2013 Kia Forte vs. 2013 Hyundai Veloster

By Brandy Schaffels and edited by Christina Selter.

You know you want a small sporty car with funky looks, fun features, a torquey engine, and spirited handling, but how do you decide between three doors or five? The 2013 Hyundai Veloster and the 2013 Kia Forte are kissing cousins, offering all of the above in a hatchback design; though the Veloster offers buyers a sporty two-door sportback style and the Kia Forte now offers a more practical four-door European-inspired hatchback design.

2013 Kia Forte Five-Door

Launched earlier this year at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, the all-new, ultra-hot Kia Forte five-door offers a choice of a 173-horsepower/2.0-liter gasoline direct-injected (GDI) four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission in the EX trim level, or the 201-horsepower/1.6-liter turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine offered for the first time in the Forte line in the SX trim level. The SX trim level also offers buyers the chance to row their own gears with a standard six-speed manual transmission, or they may opt for the six-speed automatic featuring steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

2013 Kia Forte Forte 5-door

The base-level EX Forte five-door promises fuel economy of 26 mpg city and 36 mpg highway and 29 combined, while the sporty SX model is expected to achieve 23 mpg city and 32 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined (with automatic transmission).

Inside, the 2013 Kia Forte 5-Door offers plenty of standard technology and safety features, including LED positioning headlights with fog lights, Kia’s UVO eServices with rear camera display, Bluetooth connectivity technology, SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio, power windows, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio and cruise control buttons, and tilt and telescoping steering column.

2013 Kia Forte Forte 5-door

Choosing the SX trim adds standard 18-inch alloy wheels, dual chrome exhaust tips, and LED tail lights, as well as an aggressive front fascia with larger bumper and grille openings with black gloss grille inserts, lower front fascia and rear valance with carbon fiber-look trim pieces, larger front brakes, alloy sport pedals, and front and rear seats with carbon fiber-style accents.

Optional features include HID headlights, navigation system with HD Radio™, sunroof, heated steering wheel, 10-way adjustable power driver’s seat, heated front seats and cooled driver’s seat, heated rear outboard seats, leather seating surfaces, SmartKey with push-button start, electric chromatic rearview mirror, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

The Veloster Turbo is powered by a 201-horsepower/1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline direct injection (T-GDI) engine and a choice between six-speed automatic or manual transmission and is estimated to deliver 24 mpg city and 35 mpg highway (28 combined) for manual transmission models and 24 city and 31 highway for automatic models. The Veloster Turbo is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle-shifter and Shiftronic controls rather than the base Veloster’s more fuel-efficient EcoShift DCT transmission.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
Inside, passengers ride on full leather seats, while an exclusive Supervision Cluster offers the driver information through two screens between the tachometer and the speedometer. Heated front seats are also standard on the Turbo version. The center stack and controls also resemble a sport bike fuel tank and incorporate a push-button starter and alloy pedals. Veloster Turbo features a standard 450-watt Dimension Premium Audio system with eight speakers including an eight-inch subwoofer, external amplifier, and iPod/USB/auxiliary input jacks.

In the digital age, everyone wants to be connected to their electronics at all times, so the Hyundai Veloster features a standard multifunction seven-inch touch-screen display with three user-selectable interface layouts. Pandora Internet radio can be streamed from an iPhone or Android, its onscreen also allows drivers to give each song the familiar Pandora thumbs up or thumbs down rating. With video games being an important element of entertainment, Hyundai integrated an RCA cable and an available 115-volt power outlet in Veloster to support consoles for ultimate gaming sessions or to watch videos on the seven-inch multimedia touchscreen when parked.

2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo

A Bluetooth hands-free phone system with voice recognition, address book download and audio streaming is standard though onboard navigation is optional. The system also integrates a rear-view camera and backup warning sensors.

Comparing Interior Space of the 2013 Kia Forte Five-Door vs. 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo. When it comes right down to it, you need to know how much you can fit inside these two little hot hatches. Inside, the wagon-style Kia Forte five-door seats five and provides 97.5 cubic feet of passenger space, and 19.4 cubic feet of cargo space. As expected, the sportback-styled Hyundai Veloster three-door is slightly smaller, seating only four and offering 89.8 cubic feet of passenger space, and 15.5 cubic feet of cargo space.

Comparing Pricing of the 2013 Kia Forte Five-Door vs. 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo. The entry-level Kia Forte five-door in EX trim carries a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $19,075 (including $775 destination and delivery charges), and stepping up to high-performance turbocharged SX trim brings that up to $20,575 (including $775 destination and delivery charges).

2013 Kia Forte Forte 5-door

While the base-level three-door Hyundai Veloster starts at $18,395 (including $795 in destination and delivery charges), choosing the high-performance Turbocharged Veloster model brings that up to $22,895 (including $795 in destination and delivery charges).

Both turbocharged models offer similar performance, so when it comes down to it, the Kia Forte Five-Door SX is a more practical choice with more room and a lower cost of entry than the 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo model. On the other hand, even though it’s smaller, the Veloster Turbo offers slightly more electronics and tech for the connected driver. Drive them both, check your budget, and take your pick!

(Note: All vehicles provided by manufacturers for comparison test purposes. Photos provided by Kia and Hyundai.)