2020 Hyundai Elantra Sedan vs. 2019 Ford Fiesta

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Elantra Sedan has standard Automatic Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Fiesta doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The Hyundai Elantra Sedan has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Fiesta doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The Elantra Sedan (except SE)’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

To help make backing safer, the Elantra Sedan (except SE)’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Elantra Sedan’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 Fiesta doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Elantra Sedan and the Fiesta 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, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Hyundai Elantra Sedan is safer than the Ford Fiesta:

Elantra Sedan

Fiesta

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

255

291

Neck Injury Risk

41.4%

52%

Neck Compression

96 lbs.

118 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

182/35 lbs.

544/408 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Hyundai Elantra Sedan is safer than the Fiesta Sedan:

Elantra Sedan

Fiesta

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

POOR

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

77 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

5 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

1.9/.3 kN

2.7/1.8 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

.86%/.57%

Lower Leg Evaluation

ACCEPTABLE

ACCEPTABLE

Tibia index R/L

.55/.61

.86/.57

Tibia forces R/L

5.3/2.3 kN

5.7/3.4 kN

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Hyundai Elantra Sedan is safer than the Ford Fiesta:

Elantra Sedan

Fiesta

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Movement

.8 inches

1.2 inches

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

12 inches

Hip Force

683 lbs.

719 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

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 Elantra Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Fiesta was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

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

Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Elantra Sedan 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Ford covers the Fiesta. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Fiesta ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The Elantra Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Fiesta’s (7 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Elantra Sedan’s reliability 58 points higher than the Fiesta.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Elantra Sedan second among compact cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Fiesta isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked fourth.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 22 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 8 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

The Elantra Sedan Eco’s standard 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder produces 8 more horsepower (128 vs. 120) and 44 lbs.-ft. more torque (156 vs. 112) than the Fiesta’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cyl. The Elantra Sedan’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 27 more horsepower (147 vs. 120) and 20 lbs.-ft. more torque (132 vs. 112) than the Fiesta’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cyl. The Elantra Sedan Sport’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder produces 81 more horsepower (201 vs. 120) and 83 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 112) than the Fiesta’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Elantra Sedan Eco is faster than the Ford Fiesta (automatics tested):

Elantra

Fiesta

Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

9.5 sec

Quarter Mile

16.2 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.9 MPH

79.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Elantra Sedan gets better fuel mileage than the Fiesta:

MPG

Elantra Sedan

Auto

Eco 1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

33 city/41 hwy

SE 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

31 city/41 hwy

SEL/Value/Limited 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

30 city/40 hwy

Fiesta

Manual

1.6 DOHC 4-cyl.

27 city/35 hwy

Auto

1.6 DOHC 4-cyl.

27 city/37 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Elantra Sedan Eco’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Fiesta doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Elantra Sedan has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Fiesta (14 vs. 12.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The Hyundai Elantra Sedan comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Fiesta.

A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is available on the Hyundai Elantra Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Fiesta.

The Elantra Sedan has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Elantra Sedan’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Fiesta:

Elantra SE/Eco

Elantra SEL/Value

Elantra Sport

Fiesta

Front Rotors

11 inches

11 inches

12 inches

10.2 inches

Rear Drums

8 inches

n/a

n/a

7.9 inches

Rear Rotors

n/a

10.3 inches

10.3 inches

n/a

The Elantra Sedan SEL/Value Edition/Limited has standard antilock four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Fiesta. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

The Elantra Sedan stops much shorter than the Fiesta:

Elantra

Fiesta

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

181 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Elantra Sedan has larger standard tires than the Fiesta (195/65R15 vs. 185/60R15). The Elantra Sedan Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Fiesta (225/45R17 vs. 195/50R16).

The Elantra Sedan Sport’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Fiesta’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Elantra Sedan Sport has standard 18-inch wheels. The Fiesta’s largest wheels are only 16-inches.

The Hyundai Elantra Sedan’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Ford Fiesta only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Elantra Sedan Sport 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 Ford Fiesta has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

The Elantra Sedan has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Fiesta’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Elantra Sedan Sport has front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Elantra Sedan Sport flat and controlled during cornering. The Fiesta’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Elantra Sedan’s wheelbase is 8.3 inches longer than on the Fiesta (106.3 inches vs. 98 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Elantra Sedan is 3.4 inches wider in the front and 4.6 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Fiesta.

The Elantra Sedan Limited handles at .84 G’s, while the Fiesta Sedan pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Elantra Sedan a Mid-size car, while the Fiesta Sedan is rated a Subcompact.

The Elantra Sedan has 10.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Fiesta (95.8 vs. 85.1).

The Elantra Sedan has 1.2 inches more front headroom, 2.8 inches more front hip room, 3.5 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 4.5 inches more rear legroom, 2.7 inches more rear hip room and 6.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Fiesta Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The Elantra Sedan has a much larger trunk than the Fiesta Sedan (14.4 vs. 12.8 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Elantra Sedan Value Edition/Eco/Sport/Limited’s trunk can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

When two different drivers share the Elantra Sedan Limited, the optional 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 Fiesta doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Elantra Sedan Limited’s optional Seat Easy Access 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 Fiesta doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Elantra Sedan’s standard power windows allow the driver or passenger to lower and raise the windows without leaning over or being distracted. Power windows are only available on the Fiesta SE/ST-Line.

The Elantra Sedan has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Elantra Sedan Sport/Limited detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Fiesta doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Elantra Sedan Limited has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Fiesta doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Elantra Sedan Value Edition/Eco/Sport/Limited has standard extendable sun visors. The Fiesta doesn’t offer extendable visors.

When the Elantra Sedan Limited with available tilt-down mirrors 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 Fiesta’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the Elantra Sedan and the Fiesta offer available heated front seats. The Elantra Sedan Limited also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Fiesta.

The Elantra Sedan Sport/Limited has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Fiesta doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Elantra Sedan’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 Fiesta doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Elantra Sedan Limited offers an optional Smart Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Fiesta doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Elantra Sedan owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Elantra Sedan with a number “1” insurance rate while the Fiesta is rated higher at a number “3” rate.

The Elantra Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Elantra Sedan will retain 45.03% to 46.12% of its original price after five years, while the Fiesta only retains 32.01% to 34.95%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Elantra Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Fiesta because typical repairs cost less on the Elantra Sedan than the Fiesta, including $28 less for a water pump, $92 less for a muffler and $34 less for front brake pads.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Hyundai Elantra Sedan, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Ford Fiesta isn't recommended.

The Hyundai Elantra outsold the Ford Fiesta by almost four to one during 2018.

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

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