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2019 Kia Forte

Starting Price: $18,585 | Price Yours

Above Average: Roomy, good-looking, tons of safety features, fuel efficient all wrapped up with an impressive powertrain warranty.

Below Average: Only automatic offered is a CVT without any fixed ratios which may or may not be to your liking, hard plastics inside evidence of the Forte’s affordable nature.

Consensus: The 2019 Kia Forte is more refined and sportier than the previous generation and comes replete with a variety of standard safety and infotainment technology. It’s also gotten a good-looking exterior redesign that makes it more handsome.

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2019 Hyundai Elantra

Starting Price: $18,120 | Price Yours

Above Average: High quality, tons of value and packed with sophisticated touches.

Below Average: Not every version comes with advanced driver assistance, and it's not as spunky or fun to drive as say a Honda Civic or Mazda3.

Consensus: Luxury touches and technology in a well-priced sedan.
 

The 2019 Kia Forte may not be a compact sports sedan, but it certainly feels like one. On curvy roads, the Forte is firm and responsive, but comfortable. The CVT, despite its lack of fixed ratios, does a decent job of behaving like a 6-speed automatic and can be driven in three different modes: Normal, Smart, and Sport. Smart mode adapts to how the car is being driven and toggles between Sport and Normal. 

The 2019 Kia Forte comes standard with an 8-inch touch screen and minimalist interior. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. For our money, we'd add the 320-watt Harman Kardon stereo on the Forte EX as well as navigation, wireless smartphone charging and LED lights. For 2019 Kia also offers a Launch Edition package which includes a suite of active-safety features like smart cruise control, sunroof and alloy wheels.

The 2019 Hyundai Elantra combines comfort, efficiency and a touch of sportiness into one vehicle. It's responsive and moderately fun to drive whether you're zipping in and out of morning traffic or taking it out to the canyon roads.

If you want something a bit sportier, step up to the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that puts out 201 horsepower rather than the base 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 147 horsepower. Plus you can choose to pair the sportier engine with a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual clutch transmission.

For 2019 the Elantra gets a major overhaul that includes a new front end, fenders, trunk, and taillight styling. At the SEL trim and higher, you can get new driver-assistance features and a rearview camera.

Inside the Elantra gets a ton of interior space, topping out at 110.2 cubic feet. When you step into the highest trim Elantra, the Limited, you get leather interior, power driver’s seat, Qi wireless charging, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, high beam assistance, and push-button start. To get things like adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection, you need to add on the Ultimate package. The 2019 Hyundai Elantra comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Similarities

Enjoyable, amenity-packed sedans that are nice to drive no matter which one you choose.

Kia Forte Advantages

Great bang for your buck—for $26,000 you can get into the top-of-the-line Forte EX Launch Edition. Forte pricing starts below the Hyundai Elantra.

Hyundai Elantra Advantages

You can get the Elantra with one of four different engines based on what you need and how you like to drive.

Final Recommendation

It’s a close race between the 2019 Kia Forte and 2019 Hyundai Elantra. For our money, we'd go with the Elantra simply because you can get a sportier engine paired to a 6-speed manual to give the car a bit more punch. 

Ready to buy a compact car? Shop for a Hyundai Elantra or Kia Forte near you!

  2019 Kia Forte 2019 Hyundai Elantra
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 2.0-liter I4 2.0-liter I4
Horsepower 147 @ 6,200 rpm 147 hp @ 6,200 rpm
Torque 132 lb-ft @ 4,500 RPM 132 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
Transmission Manual, 6-speed Automatic, 6-speed
Fuel Economy 31 mpg 927 city/37 hwy) 29 mpg (26 city, 36 hwy)
Also Available Automatic CVT 1.4-liter turbo I4; 2.0-liter I4; 1.6-liter turbo I4, 6-speed manual, 7-speed automatic
Specs    
Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Safety Rating n/a 4 Stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 106.3 inches 106.3 inches
Overall Length 182.7 inches 181.9 inches
Width 70.9 inches 70.9 inches
Height 56.5 inches 56.5 inches
Turning Diameter 34.8 feet 34.8 feet
Headroom, Front 38.8 inches 38.8 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.5 inches 37.3 inches
Legroom, Front 42.2 inches 42.2 inches
Legroom, Rear 35.7 inches 35.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 56.1 inches 56.2 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 55.3 inches 55.3 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 96.0 cu. ft. 95.8 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 15.3 cu. ft. 14.4 cu. ft.
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