The Kia Forte is a compact car offered by the Korean automaker that comes with plenty of equipment and multiple body styles. Buyers will recognize the standard looking sedan, with a Kia Stinger inspired design, but the Kia Forte GT is another body style that makes the Forte really stand out with a sportback profile. This unique model is expected to debut in late 2019 as a 2020 model

That GT made a surprise debut at the SEMA show, an event that is catered towards modified cars and customization. That’s just the demographic Kia is aiming for with the new model. In the past, the Forte was best known as a competitor to the Civic or Corolla, but now thanks to its design, features, and price, it’s becoming much more.

2020 Kia Forte GT

The Forte is now in its third generation and has become one of the best selling vehicles for Kia. Its success comes by emphasizing value, and that doesn’t mean that it’s a cheap car. It means that it offers almost every thinkable feature and option, and delivers it at a relatively low cost. In fact, a fully loaded Kia Forte barely reaches $30,000 mark, where some of its competitors definitely surpass that mark. These cars also offer a ton of options and come with features like Android Auto and Apple Car Play right away. Some buyers may be more interested in the Forte’s fuel economy, and in that regard, the FE models can earn 40 MPG when equipped correctly. In our testing, we find it easily up to the standard of some of the best compact cars in the segment including the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

The Forte is built in Mexico alongside the Kia Rio at Kia’s Monterrey Plant.

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Kia Forte Specs

Kia Forte Sedan Specs
Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Output: 147 hp, 132 lb-ft of torque
Transmission: six-speed manual, CVT
Fuel Economy: 30 MPG city, 40 MPG highway and 34 MPG combined
Cargo Space: 15.3 cubic feet

Forte GT Specs FE, LXS, GT-Line and EX Models:
Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine
Output: 147 hp, 132 lb-ft of torque
Transmission: six-speed manual, CVT
Fuel Economy: N/A 87 octane recommended.
Cargo Space: 15.3 cubic feet

Forte GT model:
Engine: 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
Output: 201 hp, 195 lb-ft of torque
Transmission: six-speed manual, seven-speed dual-clutch
Fuel Economy: N/A 87 octane recommended.
Cargo Space: 15.3 cubic feet

Read More Kia Forte Pros and Cons

Kia Forte Fuel Economy

2019 Kia Forte Review-Chad Kirchner-04

The Kia Forte earns some impressive fuel economy numbers thanks to its various powertrain options. The most fuel-efficient model is the Forte FE which uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and pairs that with a CVT to earn 31 MPG in the city, 41 MPG on the highway and 35 MPG combined.

Non-FE versions of the 2.0-liter Kia Forte earn 29 MPG in the city, 40 MPG on the highway and 33 MPG combined when paired to the CVT, or 27 MPG in the city, 37 MPG on the highway and 31 MPG combined when equipped with a manual.

For 2020, there is also a 1.6-liter turbocharged version of the Kia Forte, which can be equipped with either a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission or a six-speed manual. The manual model earns 25 MPG in the city, 32 MPG on the highway and 28 MPG combined, while the dual-clutch transmission model earns 27 MPG in the city, 35 MPG on the highway and 30 MPG combined.

Read More Kia Forte Review

Kia Forte Safety Rating

The 2019 Kia Forte Sedan has been tested by the IIHS and is awarded a Top Safety Pick + Ranking. The Forte easily gets the best of all the IIHS’ crash tests and tops the institute’s scores for the front crash prevention system.

There are some concerns about the halogen projector headlights on FE, LXS, S, and EX trims, with poor visibility on all curves. These issues are rectified when you opt up to get the LED lights found in specific packages.

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Kia Forte Features

When it comes to features the Forte seems to have more than just the basics covered, making it an ideal choice in the world of compact sedans.

In terms of exterior features, the base FE models come with 15-inch steel wheels with covers, while the LXS gets 16-inch alloys. The S and EX get an upgrade to 17-inch alloy wheels. The S and EX models also get front fog lights and can be equipped with LED headlights. The EX model features heated exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals, while other models feature regular, power-adjustable mirrors. The EX and S models can be equipped with a power sunroof.

When it comes to the interior of the Forte sedan, the FE boasts standard cloth seats that are adjustable six ways. There is also a dual-zone automatic climate control system and an eight-inch touch screen infotainment system with android auto and apple car play support. The EX model gets leather seats and a power-adjustable driver’s seat, and you can get a navigation system and upgraded audio system in that higher trim model. All models get power windows.

In terms of safety equipment, the Forte comes standard with forward collision avoidance and lane-keep assistance. EX models can be had with blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, high beam assist, parking sensors, and adaptive cruise control.

Read More 2020 Kia Forte5 Revealed, not for US Market

Kia Forte Pricing

The Kia Forte Sedan has a few different trim levels, with the most affordable model being the Forte FE with the six-speed manual. Including the 925 destination fee, this car starts at $18,715. The FE with the CVT is an extra $900, coming in at $19,615. The only option for the FE model is the $295 black pearl paint.

The next step up from the FE model is the Forte LXS, which is $20,115 and includes the 2.0-liter engine and a CVT. This model can also be had with the $295 black pearl paint. The LXS also offers the $195 currant red paint.

The S model is the next step up for the Forte, with a price of $21,215. It is offered with the same paint options as the LXS, but can also be equipped with the $1,200 S Premium Package.

Kia Forte

Finally, buyers can opt for the Forte EX which costs $22,915. This can be had with the same paint options as the LXS as well as an EX specific color: snow white pearl, which is a $295 charge. Furthermore, you can get the EX Launch edition package for an extra $3,210.

Kia has yet to share the pricing of its Forte GT hatchback.

Kia Forte Competitors

The Forte’s closest competitor is the Hyundai Elantra which shares a lot of hardware with the Forte. The Kia Forte also competes with the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Elantra, Subaru Impreza, and the Nissan Sentra. 

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Kia Forte Future Plans

The Kia Forte has just been overhauled and is still rolling out its different body styles. In the past, a hatchback and coupe have been a part of the lineup, but it seems like those will be replaced by a Stinger inspired Sportback.

Detailed Specs

Engine / 2.0L four-cylinder
Horsepower / 147 hp
Torque / 132 lb-ft
Transmission / Six-speed manual, CVT
Fuel Economy / 30 MPG city, 40 MPG highway

Our Final Verdict

The Kia Forte is a solid compact car with plenty of options and features. If you’re looking for an affordable alternative to a Civic or Corolla, this is your best bet.