Toyota Corolla vs. Hyundai Elantra: Which Best Suits You?

November 12th, 2020 by

There have been two compact sedan class leaders for many years: the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla. Due to its mix of price, good fuel economy and reliability, the Corolla has fought hard to maintain its position in the segment and has been a huge seller for years. But in this category, Hyundai is not a baby player. Since almost 20 years, Elantra has been on sale in one shape or another, and Hyundai has been working very hard to continuously refresh and enhance its compact range. And, while the Corolla is essentially unchanged for 2019, the Elantra has already undergone a major makeover for this year after a complete redesign just two years ago. Both the Hyundai Elantra and the Toyota Corolla are four-door compact sedans and have front-wheel drive. It’s luxurious, incredibly spacious, and very comfortable. The Toyota is doing everything well, unsurprisingly, but nothing really sticks out.

Until this writing, J.D Power has not awarded any reliability rating to either car for the recent years. Because they are very similar in many categories, we can look at the scores for the 2017 models. The 2017 Elantra and 2017 Corolla both score 4.5 out of a possible five points, making them both one of the most reliable vehicles amongst their class.

With a three-year/36,000-mile standard warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, Toyota backs up the 2018 Corolla. Hyundai covers Elantra 2018 with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, making it one of the best in the industry, giving Elantra the edge in this category.

Winner: Hyundai Elantra

The 2018 Corolla earned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) overall rating of five stars. The 2018 Corolla was not yet checked by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), but the 2017 version won the Top Safety Pick+ ranking of the company.

The 2018 Elantra has been awarded a IIHS Top Safety Pick+ ranking, although the NHTSA has not yet checked it. The 2017 Elantra received only a four-star overall rating in NHTSA research.

The Corolla comes equipped with a rearview camera and the integrated protection features Toyota Protection Sense package, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane maintenance

Winner: Toyota Corolla

Cargo Space:
The Hyundai Elantra sedan provides cargo space of 14.4 cubic feet, which is great for its category. The trunk of the Toyota Corolla is a measures about 13 cubic feet. The Elantra has more than 55 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded down. For the Corolla, the smaller cargo area has about 21 cubic feet compared to the Elantra. All sedans offer back seats that are split-folding to help carry larger items. The Elantra provides for even greater comfort with a hands-free trunk lid.

Winner: Hyundai Elantra

Interior Features:
In terms of features and services, the Corolla has a clear advantage over Elantra. The Corolla base comes with a 6.1-inch touch-screen display infotainment system, Bluetooth, a USB port, a six-speaker audio system, a rearview camera, voice recognition and Siri Eyes Free. Toyota also provides the Safety Sense system which includes forward collision warning, automated emergency braking, pedestrian identification, lane departure warning, lane protection, adaptive cruise control, and automatic high beams. The Corolla’s features include a touch screen of 7 inches, a moonroof, satellite radio, HD radio, navigation, push-button ignition, and a proximity key.

The base model of the Elantra, on the other hand, is not as equipped. This contains only an audio system with six speakers, Wifi, and a USB port. For an infotainment system, a 7 /8-inch touch screen, push-button ignition, a rearview camera, and active security features, which do cost extra. Hyundai does, however, provide mobile support with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto that is not compatible for Toyota Corolla.

Winner: Toyota Corolla

None of these cars particularly has impressive performance, but the Elantra has a stronger base engine and faster acceleration than the Corolla. The Elantra generates 147 horsepower from a four-cylinder 2.0-liter engine, paired with a conventional six-speed manual transmission or an additional six-speed automatic transmission. The Corolla comes with a four-cylinder 1.8-liter engine producing 132 horsepower in most models and 140 horsepower. Coming standard a continuously variable transmission and there is a six-speed manual.

Winner: Hyundai Elantra

Fuel Economy:
This is a tough call, but the entry-level Elantra and Corolla’s EPA scores show a slight advantage for the Elantra. When fitted with the automatic transmission, base Elantra achieves 28 mpg city, 37 mpg highway, and 32 mpg mixed fuel economy returns. The Corolla matches the town of Elantra and combined mpg but stands at 36 mpg highway, just shy of the Elantra.

The fuel economy scores are among the highest in the class for both of these models, but if you’re hoping for more, you can try out the Elantra Eco, which gets 32 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, or the Corolla Eco, which gets in at 30 mpg city and 40 mpg highway.

Winner: Hyundai Elantra

Major Difference:
Simple driver assistance systems are a major difference. In every model the Toyota Corolla comes equipped with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, automatic high beams and automatic emergency braking. The Elantra provides blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic detection and lane change assistance as usual on all models except the base Elantra, but the other standard features of the Corolla are only fully available on top model Elantra.

The Hyundai Elantra comes out on top head-to-head with a clear margin, which means for most buyers it’s the best choice. The case is still not cut and dry, though. In terms of reliability, efficiency, and fuel economy, the Elantra is less costly and is slightly better. These are desirable qualities for compact car buyers, and the main wins prove that the Elantra is a well-rounded vehicle. Overall, for most shoppers in this category, the Elantra is the better choice for most buyers. But in terms of safety, the Corolla is better, and that’s a good reason to choose the Corolla over the Elantra.

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