2021 Corolla vs. Elantra Comparison

The Corolla and Elantra are popular options for commuters, new-to-driving teens, and everyone in between. They offer standard safety features and an exciting drive at a reasonable price. But, which will bring more excitement to your day?

With standard Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, and Amazon Alexa compatibility you'll be able to listen to your favorite music and podcasts in the Corolla. The Elantra has some comparable features but you'll notice the connectivity options are not as extensive as the Corolla.

Crank the tunes and enjoy your drive with the Corolla Hybrid which has impressive mileage estimates so you might visit the pump less. The Elantra also has hybrid options available.

While this is just a little taste of what the Corolla and Elantra have to offer, let's see where else these two sedans compare in safety, performance, and interior.

Published Date: 06/23/2021

A blue and white Corolla parked side by side

Safety

  • The Corolla has Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0) standard on all models while some of the Elantra's advanced safety features aren't standard on all models.
  • The Elantra lacks a driver knee airbag or a seat cushion airbag.
  • The 2021 Corolla received a 5-Star Overall Front Star Rating from NHTSA while the 2021 Elantra only received a 4-Star Overall Front Star Rating.

Once expensive and exclusive safety technologies are now becoming the standard for even compact cars like the 2021 Corolla and the Elantra. So, which sedan is setting a new safety standard?

Standard Safety Features

The 2021 Corolla comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0). TSS 2.0 includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA), Automatic High Beams (AHB), and Road Sign Assist (RSA) on all models, plus Lane Tracing Assist (LTA), and Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) on models with automatic transmissions. The 2021 Elantra has Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection (FCA-Ped), Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), Lane Following Assist (LFA), and High Beam Assist (HBA) standard. For Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go (SCC) you'd need to get the optional Convenience Package available with the Elantra SEL for an additional $950, or get it standard on the Elantra Limited.

Aside from active safety features, the Corolla has ten airbags. These include the driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, driver knee airbag, passenger seat cushion airbag, rear side airbags, and front and rear side curtain airbags. The competitor Elantra has Advanced dual front airbags (SRS) with Occupant Classification System (OCS), Driver and front passenger side-impact airbags (SRS), and Side-curtain airbags (SRS) (front and rear passengers). You don't get a driver knee airbag on any Elantra model.

While these features might not mean much to you written out in a list, trusted safety organizations have tested these vehicles' safety systems out for you. The 2021 Toyota Corolla and 2021 Hyundai Elantra both received the IIHS Top Safety Pick when equipped with LED projector headlights.

Furthermore, NHTSA rated the 2021 Corolla a 5-Star Overall Safety Rating and 5-Star Overall Front Star Rating. While the 2021 Elantra also received a 5-Star Overall Safety Rating, it only got 4-Star Front Star Rating.

2021 Corolla driving through the city at night

Performance

  • If you want more control of your drive, the Corolla and Elantra have available manual transmissions.
  • The Elantra does have better horsepower, but it has to sacrifice some estimated mileage to get it.
  • Both the Corolla and the Elantra have hybrid models with dreamy EPA MPGs estimates.

Compact cars are a great practical option for drivers that want great gas mileage estimates and a zippy ride. The 2021 Corolla and Elantra have surprising power under the hood with incredible fuel efficiency ratings.

Estimated Mileage

If you want your sedan to have a little zip, the performance-focused engine on the Corolla is a 2.0L 4-Cyl DOHC 16-Valve engine with Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i). This standard engine for the SE 6MT, SE w/CVT, SE Nightshade Edition, SE Apex, XSE, and XSE Apex provides 169 HP. The Corolla L's standard 1.8L 4-Cyl DOHC 16-Valve with Valvematic technology delivers 139 HP. In comparison, the 2021 Elantra N Line has an impressive 201 HP, but this comes at the cost of fuel efficiency ratings. All other Elantra models have 147 horsepower standard.

As mentioned, the Elantra N Line may have more power than the Corolla, but it loses points in gas mileage. With the standard 6-speed manual transmission it only has an EPA-estimated 25/34/28 (city/hwy/comb) MPG rating. The 6-speed manual Corolla SE trim has an EPA-estimated MPG rating of 29/36/32 (city/hwy/comb). The base model Elantra SE has a 33/43/37 (city/hwy/comb) MPG rating, while the Corolla L has an EPA-estimated 30/38/33 (city/hwy/comb) MPG rating. Additionally, the Elantra SEL and Limited have an EPA-estimated 31/41/35 (city/hwy/comb) MPG rating. The Corolla SE w/CVT isn't far behind with an EPA-estimated 31/40/34 (city/hwy/comb) MPG rating.

Impressively, the Corolla Hybrid LE trim delivers an EPA-estimated 53/52/52 (city/hwy/comb) MPG rating. The Elantra does have two hybrid models that provide impressive gas mileage as well (53/56/54 city/hwy/combined for the Elantra Hybrid Blue, 49/52/50 for the Elantra Hybrid Limited).

Interior of 2021 Corolla

Interior

  • Both the Corolla and the Elantra have Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay® compatibility, but only the Corolla has Amazon Alexa integration.
  • The Corolla has a 60/40 split-folding rear seatback standard.
  • The Corolla XLE has an available premium sound system and 3-year Dynamic Navigation trial.

Interior features are what take your drive to the next level. Seamlessly transition from your device to your car using the abundance of connectivity options in the Corolla and Elantra.

Multimedia

The Corolla has standard Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, and Amazon Alexa compatibility. Plus, try out SiriusXM® with a 3-month All Access trial subscription. In the Elantra, you get Wireless Android Auto™ & Apple CarPlay® integration standard, but no Amazon Alexa compatibility. Plus, if you want SiriusXM® Satellite Radio you'd need to get the SEL trim or higher. If you're one of those people that always gets lost, the Corolla XLE has available Premium Audio with a 3-year Dynamic Navigation trial. This audio package includes 9 JBL® speakers, subwoofer and amplifier, too. The Elantra Limited has a 10.25-inch high-resolution touchscreen with navigation and Bose premium audio with 8 speakers including center channel and subwoofer.

While it's nice to have all of the tech to entertain, sometimes the physical functionality of the interior of your car is more important. When something just doesn't have enough room in the trunk, make it fit with the 60/40 split fold-down rear seat standard in the Corolla. For the similar 60/40 split-folding rear seatback with armrest and cupholders standard you'd need to get the Elantra N Line or higher. It is available as an option in the SEL, too.

Isolated side view of blue 2021 Corolla

Conclusion: Corolla vs. Elantra

  • The Corolla has lots of standard safety features including Full-Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) on automatic models, which is not standard on the Elantra.
  • If multimedia is integral to your ride, the Corolla has the hookup.

The 2021 Corolla takes the lead in some key categories like standard safety and interior features.

For one, the Corolla includes a driver knee airbag and a passenger seat cushion airbag on top of all its great standard safety features.

Plus, if you want to get more out of your vehicles' interior, the Corolla has more standard connectivity options and makes it easy to rearrange your space with standard 60/40 folding rear seats.

It's a tough choice, but the 2021 Toyota Corolla is our pick in this head-to-head showdown.