2021 Toyota Prius vs. 2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The Prius has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Prius offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the Prius and the Sonata Hybrid 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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There are over 49 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Hyundai dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Prius’ warranty.

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 Prius’ reliability 42 points higher than the Sonata Hybrid.

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 2019 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota third in reliability. Hyundai is ranked 6th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Prius FWD CVT gets better fuel mileage than the Sonata Hybrid (58 city/53 hwy vs. 50 city/54 hwy).

Transmission

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The Prius 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 Hybrid doesn’t offer a CVT.

Tires and Wheels

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The Prius XLE FWD/Limited’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sonata Hybrid SEL/Limited’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The Prius has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For better maneuverability, the Prius’ turning circle is 2.6 feet tighter than the Sonata Hybrid’s (33.5 feet vs. 36.1 feet). The Prius Limited/XLE FWD’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Sonata Hybrid’s (35.4 feet vs. 36.1 feet).

Chassis

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The Toyota Prius may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 pounds less than the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid.

The Prius is 1 foot shorter than the Sonata Hybrid, making the Prius easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the Prius uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Cargo Capacity

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To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Prius’ hatch uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. The Sonata Hybrid’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

Ergonomics

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The Prius’ 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 Hybrid’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Sonata Hybrid SEL/Limited’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Prius 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. (This window function must be activated by your Toyota service department.) The driver of the Sonata Hybrid can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Prius XLE/Limited’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Sonata Hybrid’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Prius (except L/LE) offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Prius’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Hyundai only offers heated mirrors on the Sonata Hybrid SEL/Limited.

The Prius LE/XLE/Limited’s Intelligent Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Sonata Hybrid doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/10/22

The Toyota Prius has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

Prius

Sonata Hybrid

Consumer Reports® Recommends

Top Pick

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

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