2022 Hyundai Elantra vs 2021 Toyota Corolla

2021 Toyota Corolla
2021 Toyota Corolla
$20,025MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Hyundai Elantra
2022 Hyundai Elantra
$20,200MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 Toyota Corolla
$20,025MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Hyundai Elantra
$20,200MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2021 Toyota Corolla was 7.8 out of 10, while the 2022 Hyundai Elantra scored 8.7 out of 10. Both models offered significant strengths in design, performance, safety, and technology. However, the 2022 Hyundai Elantra’s superior technology, more diverse powertrain options, and engaging driving experience give it an edge over the Corolla. The higher rating and broader appeal make the 2022 Hyundai Elantra the more compelling choice for consumers seeking a well-rounded compact car.

Overview

MSRP

$20,025

MSRP

$20,200

Average price

$19,300

Average price

$19,644

Listings

2292

Listings

739
Ratings & Reviews
User Reviews
User Reviews

Expert reviews

7.8 out of 10

Expert reviews

8.7 out of 10
Pros
  • Standard advanced safety features
  • Fun to drive
  • Manual transmission available
Cons
  • Noisy
  • Outdated technology
Pros
  • Stylish design
  • Fuel-efficient
  • Excellent value for money
Cons
  • Underwhelming base engine
  • Uncomfortable seats
  • Noisy

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.

2022 Hyundai Elantra Reviews Summary

Fresh off a transcendent 2021 redesign, the 2022 Hyundai Elantra continues to offer stylish exterior design, a roomy cabin, excellent fuel economy, impressive standard safety features and driver-assistance tech, top-notch product quality, and an industry-leading warranty—all at a bargain price.
No video found
Popular Features & Specs

Engine

1.8L 139 hp I4

Engine

2.0L 147 hp I4

Drive Train

FWD

Drive Train

FWD

Seating Capacity

5

Seating Capacity

5

Horsepower

Horsepower

147 hp @ 6200 rpm

MPG City

30

MPG City

31

MPG Highway

38

MPG Highway

41
2021 Toyota Corolla
2021 Toyota Corolla
$20,025MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Hyundai Elantra
2022 Hyundai Elantra
$20,200MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 Toyota Corolla
$20,025MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2022 Hyundai Elantra
$20,200MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2021 Toyota Corolla was 7.8 out of 10, while the 2022 Hyundai Elantra scored 8.7 out of 10. Both models offered significant strengths in design, performance, safety, and technology. However, the 2022 Hyundai Elantra’s superior technology, more diverse powertrain options, and engaging driving experience give it an edge over the Corolla. The higher rating and broader appeal make the 2022 Hyundai Elantra the more compelling choice for consumers seeking a well-rounded compact car.

Overview
MSRP
$20,025
$20,200
Average price
$19,300
$19,644
Listings
Ratings & Reviews
User reviews
4.3
4.2
Expert reviews

7.8 out of 10

Read full review

8.7 out of 10

Read full review
Pros & cons
Pros
  • Standard advanced safety features
  • Fun to drive
  • Manual transmission available
Cons
  • Noisy
  • Outdated technology
Pros
  • Stylish design
  • Fuel-efficient
  • Excellent value for money
Cons
  • Underwhelming base engine
  • Uncomfortable seats
  • Noisy
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.

Fresh off a transcendent 2021 redesign, the 2022 Hyundai Elantra continues to offer stylish exterior design, a roomy cabin, excellent fuel economy, impressive standard safety features and driver-assistance tech, top-notch product quality, and an industry-leading warranty—all at a bargain price.
Video
No video found
Popular Features & Specs
Engine
1.8L 139 hp I4
2.0L 147 hp I4
Drive Train
FWD
FWD
Seating Capacity
5
5
Horsepower
147 hp @ 6200 rpm
MPG City
30
31
MPG Highway
38
41
Look and feel
2021 Toyota Corolla
8/10
2022 Hyundai Elantra
9/10
The 2021 Toyota Corolla emerged as one of the most attractive models in its recent lineage, particularly in the SE or XSE trims. These sporty versions featured sport-design bumpers, a mesh grille insert, a matching diffuser panel, a subtle body kit, a twin-outlet exhaust, and striking 18-inch aluminum wheels. When coated with Celestite Gray metallic paint—a shade with a captivating blue undertone—the Corolla stood out as genuinely appealing. However, the design wasn't without its flaws. The hood shut line running to the headlight assembly and into the jutting bumper created a visual truncation of the front end, emphasizing the car's pronounced overbite and gaping maw. The rear-quarter view was the most favorable angle, though even that aspect was marred by an over-styled rear bumper, especially in the Apex Edition. For those preferring a more understated appearance, the Corolla L, LE, or XLE trims offered a better choice. Additionally, the Corolla Hybrid, available in LE trim, provided an economical path to 50+ mpg using the same powertrain found in the Toyota Prius, at a price range between $19,925 and $24,325 before the destination charge. Our review concentrated on the sportier Corolla SE ($22,375) and Corolla XSE ($25,825) trims. These models featured a more robust engine, distinct transmissions, a Sport driving mode, and enhanced wheels and tires. Our test car—an XSE trim with the optional Connectivity Package and floor mats—was priced at $28,704 with destination charges. The Corolla XSE's interior received high marks for its advanced materials and design. The use of soft leatherette on the dashboard, generously padded upper door panel trim, and sturdy switchgear lent the cabin an air of quality. Simple, minimalist design guided the interior layout, providing a pleasant user experience, although practical everyday storage was somewhat lacking due to the center console's form-over-function design. The 2022 Hyundai Elantra marked a significant departure from its rental-car roots with the 2021 redesign. This redesign bestowed upon the Elantra a striking new appearance and transformed it inside and out. The seventh-generation Elantra featured a more extended wheelbase, wider stance, and lower roofline, creating a dramatic four-door-coupe silhouette. Although reminiscent of the midsize Sonata sedan, the Elantra's exterior styling was unique. The model effectively pulled off the low-slung four-door-coupe look even better than the Sonata. The sides of the Elantra showcased distinctive creases and folds that formed a "Z" shape, adding character and setting it apart from rival compact sedans. The interior of the seventh-generation Elantra saw significant improvements over its predecessor. The material quality, look, and feel were above the compact car class norms. Although there was an abundance of hard plastic, the Elantra compensated with advanced tech and a reasonable starting price of around $20,000. The 2022 Elantra was available in four trim levels: SE, SEL, N Line, and Limited, excluding the separately reviewed high-performance Elantra N. Our review sample was a Scarlet Red Pearl 2022 Elantra N Line with a black interior. The N Line added sporty styling touches without comprehensive performance upgrades, including N Line design front and rear fascias, chrome twin-tip exhaust, and 18-inch alloy wheels. The interior featured N Line sport seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob, black headliner, and aluminum pedals.
Performance
2021 Toyota Corolla
8/10
2022 Hyundai Elantra
8/10
The 2021 Corolla SE and XSE trims were powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 169 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 151 lb-ft of torque at 4,800 rpm. This engine was paired with a Dynamic Shift continuously variable transmission (CVT), paddle shifters, and a Sport driving mode. Though this drivetrain promised sporty performance, it rarely delivered beyond expectations. A six-speed manual transmission with downshift rev-matching was also available with SE trim for an additional $200. Our XSE test car's Dynamic Shift CVT stood out as one of the best in its class, employing a mechanical first gear to eliminate the typical slip sensation of traditional CVTs. Though occasional droning occurred, especially during the hand-off to the CVT, the ten programmed ratios did an exemplary job of masking typical CVT shortcomings. The Corolla utilized Toyota's New Global Architecture (TNGA), contributing to its low center of gravity and enjoyable driving dynamics. Additional mechanical features included electric steering, vented front, and solid disc rear brakes, and a MacPherson strut front, multi-link rear suspension. The SE and XSE trims also featured 18-inch aluminum wheels and more aggressive 225/40 all-season tires. Despite expectations, the Corolla XSE offered an engaging driving experience with predictable handling characteristics, albeit not quite at the level of a sport sedan. It was, however, remarkably competent within its class, similar to a Honda Civic or standard Mazda3. It provided quick and sufficient performance in corners without feeling like a penalty box on wheels. The SE and XSE trims' sportier styling and dynamic traits made them more appealing to enthusiasts. In terms of fuel economy, the EPA rated the Corolla XSE at 34 mpg in combined driving. Our test resulted in an average of 31.1 mpg over a mountainous route, with driving modes switched between Eco, Normal, and Sport, along with limited use of paddle shifters. The 2022 Elantra offered multiple powertrain options, setting it apart from typical compact sedans. The standard engine for SE, SEL, and Limited trims was a 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque, paired with a CVT and front-wheel drive. Hyundai's Shift Control Strategy in the CVT aimed for smoother operation replicating automatic transmission step shifts. While adequate for most buyers, the engine lacked power during hard acceleration scenarios like merging onto highways or overtaking. For those prioritizing fuel economy, the Elantra Hybrid featured a 1.6-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine, a 32-kilowatt electric motor, and a 1.32-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. This setup offered a total system output of 139 hp and up to 195 lb-ft of torque, delivered through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT). The DCT provided a more engaging driving experience compared to typical hybrid powertrains, enhancing the car's dynamic appeal. The N Line trim catered to driving enthusiasts with a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine producing 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. This powertrain was available with either a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed DCT featuring manual shift mode and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The DCT-equipped N Line also included Drive Mode Select, offering Normal, Sport, and Smart drive modes. Our test car's six-speed DCT, popular among most buyers, delivered crisp shifts at higher speeds despite being somewhat clunky at low rpm. Drive modes showed noticeable differences, with Sport mode enhancing steering feedback, engine responsiveness, and shift points, while Smart mode adapted to the driving style for improved fuel economy or sportiness. We found Smart mode balanced excellent fuel economy on long Interstate runs with spirited driving on twisty roads. The N Line's sport-tuned suspension, steering, and revised powertrain mounts improved ride and handling dynamics. The multi-link independent rear suspension in the N Line, distinct from the torsion-beam rear axle in lower trims, provided smoother handling. Larger front brake rotors in the N Line added stopping power, and together with its peppy powertrain, sport-tuned suspension, and grippy tires, it delivered an engaging driving experience akin to a small sport sedan.
Form and function
2021 Toyota Corolla
6/10
2022 Hyundai Elantra
7/10
The XSE trim of the 2021 Corolla provided numerous interior upgrades, including SofTex leatherette seats with trendy striped fabric inserts and heated front seats. More importantly, the eight-way power driver’s seat adjustment added comfort and ease of entry and exit, with clear sightlines forward. While the front passenger seat lacked height adjustment, its cushion supplied good thigh support. The rear seat cushions offered solid support and sat high off the floor, though this compromised headroom and legroom. Additionally, there were no air conditioning vents for rear passengers, making long journeys less comfortable on hot days. However, the back seats were still reasonably comfortable for shorter trips. The Corolla’s trunk offered 13.1 cubic feet of cargo space—less than some competitors but more than others. The Corolla hatchback, covered separately, provided 17.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seat. However, the sedan's trunk lid lacked a handle to swing shut, which could be inconvenient. The Hyundai Elantra combined stylish design with practicality. Despite its compact size, it navigated tight spaces with ease, and its instrumentation and controls were user-friendly. The Elantra also offered an ample amount of storage options. While the N Line’s low seating position made getting in and out a bit challenging, it provided excellent outward visibility once inside. On a real-world test, three children—aged twelve, eleven, and eight—traveled comfortably on a 700-mile road trip, thanks in part to entertainment and snacks. However, taller adults would find the front seats more comfortable given the sloped roofline that restricted rear headroom, although legroom was ample. The Elantra's trunk capacity stood at 14.2 cubic feet, slightly more than the Corolla’s 13.1 cubic feet. Despite a narrow trunk opening due to the extended roofline, the trunk fit a considerable amount of luggage with careful arrangement. However, the trunk lid support arms could crush items in their travel path. A drawback was the power tilt-and-slide moonroof that caused a noticeable droning noise when fully open. Closing it partially alleviated the problem. Additionally, the lack of USB ports and air conditioning vents in the rear caused some irritation, leading to arguments over device charging and discomfort during hot weather conditions.
Technology
2021 Toyota Corolla
9/10
2022 Hyundai Elantra
9/10
The 2021 Corolla featured a comprehensive infotainment package, including Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, and SiriusXM satellite radio. Standard on every 2021 Corolla was a free year of Safety Connect services and three months or 2GB of Wi-Fi hotspot usage, whichever came first. The Corolla SE's 8-inch touchscreen outshone the base 7-inch display, while the XSE trim offered additional standard features like Service Connect and Remote Connect. Remote Connect included remote engine starting, a Guest Driver function, vehicle finder, and more—available free for one year. Optional on the SE and XSE was a nine-speaker JBL premium sound system, with dynamic voice recognition, dynamic navigation, and Destination Assist service exclusive to the XSE trim. The infotainment system was user-friendly, with physical knobs for radio volume and tuning, and shortcut buttons for essential functions. The dynamic voice recognition system responded accurately and swiftly. While there were minor complaints about the radio knobs' ergonomics and the JBL sound system's lack of clarity, these issues were relatively minor. The 2022 Elantra boasted remarkable technology features for its price. Standard on the base SE trim were an 8-inch display audio touchscreen with a rearview camera, HD Radio, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth with voice recognition, four speakers, and dual USB ports. The SEL, Hybrid Blue, and N Line trims added two more speakers, satellite radio, and Blue Link connected services. The Limited and Hybrid Limited trims featured a 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, a three-month SiriusXM NavTraffic and NavWeather trial, sports and stock information, an eight-speaker Bose audio system, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, dynamic voice recognition, and wireless device charging. However, the larger touchscreen only supported wired versions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Hyundai Digital Key, available on the N Line and Limited trims and optional on the SEL, allowed unlocking, starting, and driving the car with an Android-compatible smartphone, excluding iPhone compatibility. Pairing an iPhone wirelessly with the Elantra N Line's system was seamless, and the Apple CarPlay integration was flawless. Satellite radio provided diverse programming; however, the six-speaker audio system’s performance was adequate but not exceptional. It could fill the small cabin with volume, though it lacked the finesse of Bose systems found in other Hyundai models.
Safety
2021 Toyota Corolla
9/10
2022 Hyundai Elantra
9/10
The 2021 Corolla impressed with its Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0) suite of advanced driving assistance systems. Standard features included adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with pedestrian and cyclist detection, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance with lane-centering, and automatic high-beam headlights. New for this year were rear side-impact airbags and enhanced blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert. Overall, the safety technology performed well, although adaptive cruise control occasionally displayed uneven braking and the lane-centering assistance system sometimes required driver intervention. Otherwise, we encountered no significant false alerts or malfunctions. The previous year’s Corolla earned a “Top Safety Pick” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), limited to models with optional curve adaptive headlights. The 2020 Corolla also received a top 5-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). With the addition of new airbags, re-testing was required for new ratings. Hyundai’s value-centric approach extended to safety, offering extensive features at a reasonable cost. The standard SmartSense suite on the 2022 Elantra included forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assistance, lane-departure warning, and lane-centering assistance. Additional features included driver-attention warning, automatic high-beam headlights, a rear-seat reminder system, and Safe Exit Warning. Higher trim levels introduced features like intersection turn assistance, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, rear automatic braking, and Highway Drive Assist, which kept the car centered in its lane at the correct speed while maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle ahead. All safety features performed well without any significant false alarms during our testing. According to NHTSA, the 2022 Elantra, including the Hybrid model, received five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for front crash protection and five stars for side crash protection and rollover resistance. The IIHS awarded the 2022 Elantra top "Good" ratings in all six crash tests, but the lower trims received a "Marginal" headlight rating compared to the "Good" rating of the Limited trim's LED headlights.
CarGurus logo

By: CarGurus + AI

At CarGurus, our team of experienced automotive writers remain at the heart of our content operation, conducting hands-on car tests and writing insightful guides that are backed by years of industry experience. To complement this, we are harnessing AI to make our content offering more diverse and more helpful to shoppers than ever. To achieve this, our AI systems are based exclusively on CarGurus content, ratings and data, so that what we produce is both unique to CarGurus, and uniquely helpful to car shoppers.