The Sonata was designed by Hyundai and featured Mitsubishi's engineering, including its 2.4L 110hp (82kW) Sirius I4 engine as used in American-market models. A 3.0L V6 based on the Mitsubishi 6G72 arrived in 1990. The U.S. model received the 2.0L engine for the 1992, replacing the original 2.4L engine.
Trim levels in the US were:
- GL (2.4 and 2.0 engines)
- GLS (3.0 engine)
The second-generation Sonata (Y3) debuted in 1993, as a 1995 model. The base engine in most markets was a 2.0L 126hp (94kW) Sirius I4, but there was a 3.0L, 142hp (106kW) Mitsubishi V6 option in some markets. This generation continued after the demise of the Bromont, Quebec plant in September 1993. After that, all Sonatas would be built in Korea, until the opening of the Beijing Hyundai plant in December 2002.
A facelift for the Sonata (Y3 facelift) in 1996 saw modifications front and rear. Sales were up 25% that first year. The four-cylinder engine was up to 137hp (102kW) that year as well.
A new model arrived in 1998 (1999 for North America), launching the (EF) series.
Engines were 2.4L 138hp (103kW) Hyundai Sirius and a 2.5L 170hp (127kW) Hyundai Delta V6 A special 10-year warranty.
The 2002 model featured the all-aluminum, DOHC 2.7L Hyundai Delta V6 powered the Sonata with 173hp (129kW). It also featured the same Sirius II 4 cylinder which at the time made 138 hp (111 kW), 157 ft·lbf (213 N·m) of torque. Sales reached 104,000 for 2004.
The Kia Optima (called the Magentis in Canada and Europe) was based on the same automobile platform of this generation of Sonata and shared the same doors and some others panels.
This Sonata also lent its platform to the first-generation Hyundai Santa Fe, a compact crossover SUV.
This generation of Sonata is still being built (since 2002) and sold in China as of September 2006 by Beijing Hyundai Co. and in Russia by TagAZ.