2020 Toyota Corolla vs. 2019 Kia Forte Sedan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Corolla has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Forte Sedan doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Compared to metal, the Corolla’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 Corolla has standard Safety Connect, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to 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 Corolla 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, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors and available blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

The Corolla’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Forte Sedan runs out after 100,000 miles.

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Corolla for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Forte Sedan.

There are over 59 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Corolla’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Corolla first among compact cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Forte Sedan was rated third.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Kia is ranked fifth.

Engine

The Corolla SE/XSE’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 22 more horsepower (169 vs. 147) and 19 lbs.-ft. more torque (151 vs. 132) than the Forte Sedan’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Corolla SE Manual gets better fuel mileage than the Forte Sedan Manual (29 city/36 hwy vs. 27 city/37 hwy).

Transmission

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

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Corolla SE/XSE’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Forte Sedan (225/40R18 vs. 215/45R17).

The Corolla SE/XSE’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 Corolla SE/XSE has standard 18-inch wheels. The Forte Sedan’s largest wheels are only 17-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Toyota Corolla 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 rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

For better maneuverability, the Corolla’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Forte Sedan’s (34.1 feet vs. 34.8 feet).

Passenger Space

The front step up height for the Corolla is 1.2 inches lower than the Forte Sedan (13” vs. 14.2”). The Corolla’s rear step up height is 1.8 inches lower than the Forte Sedan’s (13” vs. 14.8”).

Cargo Capacity

The Corolla’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.

Ergonomics

The Corolla (except L/LE/Manual) offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Forte Sedan doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Corolla’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Forte Sedan’s standard power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully. Only its driver’s window opens automatically.

If the windows are left open on the Corolla the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (Your Toyota service department must activate this window function.) The driver of the Forte Sedan can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Model Availability

The Toyota Corolla comes in sedan and four-door hatchback bodystyles; the Kia Forte isn’t available as a four-door hatchback.

Recommendations

The Toyota Corolla outsold the Kia Forte by almost three to one during 2018.

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

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