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The 2016 Hyundai Sonata and 2016 Honda Accord are two of the most affordable and reliable midsize sedans on the market. (The Honda Accord is also available as a coupe, which generally has the same specifications as the sedan, but for the purposes of this comparison we’ll be focusing on the sedan.)

There’s a four-way tie for the No. 1 spot in our 2016 midsize car rankings. The Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonata are two of the contenders (along with the Chevrolet Malibu and Toyota Camry). The Sonata and Accord were also named finalists for U.S. News & World Report’s 2016 Best Midsize Car for Families award.

Anyone shopping for a midsize sedan would do well with any of these cars, but the Accord and Sonata have some differences that are worthy of closer examination. Read on to find out which of these class-leading cars is the best option for your family. 

The Basics

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The Hyundai Sonata and the Honda Accord are five-passenger, front-wheel-drive midsize sedans. They’re within a couple inches of each other in length and width, and similar in weight.

The Hyundai Sonata was completely redesigned for the 2015 model year. It is currently in its seventh generation, although it wasn’t exported to North America until its second generation. The Honda Accord was last redesigned in 2013 and gets exterior styling updates this year. The Accord was introduced in 1976 and is in its ninth generation. The Accord bears the distinction of being the first car from a Japanese manufacturer to be manufactured in the United States.

Pricing

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Winner: 2016 Hyundai Sonata

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata starts at $21,750, a savings of more than $400 over the 2016 Honda Accord’s base price of $22,205. At this level, the two cars are similarly powered and equipped, although the Sonata includes standard brake assist and a standard automatic transmission (an extra $800 on the Honda).

Although the Sonata offers a total of six trim levels and the Accord offers five, trim levels and pricing remain closely matched as you move up. At the top end, the Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T starts at about $34,000, and the Honda Accord Touring starts at about $34,700. Here, the Accord comes with a V6 while the Sonata comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. However, critics say that the Sonata’s turbo-four can hold its own against a V6.

Safety

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Winner: 2016 Hyundai Sonata

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata and 2016 Honda Accord are both very safe vehicles. Both models receive Top Safety Pick+ ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and five-star overall ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Sonata scored four stars in NHTSA’s rollover test, and the Accord scored four stars in NHTSA’s frontal crash test.

The IIHS awards both vehicles a Superior rating for front crash prevention when optional equipment is installed. When it comes to child safety seats, the Honda Accord has the edge. The Accord’s LATCH anchors rate Acceptable for ease of use, and the Sonata's rate Marginal. Both sedans offer two seats with a full set of LATCH hardware and a third seat with just a tether anchor.

The Hyundai Sonata and Honda Accord both offer a long list of advanced safety features, but the Sonata has an edge due to the way the features are packaged. While both vehicles provide a rearview camera as standard equipment, the Sonata also provides brake assist on its base model. The Sonata Limited ($27,400) brings many more safety systems to the mix. To get comparable features in the Accord, buyers must order the EX trim ($25,600) plus an automatic transmission ($800) and the Honda Sensing package ($1,800).

Seat Comfort and Interior Refinement

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Winner: 2016 Hyundai Sonata

The 2016 Hyundai Sonata earns very positive reviews from critics for its spacious, high-quality interior and its comfortable seats. Critics also note that the Sonata’s interior is very quiet and that the controls are easy to use. The Sonata seats five passengers and comes standard with cloth upholstery. Leather, power-adjustable seats, front and back heated seats, and a heated steering wheel are all available as options.

The Honda Accord also seats five passengers on cloth upholstery, and similar comfort options to the Sonata are available as options. While expert reviewers generally like the Accord’s cabin, with particular praise for its spacious rear seat, some say that they expect the Accord to have better interior build quality.

Interior Technology

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Winner: 2016 Hyundai Sonata

When it comes to standard technical equipment, the Hyundai Sonata offers a more generous package than the Honda Accord. Both vehicles provide Bluetooth wireless integration, a basic audio system, an infotainment system with a touch screen, a USB port, and a rearview camera. Hyundai also provides Android Auto, brake assist, satellite radio, and HD radio, which are options on the Honda, as well as the brand’s BlueLink telematics system, which can lock and unlock the car from the owner’s smartphone.

In Honda’s favor, the Accord provides dual-zone climate control, which is an option on the Sonata. The Accord also offers Apple CarPlay alongside Android Auto. Both vehicles offer plenty of active safety features as options or on higher trim levels. Critics say the infotainment systems in both cars are easy to use, with intuitive controls. 

Cargo Space

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Winner: 2016 Hyundai Sonata

For grocery-getting and other errands, the 2016 Hyundai Sonata is the winner. The Sonata’s trunk provides 16.3 cubic feet of space, compared to the Accord sedan’s 15.8 cubic feet.

The Hyundai Sonata comes with a split-folding rear seat to allow larger items to pass through into the main passenger compartment. The Honda Accord sedan’s standard rear seat folds down, and a split-folding rear seat is a new option for this year. The Hyundai Sonata also offers an automatic trunk opener that takes advantage of the car’s proximity key, making it easier to get things done with your hands full.

Fuel Efficiency

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Winner: 2016 Honda Accord

The Hyundai Sonata and Honda Accord have similar EPA-estimated fuel economy. The base Accord, when equipped with its automatic transmission, earns EPA estimates of 27 mpg city, 37 mpg highway, and 31 mpg combined. The base Sonata comes close. With its six-speed automatic transmission, EPA estimates come in at 25 mpg city, 38 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined.

Hyundai also offers the Sonata in an Eco model, which features a slightly less-powerful engine than the base model but upgrades the transmission to a dual-clutch seven-speed automatic. The Sonata Eco is EPA-rated for mileage of 28 mpg in the city, 38 mpg on the highway, and 32 mpg combined. The Sonata Eco costs a couple thousand dollars more than the base Sonata, though it’s only about $700 more than a base Accord with an automatic transmission.

Performance

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Winner: 2016 Honda Accord

The Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonata start out on even ground. Both cars’ base models are powered by 185-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines. Hyundai offers the fuel-efficient, 178-horsepower Sonata Eco model, which doesn’t have a counterpart in the Accord’s lineup. What makes the difference is the top trim level. The highest-performance Accord model comes with a 278-horsepower V6 engine, which cannot be matched by the Sonata’s available 245-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Though some critics say the Sonata’s 2.0T model feels like a V6, not all agree, and the V6 Accord earns better performance reviews.

The Honda Accord also comes standard with a manual transmission, which some buyers might prefer, and offers automatic and continuously variable transmission options. The Hyundai Sonata comes only with a six-speed automatic transmission, except the Eco model, which gets a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

According to critics, both cars have handling that is tuned more for comfort than performance.

Reliability

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Winner: 2016 Hyundai Sonata

For reliability scores, we look to the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study and Predicted Reliability Study. This year, the Hyundai Sonata and Honda Accord both earn a four on a scale of one to five, which is about what buyers should expect based on these manufacturers’ strong reputations.

However, Hyundai backs the Sonata with a stronger warranty than Honda provides for the Accord. The Sonata comes with a five-year/60,000-mile new vehicle warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, which is better than the Accord’s three-year/36,000-mile new vehicle warranty and five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

The Winner Is:

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2016 Hyundai Sonata

The 2016 Honda Accord racks up key wins in the fuel efficiency and performance categories, but the2016 Hyundai Sonata’s fuel economy is very close to the Accord’s, and anyone who’s that concerned about fuel economy also has the option of the Sonata Eco model.

Setting the Accord’s compelling performance reviews aside for a moment, the Hyundai Sonata is a better buy for most consumers. In terms of practicality, the Sonata is marginally less expensive than the Accord, it’s safer, it has a slightly larger trunk, and it comes with a much better warranty. Comfort and technology are less practical concerns, but still very important, and the Hyundai Sonata has a clear edge in those areas, too.

But, like our rankings show, the Honda Accord is nearly as good as the Hyundai Sonata, and some buyers may prefer it. When four midsize sedans tie as best-in-class options, that’s a good thing for consumers. Whether you’re interested in a Sonata, an Accord, or any other car in our rankings, make sure you’re ready to negotiate, with the newest car finance and lease deals and our Best Price Program.

Best Midsize Cars

Ranking

Model

MSRP

1 (tie)

2016 Chevrolet Malibu

$21,625

1 (tie)

2016 Honda Accord

$22,205

1 (tie)

2016 Hyundai Sonata

$21,750

1 (tie)

2016 Toyota Camry

$23,070

5

2016 Mazda Mazda6

$21,495

6 (tie)

2016 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

$27,770

6 (tie)

2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid

$26,675

6 (tie)

2016 Honda Accord Hybrid

$29,605

6 (tie)

2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid

$26,790

10

2016 Kia Optima

$22,140