2019 Nissan Leaf vs. 2019 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Leaf SL has a standard Around View® Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

The Leaf SL’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Leaf and the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, rearview cameras, available daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

There are over 29 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Hyundai dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Leaf’s warranty.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Leaf gets better fuel mileage than the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid running on electricity (124 city/99 hwy vs. 99 city/100 hwy MPGe).

The Leaf’s maximum EPA estimated driving range is 151 miles on a full charge. The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid can only travel about 29 miles before it has to start its internal combustion engine.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Nissan Leaf as a “Zero Emissions Vehicle” (ZEV). The Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid is only certified to “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle” (PZEV) standards.

Tires and Wheels

The Leaf SV/SL’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid’s 55 series tires.

The Leaf has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Leaf S’ turning circle is .8 feet tighter than the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid’s (34.8 feet vs. 35.6 feet).

Chassis

The Nissan Leaf may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 350 pounds less than the Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid.

The Leaf is 1 foot, 2.7 inches shorter than the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid, making the Leaf easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

The Leaf has a larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid (23.6 vs. 9.9 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Leaf’s hatch uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid’s useful trunk space.

The Leaf’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

Ergonomics

The Leaf SV/SL 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 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Leaf has a standard rear wiper. The Sonata Plug-In Hybrid doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

Both the Leaf and the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid offer available heated front seats. The Leaf SL also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Nissan Leaf and 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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