Sedans & Coupes

Good Luck Deciding Between the Hyundai Elantra and Sonata

Most of the time, critics offer vehicle reviews in an attempt to peel back the onion and highlight the best and worst features. You rely on these reviews to help you determine which car, truck, or SUV is better.

But sometimes, there is a head to head comparison that only seems to make the decision even harder to make. And should you be faced with choosing between the Hyundai Elantra or the Sonata, you might find yourself even more torn.

What the Hyundai Elantra and Sonata do alike

These two sedans have distinct looks but still share a lot in common. Both are smart buys, regardless of how you choose to equip the car. The two Hyundai models have outstanding predicted reliability ratings and some of the industry’s best warranty coverage.

The Elantra and Sonata offer competitive fuel economy and comfortable rides and seating for five passengers.

Acceleration and an under the hood comparison

The 2020 Hyundai Elantra has a few more options when it comes to engine configurations. The standard 147-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder isn’t too shabby. But the Elantra also offers the same engine with 161-hp and a six-speed automatic transmission for the GT hatchback. And the Elantra Eco comes with a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder capable of 128-hp.

The 2020 Hyundai Sonata comes with its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, capable of 191-hp or its 180-hp, 1.6-liter turbo variation that offers a tad more torque. Both of the Sonata’s engines are married to a more refined eight-speed automatic transmission. So, there might be more performance pep with the Elantra. But the Sonata’s shifting might be more seamless, with comparable power.

What the Hyundai Elantra might do better

A 2020 Hyundai Elantra on display at an auto show
A 2020 Hyundai Elantra on display | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

RELATED: Skip The Mazda3 And Buy The Hyundai Elantra Instead

In some comparison reviews by U.S. News, the Hyundai Elantra does offer a little more cargo capacity than the Sonata. Even though the Sonata wins the trunks space category, it’s the Elantra that provides more overall, with 24.9 cubic feet behind the back seats.

Fold those back seats down, and there’s a whopping 55.1 cubic feet available. Also, the fuel efficiency of both sedans is impressive. But the Elantra does come out ahead with an EPA-estimated 31 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. Choosing the Eco variation and city mpg increases to 33 mpg.

What makes the Hyundai Sonata better

RELATED: Avoid the Toyota C-HR and Buy the New Hyundai Elantra GT Instead

While the Hyundai Elantra certainly saw upgrades for 2020, the Sonata was fully redesigned this year. The Sonata may appeal with more style and, according to Cars Direct, comes with all the best in advanced driver features and extras.

Both cars have great safety ratings, but it’s the Sonata that comes out ahead in safety equipment. The entry-level SE offers lane-keeping assist, forward collision warning, and driver attention monitoring. Some reviews also suggest the Sonata offers a more comfortable ride overall, with the upscale, plush feel.

Good luck trying to decide

If you’re torn between the Hyundai Elantra and Sonata, it may boil down to budget. According to NewCars.com, the base MSRP for the 2020 Elantra is $19,300, which is less than the base Sonata’s $23,600 price tag. So, if fuel efficiency and cargo are your priorities, the Elantra may be the better choice.

But if upscale touchpoints and added driver aids are important, the Sonata may win your bid. If you need a Bose sound system and larger infotainment screen, the Hyundai Sonata checks all the boxes. But if pep and configuration make your priority shortlist, the Elantra is a must-drive.

This comparison of two Hyundai’s might just have the Elantra and Sonata tied in a showdown. Ultimately, your personal driving preferences and budget will help you determine which car will find itself parked in your garage. And regardless of which you choose, most critic reviews say you’re making a smart decision.