2020 Kia Forte Gt Review – Overp Review

Posted on

The 2018 Kia Forte is offered in two distinctive entire body types, either to be a 4-door sedan or as being a 4-door hatchback. The 4-door sedan will come in LX, S, and EX grades, when the hatchback is on the market in either LX, EX or SX trims.

LX products are powered by a 147-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, whilst EX models receives a more effective 2.0L direct-injected 4-cylinder that makes 164 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. The Kia Forte SX Koup comes with a turbocharged 1.6L 4-cylinder producing 201 horsepower. Both of the non-turbo engines contain consistently variable valve timing, which aids offer responsiveness above a broad variety while improving gas overall economy. LX products give a decision concerning a 6-speed handbook gearbox and a 6-speed automated transmission, whilst EX 4-doors only have the automated. Both of those variations from the Koup arrive typical having a 6-speed guide, though an automatic is optional on either trim.

The Kia Forte sedan features an accessible Eco Package that provides Idle Cease & Go, a system that will automatically shut off the motor at stoplights; it also adds dual-zone climate control, rear-seat ventilation and special badging. LX trims now offer a Popular Plus Bundle, which provides cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels plus 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 involving Comfort, Normal and Sport modes, changing the steering feel along with the press of a button. Base LX 4-door designs have 15-inch steel wheels while 16-inch alloys are readily available. EX model includes 16-inch alloys with lower-profile tires even though, 17-inch alloys are an option. The Forte Koup SX includes 18-inch wheels as typical.

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 styles and trims and materials are in line with much more upscale vehicles.

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

EX options are grouped into several packages. The Premium Package deal 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 along with a heated steering wheel. Separately, a Technology Bundle combines HID headlamps, LED tail lamps, dual-zone climate control, rear-seat ventilation as well as a 4.2-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 highly effective engine than is obtainable on any other Forte.

The Kia Forte is totally new for the 2019 model year, and being a result of its redesign, it’s now more competitive than ever. If you’re looking for something small yet spacious, comfortable and fuel-efficient, Kia’s redesigned Forte can square off 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 package 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 a lot more competitive than ever. If you’re looking for something small yet spacious, comfortable and fuel-efficient, Kia’s redesigned Forte can square off while 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 package. 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 comes from a naturally aspirated, two.0-liter I4 engine, creating 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 gets Kia’s first implementation of a CVT, and it’s a great first effort.

2020 Kia Forte Gt Review - Overp
Review
2020 Kia Forte Gt Review – Overp
Review

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 state after 825 miles was smack dab in the middle at 35.3 mpg. Kia helps make an even much more efficient version in 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 additional 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 gasoline economic system, but I wish the overall 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, when the ride quality is comfortable, it’s a bit floaty though cornering. Many other cars in this class present better on-road character.

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

The Kia Stinger is one from 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. Being 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 comes with LED taillights connected by a reflective-lens trim piece, and I even like the triangular, faux air vents at the corners with the bumper.

Material quality inside is some of 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 offer 37.5 and 35.7 inches of head- and legroom, respectively. That’s 0.four additional than the Civic Sedan’s rear headroom, but one.7 inches less than the Honda’s rear legroom. The Forte also offers a generous 15.3 cubic toes of trunk space. Not only is that near the top of your compact class, but it’s also 0.two cubic ft far more than the midsize Toyota Camry.

The base 2019 Kia Forte starts at $17,690, but I’d start together with 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 package, 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 bundle also provides embedded navigation, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, wireless phone charger, adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, automatic high beams plus a TFT instrument cluster display bumped from 3.5 inches to four.two.

Most crucially for what I need in a car, though, the Launch Edition also includes a sunroof and a 320-watt, eight-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system. The seven-speaker stereo in the normal EX is fine, but the Harman Kardon system’s added subwoofer would 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 doorway. 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 fuel financial state, 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 of 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 involve a gloss-black grille with red accents, gloss-black heated outboard mirrors with turn-signal indicators, sport side sills in addition to 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 with the GT Line’s appearance upgrades only red contrast stitching replaces the GT Line’s white stitching. It also will get 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 two.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT), the Forte GT steps up performance having a 201-hp 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Forte GT buyers may choose in between the conventional 6-speed guide or a 7-speed dual-clutch computerized with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Other GT upgrades include a full independent front and rear suspension with larger sway bars and bigger disc brakes.

Both GT versions also supply KiaOpens a New Window. Drive Wise technologies as typical: 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, plus a black lip spoiler. And GT badges embroidered on the seatbacks. There hadn’t been an announcement from 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 with the two.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 additional power and 48 percent additional torque than the two.0, and, importantly for a compact, it does it on regular gas.

2020 Kia Forte Gt Review - Overp
Review
2020 Kia Forte Gt Review – Overp
Review

Rather than the CVT on the lesser Forte, the GT includes a seven-speed dual-clutch box. It’s not the quickest DCT around, but it’s able to make the two 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 handbook 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 far more 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 in 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 plus a slightly vague shift linkage.

There’s additional to the GT than just an engine and gearbox, though. Kia is taking this seriously and has replaced the twist-beam rear end using a multi-link independent rear. Spring and damper tuning has been revised as well, and driving this car back to back while using the non-GT hatch shows that it’s definitely a stiffer (and slightly louder like 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 of 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 with all 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 immediate you toward the Stinger. Or to the accessible fire orange paint.

Inside, it’s again additional of running through the checklist. Seats with extra 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 present extra 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 Gt Review - Overp
Review
2020 Kia Forte Gt Review – Overp
Review

Part on the Forte GT’s bundle 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 your GLI’s that has a little less backbone. Of course, the Forte doesn’t have any artificial noise enhancement, so that could be part from the 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 the car, or maybe an motor 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 present.

Steering feel jockeys for position using the motor 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. That has a extra reassuring feel on centre and quicker turn-in.

I also liked the actual steering wheel of the 5. It didn’t have the flat-bottom or thumb-cuts of your 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 on the roadway. The multi-link rear stayed planted, and while it didn’t have the tail-happy eagerness to rotate on 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 Gt Review - Overp
Review
2020 Kia Forte Gt Review – Overp
Review

Kia’s big play has always been value, so of course the Forte GT does well there too. The GT starts from $22,290 with all the DCT or $600 additional for the stick putting it about $3,600 less than Si and $4,600 less than GLI. That gets 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 of 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 with 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.