1. Car Buying Advice / Differences Explained: Hyundai Elantra vs. Hyundai Sonata

The Hyundai line of vehicles spans a wide spectrum that includes hatchbacks, crossovers, a three-row SUV and even a compact pickup. Those leave plenty of room for the subcompact Accent, compact Elantra and midsize Sonata sedans, as well as the Elantra and Sonata hybrids. If you're in the market for a traditional four-door, follow along as we break down some of the major characteristics of Hyundai's 2022 Elantra and Sonata sedans, then go test drive your favorite at your closest AutoNation Hyundai dealership.

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What's New for the Elantra

Both sedans are largely carryover models for 2022, but there are some changes in store for them. The Elantra is the next model in line to receive Hyundai's performance-oriented N treatment. When it comes out later this year, it'll have bolder styling and 14.2-inch front brake rotors, Electronic Controlled Suspension, an electronic limited-slip differential and Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires to handle the 276 horsepower from its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine.

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What's New for the Sonata   

The newest addition to the Sonata family is the N Line Night Limited Edition, which comes dressed in unique wheels, badging and other cosmetic elements. SE models now have their LED daytime running lamps integrated into their headlight assemblies. The SEL Plus trim level gets last year's Tech Package filled with a 12-speaker Bose audio system, 10.25-inch infotainment screen with navigation, the convenience of Highway Driving Assist, and more. Sonata Hybrid Limited models are now available with Remote Smart Parking Assist and Dynamic Voice Recognition.

Powertrain Options and Fuel Economy


Elantra and Elantra Hybrid

Three versions of the gas-only Sonata get their power from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. That's connected to an Intelligent Variable Transmission and sends its output through the front wheels. For maximum fuel economy, opt for the SE, which has ratings of 33 city, 43 highway and 37 combined mpg.
The hotter Elantra N Line lights up its tires with the 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft from its turbo 1.6-liter engine. A six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox puts those figures to the pavement.
The Elantra Hybrid's 1.6-liter I4 only generates 104 horsepower and 109 lb-ft of torque, but it gets help from a 32-kW electric motor and 240-volt lithium-ion polymer battery. Altogether, those deliver a total of 139 horsepower. A six-speed dual-clutch transmission turns that into forward motion. The Blue model uses its power most efficiently and is capable of returning 53 city, 56 highway and 54 combined mpg. 

Sonata and Sonata Hybrid

A more powerful turbocharged 1.6-liter engine puts 180 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque under the hood of certain gas-powered Sonata models. The next level up is a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft. Its turbocharged sibling gives the sporty Sonata N Line figures of 290 and 311, respectively. 
Hyundai combines the tamer power plants with an eight-speed automatic and heightens the performance of the Sonata N Line with an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox. 

The non-N engines are close in terms of fuel economy figures. Ultimately, the 2.5 manages to consume less fuel than the 1.6 and earns ratings of 28 city, 38 highway and 32 combined mpg in the Sonata SE.

Mechanically, the Sonata Hybrid models are the same. All of them have an Atkinson Cycle 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, 39-kW electric motor and 270-volt lithium-ion polymer battery pack that produce a net total of 192 horsepower. But the Blue trim level gets significantly better mileage than its counterparts: 50 mpg in the city, 54 on the highway and 52 combined. 

Infotainment, Safety, and Driver Assistance Features

There are so many Elantra and Sonata variants that a one-size-fits-all infotainment approach wouldn't work, but two sizes get the job done. The base screen size is eight inches; its larger sibling measures 10.25 inches diagonally and comes with navigation. Both displays are compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but depending on how you configure the Elantra or Sonata, it may be equipped with wireless versions of those two interfaces.

Whether you choose the Elantra or Elantra Hybrid, expect it to have Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and other similar features as standard equipment. 
The same largely applies to the Sonata and Sonata Hybrid, although the Sonata SE doesn't get Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist and certain other technologies. All grades are equipped with Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go and Rear Occupant Alert at no extra charge.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put the 2022 Elantra and Sonata sedans through its rigorous series of crash tests and awarded them both its highest Overall Safety Rating of five stars.

Performance Models

When the Elantra N arrives, it'll have company in AutoNation Hyundai showrooms. Hyundai introduced an athletic N Line version of the Sonata with aggressive styling, form-fitting seats, larger front brakes and nearly 300 horsepower for the 2021 model year. We got to know it well over the course of a week. Check out our review of the Sonata N Line by here.

Derek Shiekhi | August 18, 2021 

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**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.