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The compact car segment is the best that it’s ever been. It still has stalwarts like the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Nissan Sentra, but some relative newcomers like the Kia Forte and Hyundai Elantra have been catching up. In terms of style, efficiency, features, and overall quality, Kia and Hyundai are on pretty even footing with their more established Japanese rivals.

People are starting to notice. The big names in this class are still selling well, but Kia and Hyundai are catching up.

Compact car sales numbers so far this year

The Toyota Corolla is still selling quite well. According to data on CarSalesBase, it’s moved 77,012 units so far in 2023, which is actually down a little over 20% compared to the same time in 2022. It’s beaten only by the recently redesigned Honda Civic, which has sold 77,975 units.

If we’re talking about sales growth and decline, the Kia Forte and Hyundai Elantra are moving in the right direction compared to the Corolla. So far in 2023, Kia has sold 51,731 Forte models, and the Elantra has sold 61,314 units. Combine those numbers, and they outsell the Corolla together.

Compared to the same period last year, Forte numbers have grown about 21%, and Elantra figures are up a whopping 51%.

These figures point to a possible slowing down of the SUV mania we’ve been seeing in the automotive industry over the last couple of decades. An SUV used to be something different, but now that they’re so ubiquitous, it could have shoppers giving a second look to regular compact cars.

Why are Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte sales growing?

There are a few reasons that could explain the rise of sales for Kia and Hyundai compact cars. One of their most appealing strengths is their warranty. The Hyundai Elantra and Kia Forte are both backed by a 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. That’s a best-in-class warranty that beats the industry standard; a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

There could also be some economic factors at play explaining the rise in sales for many compact cars, including the Forte and the Elantra. Inflation, recession fears, and rising interest rates mean new car buyers are looking for cars with lower price tags to keep their payments reasonable.

Also, stubbornly high gas prices make efficient compact cars more attractive. The Forte and Elantra both have fuel costs well below the average for new cars according to EPA estimates.

Are the Kia Forte and Hyundai Elantra good cars?

We love the Toyota Corolla. It’s a compact car that does nearly everything well. However, the Kia Forte and Hyundai Elantra are outstanding compact cars with many reasons to choose them over the Corolla.

We’ve already mentioned the class-leading warranty that covers both cars. These compacts also have attractive starting MSRPs; $19,690 for the Forte and $20,950 for the Elantra. Something they both have in common with the Corolla is a nice list of standard infotainment and safety tech features for the money.

Just a few features that come standard on the Forte and Elantra include Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and automatic high beams.

You can’t go wrong with any of the excellent compact cars we’ve mentioned, but the Forte and Elantra are at the top of their game, and the strong sales growth is well deserved.


2 Reasons Why the 2023 Hyundai Elantra Outranks the 2023 Kia Forte, And 1 Reason Why it Doesn’t