Toyota Corolla vs. Hyundai Elantra

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - December 5, 2016

During the 1990s, the Toyota Corolla quietly became the best-selling car model of all time. Buyers have always lined up for the compact sedan, attracted to its mix of price, economy, and reliability. For many drivers, there's simply no compelling reason to buy anything else.

The Hyundai Elantra doesn't enjoy that kind of history, but it's made some dramatic leaps in quality and appeal over the past 20 years. Hyundai piles on the standard equipment and offers an outstanding warranty to compensate for what the Elantra may lack in reputation. But is that enough to match the Corolla?

See a side-by-side comparison of the Corolla & Elantra »

Corolla's Mass Appeal

It's hard to say anything bad about the Toyota. It's a quiet, smooth performer that's roomy for its class and screwed together well. Words like nice and dependable come immediately to mind, and who could take issue with that? Parents can feel safe sending their kids off to college in a Corolla, and its easy drivability makes it a natural choice for the average commuter.

What makes the Corolla stand out in its class is the addition of standard Toyota Safety Sense-P, which includes the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and auto high beams. Also standard is a rearview camera and a 7-inch touchscreen with Scout Navigation integration.

While the Corolla’s base engine can’t compete with the Elantra’s powerplants, its Eco version’s 140-horsepower 1.8-liter easily tops the Elantra Eco’s power and matches its fuel economy.

The Case for Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra underwent big changes recently, which include more a elegant exterior and a slew of new powertrain options to choose from. It delivers commendable fuel economy at a bargain price, but you also get a roomy cabin, distinctive styling inside and out, and surprising standard features like heated mirrors and satellite radio.

Unlike the Corolla, the Elantra has a handful of powertrain options that start with a 2-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 147 horsepower. Also shining through is the Sport model’s 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 200 ponies to play with.

What’s more, the Elantra’s transmissions (manual, automatic, or automated manual) make for a sportier feel than the Corolla’s CVT.

Are They Equals?

It shouldn't surprise anyone that the Corolla continues to resonate with consumers, even after all these years. It's a no-hassle car that performs as promised for years on end. Buyers looking for sheer practicality know they won't be disappointed.

The Elantra attempts to add some flair to the economy car formula with less conventional styling and an interior that isn't so narrowly focused on function. The result is a well-rounded, inexpensive sedan with a touch of sophistication.

Our Verdict: Hyundai Elantra

Both cars are safe bets, but the Elantra's classier packaging gives it an edge.

Take a closer look at the Toyota Corolla >>

Take a closer look at the Hyundai Elantra >>

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009 and has been published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also hosts a web-series car-review show and dabbles in the world of personal-finance writing.

His specialty is in the high-performance realm, but he has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Before diving into the world of writing, Justin was an automotive technician and manager for six years and spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Twitter | Website