2018 Kia Forte Vs. 2018 Hyundai Elantra

2018 kia forte split screen with 2018 hyundai elantra sedan

We talk a lot about the dominance Kia enjoys over its American, Japanese and European competition. Seemingly coming out of nowhere, Kia automobiles have risen from minimalist economy boxes to luxuriously-styled and intelligently-equipped cars, vans and SUVs. Kia models like the Soul are the direct result of paying attention to the needs and wants of drivers, rather than looking over at the others and building comparable models. Kia’s compact car, the Forte delivers sophisticated design, sporty dynamics and a cabin full of technology and comfort features.

Going up against the Forte today is the compact sedan offered by Kia’s neighbors – Hyundai. While both brands pride themselves on challenging and leading the Japanese and American brands in the classes they compete, drivers who have recognized a small Korean car to be their next daily-driver may be caught between the two badges. So, let’s compare them!

2018 Kia Forte


2018 Hyundai Elantra

Standard Base model Bluetooth® integration Available
39.1 inches/37.3 inches Headroom (first/second-row) 38.8 inches/37.3 inches
42.2 inches/35.9 inches Legroom (first-/second-row) 42.2 inches/35.7 inches
14.9 cubic feet Trunk space 14.4 cubic feet
Standard on all trim levels AUX input for music Not on base model SE
201 horsepower (SX) Available horsepower (auto trans) 147 (All trims)
Top Safety Pick Plus (+) IIHS safety designation Top Safety Pick
$16,800 (LX) Base model MSRP $16,950 (SE)

Kia Forte Advantages Vs. Hyundai Elantra

When comparing these two models, it’s a game of margins. With both vehicles having the same manufacturing location and the companies sharing platforms, it’s inevitable that the vehicles would wind up sharing specs and similarities. Where they diverge is where the comparison gets interesting. The Kia Forte seems to have higher aspirations than the Elantra, which is content to compete with low-spec, low-feature models.

The Kia Forte is emblematic of Kia’s ongoing push to offer high-feature vehicles at industry-leading price points. The base model Forte, LX, offers improved features and functionalities over the 2018 Hyundai Elantra’s base SE including Bluetooth® compatibility, an available LCD driver information system, improved infotainment and AUX port for playing any music that moves through a headphone cord.

As you can see in the table, base model features are abundant on the 2018 Kia Forte and reserved for higher trim levels on the 2018 Hyundai Elantra. This pattern continues as you move up through the trim levels, all the way to the top trim of each. In this trim, the 2018 Kia Forte offers a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engine that doesn’t sacrifice efficiency for thrill and delivers 201 horsepower of smooth acceleration and confident passing.

The 2018 Elantra keeps the Forte’s base engine throughout their trim level hierarchy, only offering a boost in power at the optional Sport model which forces drivers into a standard 6-speed manual transmission. Finally, safety is at a premium in the 2018 Kia Forte, which earned the top distinction from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) as a Top Safety Pick +. While the Hyundai Elantra’s Top Safety Pick designation beats out many domestic and Japanese competitors, it doesn’t provide the peace of mind that the 2018 Kia Forte does.