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Compared to metal, the Sonata Hybrid’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Toyota Prius has a metal gas tank.
Both the Sonata Hybrid and the Prius 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, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sonata Hybrid its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 36 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Prius has not been fully tested, yet.
The Sonata Hybrid comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Prius’ 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.
Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Sonata Hybrid 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Toyota covers the Prius. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Prius ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.
The Sonata Hybrid’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Prius’ (7 vs. 5 years).
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 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 third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 22 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 17th, below the industry average.
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.
The Sonata Hybrid’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 72 more horsepower (193 vs. 121) than the Prius’ 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.
The Sonata Hybrid has 5.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Prius AWD-e’s standard fuel tank (15.9 vs. 10.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Sonata Hybrid has 4.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Prius FWD’s standard fuel tank (15.9 vs. 11.3 gallons).
For better stopping power the Sonata Hybrid’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Prius:
The Sonata 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 Prius are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the Sonata Hybrid has larger standard tires than the Prius (205/65R16 vs. 195/65R15).
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Sonata Hybrid has standard 16-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Prius.
The Sonata Hybrid has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Prius’ suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sonata Hybrid’s wheelbase is 4.1 inches longer than on the Prius (110.4 inches vs. 106.3 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sonata Hybrid is 3.5 inches wider in the front and 3.3 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Prius.
The Sonata Hybrid has 13 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Prius (106.1 vs. 93.1).
The Sonata Hybrid has 1 inch more front headroom, 3.2 inches more front legroom, 1.9 inches more front hip room, 2.9 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom, 2.2 inches more rear legroom, 4.2 inches more rear hip room and 3.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Prius.
With its sedan body style, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the Sonata Hybrid offers cargo security. The Prius’ hatchback body style, non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.
A standard locking glovebox keeps your small valuables safer in the Sonata Hybrid. The Prius doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waiting momentarily behind the back bumper can open the Sonata Hybrid’s trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The Prius doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
The Sonata Hybrid uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Prius uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
The Sonata Hybrid has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Prius doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
When two different drivers share the Sonata Hybrid Limited, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Prius doesn’t offer a memory system.
The Sonata Hybrid Limited’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Prius doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The power windows standard on both the Sonata Hybrid and the Prius have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Sonata Hybrid is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Prius prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.
The Sonata Hybrid’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Prius’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Sonata Hybrid’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Prius’ headlights are rated “Acceptable.”
The Sonata Hybrid has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Prius has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the XLE/Limited.
When the Sonata Hybrid is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Prius’ mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
Standard air-conditioned seats in the Sonata Hybrid Limited keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Prius doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
The Sonata Hybrid’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Prius doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.
Both the Sonata Hybrid and the Prius offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Sonata Hybrid Limited has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Prius doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
Consumer Reports® recommends both the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and the Toyota Prius, based on reliability, safety and performance.
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