Deciding between '21 Toyota Corolla and '21 Hyundai Elantra.

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 16th, 2021 2:35 pm
Oct 11, 2018
220 posts

Deciding between '21 Toyota Corolla and '21 Hyundai Elantra.

Hey guys.

Trying to decide between the 2021 Corolla or the 2021 Elantra. Scheduled for a test drive of each of them tomorrow and am hoping to get some answers, but if anyone has these would love some insights about the cars themselves, and if any of you have bought either of these recently, what you paid/what incentives/promotions to expect. I'd be looking at the XLE or LE Upgrade for the Corolla, and the Ultimate for the Elantra. Or the premium Hybrid packages for both if I can find a demo of that.

A few notes:
  • Car would be parked outdoors
  • Will be taking a 6 hour (500km) one-way (so 12 hours, 1000km both ways) once every two months once the border reopens. Other than that, would just be local drives.
52 replies
Deal Addict
Oct 21, 2006
1051 posts
toyota #1 for life, my vote goes to the Corolla
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Jun 8, 2003
8565 posts
Nobody would steal a Corolla, now Hyundai is a hot car to steal ;)
Last edited by Menace on Aug 21st, 2021 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
Nov 9, 2012
13 posts
As with all things, it depends. What do you value? How long are you going to keep the car? How much do you care about good resale?

I have a 2013 Accent as a second car, that I got slightly used for a killer price, and used to have a 2012. At the time, if you cared about features you get for the (rock bottom) price, the Accent and the Elantra were unbeatable. Nothing has gone wrong with either car, the regular oil change, brakes, tires schtick. BUT, neither car had seen super high mileage (150K on the Accent right now), and I'd trust the Toyota to pull more trouble free kilometers.

Toyota has worked hard for that reputation and in my experience they deserve it. I used to have an Echo that went to 300K. When it was sold I had done EXACTLY ONE thing on it, which was to replace the serpentine belt. 300K and it still had an original clutch. I used to joke that Toyota packs a free hidden mechanic in the trunk. I'm fairly certain someone is still driving that thing around.

On the other hand, the Echo was, shall we say, unrefined. Of course, cars have come a long way, but you still get more "features", more luxurious interior, etc. etc. with the Hyundai, but the new Corolla looks pretty nice and it's probably the most famous "appliance car" name plate of all time.

Then, of course, if you want to sell it, the Toyota will always fetch more. If I was looking for a new second car, I'd personally buy the Corolla, but if you want the slightly more upscale feel and more bells and whistles and aren't going to drive the thing around forever, and don't care about resale too too much, I think the Elantra is a nice car honestly (although, I'm not sure how that super aggressive look is going to age).
Sr. Member
Sep 15, 2017
801 posts
Toyota all day long. Do you want to get any value for the car down the road?
Deal Fanatic
Sep 16, 2004
9779 posts
Toyota unless the savings on the Hyundai are a couple grand difference.
At least enough to cover the costs of repairs down the road on the Hyundai.
Then off course resale value and depreciation the Toyota comes out on top.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 26, 2003
2241 posts
Toyota would be my recommendation.
Deal Addict
Apr 22, 2013
2954 posts
OP why are you considering only the LE and XLE? The SE is a way better version of the Corolla. You're actually making the Corolla worse by ignoring SE as you increase fuel consumption, you got less power. The 2.0L is a much much better engine than the 1.8L.
User avatar
Aug 24, 2007
65 posts
Having owned a 1993 Corolla (traded in at 15 years old), a 2002 Corolla (that the wife is still driving at 19 years old) and just recently purchased a used 2020 Corolla LE Upgrade, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Corolla over the Elantra. In between the 1993 Corolla and the 2020 Corolla, I purchased a 2009 Hyundai Sonata and had quite a few issues with it over the 12 years I owned it. Brakes didn't last, seized rear caliper, starter went, exhaust rusted through, timing chain tensioner failed (expensive fix), ball joints went, and the last straw was the catalytic converter rusted through and replacing it was going to cost more than the car was worth. Another thing to look at is the maintenance schedule. In my experience, the Hyundai maintenance schedule is much more onerous than the Toyota one.

Ultimately it's a personal choice and your test drives will determine which of the two you prefer, but if you plan to keep the car for any length of time, the Corolla is a MUCH better choice.
Sr. Member
May 23, 2007
601 posts
Ive got a 2021 Corolla SE with Upgrade package and love it. Compared to previous corollas its a huge upgrade. New engine, suspension, brakes, and body. Its very smooth.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Mar 1, 2008
16996 posts
Toronto, Ontario
No love for the Honda Civic, Mazda3, or Kia Forte? While the Kia and Hyundai are both good value, they're not nearly as good as the Japanese. Though i'd prefer the Hyundai Elantra or Kia Forte over a Nissan Sentra.
RFD is love. RFD is life.
Deal Addict
Sep 28, 2006
1158 posts
I saw an Elantra pass by and for a minute I noticed how much it could pass for a Lexus.

But besides the cosmetics, I think both cars can be good problem free 200-250+kms
Sr. Member
Sep 25, 2018
944 posts
Corolla all the way. Hybrid will be faster, hatchback is more fun to drive but less trunk space. But Corolla all the way regardless.

Yes Hyundai has this tech and that tech that makes it looks cool. But have fun when it suddenly stops on highway and burst into flame.
Deal Fanatic
Dec 24, 2005
5764 posts
i think either car is fine. both are boring

i think the Elantra will be nicer to own with more creature comforts
the Corolla will have more perceived reliability

both will be fine
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 21, 2013
1965 posts
Buy the one you like but my vote would go for the Mazda 3 or Civic because both offer a much better comforts and drivability than the Corolla or Elantra.

FWIW the Corolla hatchback is super fun to kick around with.
Jan 10, 2020
43 posts
Definitely look at the Corolla SE rather than the LE/XLE, the 2.0l engine is much better and the gearbox is more sophisticated with a physical first gear combined with the CVT. But be careful with pricing, I got a 2020 Corolla SE Upgrade package last year and the quoted prices for the 2021 are much higher than last year. Make sure you compare with like-to-like warranties as the Hyundai is probably 5 years to Toyota's 3.
Sr. Member
Jun 12, 2018
705 posts
Also vote Corolla hatch. Lots of fun to drive especially with the 6 speed manual trans. I prefer the look of the hatchback more than the sedan