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Discussion Starter #1
A couple years ago, I purchased a new 2018 ES DCT. After waiting a few months for the new license plates to arrive, I looked at my bank statement and realized no payments had come out, either. I checked with the dealer, and it turned out they had set up my loan using my middle name as my last name, so it wasn't even a valid contract. By that point I had gotten a new job which I could get to via the LA Blue Line (commuter train), so I decided to just turn the ES back into the dealer. I loved the ES, but since the train station is only a couple miles from home, I stuck with my 2006 V6 Sonata. Now I'm back to commuting, and back in the car market. After doing my homework to select the ES back then, I've reached the exact same conclusion this time: the ES meets my needs better than any of its competitors, and at a lower price. The only thing different this time is the emergence of the largely identical Kia Forte GT. This is a much tougher decision. Trying to figure out the differences, to make an informed decision. What I've come up with so far, please feel free to add to or correct this list:

Base model GT can be had without a sunroof. GT2 package adds this, while all ES trims include it. I'd personally prefer no sunroof, but I can live with one
Base model GT has no heated seats, while GT2 package adds them, PLUS ventilated seats, which the ES does not offer. I tried the ventilated seats in a non-GT Forte, and it was terrific. For some extra money and DIY time, it looks like the Forte seats could be retrofitted into the ES
GT appears to have an extra square foot of trunk space
GT has some engine changes - higher compression, electronic wastegate (thanks for the info, R1600Turbo)
GT is about 100 pounds lighter
GT gas mileage is +1 across the board
ES is lower priced, at least currently
ES has standard double DIN stereo, GT has the slapped-on tablet style. Based on the size of the removable trim piece behind the tablet, could be possible to fabricate an aftermarket stereo into the GT, but much easier with the ES
ES has pretty good aftermarket performance options. Most, if not all, should also work with the GT, but I have yet to ascertain this
ES can add Blue Link, doesn't seem to be a Kia equivalent
No excellent GT forum like this one! :)
 

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For me, the exterior styling alone would be enough to choose the GT over the ES. Just cannot get over the ruined styling of the '19+ Sport.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I agree. I'd take the looks of the 17/18 ES over both of them, but since I'm looking into going new, the GT wins this round to my eyes. I'll have to see them in real life, but based on their website photos, it looks like the Kia silver is lighter than the Hyundai silver, nearly white, and the Kia gray is darker, nearly black. The Kia offers two shades of white, and an orange, giving the GT more color options.
 

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If you're wanting a new vehicle, I'd go for the Forte GT, although I would seriously consider the Elantra GT N line and the new Civic Si. For the latter, Honda restyled it enough for me to consider it now and they finally have the LED headlights and the volume knob.

Personally I'd always get a used vehicle - much better to have someone else take the depreciation hit. All the vehicles I have ever owned has been bought used (includes certified pre-owned) although for brands like Hyundai, that depreciation discount will be a lot less.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If you're wanting a new vehicle, I'd go for the Forte GT, although I would seriously consider the Elantra GT N line and the new Civic Si. For the latter, Honda restyled it enough for me to consider it now and they finally have the LED headlights and the volume knob.

Personally I'd always get a used vehicle - much better to have someone else take the depreciation hit. All the vehicles I have ever owned has been bought used (includes certified pre-owned) although for brands like Hyundai, that depreciation discount will be a lot less.
Thanks, mightar. Not a fan of hatchbacks, and the Elantra GT is also more expensive. And the Civic Si (even more expensive) doesn't have an option for automatic transmission. Most of my cars have been sticks, but Bay Area and LA stop & go traffic (which will account for the majority of my time behind the wheel) have given me a strong preference for AT daily drivers.

I've been rather surprised by how much the 17/18 ES have held their value - the difference is so small, especially factoring in higher interest rates for used car loans, that it makes more sense for me to go new. I'm also hoping to get 10+ years from my next car (14 good years from my Sonata, so far), so a new model should, in theory, give me a better chance of trouble-free usage for that length of time.

And no matter what vehicle I get, one of the first things I'll be doing is replacing the entire stereo system, along with doing sound deadening treatments, so ease of head unit replacement is a real factor for me, although most people are not mental cases like me when it comes to car audio. :D
 

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2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport DCT w/TECH
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What I would add to the list:
Forte GT:

- active cruise control (do not believe this is available in 20 ES, at least not in Canadaland)
- power driver seat
- ambient interior lighting
- standard centre console rear vent
- trunk lid actually opens up all the way (partial opening on 17-18 ES, cannot comment on 20 model)
- on the negative side, lack of temporary spare or jack, only repair kit is available

Personally, I would get the ventilated seats from the start, but this is my opinion only. If I was in the market today for a car, I would choose Forte GT over ES.

What about Elantra GT N-Line (or i30 N-Line as called in other markets)? It is a different car vs ES as it was primarily designed for the European market.


PS: nevermind about the GT N-Line, mightar's post appeared as I was writing this. You should take it for a spin regardless IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What I would add to the list:
Forte GT:

- active cruise control (do not believe this is available in 20 ES, at least not in Canadaland)
- power driver seat
- ambient interior lighting
- standard centre console rear vent
- trunk lid actually opens up all the way (partial opening on 17-18 ES, cannot comment on 20 model)
- on the negative side, lack of temporary spare or jack, only repair kit is available

Personally, I would get the ventilated seats from the start, but this is my opinion only. If I was in the market today for a car, I would choose Forte GT over ES.

What about Elantra GT N-Line (or i30 N-Line as called in other markets)? It is a different car vs ES as it was primarily designed for the European market.


PS: nevermind about the GT N-Line, mightar's post appeared as I was writing this. You should take it for a spin regardless IMO.
I was also posting at the same time about why the GT N-Line isn't really a contender for me. :D But, I do like to explore all options, so I will check it out.

Thanks for the input! The vented seats are a huge plus on the GT side, particularly being in a warm climate area. And with those other items you mentioned, the Forte GT is making a strong case for itself.

A lack of spare tire is troubling - what happens if you have sidewall damage? Do tow trucks carry spare tires now? Is there even space for a spare if I wanted to buy one? This is a new concept to me. (I imagine this is part of why the GT weighs less than the ES.)
 

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2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport DCT w/TECH
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A lack of spare tire is troubling - what happens if you have sidewall damage? Do tow trucks carry spare tires now? Is there even space for a spare if I wanted to buy one? This is a new concept to me. (I imagine this is part of why the GT weighs less than the ES.)
Well, if your sidewall is done, so are you. Until help arrives at least. There is normal space under the trunk floor for temporary spare/jack - you should be able to pick-up foam insert/tire/jack from a junkyard off used Elantra AD. Spare tire rim fitment would need to be checked first due to larger brakes on GT/ES (must clear the brake caliper).
 
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