2020 Hyundai Elantra Sedan vs. 2019 Kia Forte Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Compared to metal, the Elantra Sedan’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Kia Forte Sedan has a metal gas tank.

The Elantra Sedan (except SE/SEL/Eco) offers an optional Blue Link, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Forte Sedan doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Elantra Sedan and the Forte Sedan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.


The Elantra Sedan’s corrosion warranty is 2 years and unlimited miles longer than the Forte Sedan’s (7/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).


A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Elantra Sedan’s reliability 18 points higher than the Forte Sedan.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.


The Elantra Sedan Eco’s standard 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder produces 24 lbs.-ft. more torque (156 vs. 132) than the Forte Sedan’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl. The Elantra Sedan Sport’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder produces 54 more horsepower (201 vs. 147) and 63 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 132) than the Forte Sedan’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Elantra Sedan Eco is faster than the Kia Forte Sedan (automatics tested):



Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

8.7 sec

Quarter Mile

16.2 sec

16.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.9 MPH

85.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Elantra Sedan Eco gets better fuel mileage than the Forte Sedan FE (33 city/41 hwy vs. 31 city/41 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Elantra Sedan Eco’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Forte Sedan doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Hyundai Elantra Sedan as a “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle” (PZEV). The Kia Forte Sedan is only certified to “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV) standards.


The Hyundai Elantra Sedan comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Forte Sedan.

The Elantra Sedan offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is more internally efficient than a CVT but just as easy to drive. The Forte Sedan doesn’t offer an SMG.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Elantra Sedan Sport’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Forte Sedan:

Elantra Sport


Front Rotors

12 inches

11 inches

The Elantra Sedan stops much shorter than the Forte Sedan:



60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Elantra Sedan Limited’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Forte Sedan (225/45R17 vs. 215/45R17).

The Elantra Sedan Sport’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Forte Sedan S/EX’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Elantra Sedan Sport has standard 18-inch wheels. The Forte Sedan’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Elantra Sedan Sport has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Kia Forte Sedan has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

The Elantra Sedan Limited handles at .84 G’s, while the Forte Sedan EX pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Elantra Sedan Limited executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Forte Sedan EX (27.2 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 27.7 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The Elantra Sedan has 1.5 inches more front headroom, .4 inches more front hip room, .1 inches more front shoulder room and .8 inches more rear hip room than the Forte Sedan.

Cargo Capacity

The Elantra Sedan’s standard folding rear seats are split to accommodate bulky cargo. The Forte Sedan FE’s standard single piece folding rear seat is not as flexible; long cargo and a passenger can’t share the rear seat.


When two different drivers share the Elantra Sedan Limited, the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Forte Sedan doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Elantra Sedan Limited’s optional Seat Easy Access glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Forte Sedan doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

When the Elantra Sedan Limited with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Forte Sedan’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the Elantra Sedan and the Forte Sedan offer available heated front seats. The Elantra Sedan Limited also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Forte Sedan.

Model Availability

The Hyundai Elantra comes in sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Kia Forte isn’t available as a station wagon.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Elantra Sedan owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Elantra Sedan with a number “1” insurance rate while the Forte Sedan is rated higher at a number “3” rate.

The Elantra Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Elantra Sedan will retain 45.03% to 46.12% of its original price after five years, while the Forte Sedan only retains 40.27% to 40.86%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Elantra Sedan is less expensive to operate than the Forte Sedan because typical repairs cost less on the Elantra Sedan than the Forte Sedan, including $65 less for a water pump, $35 less for front brake pads, $12 less for a fuel pump and $6 less for a timing belt/chain.


Consumer Reports® recommends both the Hyundai Elantra Sedan and the Kia Forte Sedan, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Hyundai Elantra outsold the Kia Forte by almost two to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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