Sedans & Coupes

2021 Toyota Corolla vs. 2021 Kia Forte: The Choice Is Clear

You’re shopping for a new sedan and are stuck between two cars: the 2021 Toyota Corolla and the 2021 Kia Forte. While both make for formidable options among their segment, one is bound to be better than the other. 

Engine options

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The 2021 Corolla can be had with one of three engines: a 139-horsepower 1.8-liter 4-cylinder, a 2.0-liter engine with 169-horsepower, or a 121-horsepower 1.8-liter hybrid engine. Per Kelley Blue Book, this year’s model is “solid, quiet, and offers a comfortable ride without backing down when pushed.”

Unlike the Corolla, the 2021 Forte offers only two engines to choose from, neither of which are hybrid. Choose between a 147-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-4 or a 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 capable of generating 201-horsepower. Settle into the driver’s seat of the new Forte, and you’ll find, just as Kelley Blue Book put it, that the 2021 Forte “drives in a pleasant, refined, and somewhat nimble manner.”

Understanding what’s under the hood of each sedan is key to determining which sedan is better suited for you. If you’d prefer the faster of the two, then the 2021 Kia Forte should be your pick. However, if fuel efficiency is a must for you, the 2021 Corolla Hybrid is the clear winner. 

Is the 2021 Toyota Corolla safer than the 2021 Kia Forte?

Safety features like forward-collision mitigation, lane-keeping assistance, and driver attention monitoring are all standard in the base 2021 Forte. The 2021 Corolla, meanwhile, comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite, which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alerts with steering assist, radar cruise control, Road Sign Assist, and Lane Tracing Assist.

Ratings wise, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has yet to review either vehicle. That being said, the 2020 Corolla did receive a 5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. The 2020 Forte, meanwhile, earned itself a 4-star rating from the NHTSA.  

However, what’s most enticing about the 2021 Corolla is that it comes standard with ToyotaCare. This no-cost maintenance plan covers normal factory scheduled service for 2-years or 25,000-miles, whichever comes first. It also includes 24-hour Roadside Assistance for 2-years and unlimited mileage.

As for the Forte? The 2021 model doesn’t include complimentary maintenance. Instead, it includes a 5-year or 60,000-mile roadside assistance plan.

Which has better interior amenities?

2021 Kia Forte
2021 Kia Forte | Kia

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No matter which sedan you pick, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that the 2021 Forte and the 2021 Corolla offer no shortage of interior amenities. Choose the base 2021 Corolla, and standard interior features include a 6-way adjustable driver’s seat and a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system including Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, and Android Auto compatibility.

The 2021 Kia Forte is also standard with a 6-way adjustable driver’s seat. Its infotainment system, though, is bigger than 2021 Corolla’s. However, unlike the Toyota Corolla, the 2021 Forte isn’t compatible with Amazon Alexa

How much do these sedans cost?

Neither of these sedans will make your wallet scream, but one is considerably more expensive than the other. While the 2021 Forte has a base price of $17,890, the 2021 Corolla is accompanied by a starting price of $19,825.

When comparing these two cars’ prices, it’s worth noting that the 2021 Corolla does come with added benefits. As mentioned, unlike the Forte, the Corolla comes standard with a complimentary maintenance and roadside assistance plan.

Toyota Corolla vs. Kia Forte: Which is better?

There’s no denying that the 2021 Corolla and its Kia competition are very similar. If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, though, the 2021 Corolla is the clear choice. Though it may be more expensive than its Kia rival, it offers more engine options, comes standard with the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite, and provides a complimentary maintenance and roadside assistance plan.