2022 Hyundai Elantra vs Toyota Corolla
When you are in the market for a sedan, you are facing a small smattering of stiff competitors. With the segment dwindling down over the past decade due to the rising popularity of larger vehicles. Despite all of that, Hyundai and Toyota have stayed in the competition with their small sedans. The 2022 Hyundai Elantra and the 2022 Toyota Corolla are both popular choices in this segment, and each one has something to offer.
Small but mighty, the Elantra offers a sporty vibe that is echoed in the thrilling performance offered by the new high-performance Elantra N trim level. The vehicle's excellent fuel economy, spacious cabin layout, and massive list of standard and optional features help to enrich the ownership experience for Elantra buyers. However, the Elantra's base four-cylinder engine is painfully sluggish, meaning you will have to shell out more money to get a better performance from the N's higher-powered engine. Also, the cabin is plagued by hard plastic surfaces, especially in the back row. That might not be the type of quality you are looking for.
That being said, the 2022 Toyota Corolla has fewer hard plastics found throughout the cabin, but it does suffer from an underwhelming engine. You will also hear a lot of road noise while coasting along on the highway. There is also less head space in the rear of the vehicle than what you get in other sedans due to the steeply sloping roofline. The Corolla has its merits though - an incredibly high fuel economy, a comfy ride quality, a massive list of standard features, and user-friendly controls all make this vehicle an easy one to enjoy driving every day.
So, which of these sedans is going to meet your needs the best? Which one will cut you the best deal? Let's pit them against each other and find out.
Let's start with powertrains. Unfortunately, neither vehicles fares too well in this arena. The 2022 Hyundai Elantra's base 2.4-L 4-cylinder engine produces a power output of 147 horsepower and is paired to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), but this feels woefully underpowered. You will need about 9.4 seconds to get from 0 to 60 miles per hour, which makes this sedan one of the slower models in its segment. Trying to pass or merge onto the highway can be a bit difficult.
The CVT is economy-oriented, so it isn't meant for sporty driving styles. The CVT does deliver smooth, uninterrupted power in regular driving scenarios, but it does exhibit the typical CVT droning sound. Handling feels secure enough though. Sportier drivers will want to go for the N Line's 1.6-L turbo engine (which generates 201 hp and is matched to either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission) or the all-new Elantra N, which is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that creates 276 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque and is paired to either a six-speed manual transmission or eight-speed dual-clutch automatic. The N Line offers sport-tuned springs and shock absorbers plus an enhanced rear suspension meant to produce better handling. The Elantra N has the added benefit of an electronically controlled limited-slip differential which optimizes the available traction during hard acceleration.
Fuel economy is quite superb on the base engine though. You can get an EPA estimated 35-37 mpg in combined city and highway driving from this powertrain. Real-world tests have even placed the fuel economy as high as 41-42 mpg combined. Of course, the higher-powered engine options get less than that but are still reasonable for this segment and the power trade-off you receive.
As for the 2022 Toyota Corolla, it is powered by a base 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 139 horsepower and is matched to a CVT. If you want more power, you will have to upgrade to the SE trim level, which comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (which generates 169 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque) and is paired up to a dynamic-shift CVT or an optional six-speed manual transmission.
Unfortunately, both engines are considerably slow. Even the 2.0-L engine takes about 8.8 seconds to get from 0 to 60 mph, which is still slower than average for this segment. At least the brake force is easy to control for a decent stopping performance. This supposedly sportier option just doesn't end up feeling all that sporty, as the tires lack road grip and you get a lot of lean while rounding through turns. The CVT is smooth enough for driving around town, but there is simply no thrill to be had.
Fuel economy is at least good in this car. The Corolla XSE with the 2.0-liter engine and CVT automatic equipped is EPA rated for 34 mpg in combined city and highway driving. You can actually reach about 40 mpg in combined driving, as real-world tests indicate, which is great for the 2.0-L engine. The Corolla Hybrid can net you more, and the 1.8-L engine is rated for about 33 mpg in combined driving.
What does it mean to exhibit drivability? Drivability is a blanket term for how we talk about the overall performance of a daily driver. Is the vehicle comfortable? How well is the interior put together? Is the tech functional and straightforward? How much utility does it display? Those are all factors that buyers need to consider during the purchasing process.
The 2022 Hyundai Elantra is mostly comfortable to drive every day. The ride quality is smooth, as the suspension can dispatch all kinds of bumps in the road. The driver's seat has a tendency to feel too flat for the liking, and the sense of support feels lacking on longer drives. You also do not get much side bolstering to keep you locked in place while rounding through turns. The optional dual-zone climate control system has large controls that are easy to use as you drive, and the heated front seats will warm up quickly. You will hear some wind noise when you get up to speed on the highway, but it is nothing too significant. You won't be straining your ears to hear what your back seat passengers are saying to you.
You can see well out the front of the Elantra, and there is plenty of leg room in the back since the redesign introduced an extra 2 inches of leg space. Even taller passengers can sit in the rear without much of an issue, making this one of the more spacious sedans in its segment. Some of the higher trim levels come with a power-adjustable driver's seat, which makes finding a good driving position all the easier to do. You should also find you get plenty of adjustment from the tilting and telescoping steering wheel.
Getting the double display screens is actually the way to go on the Elantra since both offer some sharp graphics, and the read-outs and menus on the infotainment touchscreen display are easy for any driver to use. The system's learning curve is short, although you will need to run a USB cord for smartphone app connectivity on the 10.25-inch display. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard with the base 8-inch infotainment system. Voice controls are good at understanding natural speech patterns and, on the whole, are simple to use.
Utility is decent on the Elantra thanks to the trunk's 14.2 cubic feet of cargo space. This is a little bit more than what you get in most of the Elantra's competitors. The remote release latches for the rear seats are found in the trunk and are probably a bit easier to use than the standard seat-based releases. The higher trim levels have a wireless phone charger, which should come in handy for a lot of drivers. LATCH child car safety seat anchors are easy to access between the seats, and fitting the seats in should be no major issue due to how much room you get in the back seats.
The 2022 Toyota Corolla proves to be a stiff competitor for the Elantra. The Corolla's ride quality remains smooth when going over almost any road surface, although there will always be some noise present. When placed under acceleration, the engine sounds like it is struggling to catch its breath. On the highway, the noise becomes so loud that you will have to crank your music up in an attempt to drown it out. That being said, though, the cloth seats offer a fair amount of comfort with plenty of adjustability found on the driver's seat.
The controls are user-friendly, being that they are spaced out well and are easy to read. There are just enough physical buttons but not so many that the dashboard ends up looking cluttered and confusing. The line of sight is good all around, and there is enough space in the door openings for folks to get in and out without a hassle. However, in the back, there isn't much headspace, so taller riders might feel kind of cramped.
In terms of technology, the Corolla's set-up is at least better than what it used to be on the last generation. Smartphone app integration is standard, but the infotainment features are all just merely average in an ever-stiffening market for competitors. There just isn't much to write home about in terms of offerings or functionality.
With 13 cubic feet of cargo space available in the trunk, you do not get as much room as you do in the Elantra and other top rivals. The rear seatbacks do not fold down totally flat, so you do not get that much extra usable space either. Small item storage areas are also somewhat lacking, but you do get a LATCH system that has easy-to-access anchors.
Both the 2022 Hyundai Elantra and 2022 Toyota Corolla are outfitted with a fair amount of safety features aimed at keeping all occupants secure. Hyundai equips the Elantra with frontal collision warning, collision-avoidance assist for your blind spots, collision avoidance assist for rear cross-traffic, lane keep assist, a driver attention warning, a safe exit alert, a lane keeping system, and rear automatic braking. Adding the Convenience package to the SEL gives the vehicle adaptive cruise control and an enhanced forward collision mitigation system. Rear parking sensors come on the Limited trim level.
Toyota gives the Corolla the Safety Sense 2.0 bundle of driver aids to keep people safe on the road. Adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation, and a lane departure warning are all standard issue. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert comes standard starting on the XLE. For the most part, these features seem to work as expected and shouldn't give you too many false warnings.
Which Has the Best Value?
In terms of value, the 2022 Hyundai Elantra tends to outshine the Corolla and all other rivals with its insanely generous warranty coverage offerings. You get an astounding five years/60,000 miles of limited warranty coverage, 10 years/100,000 miles for the powertrain, and free maintenance for three years/36,000 miles. The only other automaker to offer this is Kia, Hyundai's corporate cousin. The only thing that takes away from the Elantra's value are the abundance of hard plastics inside of the cabin. At least they are mostly relegated to the second row, but they can cheapen the experience.
The 2022 Toyota Corolla's value is aided by the well crafted interior and generous price point. You do get two years of free scheduled maintenance, but the rest of the warranty coverage is industry standard.
Which is Better?
The warranty coverage is what is winning a lot of accolades for Hyundai in general. For the 2022 Elantra, you get a lot of standard features packed into a reasonable price tag, plus there is a lot of space in both rows and in the trunk. Only a few too many hard plastics cheapen the overall vibe the Elantra has going on. While the Corolla earns high marks for its great fuel economy, the Elantra can keep pace with it, and both vehicles have hybrid powertrain options to look into if you want to lessen the dependency on fuel. The winner all-around is the Elantra, but the Corolla is still holding its own in this dwindling segment, so we have to give it credit there.