2021 Hyundai Sonata Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system and brake issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The first-generation Hyundai Sonata, Y1, was only available in South Korea in 1985 and 1986. It was a luxury upgrade of the Hyundai Stellar that was launched in 1983. But customer reaction to both was poor, even though the Stellar was sold in some parts of the world until 1988.

The second-generation Y2, launched in 1988, was available to the North American market from 1989. And Hyundai has been upgrading it ever since, with the 2020 model introducing an eighth-generation Sonata to the U.S.

In a recent article, Lemberg Law looked at complaints made by consumers to the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the 2020 Hyundai Sonata. These focus on engine and electrical system issues.

It comes as no surprise to see that the engine and electrical system are still feature d in NHTSA Sonata complaints a year later.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2020   2022   2023

Most Common Problems

So far, there are 13 complaints made by consumers to NHTSA about the 2021 Hyundai Sonata. These cover 8 components and/or systems from airbags and seats to the engine, electrical system, and visibility.

There have also been nearly double (25) the number of manufacturer communications about the car, and 2 recalls. While recalls indicate problems manufacturers will rectify at no cost, manufacturer communications are an early warning reporting system. They provide dealers with information about defects, malfunctions, failure of performance, and flaws. They also advise on what to do to solve or rectify them.

By law, manufacturers must share copies of their communications with NHTSA. It stands to reason that all these issues could result in multiple future complaints when and if owners discover these problems.

Manufacturer communications relate to 11 components and systems. Unsurprisingly, the most common are related to engine and engine cooling (8), the powertrain (6), and the electrical system (4). But we’re going to explore formal complaints here.

2021 Hyundai Sonata Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Power Train
Electrical System
Fuel/propulsion System
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Air Bags
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking

Visibility & Windshield Problems

There are 6 complaints related to windshield and visibility problems. One of these states the recall on the owner’s vehicle wasn’t successful. “There is still no remedy after one month.”

The recall, issued on 28 December 2021, is due to inadequate windshield bonding on as many as 26,413 Hyundai vehicles, including the Sonata. The fear is that it may detach in a crash and increase the risk of injury.

Two of the complaints relate to air or wind noise coming through the windshield when traveling over 55 mph. One complainant is convinced this problem relates to the recall. But the car’s VIN isn’t listed. “I know my windshield is defective or wasn’t properly installed.”

The other air noise complaint states there are a lot of other owners on forums complaining about the same problem.

The remainder of grievances is varied. They include a complaint that after a tiny pebble hit the windshield it spread vertically and horizontally. The complaint says that not only does it obstruct vision, but it also affects the lane assist sensor in the middle of the windshield. The dealer says the windshield must be repaired by a third party, the complaint says.

Another complaint describes how a panoramic sunroof exploded on an open highway. There was no sign of debris or stones hitting the car.

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Problems with the Electrical System

The 2 complaints relating to electrical problems tell how the dashboard lights are faulty. Both state that the problems are recurrent.

One problem affects the forward-collision warning system. “The car even braked on its own, then shut off while turning in the middle of a busy intersection. There are several reports of very similar symptoms on Edmunds, under Reviews. This car is dangerous. I have contacted Hyundai twice now.”

The second complaint describes multiple dashboard lights coming on and the brakes not responding as they should. The car has less than 4,500 miles on the clock and the owner says the “incident is terrifying and unacceptable.”

Brake Problems

In addition to the complaint above, where the brakes responded “differently,” another describes a malfunction of the parking brake.

The car was in a driveway with remote smart parking assist feature activated and the engine idling. After 6 minutes, the car began to roll forward slowly and crashed into the back of the garage wall.

What to do if your 2021 Hyundai Sonata is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

Recurring problems may indicate you have bought a lemon. So, if you suspect you have bought a lemon, what can you do?

Lemberg Law specializes in lemon law cases and we have helped many clients resolve problems like those described above. Possible resolutions include replacement vehicles, buy-back agreements, and cash settlements

Call our Helpline and we’ll evaluate your case. The law makes Hyundai pay the legal fees in lemon law cases, so you have nothing to lose.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • James A

    Is there a number of how many ’21 Sonatas have been sold? Without that number it is impossible to know what % of cars have these problems. 15 Engines problems sounds like a problem but if it is 0.00001 of the cars sold then should I be concerned? Thanks for the forum!

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