2020 Hyundai Elantra Sedan vs. 2020 Chevrolet Sonic

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/20

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 Sonic offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

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 Sonic 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 Sonic doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Elantra Sedan and the Sonic 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and blind spot warning systems.

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 Chevrolet Sonic:

Elantra Sedan

Sonic

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.8 inches

1.1 inches

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

14 inches

Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

53 G’s

Hip Force

683 lbs.

885 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 Sonic has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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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 Sonic’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 Chevrolet covers the Sonic. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Sonic ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The Elantra Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the Sonic’s (7/unlimited vs. 6/100,000).

Reliability

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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 11 points higher than the Sonic.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Elantra Sedan second among compact cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Sonic 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 Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked 6th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 13 places higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

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The Elantra Sedan Eco’s standard 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder produces 8 lbs.-ft. more torque (156 vs. 148) than the Sonic’s 1.4 turbo 4-cyl. The Elantra Sedan’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 9 more horsepower (147 vs. 138) than the Sonic’s 1.4 turbo 4-cyl. The Elantra Sedan Sport’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder produces 63 more horsepower (201 vs. 138) and 47 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 148) than the Sonic’s 1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Elantra Sedan

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

Sonic

1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/34 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 Sonic doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Elantra Sedan has 1.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Sonic (14 vs. 12.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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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 Sonic.

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 Sonic doesn’t offer a CVT.

The Elantra Sedan offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Sonic doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Elantra SE/Eco

Elantra SEL/Value

Elantra Sport

Sonic

Front Rotors

11 inches

11 inches

12 inches

10.8 inches

Rear Drums

8 inches

n/a

n/a

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 Sonic. 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 Sonic:

Elantra

Sonic

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Elantra Sedan Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Sonic (225/45R17 vs. 205/55R16).

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 Sonic’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Elantra Sedan Sport has standard 18-inch wheels. The Sonic’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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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 Chevrolet Sonic has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Elantra Sedan’s wheelbase is 6.9 inches longer than on the Sonic (106.3 inches vs. 99.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Elantra Sedan is 1.7 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Sonic.

Chassis

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To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Elantra Sedan has liquid-filled engine mounts. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The Sonic uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

For excellent aerodynamics, the Elantra Sedan has standard flush composite headlights. The Sonic has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

Passenger Space

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

The Elantra Sedan has 5.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Sonic Sedan (95.8 vs. 90.3).

The Elantra Sedan has 1.6 inches more front headroom, .4 inches more front legroom, 2 inches more front hip room, 2.8 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear legroom, .3 inches more rear hip room and 2.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Sonic Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

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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 Sonic doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

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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 Sonic 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 Sonic 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 Sonic LT/Premier.

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 Sonic 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 Sonic 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 Sonic 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 Sonic 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 Sonic’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Elantra Sedan’s optional rear view mirror has an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Sonic doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.

Both the Elantra Sedan and the Sonic 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 Sonic.

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 Sonic 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 Sonic doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The Elantra Sedan’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Sonic doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Elantra Sedan has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Sonic doesn’t offer rear vents.

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 Sonic doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The Elantra Sedan Limited/Sport’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Sonic’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Hyundai Elantra Limited has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Sonic doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

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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 Sonic 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 Sonic only retains 33.25% to 36.18%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Elantra Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Sonic because typical repairs cost much less on the Elantra Sedan than the Sonic, including $149 less for a water pump, $329 less for a muffler, $183 less for front brake pads and $102 less for a fuel pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/20

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

The Hyundai Elantra outsold the Chevrolet Sonic by almost 10 to one during 2018.

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

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