2021 Toyota Corolla Hybrid vs. 2020 Kia Forte

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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

The Corolla Hybrid 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 doesn’t offer a GPS response system, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Corolla Hybrid and the Forte 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, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Corolla Hybrid 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.

There are over 63 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Corolla Hybrid’s warranty.

Reliability

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/10

The Forte’s redline is at 6800 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The Corolla Hybrid has a 4000-RPM redline.

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 Corolla Hybrid’s reliability 40 points higher than the Forte.

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 2019 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota third in reliability. Kia is ranked 9th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Corolla Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the Forte:

MPG

Corolla Hybrid

Auto

1.8 4-cyl. Hybrid

53 city/52 hwy

Forte

Manual

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

27 city/37 hwy

GT 1.6 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/32 hwy

Auto

FE 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

31 city/41 hwy

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

29 city/40 hwy

GT 1.6 turbo 4-cyl.

27 city/35 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Corolla Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Forte doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Corolla Hybrid’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 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Toyota Corolla Hybrid higher (7 out of 10) than the Kia Forte (5 to 7). This means the Corolla Hybrid produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Forte every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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

Suspension and Handling

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

Passenger Space

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The Corolla Hybrid has .9 inches more front hip room and .2 inches more rear hip room than the Forte.

Cargo Capacity

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

Ergonomics

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The Corolla Hybrid’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Forte has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The Corolla Hybrid’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’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 Hybrid 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 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Corolla Hybrid’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Kia only offers heated mirrors on the Forte GT Line/EX/GT.

The Corolla Hybrid’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Forte FE/LXS doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/10

Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Toyota Corolla Hybrid as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Toyota Corolla outsold the Kia Forte by over three to one during 2019.

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