For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Hyundai Sonata are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
Both the Sonata and the 3 Series Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.
The Sonata comes with a full 5 year/60,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The 3 Series Sedan’s 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.
Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Sonata 6 years and 50,000 miles longer than BMW covers the 3 Series Sedan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the 3 Series Sedan ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
There are over 65 percent more Hyundai dealers than there are BMW dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Sonata’s warranty.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2013 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 18th, below the industry average.
On the EPA test cycle the Sonata Eco gets better fuel mileage than the 328i RWD Auto (28 city/38 hwy vs. 23 city/35 hwy).
On the EPA test cycle the Sonata Eco gets better fuel mileage than the ActiveHybrid 3 (28 city/38 hwy vs. 25 city/33 hwy).
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Hyundai Sonata uses regular unleaded gasoline. The 3 Series Sedan requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The Sonata has 3.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the 3 Series Sedan ActiveHybrid/diesel’s standard fuel tank (18.5 vs. 15 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Sonata has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the 3 Series Sedan’s standard fuel tank (18.5 vs. 15.8 gallons).
For better traction, the Sonata Sport 2.0T’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 3 Series Sedan (235/45R18 vs. 225/40R19).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sonata is 2.9 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than the track on the 3 Series Sedan.
For better maneuverability, the Sonata’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the 3 Series Sedan’s (35.8 feet vs. 37.1 feet).
The design of the Hyundai Sonata amounts to more than styling. The Sonata has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is lower than the 3 Series Sedan (.29 to .3) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Sonata get better fuel mileage.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Sonata is rated a Large car by the EPA, while the 3 Series Sedan is rated a Compact.
The Sonata has 10.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 3 Series Sedan (106.1 vs. 96).
The Sonata has .1 inches more front headroom, 3.5 inches more front legroom, 2.8 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, .5 inches more rear legroom and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the 3 Series Sedan.
The Sonata has a much larger trunk than the 3 Series Sedan (16.3 vs. 13 cubic feet).
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Sonata has standard extendable sun visors. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer extendable visors.
The Sonata Limited/Sport 2.0T’s optional air conditioned front seats cool the driver and front passenger and help take the sting out of hot leather in Summer. The 3 Series Sedan doesn’t offer air conditioned front seats.
The Hyundai Sonata outsold the BMW 3 Series by 70% during 2013.