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Hyundai Elantra vs. Hyundai Sonata: A Comprehensive Breakdown

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White Hyundai Sonata

Sonata by EurovisionNim — CC-BY-SA-4.0

If you’re looking to purchase a stylish midsize sedan that won’t break the bank, you’re probably considering a visit to Hyundai’s showroom. True enough, two of the most competitive and best bang for your buck midsize sedans are from Hyundai: the Elantra and Sonata.

Hyundai Elantra vs. Hyundai Sonata, which midsize sedan deserves a spot in your garage?

Both sedans are packed to the brim with features, were recently redesigned, and have approachable prices. Today, we’re going to have a comprehensive comparison between the Hyundai Elantra vs. Hyundai Sonata. For this Hyundai Elantra vs. Hyundai Sonata head-to-head comparison, we’ll put their 2022 versions against each other.

Keep reading to find out which Hyundai sedan comes out on top.

Exterior Features

Over the three iterations of the Elantra, Hyundai has pivoted its styling from snoozefests to snazzy. With its jet-fighter profile and heavily creased body panels, the dramatic upscale looks of the 2022 Hyundai Elantra are a feast for the eyes. The carved and chamfered styling may remind you of a design mockup, but it’s clearly ironed out before going into production.

Adding to the bold styling is the coupe-like roofline, wider stance, and a longer wheelbase. The parametric jewel-pattern grille remains from the 2021 version, and it’s still as striking as ever - giving the Elantra a unique look from the front. Regardless of how you feel about the Elantra’s exterior, it’s hard to argue that it’s a memorable look.

Not to be left behind, the 2022 Hyundai Sonata is also a visually interesting sedan from the South Korean car company. The sleek style of the Sonata is highlighted by its finned taillights and sweeping roofline. The “signature cascading grille” is also here and further upscales the overall look of the Sonata.

In addition, the sides of the Sonata are embellished with unique-looking side skirts and 19-inch wheels. Overall, the redesigned Sonata is clearly poised by Hyundai to compete with the esteemed Honda Accord.


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Performance and Fuel Economy

The Hyundai Sonata is powered by 4-cylinder engines in all of its variants - some have more power than others. The base engine is a 191 hp 2.5-liter inline-4 that powers most of the Sonata and is paired with 8-speed automatic transmission. There’s also the 180 hp 1.6-liter turbo-4 engine that comes with the Sonata SEL Plus and Limited trims that provide more grunt despite the lower horsepower numbers. Also, this engine offers quiet and smooth acceleration and better responsiveness.

However, the real highlight of the Sonata lineup is the Sonata N Line that houses the strongest turbo-4 engine capable of sending 290 hp to the front wheels via an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Also, the N Line impresses with its 0-60 in six seconds acceleration, and the Sport+ drive modes make it such a fun drive.

On the flip side, the 2022 Hyundai Elantra at its base is equipped with a standard non-hybrid four-cylinder engine at 147 hp with a front-wheel and CVT transmission. Meanwhile, the hybrid version comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder paired with an electric motor for an output of 139 hp, married to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Like the Sonata, the exciting part of the Elantra lineup comes with the performance-based N Line version. With the addition of a turbocharger, the Elantra N Line is capable of 201 hp and can accelerate 0-60 in seven seconds. It also offers a six-speed manual transmission that can be upgraded to a seven-speed dual-clutch option. With great handling and vibrant drive quality, the Elantra N Line is clearly the only choice if you’re looking for performance.

As for fuel economy, the 2022 Elantra with 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine has an EPA-estimated 33 mpg/city and 43 mpg/highway. The hybrid version offers an impressive EPA-estimated 53 mpg/city and 56 mpg/highway. Meanwhile, the 2022 Sonata base model features EPA ratings of 28 mpg/city and 38 mpg/highway. And as expected, the hybrid SEL and Limited Sonata take the gold with 4551 mpg city and highway EPA ratings.


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Interior and Cargo Space

Although the 2022 Elantra boasts an interesting exterior, the same can’t be said with its interior. For the lack of better words, the Elantra interior feels dull and less avant-garde. The biggest culprit is the quality of some interior materials. Quite prominent are the hard, low-grade plastics adorning the dash and door panels that somehow look out of place in an otherwise well laid-out cabin.

Space-wise, the Elantra makes the most out of its compact sedan designation but with generous passenger space. Front legroom is at 42.3 inches, while rear legroom is at 38.0 inches, effectively beating its segment rivals like the Civic and Mazda 3. Rear trunk space is also on the larger side with 14.2 cu-ft.

On the other hand, the 2022 Sonata has a snazzy interior that matches its sleek exterior. The seats are comfortable and spacious, and the materials feel more expensive than the sticker price suggests. The control layout leans towards the horizontal side, and it simply looks tight and cohesive.

Being the larger sedan of the two, it’s no surprise that the Sonata offers more trunk space than the Elantra at 16.0 cu-ft. In terms of legroom, the Sonata is also better, with 46.1 inches of front legroom and 34.8 inches on the rear.


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Infotainment and Safety Features

One of Sonata’s strongest suits is its bevy of features. The infotainment system is housed in an 8.0-inch center touchscreen which will be upgraded to a 10.25-inch color touchscreen starting with the SEL Plus trim. Android Auto & Apple CarPlay integrations are standard along with other connectivity features like HD Radio, SiriusXM, and Bluelink.

With a Top Safety Pick award from IIHS and a 5-star rating from the NHTSA, you know that you’re in good hands with the Hyundai Elantra. Some standard features include blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, high beam assist, and active lane control. Optional safety features include Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist and Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA).

Meanwhile, the 2022 Elantra has an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. Upper trims have a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen paired with a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster. One of the most interesting features is the Hyundai Digital Key which enables you to open or close your vehicle using a smartphone or NFC card.

The NHTSA gave the 2022 Elantra a 5-star rating, and it’s also a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS but only on the Limited trim. Some of the standard features are Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, and more.

Hyundai Elantra vs. Hyundai Sonata: Which Sedan to Buy?

Let’s end this Hyundai Elantra vs. Hyundai Sonata comparison with their pricing. The 2022 Hyundai Elantra starts at $19,850 MSRP, while the 2022 Hyundai Sonata starts at $24,150 MSRP.

It’s hard not to be impressed with the Elantra considering its excellent price point. It can go toe-to-toe with the Sonata in terms of features but a few thousands of dollars less. However, the Sonata has excellent safety ratings, cargo capacity, and a stellar N Line model. With this Hyundai Elantra vs. Hyundai Sonata, the dollar-for-dollar winner for us is the Elantra.

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