2020 Hyundai Elantra vs 2021 Toyota Corolla

2020 Hyundai Elantra
2020 Hyundai Elantra
$19,300MSRP
Overview
Overview
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2021 Toyota Corolla
2021 Toyota Corolla
$20,025MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2020 Hyundai Elantra
$19,300MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 Toyota Corolla
$20,025MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2020 Hyundai Elantra is 8.3 out of 10, while the 2021 Toyota Corolla scores 7.8 out of 10. Given these ratings, the Hyundai Elantra emerges as the better choice. It offers a more comprehensive package across various trims, excelling in affordability, interior space, technology, and overall value.

Overview

MSRP

$19,300

MSRP

$20,025

Average price

$15,419

Average price

$19,300

Listings

1624

Listings

2292
Ratings & Reviews
User Reviews
User Reviews

Expert reviews

8.3 out of 10

Expert reviews

7.8 out of 10
Pros
  • Spacious
  • Excellent value for money
Cons
  • Fairly pedestrian performance
  • Poor fuel economy
Pros
  • Standard advanced safety features
  • Fun to drive
  • Manual transmission available
Cons
  • Noisy
  • Outdated technology

2020 Hyundai Elantra Reviews Summary

Hyundai isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to the compact car segment, where value is of utmost importance. And though a completely redesigned 2021 Elantra is coming soon, the automaker bestows several value-enhancing improvements upon the outgoing 2020 Hyundai Elantra compact sedan. They include free scheduled maintenance, improved fuel economy ratings, and new standard safety features.

2021 Toyota Corolla Reviews Summary

Everybody knows somebody who owns or has owned a Toyota Corolla. Thanks to a deserved reputation for affordability, reliability, and efficiency, the Corolla is what comes to mind when all you want is a cheap, dependable, and thrifty set of wheels.

Over the nameplate’s 55-year history, Toyota built a handful of Corollas that were anything but rolling appliances. But those fun-to-drive gems were relative rarities. Under the tenure of Akio Toyoda, the automaker’s current president and a man who loves to drive, the Corolla has become something more than a bore. It’s a car that makes you want to cruise instead of snooze.

We’re talking about the Corolla SE and XSE, of course. Toyota still makes dull and duller versions of its compact car, but the SE and XSE trim levels add some spice to the basic commuter-car recipe.

This year, the 2021 Toyota Corolla SE and XSE are available in a new limited-production Apex Edition flavor. It’s got a track-tuned sport suspension, a lowered ride height, revised steering calibration, a sport exhaust system, and lightweight 18-inch gloss black aluminum wheels that you can wrap in optional summer performance tires. Unfortunately, it also comes with a “Lookit me, Officer, I like to go fast!” body kit.

Fearing this would be the example Toyota sent to us for review, we instead happily accepted the key fob to a Barcelona Red Corolla XSE and discovered that you don’t need the Apex Edition treatment to enjoy driving this car.

No video found
Popular Features & Specs

Engine

2.0L 147 hp I4

Engine

1.8L 139 hp I4

Drive Train

FWD

Drive Train

FWD

Seating Capacity

5

Seating Capacity

5

Horsepower

147 hp @ 6200 rpm

Horsepower

MPG City

31

MPG City

30

MPG Highway

41

MPG Highway

38
2020 Hyundai Elantra
2020 Hyundai Elantra
$19,300MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 Toyota Corolla
2021 Toyota Corolla
$20,025MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2020 Hyundai Elantra
$19,300MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 Toyota Corolla
$20,025MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2020 Hyundai Elantra is 8.3 out of 10, while the 2021 Toyota Corolla scores 7.8 out of 10. Given these ratings, the Hyundai Elantra emerges as the better choice. It offers a more comprehensive package across various trims, excelling in affordability, interior space, technology, and overall value.

Overview
MSRP
$19,300
$20,025
Average price
$15,419
$19,300
Listings
Ratings & Reviews
User reviews
4.4
4.3
Expert reviews

8.3 out of 10

Read full review

7.8 out of 10

Read full review
Pros & cons
Pros
  • Spacious
  • Excellent value for money
Cons
  • Fairly pedestrian performance
  • Poor fuel economy
Pros
  • Standard advanced safety features
  • Fun to drive
  • Manual transmission available
Cons
  • Noisy
  • Outdated technology
Summary
Hyundai isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to the compact car segment, where value is of utmost importance. And though a completely redesigned 2021 Elantra is coming soon, the automaker bestows several value-enhancing improvements upon the outgoing 2020 Hyundai Elantra compact sedan. They include free scheduled maintenance, improved fuel economy ratings, and new standard safety features.

Everybody knows somebody who owns or has owned a Toyota Corolla. Thanks to a deserved reputation for affordability, reliability, and efficiency, the Corolla is what comes to mind when all you want is a cheap, dependable, and thrifty set of wheels.

Over the nameplate’s 55-year history, Toyota built a handful of Corollas that were anything but rolling appliances. But those fun-to-drive gems were relative rarities. Under the tenure of Akio Toyoda, the automaker’s current president and a man who loves to drive, the Corolla has become something more than a bore. It’s a car that makes you want to cruise instead of snooze.

We’re talking about the Corolla SE and XSE, of course. Toyota still makes dull and duller versions of its compact car, but the SE and XSE trim levels add some spice to the basic commuter-car recipe.

This year, the 2021 Toyota Corolla SE and XSE are available in a new limited-production Apex Edition flavor. It’s got a track-tuned sport suspension, a lowered ride height, revised steering calibration, a sport exhaust system, and lightweight 18-inch gloss black aluminum wheels that you can wrap in optional summer performance tires. Unfortunately, it also comes with a “Lookit me, Officer, I like to go fast!” body kit.

Fearing this would be the example Toyota sent to us for review, we instead happily accepted the key fob to a Barcelona Red Corolla XSE and discovered that you don’t need the Apex Edition treatment to enjoy driving this car.

Video
No video found
Popular Features & Specs
Engine
2.0L 147 hp I4
1.8L 139 hp I4
Drive Train
FWD
FWD
Seating Capacity
5
5
Horsepower
147 hp @ 6200 rpm
MPG City
31
30
MPG Highway
41
38
Look and feel
2020 Hyundai Elantra
8/10
2021 Toyota Corolla
8/10
The 2020 Hyundai Elantra retained its bold visual identity first introduced in 2019, continuing to impress with its geometric-influenced styling. This design language was deliberately chosen to foreshadow the dramatically angular appearance of the all-new 2021 Elantra. Available in six versions—base SE, SEL, Value Edition, Eco, Limited, and Sport—the Elantra’s pricing ranged from $19,300 to $24,150. Our test vehicle, a Limited trim level, included the Ultimate Package and additional floor mats, bringing the total cost to $27,630, inclusive of the $975 destination charge. Besides the sedan, a 2020 Elantra GT hatchback was also an option. A black paint job accentuated the Elantra's angular design, highlighting its headlight, fog light, and wheel designs while adding a striking contrast to the chrome grille, beltline, and logo detailing. This combination yielded a small, stylish car that, while not universally appealing, stood out visually. Inside, Hyundai updated the Elantra’s interior with additional silver trim on various elements to enhance its upscale look. Despite these touch-ups, the presence of hard and glossy plastics served as reminders of its mainstream compact car status. By contrast, the 2021 Toyota Corolla marked a significant aesthetic evolution for the model, especially in its SE and XSE trims. These versions featured sport-design bumpers, a mesh grille insert and matching diffuser panel, a subtle body kit, twin-outlet exhaust, and eye-catching 18-inch aluminum wheels. The SE and XSE trims could be dipped in Celestite Gray metallic paint with a blue undertone, making the Corolla genuinely appealing. Nonetheless, some design elements were perceived as flaws. The hood shut line running to the headlight assembly and into the jutting bumper visually truncated the front end, drawing attention to the Corolla's massive overbite and gaping maw. Despite these quirks, the rear quarter view remained the car’s most attractive angle, although the Apex Edition exaggerated the Corolla’s less appealing aspects. The Corolla lineup included models like the L, LE, XLE, and even a Corolla Hybrid, which featured the same powertrain as the Toyota Prius. The standard Corolla models ranged in price from $19,925 to $24,325, excluding the destination charge. Our test model, the XSE trim with the optional Connectivity Package and floor mats, totaled $28,704, including the $995 destination charge. Inside, Toyota significantly enhanced the Corolla XSE’s interior with rich materials and thoughtful design. SofTex leatherette seats with striped fabric inserts, front-seat heating, and eight-way power driver’s seat adjustment provided added comfort and a clear driving position. Soft leatherette on the dashboard, padded door panel trim, and robust switchgear lent the Corolla a substantial feel, complemented by a clean, minimalist design and user-friendly layout.
Performance
2020 Hyundai Elantra
6/10
2021 Toyota Corolla
8/10
Performing on the road, the 2020 Hyundai Elantra featured a base 147-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a newly introduced continuously variable transmission (CVT). This CVT replaced the previous six-speed automatic and the no-longer-available six-speed manual gearbox. The new CVT contributed to a $1,100 increase in the car’s base price. All Elantra models retained front-wheel drive. Two specialty models stood out: the Elantra Eco, with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine delivering 128 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque (24 lb-ft more than the base engine), and the Elantra Sport, powered by a 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder producing 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. The Eco model featured a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT) and an automatic engine start/stop system, achieving 36 mpg in combined driving compared to 34 mpg for the standard powertrain. Meanwhile, the Sport model, which swapped the standard beam-axle rear suspension for an independent design, was unfortunately stripped of its manual gearbox for 2020, instead equipped with a seven-speed DCT. Our Limited test car, equipped with the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder and new CVT, impressed with its smooth performance, its "Intelligent Variable Transmission" simulating gear shifts as the Elantra accelerated. Hyundai’s CVT used a chain belt rather than the common push belt and employed a wide-ratio pulley system to enhance efficiency and low-end responsiveness. However, real-world fuel economy fell short, averaging 29.3 mpg compared to the expected 34 mpg. The Elantra’s ride suffered due to its simple torsion beam axle rear suspension. The car felt unsettled when encountering bumps, a trait more pronounced compared to competitors like the Mazda3. The Elantra Sport’s independent rear suspension offered a smoother and more enjoyable ride. In comparison, the 2021 Toyota Corolla’s SE and XSE trims were powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine generating 169 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 151 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm. This engine paired with a Dynamic Shift CVT, paddle shifters, and a Sport driving mode. The SE trim also offered a six-speed manual option with downshift rev-matching for an additional $200. Our XSE test car’s Dynamic Shift CVT excelled, featuring a mechanical first gear to eliminate typical CVT slip and providing ten programmed ratios for a more traditional shifting experience. The Corolla sat on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), engineered for a low center of gravity and enjoyable driving dynamics. The Corolla’s mechanical components included electric steering, vented front and solid disc rear brakes, and a MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear suspension. The SE and XSE trims were distinguished by their 18-inch aluminum wheels and aggressive 225/40 all-season tires. Driving the XSE trim proved surprisingly fun, offering unflappable handling characteristics. While it wasn’t a sport sedan, the Corolla was a competent and engaging compact car. The 2.0-liter engine provided adequate power, making the Corolla SE or XSE models enjoyable to drive. The Corolla XSE averaged 31.1 mpg in combined driving, falling slightly short of the EPA's 34 mpg rating.
Form and function
2020 Hyundai Elantra
9/10
2021 Toyota Corolla
6/10
The 2020 Hyundai Elantra offered ample interior space, comfortably accommodating four adults with a fifth squeezed in for short trips. Our Limited test car came with power driver’s seat adjustment, leather upholstery, and a sliding center console armrest. Hyundai equipped every Elantra with a front seat-height adjuster, enhancing comfort. A dual-zone automatic climate control system, Clean Air ionizer, and automatic defogging system were standard across all 2020 Elantra models. Higher trims, except for the SE and SEL, featured heated front seats, while rear passengers had to do without air conditioning vents. Interior storage was adequate for a compact car, and the trunk provided 14.4 cubic feet of cargo space, nearly matching that of some midsize sedans. An interior grab handle on the trunk lid made closing it easy. The 2021 Toyota Corolla XSE trim level enhanced the vehicle’s form and function with SofTex leatherette seats featuring striped fabric inserts, heated front seats, and eight-way power driver’s seat adjustment. This feature contributed to a comfortable driving position with clear forward sightlines. However, the front passenger seat lacked height adjustment. The rear seat cushions offered good support but were positioned high enough to potentially cause headroom issues. Rear passengers also missed out on air conditioning vents. The Corolla’s trunk offered 13.1 cubic feet of cargo space, less than the Elantra's but competitive within the segment. There was no handle on the sedan’s trunk lid for convenient closing—an ergonomic oversight.
Technology
2020 Hyundai Elantra
9/10
2021 Toyota Corolla
9/10
The 2020 Hyundai Elantra’s technology suite was comprehensive. Standard features included a touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth and a USB port. In base SE trim, the screen measured 5 inches, while higher trims came with a 7-inch display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM satellite radio. The Value Edition added a complimentary Blue Link Connected Car and Remote plans subscription for three years. The Limited trim introduced wireless smartphone charging and a premium Infinity sound system. The Ultimate Package expanded the touchscreen to 8 inches and added navigation, Blue Link Guidance, and SiriusXM data services. The Sport trim offered similar tech but with different packaging. The touchscreen sat high on the dashboard, canted toward the driver, with shortcut buttons and volume/tuning knobs for ease of use. The Infinity sound system delivered impressive sound quality for a compact car. For 2021, the Toyota Corolla added Android Auto as standard, joining Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, and SiriusXM satellite radio. All Corollas included a free year of Safety Connect services and three months of free access to a Wi-Fi hotspot. The Corolla SE featured an 8-inch touchscreen, while the XSE benefited from standard Service Connect and Remote Connect with remote engine starting, a Guest Driver function, and vehicle finder capability. The SE and XSE trims offered a nine-speaker JBL premium sound system, while dynamic voice recognition, dynamic navigation, and Destination Assist service were exclusive to the XSE. Toyota’s infotainment system was user-friendly, with physical knobs and shortcut buttons. Dynamic voice recognition worked effectively, though the JBL sound system lacked some clarity.
Safety
2020 Hyundai Elantra
8/10
2021 Toyota Corolla
9/10
The 2020 Hyundai Elantra came equipped with Hyundai Smart Sense as standard on all trims. This package included forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and a driver attention monitor. Starting with the SEL trim, blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert were added. The Limited and Sport trims featured full LED headlights with automatic high beams. The Ultimate Package for the Limited trim added adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, and Safe Exit Assist. The Elantra earned a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS when equipped with full LED headlights and a four-star overall rating from the NHTSA. However, the NHTSA raised concerns about rear-door intrusion during side-impact tests. The 2021 Toyota Corolla impressed with its Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0) suite, which included adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, pedestrian and cyclist detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, lane-centering assistance, and automatic high-beam headlights. Toyota added rear side-impact airbags for 2021, and the blind-spot warning system gained rear cross-traffic warning functionality. The Corolla’s safety features generally performed well, although adaptive cruise control exhibited uneven braking at times, and lane-centering assistance occasionally required driver intervention. The 2020 Corolla earned a Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS and a 5-star overall rating from the NHTSA. The addition of new airbags required re-testing for updated ratings in 2021.
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