Kia gave its compact Forte sedan a makeover last year that smoothed out this car's already attractive lives, so that a car that already projected an upscale image for a car starting at $15,495, a price carried over from the 2017 model.
For its fifth year on the market since a 2014 redesign, the Forte gets just a couple of minor trim updates: the LX+ model gets 16-inch alloy wheels formerly only available in the EX model, and the EX and EX+ add a heated steering wheel that trickles down from the EX Luxury trim.
Elsewise, the Forte carries over unchanged. All trims are powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that makes 147 hp and 132 lb-ft of torque in the LX, but whose output rises to 164 hp and 151 lb-ft for all other trims, thanks to the addition of direct fuel direction.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard in the LX model, and a six-speed automatic is included in the LX AT model and all other trims.
Base spec includes 15-inch steel wheels with covers, height-adjustable driver's seat, tilt-and-telescopic steering column, power windows, locks and heatable side mirrors, four-speaker stereo with Bluetooth and auxiliary and USB inputs and a trip computer.
LX AT trim adds the automatic transmission, air conditioning and keyless entry. LX+ AT gets its new 16-inch wheels, plus automatic headlights, fog lights, windshield wiper de-icer, seven-inch display audio with Android Auto (Apple CarPlay isn't available yet), backup camera, heated front seats and cruise control.
EX AT models add a heated leather steering wheel and leather shifter trim, automatic climate control, LED positioning lights, passive keyless entry with smart trunk, auto-dimming rearview mirror and power-folding side mirrors. The EX+ brings a sunroof and 17-inch wheels, and EX Luxury trim gets blind spot detection, heated rear seats, 10-way power driver's seat and leather upholstery.
Finally, the SX model comes with automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist, steerable HID headlights, LED taillights, ventilated front seats and navigation.
The difference between the Forte's starting price and its top tag is nearly $12,000, which demonstrates how serious Kia about attracting both budget-minded compact car buyers and those who prefer small cars but are willing to pay to turn their Forte into a mini luxury sedan. However, we wish Kia would fit top-end models with the 1.6L turbo engine available in the Forte5 hatchback; it's a fun motor that would make the Forte more competitive with more recently updated models like the Honda Civic and the Hyundai Elantra. With a full redesign on the horizon, however, we suspect that might be on the menu in the near future.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed