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2023 Kia Forte vs. 2023 Hyundai Elantra

1. Exterior Design

Front grille design This is where they start to differ. The Forte’s new front end is more than just aggressive; its front greenhouse is actually more aggressive. The base of the A-pillar sits a full 8.9 cm further back than the Elantra’s, and with it comes a more rakish windscreen and lower roofline. These design elements lend the new Forte a coupe-like profile, and should help it avoid the current automotive faux pas of looking like your parents’ car when the kids are really the target demographic. Kia also seems to be waging war on chrome, as the new Forte has only a narrow strip outlining its updated tiger-nose grille, a stark contrast to the Elantra’s highly stylized bumper-and-grille assembly. At the very least, this is a good attention to detail by Kia, as the chromeless grille area helps to contribute to a more aero look. The body-colored lower front spoiler is another feature that’s more prominent on the Forte than on the Elantra, and it’s gonna make it tricky for those of us looking to fit aftermarket lips and splitters—way to make things difficult, Kia. The SX and SXL may just be worth their added cost based on the fact that they alone receive LED positioning lights around their headlamps. LED accents are the newest auto lighting craze and they look pretty cool, so there’s a big upsell there for visually-inclined consumers. Rounding things out at the front of the vehicle are new fog light pods, as well as a set of side vents that actually mimic the design from the 2010-2013 Forte Koup. It’s a good overall look for the Forte, and one that seems to be a clear step forward from the outgoing model. Note that EX models will actually have a slightly different fascia with its own body color matching theme. Learn More: 2023 Kia Forte vs 2023 Hyundai Elantra

Body shape and dimensions It’s easy to tell that the Forte and the Elantra are now siblings. Their silhouettes are quite similar to each other when viewed from a distance, but only actual dimensions would reveal the true story. This time, the Forte is actually 0.2 inches longer than its H-brand relative, and the two have identical 2700mm wheelbases.

It’s easy to tell that the Forte and the Elantra are now siblings. Their silhouettes are quite similar to each other when viewed from a distance, but only actual dimensions would reveal the true story. This time, the Forte is actually 0.2 inches longer than its H-brand relative, and the two have identical 2700mm wheelbase. 

1.1. Body shape and dimensions

Side by side, it is apparent that the two were purpose-built, and there is no longer a time where an argument could be made that C-segment cars are cheaply done versions of something else in the company's lineup. It also marks a time where Kia and Hyundai have both created cars that are fully capable of coming close to their Japanese competitors whose brands were built on automobile reliability.

As for the execution of size and shape, there is no denying that Elantra took a bit of a gamble with how aggressive it appears. The lines of the grill go up and over the hood, and Dave Rodgman has pointed out that there is a very Volvo-like appearance in how the front part of the car is shaped. Elantra actually went even to redesign how the stamping of the metal is done in certain parts in an attempt to stand out from its competitors. Kia's game is a bit more low risk high reward using the design of the Stinger as a blueprint to create a car that looks quite sporty without the risk of being too aggressive and turning away potential buyers. Both companies used more high-strength steel to give rigidity while both cars are using Macpherson front struts and rear torsion beams. High-strength steel is a bit more prevalent in Kia's case as they are touting that Forte is 16% more rigid than the previous model. This is due to the fact that Elantra is still using the 6th generation platform of the car that was introduced in 2017. Kudos to Hyundai for doing it right and not engaging in the typical practice of auto companies by releasing an underdeveloped platform too quickly. Elantra will take another step up in edge factor with the release of a new N line model at some point in the future.

In the broadest terms, Forte is 4.5 inches shorter, almost an inch wider, and half an inch taller. The distance between the wheels is virtually the same. The cars are much closer in size than I had anticipated, but the numbers paint a very slight picture of Elantra being longer and leaner and Forte being more stout. In a to be expected move, fuel efficiency is the reasoning behind the size of both cars. Each company having bigger mid-sized cars in mind for larger families. Elantra is touting that being 50 lbs lighter than the previous model. A grand total of 6001 lbs. This game of how light can you make a car has also been mirrored by what Mazda has been doing with all its models.

Both Kia Forte and Hyundai Elantra are compact cars, but there is quite an evident taste difference in their designs. Fresh in the memory is the last Elantra, which was round and lumpy and quite honestly unpleasant. Hyundai has since done a complete U-turn and gone with a design that is both aggressive and modern. The new Elantra has sleek angles and sharp lines with a face that is intended to mimic the Sonata. This is in contrast to the Forte, which is more understated. Dealership sources calling it European. Step 1 breaks down the generalities comparing the dimensions of each car. Step 2 looks at how the two companies decided to stylize their fuel-efficient commuters, while Step 3 contrasts the actual styling of the lights.

1.2. Front grille design

The 2023 Forte embraces Kia's innovative new design direction and comes with a front "Tiger Nose" grille, which helps make the vehicle look wider and more aggressive. Compared to the outgoing model, the new Kia Forte has a more aggressive front and stance with a longer hood and shorter front overhang. The Forte carries an alternative design to the Elantra with its honeycomb grille. Despite not being the top trim level, which otherwise would have a gloss black grille, the Forte still wears a sportier front fascia which can be attractive to potential buyers in its sporty appeal. Hyundai's newest Elantra facelift endorses Hyundai's latest Sensuous Sportiness global design identity that transforms the vehicle into the brand's most progressive-looking sedan yet. Its Parametric Jewel pattern grille is supposed to reflect light in its many jewel-like facets. This is obviously to simulate the idea of being precious stones and to give a noticeable shimmer when light strikes the grille; however, too much reflection may be a driving hazard. The Elantra incorporates a more aggressive Audi A7 styled headlight design, whereas the Forte has thinner headlights to help distinguish both vehicles from one another.

1.3. Headlight and taillight design

Stepping into the Elantra's headlights marks a resemblance to a Honda Civic. It has a larger and what looks like a higher set hood with deep-set headlight assemblies. A hood crease adds a hint to what the newer hoods of cars to come will look like. The Elantra also features a deeper set front grille and sharp lines in the bumper. This car actually pulls off chrome trim near the fenders, engine, and a character line with tastefully styled headlights that are probably pricier looking than most of the other cars in its class. The taillights are much simplified and have a somewhat unique shape for these kinds of cars, but there is no fancy LED junk here.

A very shallow, rounded off hood with headlights enveloping into the easily identifiable and more hood protrusion. Almost wide with little horizontal strakes, it creates an aggressive front end. Built-in reflector accents create a swept-back feeling, a feature that many high-line vehicles don't have. In a world of V-shaped leaping headlight assemblies, the Forte stands out with its different and identifiable trait. As for the taillights, they are large red, almost wrap-around lens taillights. With the turn signal on the trunk lid above, it's hard not to say it's a cross between a Lexus IS300 or a Suzuki Aerio. The built-in reflector gives a flow to the rear end with no visible step where it begins, unlike most cars. An antenna in the rear definitely makes it look sporty, but the possibility of leaks or abnormal noises from the antenna can question its presence and necessity.

2. Interior Features

Both the Kia Forte and the Hyundai Elantra come with displays in two sizes, dependent on trim, with the entry 8.0-inch unit featuring wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the up-level 10.25-inch screen tacking-on in-built nav, a SiriusXM trial, and split-screen functionality. Injection-molded single or available two-tone texture mix soft-touch material is found throughout the Kia Forte’s cabin, with the dash and instrumentation center canted towards the driver to emulate the driver-focused cockpits found in the Stinger and K5. The Elantra utilizes dual integrated 10.25-inch displays that are placed at the very same level in a single piece of glass making it the first compact sedan with a digital information display also located straight ahead of the driver in addition to the center touchscreen real estate. Entry SE trims will feature an 8-inch display. Segment first wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is available in addition, as well as two smartphone connections simultaneously, advanced natural language voice recognition, and over-the-air updates for the navigation system. Owners can even personalize the opening screen greeting with their name or a favorite saying by utilizing 'User Profiles'. The 2023 Kia Forte boasts 38.7 inches of rear legroom with 35.9 inches of headroom and 56.2 inches of hip room, creating the impression of a larger and more open environment. Available dual-zone climate control, a power sunroof, ambient LED mood lighting in the cockpit, and a SOFINO seat trim that feels and breathes like genuine leather in addition to available heated and air-ventilated front seats work together to create a comfort-oriented environment. Adding to the open feel is the available two-tone color schemes within the interior. The exact dimensions of the 2023 Hyundai Elantra are obscured as it has not been on sale in the North American market, but is rumored to be larger than the previous generation. While Hyundai has yet to announce the full list of specifications for interior space, the Elantra should possess more room within the cabin than its predecessor. Dual automatic temperature control will be standard with available leather and suede seats. Additionally, a leather steering wheel and shift knob are options that are rare to see in the compact sedan segment. Both vehicles come with typical interior style cues such as a flat-bottom steering wheel and booted console-mounted shifters better exemplify the fun to drive characteristics of each car.

2.1. Infotainment system

Both of these compact sedans are well equipped with infotainment systems that have intuitive interfaces and easy-to-use physical controls so drivers are not distracted. Both the Kia Forte and the Hyundai Elantra have standard infotainment systems with an 8.0-inch color touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, a rear-view camera with dynamic guidelines, and SIRI Eyes Free. Both also have an assortment of USB ports and 12V power outlets, allowing you to connect and charge various devices all at once. The Kia Forte EX and GT models are featuring the latest Kia infotainment system that the Hyundai does not have; a 10.25-inch color touchscreen with navigation and a 320W Harmon/Kardon premium sound system with 8 speakers. With UVO Intelligence and comes with 2 USB charging ports and a wireless phone charger. This is a stark contrast to the Hyundai, which only has an 8.0-inch color touchscreen for GPS and a 192W speaker system, and no mention of UVO Intelligence. This would give the Kia Forte the edge for infotainment systems, for the price. The latest information about both of these cars may allow entry levels to also be equipped with the latest infotainment system available. If that is the case then both the Kia Forte and the Hyundai Elantra will be very evenly matched for infotainment systems, however there is slightly more information available indicating it may only be the Kia who has this top-level system on the top-level trims.

2.2. Connectivity options

Moreover, the Forte has also integrated features such as wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay along with USB connectivity. In the lane departure warning system, the driver can select to direct the delivery of the alerts to the rumble of the steering wheel or through an audible alert for a clearer view of the system. On the other hand, the Hyundai Elantra features an 8-inch display audio which is also upgradable to a 10.25-inch screen. The Elantra features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a very exciting feature that makes the car stand out in comparison to the other cars in the segment. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mean the phone can be used to operate the UVO system on the touch screen. Thus, this helps in preserving the battery life and the phone will only be connected while charging on the go.

Connectivity is the need of the hour and a feature that no customer wishes to compromise on. Speaking of the 2023 Kia Forte and 2023 Hyundai Elantra, both of them are loaded with a variety of connectivity options that is bound to leave the customers impressed. The Kia Forte comes with an 8-inch UVO touch screen display which stands for 'your voice' and depicts Kia's philosophy of useful innovation and simplicity. This is upgradable to a 10.25-inch screen in GT DCT, GT manual, and GT.

2.3. Cabin space and comfort

ave addressed this by including a rear window defogger and rear window wiper/washer. The rear seats in both vehicles also have a center armrest with cup holders, providing convenience for passengers. In terms of cargo space, the Elantra offers 14.4 cubic feet of trunk space, while the Kia offers 15.9 cubic feet. Both vehicles also have a split-folding rear seat, allowing for additional storage when needed. Overall, both the Kia and Hyundai vehicles offer comfortable and practical cabin spaces, with features that cater to the needs of their target market.

3. Performance and Efficiency

Not an easy task to establish the performance and efficiency capabilities between clearly matched vehicles, interesting to see how the two vehicles diverge in this specific category. The Kia Forte is only available with one engine, a 1.8L DOHC Inline 4-cylinder that produces 156 horsepower and 144 lb-ft of torque. The Hyundai Elantra comes with a choice of two engines, the first being a 2.0L DOHC Inline 4-cylinder that produces 138 horsepower and 136 lb-ft of torque. The second engine option is a 1.6L DOHC Inline 4-cylinder with a turbo that produces 148 horsepower and 131 lb-ft of torque. In terms of power output and throttle response, the Kia Forte and Hyundai Elantra are very closely matched and should offer very comparable driving performances. Step one looks to be a draw for matched performance and an equal point to spend on either vehicle. In regards to fuel efficiency, the Kia Forte is an excellent choice for a consumer looking to save money on fuel. With 25 MPG in the city and 34 MPG on the highway, the Forte has an outstanding fuel efficiency rating, especially for a car in its class. The Hyundai Elantra is also good on fuel, offering 25 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway. However, after looking at the fuel efficiency ratings for both vehicles, it is evident that the Kia Forte is a slightly better choice if fuel economy is a priority. With 1 MPG higher in both the city and highway ratings, the Forte will save a consumer a decent amount of money over time compared to the Elantra. This makes for an edge for the Forte on step number two.

3.1. Engine options and power output

The 2023 Kia Forte will give a range of four-cylinder engines, together with a turbo that needs to be interesting. The issue is, none of this has been confirmed by Kia yet, so we are going to update this piece when we get official info. As a substitute of outlining the dearth of information out there, because anyone studying this in the future will already discover out about it, we'll check out the engine choices for the 2022 Forte because it must carry over. At the prime of the non-turbo vary is Kia's 2.0-liter inline-4. This engine can also be discovered within the wonderful Soul and the fairly good Seltos and it pumps out 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. The following step down can also be a 2.0-liter inline-4, however geared up with the environment friendly Atkinson cycle. Output is diminished barely to 147 hp as nicely, however torque decreases to 132 lb-ft. Producing the Atkinson cycle engine is the Forte GT with a turbocharged 1.6-liter inline-4. Although this engine would be the strongest for the mannequin, it barely undercuts the Elantra Sport's turbo with 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, as a substitute of 201 and 201. This engine is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch computerized and we suspect it will likely be the only choice for the 2023 Forte. Get again to this piece later for added information on the model new engine choices.

3.2. Fuel efficiency and MPG ratings

Kia Forte has just one engine accessible, a 147-horsepower four-cylinder, combined with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that drives the car's front wheels. The setup is good for up to 41 mpg on the freeway, 31 mpg in the city, and 35 mpg on the combined cycle. The fuel economy digits put the Forte very much in line with phase rivals like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla (also Mazda 3), albeit a short of the Hyundai Elantra (which returns a class-leading 33-36 mpg in the city, and up to 43 mpg on the freeway) due to the latter's more advanced transmission. Hyundai Elantra provides additional diversified powertrains; the bottom Elantra (SE, SEL, N Line) uses a 147 hp 2.0L engine connected to IVT (Hyundai's branding for the CVT). The result is a competitive 33 mpg in the city and 43 mpg on the freeway, and a combined 37 mpg, and thus superior than the imperfectly more powerful Forte engine. The Elantra Hybrid trumps all its rivals on fuel economy due to its Atkinson combustion cycle 1.6L engine, electric motor, and lithium-ion battery providing a system 139 hp, and exceptional energy-retaining 6-speed DCT. Estimated figures are 53-56 mpg in the city, up to 56 mpg on the freeway, and an impressive 50 mpg combined. This makes the Elantra Hybrid the most economical non-plug-in compact sedan, a title previously held by the Civic.

3.3. Transmission options

The Forte would be launched with a new 2.0-liter inline-4, direct-injected engine that produces 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. Paired with either a six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic. The new six-speed automatic is an all-new design from Kia, offering a sport mode that holds engine speed and performance the largest percentage of available engine torque when down-shifting under hard acceleration. By moving to a six-speed, the updated powertrain is able to improve upon the Forte's fuel economy with an estimated highway fuel economy rating of 37 miles per gallon, up from 36. The improved fuel economy is a welcome benchmark for the Forte, which is widely popular. Moving up from the LX and S trims, the top-tier Forte EX is equipped with a standard 2.0-liter NU engine that offers fuel efficiency of 25 city/33 highway. The 2.0-liter NU engine produces 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. This engine is also paired with the new six-speed automatic transmission.

3.4. Handling and driving experience

Attributed from the Kia K3 and with the relation to the Hyundai Avante, the Elantra is renowned for a smooth ride quality with good drivability. With improvements in steering and suspension, the rebirth Kia Forte has similar characteristics. Both vehicles utilize a McPherson strut system up front, while the rear, the Elantra still sticks with the less advanced torsion beam axle suspension whereas the Forte uses a new multilink style. While the Elantra provides HV (High Viscosity) steering system, the Forte includes the MDPS (Motor Driven Power Steering) which is said to marginally increase fuel efficiency over the conventional hydraulic power system. Overall, both vehicles' steering and suspension feel well-tuned. On the test drive, the Elantra felt more connected and handled a lot better with its 4-wheel independent suspension, contrary to the Forte which seems to have excessive body roll around the corners and not as connected but still a major improvement from its older sibling. Both vehicles also made a significant decrease in NVH levels. Where higher trim models in the Elantra, such as the Elantra Elite, include features such as 16-inch alloy wheels and VSM (Vehicle Stability Management) which increase the vehicle's performance and safety. Measures were taken by Kia to also improve performance in the Forte in an attempt to gather the consumer considering a Civic or Corolla. Higher trim models include 17-inch tires and ESC (Electronic Stability Control) standard on all models.

4. Safety and Technology

The 2023 Forte is a smaller sedan, which the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety classifies under the compact car category, while the 2023 Elantra is a midsize car. The Forte has a higher front and moderate overlap crashworthiness score of 'Acceptable', while the Elantra has a 'Good' score in these areas. Neither the Elantra nor the Forte have a side impact crashworthiness rating. Both cars have a roof strength rating of 'Good' and both have the IIHS' highest rating for front crash prevention. The Elantra, on the other hand, scored the 'Top Safety Pick+' rating due to the car's available LED headlights being rated as 'Good' by the IIHS. This is an improvement from the previous Elantra from the generation before, which was only able to achieve a 'Top Safety Pick' due to the headlight rating. At this current point in time, the Forte's headlights are yet to be tested. LED headlights are standard on the Elantra and Forte, and Kia and Hyundai's premium models now come equipped with the new innovative front lighting system featuring "Dynamic Bending Light" and "High Beam Assist". Four airbags have been added to the new Elantra, bringing the total to 10: 2 front airbags, 4 side airbags, and 4 curtain airbags. The Forte has a total of 6 airbags, with 2 front airbags, 2 side airbags, and 2 curtain airbags.

4.1. Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS)

The 2023 Kia Forte will mark the first ADAS model for Kia. The advanced driving assistant system leverages the front camera, front radar, and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) to give drivers a safe and convenient driving experience. The LKA added to the 2023 Kia Forte has a feature called Lane Departure Warning System. This system will notify the driver with visual and auditory warnings, allowing the driver to maintain their lane of travel unless a turn signal is on. The LKA is designed to help a driver prevent accidents that are caused by the driver's inattention to stay in their lane. If the system detects that the driver is deviating from the traveling lane, the LKA system will automatically make a corrective steering adjustment. In-case Prevention has a key role in the LKA system. The At speed or Pre-impact system is designed to recognize an imminent collision. If a collision is unavoidable, the system will apply the brakes and secure the seat belts. This function has the potential to greatly reduce the severity of a collision. The 2023 Kia Forte comes with Smart Cruise Control (SCC). This feature will keep a set distance from the vehicle in front for varying traffic conditions. If that vehicle should come to a stop, the car will also stop and be held until the driver presses the accelerator pedal. Smart Assist can help the driver to keep from getting too close to the edge of the highway. It will take into account the curvature of the road and maintain a safe distance from the car in front. This takes into consideration the curve of the road, speed limit, and condition of the road for the degree of curves.

4.2. Safety ratings and crash test results

The Elantra only features forward collision warning and AEB but does not have a full-on detection crash prevention system for pedestrians. Due to FCA being a superior grade, the Elantra was not tested with the same results as the Forte. It will be tested at a later date.

The crash prevention feature was not rated for the Elantra, but the 2023 Forte was rated superior for vehicle-to-pedestrian and standard for crash avoidance. A total of 6 crashes were simulated for the new Kia Forte with an avoidance of impact and/or reduction of speed. The new Forte features Forward Collision-avoidance Assist - Pedestrian, a system made to help detect a collision directly in front of the vehicle but will also detect pedestrians. This system will apply the brakes immediately if there is a risk of a collision. Its newly developed system has brought the vehicle to a stop within the test conditions or completely avoided the crash.

The IIHS report for the 2023 Kia Forte rated well, with a good rating for all crashworthiness tests. The 2021 model was rated well for all, but the passenger side was rated acceptable.

On the other hand, the 2023 Hyundai Elantra is the only vehicle tested in the 2023 model year and currently has a 5-star overall rating. However, the Elantra received safety concerns regarding its safety cage. In a crash, acceleration the A-pillar would slow down by five inches, causing the roof and door to shift and increase the risks of driver and passenger injury.

The NHTSA's five-star rating system is the gold standard for consumer safety ratings. Although several vehicles have already been tested, the 2023 Kia Forte has not been rated as of June 2023. The previous model year, 2022, was rated 4-star overall and 5-star in side crash. However, better ratings should be expected since the vehicle was updated with better materials and safety technology.

4.3. Technology features and innovations

Kia has manufactured a compact sedan coming up with a plethora of advanced technology features intended to supplement the convenience and safety attributes. These include Telematics, a Voice Recognition System, an Eco and Sports mode with mode indicator, and a Supervision meter cluster with 3.5' mono TFT LCD included on the EX trim level. The Voice Recognition System uses a simple programmed learning function to provide hands-free operation for audio and Bluetooth functions, thus minimizing extraneous driver distractions. The system is easy to use and is responsive to spoken commands. This isn't to be mistaken for the Siri or Google Now mobile assistant platforms currently available, as it doesn't provide an automatic connectivity and information function. But in comparison to the Elantra's corresponding models, this exceeds Hyundai's current system, which is only available for navigation input and is difficult to use. Available after limited introduction in current and late model vehicles, the new Kia UVO Telematics system to be introduced for the 2023 model year will provide a convenience and comfort only currently available to users of Mobile Telecommunications Service (MTS) or Smartphone integration-based systems. Usually, the latter is a paid service and often includes in-car Wi-Fi, diagnostics, and remote send-to-car functions. One can assume Kia's system will certainly accomplish these at well below the current market price. Read more about our ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Detailed model comparison.