While sedans are no longer as popular as they once were, cheap compact sedans like the 2024 Kia Forte continue to sell well. These high-value cars may not have the same level of practicality as an SUV, but they are still packed with features and can be fun to drive. In the case of the Forte, this is unlocked by the GT trim, which gets a turbo-four engine that develops 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. The rest of the lineup is quite sedate with just 147 hp on tap, which is quite a bit behind rivals like the Honda Civic Sedan and Mazda 3. But that doesn't mean it doesn't have anything going for it.
With rumors of a whole new Kia Forte sedan on the way next year, not much changes for the current model. The GT-Line does get some additional standard safety tech, such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, forward automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and an electronic parking brake.
From basic commuter to mildly fun sedan, the price of the 2024 Kia Forte ranges from $19,790 to $25,190 for the LX and GT Manual, respectively. In between, you'll find the LXS at $20,290, and the GT-Line at $22,290. The regular GT with an automatic transmission will cost you $24,490. These are MSRP numbers and don't take into account the $1,125 destination charge.
While the GT models do have something special to offer with their turbo-charged powertrains, they lack the sheer value of the cheaper models, especially now that the GT-Line gets a longer list of standard safety features. It will save you a couple of grand over the true GT trims, which you can use to upgrade the interior with one of the Premium packages to make the sedan feel a little more luxurious. However, even the base LX is packed with value.
Though it may lack luxuries and space, the interior is cleverly laid out to optimize the area and make interacting with the features easier.
Though nothing ostentatious, the interior of the Kia Forte is extremely well put together. The materials also don't feel cheap for the price, and the layout of the cabin is quite smart. A landscape touchscreen in the center of the dashboard provides easy access for the driver and front passenger, but many features are still operated via physical buttons or knobs, like the climate control and sound system. There are also a number of controls on the steering wheel, and the driver gets a decent-sized information display. A sunroof is available, but only from the GT-Line up.
Five seats is the average for a sedan, but the Kia Forte is quite compact, so the rear bench can only comfortably accommodate two unless you're talking about small children. The front row is far more spacious, with over 40 inches of legroom. Those in the back will find both head- and legroom lacking, so taller adults should avoid being relegated there. The low roof can also make it a little tricky to get in the back, though the front seats are easily accessible. Power front seats are only introduced higher up in the trim lineup, along with sports seats in the GT trims, but overall visibility is excellent at every point.
Sedans don't often wow with their limited cargo space, but the Forte actually has quite a lot to offer. There is an ample 15.3 cubic feet of room in the trunk, which is quite easy to access through the wide opening. You shouldn't need more for everyday errands, but if you do, the rear seats can be folded down to add some space.
Around the cabin, you'll find a pair of cupholders right in front of the central armrest, which houses a small cubby. Larger spaces can be found in the glove compartment and door pockets. Upper trims come equipped with a fold-down rear middle seat which houses another pair of cupholders.
|Kia Forte||Honda Civic Sedan||Mazda 3 Sedan|
|5 Seater||5 Seater||5 Seater|
|38.8 in. front|
37.5 in. rear
|39.3 in. front|
37.1 in. rear
|38 in. front |
37.3 in. rear
|42.2 in. front|
35.7 in. rear
|42.3 in. front|
37.4 in. rear
|42.3 in. front |
35.1 in. rear
|15.3 ft³||14.8 ft³||13.2 ft³|
Interior colors are severely limited for the Forte, with Black being the only option regardless of the trim. However, materials do improve as you move up the range. The LX and LXS come upholstered in simple cloth, while the GT-Line combines this with Syntex trim with Gray stitching, though you have the option of pure Syntex, too. The GT offers the same two choices, but it gets Red stitching, instead, while the GT Manual is pure Syntex only.
At its base level, the Forte includes only the essentials, such as manually adjustable front seats and air conditioning, remote keyless entry, cruise control, and a small 4.2-inch driver-info display. The list is rounded out by an eight-inch touchscreen in landscape layout that offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Bluetooth streaming. A four-speaker sound system is installed in the LX and LXS. Things only really improve the GT-Line, which gets a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen that now includes SiriusXM, navigation, and HD Radio. You also get dual-zone climate control, a Smart Key, and remote start, while the GT adds a wireless charging pad. The GT Manual is the last model to get standard upgrades like heated front seats and an eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. These are options for the GT-Line and GT, along with a sunroof and ventilated front seats.
|4.2-inch driver-info display|
|Eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound|
Neither powertrain is particularly heavy on performance, but the turbo-four does a decent job of making the Forte feel pokey.
There are two engine options for the Kia Forte, with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder under the hood of the lower half of the lineup. This block develops 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque, and comes mated to a continuously variable transmission. The GT and GT Manual get the far more impressive 1.6-liter turbo-four that makes 201 hp and 185 lb-ft, with the former getting a seven-speed dual-clutch auto, while the latter boasts a six-speed manual stick shift. Every model gets a front-wheel drivetrain only.
In its most ambitious guise, the Forte takes around seven seconds to go from 0-60 mph, and it can reach a top speed of 120 mph. But with light and numb steering, fun isn't really on the cards, though the experience is perfectly pleasant. Driving is easy, and you won't have to worry too much about body roll, though ride comfort can get upset by larger bumps in the road.
One of the biggest selling points of small sedans is their gas mileage, and the Kia Forte's 30/41/34 mpg with the base engine and CVT is truly impressive for a non-hybrid. However, the same setup in the heavier LXS and GT-Line get a slightly worse 28/39/32 mpg. Once you swap to the turbo-four engine, the Forte manages 27/35/30 mpg with the auto gearbox and 22/31/26 mpg if you prefer the manual shifter. Every trim has a fuel capacity of 14 gallons, which means that maximum driving range starts at 360 miles and tops out at 475 miles.
|2.0L Inline-4 Gas|
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
|1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas|
|1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Gas |
|147 hp||201 hp||201 hp|
|120 mph||120 mph||120 ph|
|30/41/34 mpg - Base Model|
28/39/32 mpg - LXS, GT-Line
|27/35/30 mpg||22/31/26 mpg|
|Est. 8 sec||Est. 7 sec.||Est. 7 sec.|
There are some concerns regarding the Forte's side crash tests, even though there is a good list of standard safety features.
Kia is generally known for its excellent safety ratings, but the Forte only has four out of five stars from the NHTSA, and it also has a special note for a safety concern. This relates to the rear passenger door intruding on the cabin during side barrier tests. This was mirrored by the Poor rating from from the IIHS for side crash tests, but it also found the moderate overlap front crash results lacking.
Despite these concerns, Kia equips the Forte with plenty of standard safety features. The most basic are ABS, stability and traction control, a rearview camera, and six airbags. There are also a number of more advanced safety systems, including lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, and forward collision warning with pedestrian detection. This list is enhanced with blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, forward cyclist detection, forward automatic emergency braking, highway driving assist, and safe exit warning from the GT-Line. The final additions for the GT Manual comprise rear cross-traffic collision warning and rear park distance warning.
|Forward collision warning|
|Rear cross-traffic alert|
|Rear parking assist|
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
Few automakers are as consistent in terms of reliability as Kia, and the Forte has maintained its score of 87 out of 100 from J.D. Power for the past few years. That being said, it was recalled twice in 2023 for loss of steering control and a related problem with the front lower control arm. The latter was regarded as an urgent issue that made the car unsafe to drive.
The warranty for the 2024 Kia Forte remains one of the best in the industry, covering limited issues for five years/60,000 miles, and offering roadside assistance for the same period. The powertrain warranty is particularly impressive, with ten years/100,000 miles of coverage.
You may expect such a cheap car to look boring, but the Forte is quite handsome. The projector beam headlights are deeply slanted and slide directly into the slim grille, which is pinched off in the middle by the Kia logo. LED daytime running lights are added at the GT-Line trim, along with LED fog- and taillights. However, the headlights are only replaced with LEDs on the true GT models. These also get dual exhaust tips instead of the regular ones. Every trim with a GT in the name has bolder gloss-black accents with red trim around the bumper and grille to give them some sporty characteristics. The base model has 15-inch wheels, which grow by one inch per trim level until you reach 18-inch wheels on the GT and GT Manual.
It's hard to go wrong with a Kia, which boasts the top position in J.D. Power's reliability ratings for mass-market vehicles. The 2024 Forte is more than just a dependable car, though, focusing on delivering value and fuel economy at a very affordable price. It doesn't have a lot of power, and it's not very fun to drive, but these aren't big concerns for compact commuter sedans, anyway. With a decent amount of practicality and a strong safety suite, not to mention a great warranty, the Kia Forte is a very compelling product for those with a limited budget.
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