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2020 Hyundai Elantra vs 2020 Kia Forte: Specifications, MPG, and Comparison

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Aaron Smith

Automotive Journalist

May 30, 2020 at 10:34 AM

One segment where the Korean manufacturers ace is the compact vehicle segment. Both Kia and Hyundai absolutely dominate this segment throughout the globe. The Elantra and Forte are essentially the same vehicles under the skin. They share the same platform, however, there are minor differences that set them worlds apart. Let's find out which one makes more sense for you.

The 2020 Hyundai Elantra and 2020 Kia Forte are not so similar-looking siblings that share a platform and are marketed by two brands that share a bit in common. For those who aren't aware that Kia is just another 'Hyundai" underneath. They may not look like cousins but they are very similar to each other. Well, for the most part of it. So what makes these cars different from each other and which one should you go for? We'll help you with that.

2020 Hyundai Elantra

How do they stack up against each other?

The 2020 Hyundai Elantra comes with almost every other feature that its dedicated customers have asked for overtime. The Elantra has been in the market for quite some time now and Hyundai has been vigorously revising the car to well dominate its niche. The Elantra now looks edgier and much sharper now.

2020 Kia Forte

The new 2020 Kia Forte has taken its cues from the Stinger giving it a sharp, stand out look from front to back. The Forte features one of the most lavish feature-laden interiors. Generous Kia brings one of the best features to price propositions in the segment to the market. Also, the Forte packs slightly more performance under the hood as compared to its sibling car.

Trims and Features

For 2020, Hyundai is offering just four trims for the Elantra- SE, SEL, Value Edition, and Limited. The top of the line "Limited" trim offers plenty of high tech equipment like Leather Seating, Premium Audio, Sunroof and a lot more. The engine offerings are just limited to the 2.0L naturally aspirated motor that generates 147 hp and 132 lbs of Torque. Also available is a Sport Trim, which is whole another exclusive line with sporty details.

Trim

SE

SEL

Value Edition

Eco

Limited

Sport

MSRP (IVT)

$18,950

$19,700

$20,600

---

$22,800

---

MSRP (DCT)

---

---

-------

$21,250

---

$23,80

Key Features

Bluetooth Handsfree telephony,

Driver Attention Warning,

Lane Keep Assist,

Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist,

Rearview Camera with Dynamic Guidelines.

Features from SE Trim along with,

16" Alloy wheels,

Blind Spot Monitoring,

Automatic Headlights,

7" Touchscreen infotainment system,

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Features from SEL Trim along with,

Heated Front seats,

Handsfree Smart Trunk Release,

Power Sunroof,

Leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift knob,

Blue Link Connected Car System.

Features from Value Edition along with,

15" Alloy wheels,

LED Day time running lamps,

Dual Charging Points.

Features from Eco Trim along with,

Leather seating surfaces

Wireless Charging,

17" Alloy Wheels,

Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror with Homelink,

Infiniti Premium Audio with Clari-Fi.

Features from Limited edition along with,

18" alloy wheels,

Black headliner,

Sport Instrument Gauge Cluster,

Sport front Grille and Bumper FAscia,

Sport front seats with contrast stitching.

The Kia Forte is available in four trims for the year 2020. The S trim has also been discontinued this year. The GT Line up is a whole different car in itself, with a turbocharged engine and amplified driving dynamics.

TRIM

FE

LXS

GT- Line

EX

MSRP (FWD)

$17,790

$19,190

$20,390

$21,990

Key Features

Projector headlamps,

4 speaker audio system,

3.5 inch TFT LCD display,

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay,

Leather-wrapped steering wheel,

Day-Night Rearview Mirror,

15-inch steel wheels.

Features from FE trim along with,

16-inch alloy wheels,

CVT Gearbox,

Chrome Exhaust tip,

Drive Mode Select,

60/40 Split-folding seats.

Features from LXS Trim along with,

17-inch alloy wheels,

Front fog lights,

6-way adjustable driver's seat,

6 speaker audio system,

leather-wrapped steering wheel,

LED taillamps.

Features from LXS and GT Line trim along with,

LED DRLS,

Heated Outside Mirrors,

Dual Zone automatic temperature control,

10-way power-adjustable driver seat,

heated front seats.

Apparently, the Kia Forte seems to be a more promising choice when it comes to the features offered in the different trims of the two cars.

Engine and Performance

The Hyundai Elantra comes with just 1 engine option for the entire range. The 2.0L naturally aspirated motor squeezes out 147 Hp and 132 lb-ft of torque. The Intelligent Variable transmission, which is an upgraded CVT unit, is available as the only option for the 2020 Elantra Lineup. The transmission supposedly offers minimal rubberband effect at motorway speeds. however, you can feel the jutter from the transmission and a significant rubber band effect at city speeds. While the performance seems weak for the Elantra, Hyundai says that they have done this to aid the MPG figures of the sedan. The Kia Forte comes with the same engine as the Elantra, producing 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque from the 2.0L inline-4 engine, with a slick and smooth six-speed manual transmission. There is also an optional CVT gearbox which is very smooth and responsive, unlike the Elantra's jittery CVT.

How does the engine feel?

Both the cars quite literally share the same engine under their hoods. The difference arises out of the different gearboxes and transmission on the two cars. Elantra can come as a disappointment because of the not so smooth CVT gearbox. It also feels underpowered though it might just be in your head and not in the real world scenario because both the cars have almost the same power delivery figures.

Model

Hyundai Elantra

Kia Forte

MSRP

$18,950

$19,600

Engine

2.0L I4

2.0L I4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

Transmission

CVT

6-speed manual

Power

147hp @ 6200 rpm

147 hp @ 6200 rpm

Torque

132 lbs-ft @ 4500 rpm

132 lbs-ft @ 4500 rpm

The smooth and responsive gearbox gives the Kia Forte a slight edge over the Elantra, though they might be the same cars under different skins. One of the biggest disappointments with the 2020 Elantra is the lack of a manual gearbox.

Which one of the cars is faster?

Both cars have moderate, linear, and comfortable acceleration. It won't make you awe in surprise. It's just okay. The occupants won't feel the adrenaline rush as such. By no means, are the two cars sluggish, but they are not blimey fast either. They, however, get the job done with ease.

Model

Hyundai Elantra

Kia Forte

0-60 MPH (in seconds)

9.0

8.2

Quarter mile (in seconds)

16.2

16.4

Top Speed (MPH)

116

129

Engine

2.0L I4

2.0L I4

Emissions
(Tons/yr of
CO2
Emissions @

15k mi/yr)

4.3

4.8

Though the Kia Forte is slightly faster than the Elantra, that difference won't feel much. Where the difference can be felt is the top speed, with Kia Forte having a significantly higher top speed than the Elantra. These minor differences can be attributed to the gearboxes on offer.

How do these cars handle?

The new Elantra offers a blend of comfort with sportiness because of the stiffened up the suspension. The steering now offers more feedback on the highways and provides the connectedness that was missing. The light steering and the blend of comfort and sportiness will surely leave its customers satisfied.

Forte's steel unibody helps to mitigate most of the unwanted distresses making the ride comfortable and smooth. That also helps in getting a better connection to the road. The electric-assist system fills the lack of feel from the steering in the Hyundai. The suspension is also on a stiffer side which kinda makes the ride a little uncomfortable.

How well do these cars stop?

The Elantra is fitted with rear drum brakes while the Forte comes with disc brakes on all four wheels. As a result, the distance taken to come to a halt is more on the Elantra. The Forte does an impressive job of eliminating any kind of nose dive as the car sits lower and the suspension also aids in that. The Elantra maintains its composure during the intense braking and does a very little swaying.

Model

Hyundai Elantra

Kia Forte

Brake Rotors: Front (Inches)

11.0

11.0

Brake Rotors: Rear (Inches)

8.0

10.3

Curb Weight (lbs)

2844

2707

60-0 (feet)

125

118

The Forte having fitted with larger brake rotors on the rear and also being lighter than the Elantra does an impressive display of its braking skills. Both the cars have a decent braking force to get them to a complete halt with ease.

How many miles to the gallon do they offer?

Hyundai has introduced the Elantra in the market with multiple engines on offer, which makes it easier for the customers to choose as per their preference. That concern is visible when we compare the Elantra with the Forte. Elantra's sibling falls behind in providing a good economy despite sharing the underpins. The Elantra really offers some of the segment-leading numbers when it comes to fuel economy.

Model

Hyundai Elantra

Kia Forte

MPG (City)

31

27

MPG (highway)

41

37

MPG (Combined)

35

31

Fuel Capacity (gallons)

14

14

Range (City/Highway/Combined)

434/574/490

378/518/434

Which has a nicer interior?

The Forte has a minimalistic approach towards interior design. The cabin is filled with superior quality materials. It has comfortable seating for both rows. The seats are well-bolstered and provide ample thigh support as well. There is ample room for the passengers as well. and of course, things get better when you move towards the higher end trims.

2020 Hyundai Elantra dashboard design

The Elantra remains unchanged over the previous year model. The driver-centric dash layout is preferred by many enthusiasts. the easy accessibility for the driver is also a plus side. The seats offer you good support and bolstering that will make up for long rides without giving you an ache. There is enough space for everyone on the Elantra, however, the small rear glass area may make the atmosphere a little darker.

Are the seats comfortable?

Both cars provide good and comfortable seating. The 10 way power adjustable on the Forte gives an edge over the Elantra for finding an ideal seating position. There is ample support and bolstering on the seats of both the cars, but the seats on the Forte feel a tad more comfortable. Also, the SOFINO leather on the Forte feels more sumptuous than the leather used on Elantra.

Model

Hyundai Elantra

Kia Forte

Seating capacity

5

5

Front Row
(Headroom/Shoulder
Room/Leg Room, in

inches)

40.3/56.2/42.2

38.8/56.1/42.2

Rear Row
(Headroom/Shoulder
Room/Leg Room, in

inches)

37.3/55.3/35.7

37.5/55.3/35.7

Trunk Capacity (cubic feet)

14.4

15.3

As you can see from the figures that there a bigger trunk on the Forte. And it also comes with some added functionalities that would make this more of a preferred choice. This is can be due to the minor difference in the exterior dimensions. However, the Elantra offers a good trunk capacity as well.

What's there to keep you entertained?

Elantra comes with a bundle of features like the 8 speaker HD audio system, the 5" - 8" infotainment screen, and Hyundai's state of the art AVN system with an upgraded processor that enhances the speed of the system. While the Forte has a plethora of features to offer. It comes with standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Some other prominent features include a crisp 8" LCD infotainment screen, 6 speaker audio system which can be upgraded to an 8 speaker Harmon Kardon audio system.

2020 Kia Forte rear design

Which is more attractive?

The cousins share the same dimensions but differ in design language which makes all the difference. The Stinger inspired Forte to look stunning and masculine. The car looks neat on the outside with a hint of sportiness in its styling. The Elantra looks edgier and sharper on the other hand. The triangular pattern on the exterior gives the Elantra a distinct look.

Model

Hyundai Elantra

Kia Forte

Curb Weight (lbs)

2844

2707

Length (Inches)

181.9

182.7

Width (inches)

70.9

70.9

Height (inches)

56.5

56.5

Ground Clearance (inches)

5.3

5.3

Wheelbase (inches)

106.3

106.3

They both completely look different from each other and it's hard to say which looks better. It's up to you if you want a minimalist looking car or a sharper and edgier one. In terms of size, both the cars are decently sized which makes them easier to take around busy streets and towns. The Elantra is one of the easiest to maneuver vehicles around traffic.

Safety Features

Hyundai has added some great safety equipment as standard for 2020 on the Elantra. Like- Active Lane Control, Cross-traffic Alert, Forward collision warning, etc. The 4 stars NHTSA rated KiaForte comes with Forward-collision Avoidance Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Lane departure warning, Hill-start-assist control, etc. The Forte comes with more standard safety features than the Elantra.

Which one to go for?

These two cars show us how two very same cars can be so different. Kia comes loaded with standard safety and entertainment features as well. It also has a smooth and impressive gearbox, making us choose it over the Elantra for 2020.

Also Read:

Read our review of the 2020 Hyundai Elantra

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