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Old 04-07-2012, 10:26 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Hyundai Elantra Vs. Kia Forte

2012 Hyundai Elantra



2012 Kia Forte





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Hyundai and Kia have an interesting relationship; while they're operated as separate automakers, with a completely different design direction and a different personality from the driver's seat, they have the same South Korean parent company and share platforms and core powertrain technologies. And between the current sedan versions of the Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte--both compact models around the same size--the Elantra gets some more advanced technology and features and comes out ahead because of it. No doubt, it's the Hyundai Elantra that turns heads and really stands out from a distance. The complete redesign given to the Elantra for 2011--following Hyundai's new "fluidic sculpture" theme--is sporty, modern, and dynamic, and we like the wedgelike stance yet curvy details. Meanwhile, the Forte has a cleaner, simpler design that today doesn't stand out as well as it did just a few years ago when it was new; nevertheless, we like it's crisp details and gently arched roofline. Inside, it's the same story for both cars, with the Elantra making waves with its fashion-forward details and distinctive hourglass center console, while the Forte takes a more simplified design direction.

Even though the 2012 Kia Forte was at last updated six-speed automatic transmissions (six-speed manuals remain available), the current Forte still has the older generation of four-cylinder engines, which are less fuel-efficient than the modern, all-aluminum 'Nu' unit in the Elantra. Engine refinement is also a step behind as a result, even though both versions of the Forte (with the 2.0-liter in LX and EX, and a 2.4-liter in the SX) accelerate strongly. The Forte's hydraulic power steering is also a step ahead of the Elantra's electric system--even though it is old-tech--and overall the Forte is a more firmly sprung, with a perkier driving feel.
That somewhat firmer suspension tune comes out in the way the Forte rides; it's a little busier, with more road noise than the Elantra (even though these are both quiet cars within their class); and we think that the Forte's more straightforward, upright layout makes it feel a little roomier.

Neither the 2012 Hyundai Elantra nor the 2012 Kia Forte are among the best in their class for safety, although the Elantra is a step ahead of the Forte, which has a concerning two-star rating in the federal side pole test. Both models also earn just three stars overall for side impact. Otherwise, safety equipment is comparable between the two models, although the Elantra comes with a few more aids, such as the Steering Effort assist system, which works with the stability control, and an optional rearview camera system.

Features are also a bit better in the Elantra, even though its price isn't very far from that of the Forte. Features offered in the Elantra include eated rear seats, a proximity key system, push-button start, and a navigation system and infotainment system with one of the largest screens among compact cars. It also supports Bluetooth audio streaming, and the nav system includes voice controls and XM Data services. Forte shoppers can also get a navigation system, but the interface is a step behind that of the Hyundai; and many of the Elantra's features simply aren't available yet in the Forte. Forte shoppers will also want to note that telescopic steering adjustment only comes on EX models and above.

All said, although we prefer the way the Forte drives, the Elantra is simply a step ahead in most other respects, and it's the clear winner of the two here at High Gear Media.
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:34 AM   #2
WeldingHank
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Having worked for both Hyundai and Kia. I don't think they belong in the same class if your shopping around.

The elantra is upscale and "grown-up" and the Forte is kind of raw and dirty, a hatch SX Forte is a hoot to drive believe it or not.
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Old 04-09-2012, 09:32 AM   #3
Einzelherz
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This article should be called 2008 Kia Forte vs. 2011 Hyundai Elantra. It would be like comparing a current Optima to the previous Sonata.
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Old 04-12-2012, 02:57 PM   #4
Brahmzy
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The seats alone in the Forte said enough about the car. Holy cow. Like sittin' on cardboard.

No way I could roll one with just the seats alone. A big gripe among the reviewers as well.
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Old 04-13-2012, 11:49 PM   #5
424wrx
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good, economical small commuter car. nothing more, nothing less. boring and thats about it.
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Old 04-14-2012, 12:54 PM   #6
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Forte now is what like the Civic used to be.
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Old 04-15-2012, 05:56 PM   #7
VTEC yo
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Had a 2010 Forte Koup.... Great little car...
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