2018 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid vs. 2018 Toyota Mirai

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Mirai doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid and the Mirai have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2018, a rating granted to only 20 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Mirai has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Mirai’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Mirai’s (7 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 13th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.

Engine

The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 49 more horsepower (202 vs. 153) and 29 lbs.-ft. more torque (276 vs. 247) than the Mirai’s electric motor.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Mirai (99 city/98 hwy vs. 67 city/67 hwy MPGe).

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Mirai:

 

Sonata

Mirai

Front Rotors

12 inches

11.6 inches

The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Mirai are solid, not vented.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Toyota Mirai has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Mirai’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid flat and controlled during cornering. The Mirai’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid has engine speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Mirai doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid is 2.6 inches wider in the front and 2.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Mirai.

For better maneuverability, the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid’s turning circle is 1.8 feet tighter than the Mirai’s (35.6 feet vs. 37.4 feet).

Chassis

The Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 300 pounds less than the Toyota Mirai.

The design of the Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid amounts to more than styling. The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .24 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Mirai (.29) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid a Mid-size car, while the Mirai is rated a Subcompact.

The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid has standard seating for 5 passengers; the Mirai can only carry 4.

The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid has 20.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Mirai (106.1 vs. 85.7).

The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid has 1.9 inches more front headroom, 3 inches more front legroom, 1.9 inches more front hip room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, 5.5 inches more rear legroom, 3.7 inches more rear hip room and 3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Mirai.

Cargo Capacity

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waiting momentarily behind the back bumper can open the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid’s trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The Mirai doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid and the Mirai have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Mirai prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Mirai doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid Limited keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Mirai doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid, based on reliability, safety and performance.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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