Experienced by Adrian McQueen
Photography by Adrenaline Lifestyles
Kia has been hard at work creating vehicles that rise up to the competition in each of their respective classes. The Kia Forte is a stylish, comfortable and gas efficient compact car. The Forte has been produced by Kia Motors since mid-2008. Kia replaced the Kia Cerato/Spectra with the Forte. Kia produces the Forte in FE, LXS, S and EX models. The model tested in this review was a fully loaded EX in a Deep Sea Blue hue that was an immediate attention grabber.
Kia fully redesigned the Forte for the 2019 model year. The exterior of the Forte Taking styling cues from the Kia Stinger, since it was designed by Kia lead designer Peter Schreyer. The Forte has a cab rearward exterior, resulting in a fastback profile. The single slope from the roof to the rear bumper gives this car a real sporty look. The EX model that I reviewed also includes LED headlights, fog lights, power-folding side mirrors with integrated turn signals, a rear spoiler and 17” graphite finish alloy wheels.
The 2019 Forte comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. The Kia Forte has three driving modes: Comfort, Sport, and Smart, which adapts to driving conditions. Comfort and Smart are moderate driving modes that will not give you an adrenaline filled rush. The Forte is at its best when you do most of your driving around town or at low speeds. The Sport mode puts a pep in its step but delivers a loud engine noise that is heard in the cabin. Kia has added more adhesive and thicker glass for the front side windows in an attempt to curb the noise. A Forte GT is slated to arrive in 2020 being that the sporty Forte SX, with its turbocharged 201-hp engine, has been discontinued.
The Forte handled turns and corners well and body lean is moderate. The suspension is a little stiff so I the ride did get a little rough when the pavement wasn’t smooth. In a compact car this not outside of the norm and not really concerning. The ride quality is comfortable enough for daily driving. I was pleased with the brakes and their excellent stopping power.
I was excited to see how good the Forte is on gas. The needle barely moved as I piled up the miles zipping around town. The new Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) in the 2019 Kia Forte helps its small engine consume fuel. CVT uses a chain-type belt, instead of a push belt, to reduce the rubber-band effect. The 2019 Kia Forte blows the competition out of the water and rivals some hybrid vehicles. The Forte is EPA-estimated at 30 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway and 34 mpg combined. The Kia Forte has 14-gallon tank so the minimal cost to fill it up is appealing too. This is huge selling point for Kia as consumers are looking to spend less and receive more.
The interior of the Forte is stylish and comfortable as well. A few things to note is the include LED overhead interior lighting, a ten-way power-adjustable front driver’s seat with lumbar support, heated and ventilated dual front bucket seats, soft-touch interior surfaces and wireless device charging. The 320-watt eight-speaker premium amplified audio system by Harman Kardon is crystal clear with enough thumping bass to really enhance the musical experience. The Forte also has an 8.0-inch touch-screen infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, a driver assistance package, GPS navigation, a 4.3-inch touch screen audio system with Kia UVO, perforated luxury leather-trimmed seating surfaces, keyless access with push-button start, a single-pane power sunroof.
The touch screen sits within great view of the driver on the dash and the infotainment system runs smooth. The Kia Forte can comfortably seat five people with ample legroom for front and backseat passengers. As a parent of a young child, it is very important to me that Kia has two complete sets of rear-seat LATCH connections in the Forte for child car seats. The Forte also has one of the largest trunks in its class, measuring at 15.3 cubic feet. Unfortunately, it does not come in the hatchback option. The Forte comes with a split-folding rear seat and an optional hands-free power trunk, which pops open when you stand behind the car with the smart key.
Safety and durability are key in Kia’s rise in the industry. The Forte is constructed with 54% advanced high-strength steel that is stronger than the previous model. The 2019 Forte comes with a good amount of standard safety technology such as a rearview camera, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, a driver attention and drowsiness monitor, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. The EX model that I tested included adaptive LED headlights, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, reverse parking sensors, pedestrian detection, and adaptive cruise control. So far, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2019 Kia Forte.
The Kia Forte is in a highly competitive class with the compact car market going up against vehicles such as the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Sentra and the Toyota Corolla. Having great gas mileage, looking sporty and being fun drive is keeping the Kia Forte high on the list. The 2019 Kia Forte is the best value among the most popular compact cars on the market.
The 2019 Kia Forte EX model that we tested comes in at $26,220.00 which is a great price for a vehicle in its class. Kia continues to deliver the best warranty available on the market. Kia covers the Forte with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Kia has done a great job in targeting millennials, Gen Xers, baby boomers and more. The effort put into styling, technology and quality in the Forte shows that Kia continues to deliver vehicles to meet these prospective buyers. Enjoy the photo gallery.