2020 Toyota Corolla vs. 2019 Hyundai Sonata

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Corolla has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Sonata doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Corolla has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Sonata doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The Corolla’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 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Compared to metal, the Corolla’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Hyundai Sonata has a metal gas tank.

Both the Corolla and the Sonata 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 and available blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Corolla for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Hyundai doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Sonata.

There are over 47 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Hyundai dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Corolla’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Corolla first among compact cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Sonata isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Hyundai is ranked 10th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Corolla gets better fuel mileage than the Sonata:

 

 

 

MPG

Corolla

 

Manual

SE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/36 hwy

 

Auto

1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.

30 city/38 hwy

 

 

XLE 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.

29 city/37 hwy

 

 

SE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/40 hwy

 

 

XSE 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

31 city/38 hwy

Sonata

 

Auto

Eco 1.6 turbo 4 cyl.

28 city/37 hwy

 

 

SE 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

26 city/35 hwy

 

 

SEL/Sport/Limited 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/33 hwy

 

 

Limited 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/32 hwy

Transmission

The Corolla offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and sportiness. The Sonata doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The Corolla 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 Sonata doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

The Corolla SE/XSE’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sonata 2.0T’s 45 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Corolla’s turning circle is 1.5 feet tighter than the Sonata’s (34.1 feet vs. 35.6 feet).

Chassis

The Toyota Corolla may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 400 pounds less than the Hyundai Sonata.

The Corolla is 8.8 inches shorter than the Sonata, making the Corolla easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Corolla easier. The Corolla’s trunk lift-over height is 25.5 inches, while the Sonata’s liftover is 28.6 inches.

Ergonomics

The Corolla (except L/LE/Manual) offers a 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 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Corolla’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Sonata’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Sonata SEL/Sport/Limited’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Corolla the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (Your Toyota service department must activate this window function.) The driver of the Sonata can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Model Availability

The Toyota Corolla comes in sedan and four-door hatchback bodystyles; the Hyundai Sonata isn’t available as a four-door hatchback or station wagon.

Recommendations

The Toyota Corolla outsold the Hyundai Sonata by almost three to one during 2018.

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

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