2021 Toyota Corolla vs. 2020 Kia Forte

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2020/08/08

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 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 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 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 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’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 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’s warranty.

Reliability

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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’s reliability 34 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.

Engine

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

As tested in Motor Trend the Corolla SE/XSE 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder is faster than the Kia Forte 4 cyl. (automatics tested):

Corolla

Forte

Zero to 60 MPH

8.2 sec

8.7 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

16.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.4 MPH

85.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/08/08

On the EPA test cycle the Corolla SE/XSE SE Manual 2.0 4 cyl. gets better city fuel mileage than the Forte Manual with its standard 4 cyl. (29 city vs. 27 city).

Transmission

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

The Toyota Corolla has a downshift rev synchronizer that automatically raises engine speed to make downshifts perfectly smooth. This keeps the car from lurching during downshifts, preventing loss of control during cornering. The Forte doesn’t offer a downshift rev synchronizer.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Corolla stops shorter than the Forte:

Corolla

Forte

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

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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 Forte has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Corolla XSE handles at .83 G’s, while the Forte EX pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Passenger Space

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The Corolla 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’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’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’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 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. (This window function must be activated by your Toyota service department.) The driver of the Forte can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Corolla XLE/XSE offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Forte doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To direct the driver from any location to a given street address, a GPS navigation system is available on the Corolla XLE/XSE. The Corolla’s navigation system also has a real-time traffic update feature that offers alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Forte doesn’t offer a navigation system.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Corolla is less expensive to operate than the Forte because it costs $37 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Corolla than the Forte, including $26 less for a water pump and $14 less for front brake pads.

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 2020/08/08

Both are recommended, but Consumer Reports® chose the Toyota Corolla 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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