If you’re considering the Hyundai Elantra vs Sonata, it can be difficult to decide which one best fits your needs.
We’re here to help you make an educated decision that you feel good about down the road. The good news is that these are both efficient and elegant machines. Rest assured, although there are significant differences between the two vehicles, there are also many similarities. No matter which model you choose, you’ll have a reliable, fresh-looking car on your hands. Keep reading for a more detailed comparison of Hyundai Elantra and Hyundai Sonata.
Though similar, the good news is that you will likely find a Hyundai sedan that meets your budget, whether you opt for the Sonata or Elantra. Both vehicles have affordable starting prices and are jam-packed with cutting-edge comfort, technology, and safety features. Due to its greater dimensions and slightly more powerful engines than the Elantra, the Sonata does begin at a slightly higher price.
Both cars deliver strong fuel economy numbers in all forms. The Elantra’s most efficient format is the Hybrid Blue, which returns 53 mpg in the city, 56 mpg on the highway, and 54 mpg combined. The most efficient gas model delivers 30 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway, and 34 mpg combined. The Hybrid Blue is also the most efficient model in the Sonata line, returning an impressive 50 mpg city, 54 mpg highway, and 52 mpg combined. The Sonata Hybrid delivers up to 47 mpg combined, and the gas model is capable of up to 32 mpg combined. Fuel economy is considerably worse on the performance side, as the Elantra N returns just 25 mpg combined with a manual transmission and 23 mpg combined with the automatic.
The Hyundai Elantra and Sonata are both kinds of cars that are built for more comfort and space, but the big difference is that they belong to separate groups or categories. The Elantra is smaller than the Sonata in terms of its length, space for carrying things, and overall size. The Sonata has a little more rear legroom because it is a bit larger outside. That said, interior space is great for these cars in their respective classes, and neither disappoints on interior comfort. Hyundai just announced styling updates for the Sonata coming in 2024, and the Elantra’s recent overhaul gave it sharp, angular styling, so there are significant differences between the cars’ exterior styling.
The standard engine in the Elantra SE and SEL models is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder. It makes 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. The N-Line model has a more powerful engine with 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. The hybrid options also have a smaller 1.6-liter engine, which works together with an electric motor. This leads to a small decrease in power at 139 horsepower but an increase in torque to 195 pound-feet, which is the same as the N-Line. The SE and SEL have continuously variable transmissions, while the N Line, Blue Hybrid, and Limited Hybrid models have a dual-clutch gearbox.
The Elantra comes standard with collision-avoidance assist, pedestrian detection, and blind-spot monitoring, technologies that competitors in this price range don’t offer as standard. The Sonata comes with all of these features, plus remote parking assist and intelligent cruise control technology. The 2023 Sonata earned a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but the Elantra hasn’t been subjected to the organization’s latest testing criteria and has not earned an award for 2023.
Hyundai equips both cars with spacious cabins that offer comfortable seating accommodations in both rows. The Sonata’s more generous exterior proportions give it more interior space, but the Elantra is no slouch on passenger space. Despite that, the Elantra N’s aggressively bolstered sport seats might be too tight for some, and both cars’ rear bench seats could use more padding. On the upside, the Hyundai sedans offer easy loading and unloading of child seats because of their large rear doors and rear seat space.
Hyundai used to be known for building budget-friendly cars that didn’t last that long, but the brand has turned its fortunes around over the last decade. Despite lacking some of the dependability cache brought by rivals Toyota and Honda, Hyundai offers one of the longest warranties in the business, showing that it’s prepared to back its vehicles. All models come with a ten-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, which includes EVs. The brand has built its reputation to the point that it’s considered to be in the top-five most reliable car brands
That said, some Hyundai models have seen issues with their engines and transmissions, but the problems are generally limited to older models. Similarly, Hyundai neglected to install electronic immobilizers in some older vehicles, making them prime targets for theft, so it’s a good idea to make sure your car isn’t included in the affected population.
The good news is that, in addition to their long warranty and generally reliable reputation, Hyundais are fairly cheap to fix. You won’t be paying a premium for Euro brand repairs, and parts are affordable comparatively.
Conclusion: 2023 Hyundai Elantra vs Sonata
The choice between these two cars boils down to their size and your budget. If you can afford the Sonata’s slightly higher base price and need the space, it’s a fantastic family hauler that offers the latest tech and great safety features. Similarly, if you want something a bit smaller and for less money, the Elantra won’t steer you wrong. It’s worth noting that the Elantra offers better performance in the N model, but the Sonata N-Line is sporty enough for most people.
Of course, these aren’t the only two models in their respective classes. You might want to consider the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord over the Sonata, and both are available with hybrid powertrains. The Toyota also offers an available V6 and surprising performance. If you’re shopping for an Elantra, the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic take the top spots, followed by the Mazda3 and Volkswagen Jetta.