Kelley Blue Book: We compare the 2021 Kia Forte to the 2021 Toyota Corolla


The 2021 Kia Forte touts its excellent features and warranty in taking on the 2021 Toyota Corolla. Here’s how they compare.

2021 Kia Forte

2021 Kia Forte starting price: $17,890

Above average: Roomy cabin; fuel-efficient engines; good handling; desirable safety features; long warranty; higher performance Kia

Forte GT.

Below average: Some hard plastics in the interior.

Consensus: Not just a run-of-the-mill compact sedan, the 2021 Kia Forte provides a civilized driving experience right from the entry-level model upward. Adding advanced safety features and smartphone integration only adds to the value.

2021 Toyota Corolla
The 2021 Toyota Corolla


2021 Toyota Corolla starting price $19,825 

Above average: Choice of engines, including a hybrid; plenty of standard safety features; easy driving manners; excellent reliability; good resale values.

Below average: Not particularly sporty; hybrid’s a bit underpowered.

Consensus: A rock-solid reliable compact sedan for decades, the 2021 Toyota

Corolla sedan offers a choice of powerplants, including a hybrid, and standard safety features not even offered by some of its European rivals.

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Forte vs. Corolla: Compact competence

Kia Forte

Despite the proliferation of crossovers SUVs, the sedan is still alive and well at Kia. The 2021 Kia Forte is the latest example of such and brings to the segment a combination of fun-to-drive vibe, substantial value, and a stellar warranty. The Forte offers something for everyone, from those on a budget to enthusiasts looking for driving thrills.

A nimble driver, the Kia Forte offers a pleasant and refined behind-the-wheel experience. Confident power, from a 147 horsepower 2.0-liter inline-4 in the Forte sedan or a 201 horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4 in the Forte GT, provides all the get-up and go that is needed while still offering good fuel economy ratings. The base FE model features a standard 6-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Step up to the Forte GT with its 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) with paddle shifters or an available 6-speed manual.

Toyota Corolla

The 2021 Toyota Corolla offers three different power plants including a hybrid, a whole suite of safety features, and great driving manners. With hatchback and sedan body styles and a range of engines to choose from, there is a Corolla for everyone. The base 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine is perfectly adequate, but the 2.0-liter upgrade engine is our preference, and it also employs a more sophisticated CVT than the base model. For those looking to save fuel, the optional hybrid makes 52 mpg, and on the other end of the spectrum, the limited-edition Apex includes an upgraded suspension and handling for more sporty driving.

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The interior is comfortable and quiet. All models feature a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple

CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon

Alexa. Even base models include the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite, which includes such things as a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert, radar cruise control, and Lane Tracing Assist. Toyotas are legendarily reliable, and the 2021 Corolla also includes 2 years or 25,000 miles of complimentary maintenance. Resale values are expected to remain high.

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Two engine choices; performance variants; front-drive layouts.

2021 Kia Forte advantages

Conventional 6-speed automatic; 7-speed dual-clutch automatic; lower price; long warranty.

2021 Toyota Corolla advantages

Hybrid option; sedan and hatchback body styles; high resale value.

Final recommendation

If you’re looking for a hatchback or a hybrid, the Toyota Corolla fits the bill. But the more attractive entry-level pricing and an affordable 201-horsepower GT version that comes with a longer warranty make the Kia Forte stand out.

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