2017 Hyundai Elantra Vs. 2017 Toyota Corolla: Review Faceoff

ToyotaCorolla_v_HyundaiElantra_3.2.jpg 2017 Hyundai Elantra vs. 2017 Toyota Corolla | Manufacturer images; illustration by Paul Dolan

CARS.COM — A best-seller for years, the Toyota Corolla is among the most popular compact sedans with shoppers, but Hyundai’s revamped Elantra is looking to gain an edge with buyers.

Related: 2017 Honda CR-V Vs. 2017 Nissan Rogue: Review Faceoff

For 2017, the Elantra sedan has more muscular styling marked by a larger grille and chiseled lines, a larger base engine (2.0 liters instead of 1.8) and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. A new Eco model uses a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine and a Sport has a turbo 1.6-liter. Toyota’s 2017 Corolla is updated with fresh front styling and additional standard safety features, including a backup camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and prevention, and adaptive cruise control. All Corolla models use a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. tested an Elantra Limited and a Corolla XLE, among the more expensive models in each line. Which do our reviewers like better? Never lacking for opinions, our reviewers weigh in.

Read the 2017 Toyota Corolla Expert Review | Shop for the 2017 Toyota Corolla

Read the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Expert Review | Shop for the 2017 Hyundai Elantra

17Hyundai_Elantra_OEM_3.jpg 2017 Hyundai Elantra; | Manufacturer image

On the Road

The Elantra: The 147-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine provides adequate acceleration, and the six-speed automatic standard on the Limited is a good teammate that shifts smoothly and promptly to deliver passing power. The Elantra displays responsive, capable handling, and a Sport mode for the automatic provides brisker acceleration and firmer steering feel.

The Corolla: A 132-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder teams with a continuously variable automatic transmission, and the performance is less satisfying than that of the Elantra. A loud drone accompanies acceleration, and highway passing power is modest. The firm suspension doesn’t soak up road imperfections well, though on smooth highways, the ride is stable and comfortable.

The winner? The Hyundai Elantra drives away with this category.

17Toyota_Corolla_AC_20.jpg The rear bench seat is impressively roomy, with more space than you might expect from a compact sedan. | photo by Angela Conners

Family Fit

The Elantra: Whereas the exterior looks upscale and bold, the interior is bland in comparison, even on the top-line Limited, with too much hard plastic and flat surfaces. The backseat is roomier this year, and two adults should have sufficient space to sit comfortably. Trunk space is 14.4 cubic feet, and all models have a 60/40-split folding rear seatback. A hands-free trunk is a new feature that’s standard on the Value Edition, Sport and Limited; it opens automatically after you stand behind it for three seconds with the key fob.

The Corolla: The interior is spacious for a compact sedan, especially the backseat, which handily accommodates passengers who are 6 feet tall. Interior trim, though, is marked by an abundance of hard plastic instead of soft-touch materials. The Corolla’s 13-cubic-foot trunk is smaller than the Elantra’s, though a standard 60/40-split rear seatback allows expanding the space.

The winner? It’s a tie.

17Hyundai_Elantra_OEM_17.jpg 2017 Hyundai Elantra | Manufacturer image

Technology and Entertainment

The Elantra: Base SE models come with a basic audio system as standard, but other models have multimedia systems with a 7-inch touchscreen (an option on the SE; an 8-inch screen is available on the Limited) and easy-to-use controls. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard on the models with the larger screens, and the Limited has two USB charging ports.

The Corolla: The XLE has a multimedia system with a 7-inch screen (lower-priced models have a 6.1-inch screen). Our test car had the optional Entune Premium Audio with built-in navigation and the Entune App Suite, which allows using certain apps, such as Pandora and Yelp, by connecting your smartphone. However, neither Android Auto nor Apple CarPlay is available.

The winner? The Hyundai Elantra takes the win.

17Toyota_Corolla_AC_11.jpg 2017 Toyota Corolla | photo by Angela Conners


The Elantra: The bottom line for our test car was $27,585, including the $1,900 Limited Ultimate Package and the $2,500 Tech Package, plus the $835 destination charge. You have to buy a Limited with both packages to get forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist — features that are standard on every Corolla.

The Corolla: The only option on our test XLE was the $525 premium Entune system with navigation and the total was $24,086 with the $865 destination charge — $3,499 less than the Elantra. With zero percent interest for 60 months, that works out to $58.32 less per month.

The winner: The Toyota Corolla brings home a win.

Overall winner: The Elantra won two categories and the Corolla only one, so it should earn the victory on points. However, the Elantra’s high cost and limited availability of important safety features that Toyota makes standard makes it hard to justify choosing an Elantra over a Corolla at these as-tested prices.


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