When it comes time to buy your next sedan, you may be wondering which Hyundai is right for you. The Sonata and Elantra are both very popular choices, but they are distinct models. They do share a few styling elements and the best warranty in America, but they vary greatly in terms of space, powertrain, and even features.

With a bit more information about how these sedans are different, you should be on your way to choosing which one you want to drive around Madison.

Comparing the Hyundai Sonata and Hyundai Elantra

Elantra Powertrain

One of the first things you will notice about the Hyundai Elantra and Sonata is that they have different powertrains. This makes sense considering they also have unique price points and sizes.

Most Hyundai Elantra models run on a 2-liter engine that gives you 147 horsepower. The Eco trim does have a turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder with 128 horses, and the Sport has a 1.6-liter turbocharged with 201 horsepower.

Sonata Engines

The Hyundai Sonata also offers a few engines. The base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder has 185 horses, and the upgraded 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder has 245 horsepower. The Sonata Eco has its own 1.6-liter turbo with 178 horsepower.

Clearly, the Hyundai Sonata is the option for those who want more power.


Since the Hyundai Elantra is smaller and less powerful, it makes sense that it gets better fuel economy. This is true as long as you ignore the Sonata Hybrid. The non-hybrid Sonata gets up to 29 MPG combined with the base engine or 31 combined with the Eco.

By comparison, the Elantra gets up to 33 MPG combined with the base engine or 35 combined with the Eco.

Sonata Hybrid

The Sonata stands out with its hybrid powertrains. There is a Sonata Hybrid with 193 horsepower, 38 mpg in the city, and 43 mpg combined. Alternatively, you can get the Sonata Plug-In Hybrid with 202 horsepower, 99 MPGe, and a 27-mile electric range. Either of these tops the Elantra for efficiency.

Silve 2017 Hyundai Sonata on neighborhood street

Sonata vs. Elantra: Interior Space

As the more expensive and larger of the models, the Hyundai Sonata clearly has more interior space than the Elantra. However, you may be surprised by the differences.

In the front, the Sonata has an extra 0.4 inches of headroom and 1.9 inches of legroom. Rear-seat passengers get 0.9 inches of extra headroom and 2.5 extra inches of legroom in the Sonata. Both the Elantra and Sonata have respectable trunks, with 14.8 and 16.3 cubic feet, respectively.

Notable Features

Either the Elantra or Sonata is available in multiple trims with some advanced features. However, the Sonata gives you more as standard.

Both come standard with a CD player, satellite radio, 60/40 split and folding rear seats, and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. All Sonatas have Bluetooth audio and phone and cruise control standard. However, you need to get the automatic transmission to have these standard on the Elantra.

Sonata owners can also enjoy features like leather upholstery, heated seats, and a sunroof at lower trim levels.

Take the Sonata and the Elantra on a Head-to-Head Test Drive

Reading about the Hyundai Sonata and Elantra can give you a good idea of how they differ, but you will get a better feel for them in person. Visit Zimbrick Hyundai Eastside to compare the two models side by side. Take your favorite on a test drive around Madison to make sure it is right for you.