2022 Hyundai Elantra vs Sonata
Over the years, Hyundai has earned a reputation for building reliable vehicles at an affordable price. They focus primarily on efficient vehicles that appeal to commuters and families. Although not as popular as they used to be, sedans still occupy a considerable part of the market. Hyundai currently makes some of the most affordable sedans, including the 2022 Elantra and the 2022 Sonata.
The Elantra is classified as a compact sedan, while the Sonata is the midsize option. Not surprisingly, these two vehicles have several things in common. There are enough differences, however, to make one better suited for certain individuals than others.
Size and Styling
Both the 2022 Elantra and the 2022 Sonata are four-door vehicles with seating for up to five. The front seats of both vehicles are also supportive and spacious. Not surprisingly, the backseat of the Elantra will feel a bit more cramped than the one found in the Sonata. This is partially due to the fastback roof design of the Elantra, which impairs rear visibility as well as headroom. The Sonata does not have this issue. On the other hand, the Elantra actually has three extra inches of rear legroom.
When it comes to length, the Sonata is noticeably longer. It measures in at nearly 193 inches, while the Elantra is only 184.1. The Sonata is also a bit wider, coming in at 73.2 inches. Meanwhile, the Elantra is 71.9 inches wide. Both of these cars are small enough to whip into parking spaces and handle cramped city streets.
The trunk of the Elantra has 14.2 cubic feet of space to work with. This is around average for a compact sedan. Buyers should be aware that the trunk opening is on the smaller side, which does make it a bit difficult to load larger items. The Sonata has 16 cubic feet of trunk space, which is also considered average for the class. Both the Elantra and the Sonata have split-folding rear seats to help with longer cargo.
LED headlights are standard for the 2022 Sonata. They are not available for the base Elantra. Buyers can choose to upgrade the Elantra SEL with LED headlights, and they become standard on all higher trim levels. There are N-Line models of both the Elantra and the Sonata for those looking for a sportier sedan. Choosing an N-Line will mean getting more aggressive styling cues.
Many powertrains are available for the 2022 Elantra. As its standard, buyers are looking at a 2.0L four-cylinder that creates 147 horsepower. It is mated to a continuously variable transmission. There is also a hybrid option, which is based on a 1.6L four-cylinder and makes 139 horsepower. This engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The Elantra N-Line has a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder that pumps out 201 horsepower. It can pair with either a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission or a six-speed manual. This model is equipped with a sport-tuned suspension and shock absorbers. The Elantra N goes with a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with an output of 276 horsepower. It can be paired with the six-speed manual or an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Sticking with the entry-level Sonata will mean getting a 2.5L four-cylinder engine that creates 191 horsepower. It has an eight-speed automatic transmission. There is also a hybrid variant of the Sonata that is based on a 2.0L four-cylinder. It creates 192 horsepower and works with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The Sonata SEL Plus has a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder, similar to the Elantra N-Line. It creates only 180 horsepower, however. The Sonata N-Line has a turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder that pumps out 290 horsepower, making it the most powerful option when looking at the 2022 Elantra and the 2022 Sonata. No version of the Sonata can be had with a manual transmission, however, which may be a deal-breaker for some shoppers.
Many are drawn to the Elantra because of its efficiency. The base model is estimated to get 33mpg in the city and 43mpg on the highway. Choosing the N-Line model with the manual transmission will get buyers 25mpg city and 34mpg on the highway. That model with the automatic will mean getting 28mpg in the city and 36mpg on the highway.
Choosing the Elantra N will give drivers 22mpg in the city and 31mpg on the highway with the manual. The powerful engine with the automatic transmission gets 20 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. On the other hand, the Elantra Hybrid can give buyers 54mpg combined in the Blue trim. The Elantra Hybrid Limited gets an estimated 50 mpg combined.
The 2022 Sonata is also decently efficient. With its standard engine, drivers can expect 27mpg in the city and 37mpg highway. The 1.6L engine is estimated to do about the same. Going with the Sonata N-Line will mean getting 23mpg city and 33mpg on the highway. The Sonata Hybrid is estimated to get 52mpg combined.
Overall, the Elantra is an engaging sedan to drive. It handles the bumps on the road quite nicely, and the N-Line and N variants are downright sporty. The stopping power inspires confidence, and the steering provides an excellent amount of feedback. While not as much fun, the Sonata provides a perfectly acceptable experience at the wheel. While not terribly athletic, it is far from slow or boring.
On the plus side, the Sonata does an excellent job of isolating the cabin from road and wind noise. This is not the case for the Elantra, unfortunately. The noise is especially noticeable at highway speeds.
Comfort, Options, & Performance
Both the Elantra and the Sonata lean toward value. That does not mean that they do not offer luxurious features on higher trim levels, however. Even at its base level, the 2022 Sonata is considered quite upscale. High-quality materials are used throughout the cabin. The Elantra is also quite nice, although it leans more toward sporty and modern than luxurious.
Cloth upholstery is standard for the 2022 Elantra and the 2022 Sonata. Both of these sedans gain dual-zone automatic climate control on their second trim level and higher. The Sonata also gains heated front seats and a power-adjustable driver's seat. These features are optional on the Elantra SEL, but they become standard on all higher trim levels.
While full leather seats are not available for the Elantra, the N-Line and N do have combination leather and cloth upholstery. The sophisticated Sonata Limited model is equipped with genuine leather upholstery plus adds a power-adjustable front passenger seat. That feature is not available for any version of the 2022 Elantra.
An 8-inch touchscreen is included for the Elantra and Sonata. The Elantra has wireless versions of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but the Sonata still has the wired versions in 2022. The Elantra was redesinged just last year, which may explain why it is slightly more high-tech.
The Elantra has two USB ports standard, while the Sonata only has one. Both of these sedans have Bluetooth and HD radio. The standard stereo system for the Elantra has four speakers while the Sonata comes with a minimum of six.
Select models of the Elantra and the Sonata upgrade to a 10.25-inch touchscreen. Buyers should be aware that choosing this option for the Elantra will mean getting wired versions of the smartphone integration tools. Both vehicles offer wireless device charging on top trim levels. The Elantra can upgrade to a six-speaker or eight-speaker sound system, while the Sonata can go all the way up to 12 speakers and a premium Bose setup.
The 2022 Hyundai Elantra and the 2022 Hyundai Sonata performed well in crash testing conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Both the vehicles received an overall score of five out of five stars. They both received four stars when it came to frontal collisions, but got five stars for side collisions and rollover testing. Similarly, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave both the Elantra and the Sonata the top score of "Good" in all six main categories.
Many of the standard driver assistance features are identical when comparing these two vehicles. They both have lane departure warning, forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection. Beyond that, however, these vehicles are actually quite different when it comes to standard safety equipment.
For example, the Elantra comes with blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, plus a safe exit warning. These features are missing from the entry-level Sonata, but they can be found on all other models. On the other hand, the Sonata comes standard with adaptive cruise control and driver drowsiness monitoring. These features are optional for the Elantra SEL and standard on higher models.
The Sonata offers front and rear parking sensors on select models while the Elantra only offers front ones. Other optional features for the Elantra include cyclist detection and rear collision warning. The Elantra can also be equipped with Highway Driving Assist, which is essentially a fancier version of adaptive cruise control that makes steering corrections to keep the vehicle centered in the lane. Those who choose the Sonata can get a surround-view camera system. This sedan is also available with a head-up display and perpendicular park assist.
Which Model to Choose?
Both the 2022 Hyundai Elantra and the 2022 Sonata are fine options. They both come with Hyundai's famous 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and they are both loaded with plenty of features for the price. Ultimately, the right choice will come down to a person's style and daily driving needs.
The Elantra is more efficient, especially with the base engine. If buyers are after a non-hybrid for daily commutes and do not need a ton of headroom in the backseat, the Elantra is an easy choice. It is also the better call for those who value an engaging experience at the wheel. Anyone who wants a manual transmission will need to choose the Elantra as well.
At the same time, the Sonata has more appeal to families. The extra space may make a big difference as kids get older. It has a balanced ride and upscale interior, making it pleasant to ride in for extended periods of time. Thanks to the available hybrid and turbocharged powertrains, it is also possible for nearly everyone to find a Sonata that matches their driving preferences.
If price is a deciding factor, buyers should be aware that the Sonata costs approximately $5,000 more for the base model. The Elantra, on the other hand, starts out under $20,000, which is pretty impressive considering the number of features that this brand-new vehicle comes with. That said, the Sonata costs less than many of its rivals in the midsize car class.
Essentially, both the Elantra and the Sonata are a smart buy in 2022. It comes down to the amount of space a buyer needs, plus the type of experience they want to have when at the wheel.