wallet.
Since 1999, Hyundai has sold vehicles in America backed by a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty that is fully transferable to the second owner (but not the third). Hyundai also offers a Certified Pre-Owned program that consists of a 150-point certification process. Cars that qualify for that program have to be less than five years old, with fewer than 60,000 miles, and must have a clean, “non-branded” title. Certified Pre-Owned Hyundais are protected by the remainder of the 10 year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, as well as 10 years or 100,000 miles worth of roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement, travel breakdown reimbursement, a free CARFAX report, and a three month trial of no-charge SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
The Hyundai Accent embodies the value-centric ethos of the brand’s early years in the North American market, but with a flair and style that won’t leave you feeling like you bought the cheapest car on the lot.
The fourth generation of the Accent joined the North American market for the 2011 model year and provides good fuel economy (28/37 MPG city/highway), a quiet, composed ride, and a high-quality interior in a small package. For 2014, the Accent received a standard blind-spot monitoring system, making a 2014-or-newer Accent a terrific value.
Another solid value if the larger, yet still compact Hyundai Elantra. The fourth generation of the Elantra ran from 2007 to 2010 and featured comfortable, spacious seats as well as good gas mileage for the segment. A strong year to look at is the 2009, which gained a new audio system and new available USB and auxiliary audio inputs. Not every model will have the USB/aux feature so check it over before you buy.
The fifth-generation Elantra arrived in 2011, with a sharp, new look and content that catapulted it right to the lead pack in the small car segment. In addition to practical items like plentiful cargo and passenger space, great fuel economy, and impressive safety scores, the 2011 Elantra also featured class-exclusive heated rear seats as an option.
Hyundai Sonata/Sonata Hybrid
The next step up is the Hyundai Sonata, which entered the market in 1989. Hyundai’s mid-size family sedan has come a long way since then, and though we’re on to a seventh generation, both the fifth- and sixth-generation models offer a lot to used Hyundai buyers. The fifth-generation model was sold from 2006 to 2010, and its final year is a solid buy. It features an available V6 with almost 250 horsepower on tap. Opting for the smaller four-cylinder increases fuel mileage to 22/32 MPG city/highway. These attributes are bolstered by good safety scores and an interior that has a spacious upscale feel.
If you find the fifth-generation styling to be a bit to sedate for your liking, the sixth-generation, sold from 2010 to 2014 is when the Sonata truly started to grow up. Eye-catching inside and out, these years of the Sonata have solid fuel economy, and are available with a punchy 274 horsepower turbocharged engine. The year to look at is 2013, when the automatic transmission became standard equipment across the lineup, and heated seats became standard on all but the base model.
This generation also saw the introduction of the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, which delivered fuel economy of 34/39 MPG city/highway. For 2013, fuel economy improved to 36/40 MPH city/highway. Regardless what used car prices do, gas prices will eventually go up, and that type of mileage will be a welcomed relief for your wallet.
Though the Sonata is the cornerstone of the sedan lineup, those seeking more cabin space from a four-door would do well to check out the Hyundai Azera. In 2006, the Azera replaced Hyundai’s first venture into the premium landscape, the XG350. The XG350 was a weird entry in the luxury market, but the Azera is right at home competing against cars like the Lexus ES350, offering a spacious cabin with solid fit and finish.
In the 2006 to 2011 Azera, you get wood trim and leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power seats, and dual-zone climate control all as standard equipment. Other available features include a power rear sunshade and Logic7 premium audio system.
The second generation arrived in 2012, and brought Hyundai into the modern era of upscale car design. In addition to the new look, the ’12 Azera boasted standard features like push-button start, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB audio port, dual-zone climate control, and a navigation system.
But what if you want versatility and capability to go with that interior space? Sedans can be spacious, but there certain buyers will only feel at home in a crossover or small SUV like the Hyundai Tucson. Hyundai was one of the early players in this marketplace, and delivered with a small SUV that boasted good maneuver ability and an attractive, well-outfitted interior.
A new Tucson just arrived for 2016, so the model you’ll likely find if searching for a used Hyundai is the second generation, sold from 2010 to 2015. Of these years, 2012 models received a revised suspension and an Active Eco system for improved fuel economy.
Hyundai Santa Fe
If you need more space out of your SUV, the Hyundai Santa Fe is the way to go. The second generation was sold from 2007 to 2012, and featured great fuel economy and safety ratings, as well as 78.2 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat down. If looking for improved connectivity, 2009 and newer models have standard USB ports.
The third generation Santa Fe arrived for the 2013 model year. This generation was broken out into the three-row Santa Fe and two-row Santa Fe Sport. Both offer a handsome design, first-rate cabin materials, and strong engines. If you’re looking for value and safety in one, blind-spot monitoring, and rear parking sensors both became standard equipment starting in 2014.
Hyundai Genesis Coupe
Even when Hyundai went for broke to build a sports car, it provided a practical car in the Genesis Coupe. Arriving on the scene in 2010, the Genesis Coupe offered fun handling and strong turbocharged I4 and V6 engines.
2011 brought new interior materials, and the R-Spec trim, available with both I4 and V6 engines. The R-Spec deletes some frills, and beefs up the brakes and suspension, resulting in a track toy that can also make the daily commute. Even when Hyundai is being racy, it’s being responsible.