Compact sedans have a lot to offer drivers. For those who are looking for sedans that can make their daily commutes and annual trips exciting, there’s the 2021 Hyundai Elantra and the 2021 Kia Forte. But which one is right for you?
The Elantra and Forte have fairly similar offerings when it comes to engines, but the 2021 Elantra offers just a little bit more. If you’re looking for a hybrid sedan, check out the Elantra Hybrid. Here’s what each model has to offer when it comes to powertrains:
2021 Hyundai Elantra
- SE, SEL, and Limited: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque.
- N Line: 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque
- Hybrid: 1.6-liter hybrid four-cylinder, 139 total system horsepower
These engines are paired to either a six-speed manual transmission, continuously variable automatic transmission, or a sporty seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The hybrid Elantra offers the best mileage of any model or trim level on this list. With the hybrid powertrain, you can get up to 53 mpg in the city and 56 on the highway. Even if you choose a non-hybrid model, the Elantra can still achieve 33 mpg in the city and 43 on the highway.
2021 Kia Forte
- FE, LXS, GT-LIne, EX: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque
- GT: 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque
These engines are paired to either a six-speed manual transmission, a continuously variable automatic transmission, or a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The Forte’s most efficient setup allows it to reach up to 29 mpg in the city and 40 on the highway.
As you can see, the Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte have fairly similar engine options. The primary differences between the two are the availability of hybrid options and access to stronger engines. If either of those factors are important to you, you may want to stick with the Elantra.
The Hyundai Elantra offers 99.4 cubic feet of passenger volume for you and your passengers to relax in. The Elantra offers a trunk with 14.2 cubic feet of cargo space. Here’s a breakdown of its maximum interior passenger dimensions in inches in the front and rear rows respectively:
- Head room: 40.6/37.2
- Shoulder room: 56.5/55.6
- Hip room: 53.4/50.5
- Leg room: 42.3/38.0
The Kia Forte offers 96 cubic feet of interior volume. The Forte has a 15.3-cubic-foot trunk. Here’s a breakdown of its interior passenger dimensions in inches in the front and rear rows respectively:
- Head room: 38.8/37.5
- Shoulder room: 56.1/55.3
- Hip room: 53.0/51.1
- Leg room: 42.2/35.7
When it comes to interior space, every little bit counts. If you want to give yourself and your passengers the most room to stretch out in, the 2021 Hyundai Elantra is the obvious winner.
The 2021 Elantra comes standard with an 8-inch touch screen that’s compatible with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This means that you can connect your phone to your sedan and not even have to take it out of your purse or pocket to use your apps with voice commands. If you want a larger screen, opt for an Elantra Limited to get the 10.25-inch touch screen, which has a non-wireless smartphone system. You can also outfit your Elantra with a 10.25-inch digital driver information cluster for a fully futuristic experience.
The 2021 Forte also has an 8-inch touch screen with smartphone integration programs. However, it’s wired, which means you’ll have to plug in your phone to use Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Both models start you off with a four-speaker sound system. The Elantra’s second trim level upgrades this to a six-speaker sound system, but you have to reach the third trim level to get six speakers on the Forte. The Elantra SEL can also be upgraded to an eight-speaker Bose sound system. The Forte G-Line can be upgraded to an eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.
Besides greater strength and more impressive technology, moving up these models’ trim levels also adds more luxuries and creature comforts to your sedan. As a recap, remember that the Elantra has four trim levels and the Forte has five.
If you’re looking for weather-ready features, shoot for the Elantra’s second trim level — the SEL — with the Convenience package. The SEL comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control and the package adds heated front seats. You find these features on the Forte’s fourth trim level, as well as a ventilation function for the front row.
The Forte gives you a leather-wrapped steering wheel at its third trim level and simulated leather upholstery at the fourth level. The Elantra makes the leather steering wheel available on the second trim level and gives you leather-trimmed seats on the third level.
If you’re looking for a sports car style, go for one of the Elantra’s N-Line models to enjoy leather sport seats with cloth inserts. If you want a more luxury-minded experience, opt for the Limited.
One of the reasons these models are so perfect for commuters is their lists of intelligent driver-assist technologies that boost safety. Both are well-equipped with said safety systems, but again, the 2021 Elantra pulls ahead in the race.
The 2021 Elantra comes standard with Hyundai’s forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, a lane-keep assist, lane-following assist, driver attention warning, and the Safe Exit Warning system. Choose the Elantra Limited to get a reverse automatic braking system.
The Forte comes standard with a forward collision avoidance system, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, and driver attention warning. To get the Elantra’s standard blind-spot monitor, you would have to upgrade to the Forte’s GT-Line level. The Forte doesn’t offer the Elantra’s safe exit system.
Long story short — when it comes to safety-boosting tech, it’s one more point for the Elantra’s already impressive lead over the Forte.
When you’re ready to see if the 2021 Hyundai Elantra holds up to your standards, give us a visit at Huffines Hyundai in Plano, Texas. Discover why so many drivers choose the Elantra when they need a sedan to upgrade their commutes and joyrides.
Image via Hyundai.com