2020 Kia Forte 5 Hatchback – Overp Second Look

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The 2018 Kia Forte is offered in two diverse overall body models, possibly like a 4-door sedan or as being a 4-door hatchback. The 4-door sedan will come in LX, S, and EX grades, though the hatchback is on the market in both LX, EX or SX trims.

LX designs are run by a 147-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, even though EX versions will get a more effective two.0L direct-injected 4-cylinder that makes 164 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. The Kia Forte SX Koup includes a turbocharged one.6L 4-cylinder generating 201 horsepower. Each with the non-turbo engines include constantly variable valve timing, which aids provide responsiveness more than a broad range when improving fuel financial state. LX designs provide a decision involving a 6-speed handbook gearbox as well as a 6-speed automatic transmission, while EX 4-doors only come with the automated. Both of those variations in the Koup appear common with a 6-speed handbook, whilst an computerized is optional on both trim.

The Kia Forte sedan capabilities an accessible Eco Package deal that provides Idle Prevent & Go, a system that will automatically shut off the engine at stoplights; it also provides dual-zone climate control, rear-seat ventilation and special badging. LX trims now present a Popular Plus Package deal, which provides cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels and also a rear camera display.

The Forte has a MacPherson strut-type front suspension and coupled torsion-beam rear setup. Across the model line, electric power steering is included. An out there Flex Steer system lets drivers choose concerning Comfort, Normal and Sport modes, changing the steering feel while using the press of a button. Base LX 4-door styles have 15-inch steel wheels though 16-inch alloys are available. EX model includes 16-inch alloys with lower-profile tires while, 17-inch alloys are an option. The Forte Koup SX includes 18-inch wheels as normal.

Inside, the instrument panel is canted 10 degrees toward the driver for a cockpit feel and there are large, easy-to-read gauges. There’s a multi-information display with 4.2-inch screen on EX types and trims and materials are in line with extra upscale vehicles.

Forte LX products occur standard with air conditioning, power windows, power heated mirrors, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, Bluetooth connectivity and Sirius Satellite Radio compatibility. EX versions add remote keyless entry, a rear backup camera, a sliding center armrest as well as a cooled glovebox.

EX options are grouped into several packages. The Premium Offer includes heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, cooling for the driver’s seat, leather upholstery, a power sunroof, push-button start, a Smart Key system as well as a heated steering wheel. Separately, a Technology Offer combines HID headlamps, LED tail lamps, dual-zone climate control, rear-seat ventilation in addition to a four.2-inch color display screen.

The Forte Koup SX includes projector beam foglamps, gloss black painted, dual heated power mirrors, chrome exhaust tips, steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, bigger front brakes and of course a far more impressive motor than is on the market on any other Forte.

The Kia Forte is totally new for the 2019 model year, and as being a result of its redesign, it’s now additional competitive than ever. If you’re looking for something small yet spacious, comfortable and fuel-efficient, Kia’s redesigned Forte can square off using the best of ’em.

But unlike larger Kia four-doors — namely the Optima and especially the Stinger GT — the Forte is forgettable to drive. That’s a glaring omission in an otherwise well-rounded deal. But is it bad enough that you should overlook this otherwise competent sedan?

The Forte is a confident road tripper, as I experienced on a weekend drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back. Thanks to a comfortable driver’s seat and quiet cabin, I had no trouble piling on the miles.

he Kia Forte is totally new for the 2019 model year, and as being a result of its redesign, it’s now additional competitive than ever. If you’re looking for something small yet spacious, comfortable and fuel-efficient, Kia’s redesigned Forte can square off along with the best of ’em.

But unlike larger Kia four-doors — namely the Optima and especially the Stinger GT — the Forte is forgettable to drive. That’s a glaring omission in an otherwise well-rounded deal. But is it bad enough that you should overlook this otherwise competent sedan?

The Forte is a confident road tripper, as I experienced on a weekend drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back. Thanks to a comfortable driver’s seat and quiet cabin, I had no trouble piling on the miles.

Power will come from a naturally aspirated, two.0-liter I4 engine, making 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque, which is about average in this class of compact sedans. Thanks to its responsive, well-tuned repeatedly variable transmission, the Forte can dart up an onramp or pass a slow-moving semi truck just fine. The Forte actually will get Kia’s first implementation of a CVT, and it’s a great first effort.

2020 Kia Forte 5 Hatchback - Overp
Second Look
2020 Kia Forte 5 Hatchback – Overp
Second Look

A lot of compact cars are using smaller displacement, turbocharged engines for better gas efficiency, but Kia’s two.0-liter mill is a formidable miser. The EPA rates the Forte EX at 30 miles per gallon in the city and 40 mpg highway, and my observed financial system after 825 miles was smack dab in the middle at 35.3 mpg. Kia would make an even far more efficient version with the Forte — the FE — which earns EPA ratings of 31 mpg city and 41 mpg highway. Only the Honda Civic bests the Forte FE as far as gas-only cars go. If you want something extra efficient in this class, you have to go hybrid or get a Chevy Cruze Diesel.

Commuters will appreciate the Forte’s adequate acceleration and great fuel financial state, but I wish the overall package deal was far more appealing for driving enthusiasts, too. There’s not a lot of feedback through the steering, and its action is pretty light and vague. Similarly, while the ride quality is comfortable, it’s a bit floaty while cornering. Many other cars in this class provide better on-road character.

That said, a wealth of driver-assistance tech helps make the Forte easy to live with on long trips. The Forte EX comes with collision-mitigation braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-keeping assist. Adaptive cruise control is offered, though sadly not spec’d on my test car.

The Kia Stinger is one in the best car designs to appear along in years, so it will make sense that the Korean automaker would imbue the new 2019 Forte with styling cues from its bigger brother. To be a result, the third-generation Forte is the best-looking one yet — in fact, I think it’s the second-best-styled compact sedan on the market, only beaten by the new-for-2019 Mazda3.

The Forte’s expressive headlights are complemented by a distinctive grille underlined by aggressive air intakes in the front bumper. The rear is even better-looking than the front. My Forte EX includes LED taillights connected by a reflective-lens trim piece, and I even like the triangular, faux air vents at the corners in the bumper.

Material quality inside is some from the best in the segment, with thoughtful sculpting on the dash. Compared with its larger Optima sibling, the Forte is only a step down in terms of size — the overall quality is about the same.

The center stack’s 8-inch touchscreen houses the easy-to-use UVO infotainment system that can run Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Spacious rear seats give 37.5 and 35.7 inches of head- and legroom, respectively. That’s 0.4 a lot more than the Civic Sedan’s rear headroom, but 1.7 inches less than the Honda’s rear legroom. The Forte also offers a generous 15.3 cubic ft of trunk space. Not only is that near the top on the compact class, but it’s also 0.two cubic ft a lot more than the midsize Toyota Camry.

The base 2019 Kia Forte starts at $17,690, but I’d start while using the top EX trim. For $21,990 you get 17-inch wheels, keyless entry with push-button start, dual-zone climate control, a power driver’s seat, leatherette upholstery, plus heated and ventilated front seats. My Forte EX tester is equipped with $125 floor mats as the only option, bringing the as-tested total to $23,010 including $895 for destination.

That’s a decent amount of equipment, but I’d add another $3,210 for the EX Launch Edition offer, which intensifies the exterior with Fire Orange paint, LED headlights, a rear spoiler as well as a graphite finish on the 17-inch wheels. The deal also provides embedded navigation, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, wireless phone charger, adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, automatic high beams and also a TFT instrument cluster display bumped from 3.5 inches to four.2.

Most crucially for what I need in a car, though, the Launch Edition also includes a sunroof along with a 320-watt, eight-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system. The seven-speaker stereo in the typical EX is fine, but the Harman Kardon system’s added subwoofer helps make for a much better aural experience.

I’d pick out a few dealer-installed accessories, too, such as the cargo mat for $95, the $50 cargo net and the cargo hook for $30 (because hooking bags of groceries inside a trunk is imperative for preventing a jumbled mess), bringing my total to $26,270 out the door. Even in this fully loaded spec, the Forte is still a ton of car for the money.

The Kia Forte presents a strong case for itself in the compact segment. It’s good looking, spacious, fuel-efficient and comfortable to drive long distances. Unfortunately, it’s boring to drive, bested by cars such as the Honda Civic, Mazda3 or Toyota Corolla Hatchback, all of which are competitive in every other regard, as well.

But most compact sedan-buyers place little importance on the fun-to-drive factor. Instead, they care about gasoline overall economy, cabin tech and refinement, which is good news for the 2019 Kia Forte. It provides all those things, and for tremendous value. This is one with the best bangs for your buck in the compact space.

The appropriate question when talking about the 2020 Kia ForteOpens a New Window. GT is, what are they? That’s because there are two GT grades. The GT Line is primarily lipstick, when the other GT option not only includes the GT Line’s cosmetic tweaks, but performance enhancements, as well.

First, the Forte GT Line. Exterior-appearance enhancements incorporate a gloss-black grille with red accents, gloss-black heated outboard mirrors with turn-signal indicators, sport side sills and also a decklid spoiler. Inside, you’ll find alloy sport pedals, a flat-bottom steering wheel with white stitching and black sport cloth seats with white stitching and beefed-up side bolsters.

The enthusiast-targeting Forte GT sports all of the GT Line’s appearance upgrades only red contrast stitching replaces the GT Line’s white stitching. It also receives a sport-tuned dual exhaust system, 18-in two-tone alloy wheels, LED headlights and push-button start. LED ambient cabin lighting with illuminated dash inlay is also included.

Although the GT Line keeps the regular Forte’s 147-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder motor and Repeatedly Variable Transmission (CVT), the Forte GT steps up performance using a 201-hp one.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder motor. Forte GT buyers may choose involving the common 6-speed manual or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Other GT upgrades consist of a full independent front and rear suspension with larger sway bars and bigger disc brakes.

Both of those GT variations also deliver KiaOpens a New Window. Drive Wise technologies as conventional: forward-collision warning, forward-collision avoidance, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and driver attention warning.

At the 2018 SEMA show, there was a Kermit-green Forte sedan sitting in the Kia booth. With subtle side skirts, big wheels, and a black lip spoiler. And GT badges embroidered on the seatbacks. There hadn’t been an announcement in the car, and there was nobody in Kia’s booth to tell you what it was. We’d have to wait for later in the day to be introduced to Kia’s second shot at a sports sedan.

Other than the color, this was a very subtle performance car that was given a very subtle announcement. Was that because Kia wasn’t confident in their new car, or was it an example of speaking softly but carrying a big stick?

The Forte GT’s stick starts under the hood. In place of the 2.0L 147 hp four-cylinder and CVT is a 1.6L turbo mill. This one’s familiar in the Hyundai and Kia family offering up 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. That’s 37 percent far more power and 48 percent far more torque than the two.0, and, importantly for a compact, it does it on regular gas.

2020 Kia Forte 5 Hatchback - Overp
Second Look
2020 Kia Forte 5 Hatchback – Overp
Second Look

Rather than the CVT from the lesser Forte, the GT comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch box. It’s not the quickest DCT around, but it’s able to make each up and downshifts pleasantly smoothly. Pull the gearshift into manual mode, and the car automatically switches the drives mode to sport. That’s not a feature we’ve seen before in other rivals and it’s one which makes sense. Use the paddles without pulling the shifter in excess of and you maintain guide control but the drive mode stays as-is.

On this Canadian Forte GT launch, the only box we sampled was the DCT because Canadian buyers will only see that two-pedal option. Instead, they’re getting a new hatchback Forte5 that offers extra rear cargo room than the segment-leading Honda Civic.

U.S. buyers don’t get the hatch, but they do get a six-speed stick GT. For some, that’s a good trade. For others, especially those who have driven the Hyundai Elantra Sport’s handbook that we’d expect to feel nearly identical to the MT Forte GT, then they might rather have the option of the hatch. In the Elantra Sport, at least, the guide box isn’t one that will endear you to the third pedal. With no clutch feel in addition to a slightly vague shift linkage.

There’s much more to the GT than just an engine and gearbox, though. Kia is taking this seriously and has replaced the twist-beam rear end having a multi-link independent rear. Spring and damper tuning has been revised as well, and driving this car back to back using the non-GT hatch shows that it’s definitely a stiffer (and slightly louder as being a result) ride. The brakes have been upgraded too, with 12-inch front rotors a full inch larger than lesser trims. 18-inch multi-spoke alloys with lower-profile rubber round out the performance changes.

The king from the compact budget sports sedan has long been the Volkswagen Jetta GLI, and the Forte GT takes a lot more than a few pages from that car’s play book. Like subtle changes to the exterior instead from the shouting from the rooftops that defines the current Civic Si. Starting along with the grille that swaps bright for dark chrome, adds subtle red accents, and holds a small GT badge. Around the side are gloss-black skirt extensions, and on the trunk lid is a gloss black spoiler. This is low-key, but if you want something a bit louder, Kia will be happy to direct you toward the Stinger. Or to the available fire orange paint.

Inside, it’s again additional of running through the checklist. Seats with additional bolstering? Check. A flat bottoms steering wheel with shift paddles? Check. Oh, what about red piping and contrast stitching everywhere? Yup, got that too.

Those seats are comfortable, and offer you far more support in the corners without being overly bolstered in the way that VW GTI seats can be (especially for larger drivers). The seat does seem to be higher than the non-GT cars, especially if you’ve ticked the box for the optional sunroof, meaning that taller or long of torso drivers will probably feel a bit cramped.

But even affordable sports sedans aren’t about seats and red trim. They’re about the drive. How does this little ripper fare against the likes in the GLI and the Civic Si? Ask Kia’s execs if this is launched at those cars and suddenly things get a little quiet. And the subject changes. That’s before we’ve sat in the cars, so it doesn’t exactly bode well. On the other hand, maybe they’re just waiting to let the chassis do the talking.

2020 Kia Forte 5 Hatchback - Overp
Second Look
2020 Kia Forte 5 Hatchback – Overp
Second Look

Part from the Forte GT’s package deal is a louder exhaust, and that’s the first thing you’ll notice when you fire it up. Especially with the windows dropped. It’s a slightly rorty burble that’s reminiscent of the GLI’s that has a little less backbone. Of course, the Forte doesn’t have any artificial noise enhancement, so that could be part of your difference. So could be the half-liter less displacement. But it gives a lovely burble and pop to accompany the DCT’s upshifts; a pleasant surprise that seemed to get a bit louder through the day. Maybe getting into the feel of your car, or maybe an engine with only 300 miles starting to loosen up.

The engine is also accompanied by a delightful whistle from the turbo from about two,000 to 3,000 rpm. It’s the kind of noise that puts a grin on your face each time you hear it. It’s highly effective in this little car, and it delivers that power well across the rev-band. Despite the exhaust and turbo noise, though, it doesn’t quite have the verve and joy that the GLI and Si provide.

Steering feel jockeys for position using the engine for the essential sports sedan feature, but here the GT falls behind the competition. My tester was a little vague just off-centre, and though the weighting was good, it lacked a sense of feel. Strangely, the non-GT Forte5 that I also drove on the event had steering that felt sharper. With a a lot more reassuring feel on centre and quicker turn-in.

I also liked the actual steering wheel from the 5. It didn’t have the flat-bottom or thumb-cuts in the GT’s, but it also had a better diameter, softer-feeling leather, and the GT’s sharp red stitching was, well, sharp on the inside of my thumbs.

Steering aside, this is a well-damped small car. It felt solid on the highway and on the twisty single-track roads Kia found for us to wind through redwoods on. When visibility allowed, the Forte GT embraced the rhythm of your roadway. The multi-link rear stayed planted, and even though it didn’t have the tail-happy eagerness to rotate of the GTI, neither does VW’s own GLI. If not eager, it’s definitely a willing playful partner in your back-road shenanigans.

 

2020 Kia Forte 5 Hatchback - Overp
Second Look
2020 Kia Forte 5 Hatchback – Overp
Second Look

Kia’s big play has always been value, so of course the Forte GT does well there too. The GT starts from $22,290 together with the DCT or $600 more for the stick putting it about $3,600 less than Si and $4,600 less than GLI. That receives you the GT bits plus an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A Harman Kardon audio system is optional.

All Fortes get most on the usual-suspects driver aids like forward collision warning and avoidance, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. Extras like blind-spot warnings, rear cross-traffic alerts, and radar cruise control are all optional.

No, this isn’t quite the Stinger from the segment, though neither does it seem like it’s supposed to be. Instead, this car is another strong value proposition for the automaker that’s going to give most drivers all the sport they really want without any on the compromises in ride and comfort that they don’t. It’s not the one you’re going to take to the next track day, but for many buyers in this segment, this will likely be the one that’s just right.