2020 Kia Forte

#18
in Sedans
2020 MODEL
$17,790 - $21,990

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2020 Kia Forte Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide


Amratya Nigam's image

Amratya Nigam Automotive Journalist Updated on: November 27, 2019


While the automotive giants like Ford and GM have already resorted to shutting down their sedan manufacturing units, Kia remains optimistic with its all-new 2020 Forte, as it has been one of their bestsellers, even in this era of crossovers. Borrowing major cues from Kia's sporty Stinger, the Forte is just a diminished version of the same. However, adhering to the Korean manufacturer's standards, the Forte has been nourished with some top-notch materials and build quality. However, in this era where the sedans are slowly making an exit, can the 2020 Forte become an exception? Let's find out.

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Pros

Plenty of standard features

Impressive fuel economy

Generous warranty cobverage

Comfortable ride quality

Cons

Stiff suspension setup

Noise intrusions into the cabin

Sluggish four-cylinder motor

What's New?

Rearview camera and rear parking sensors now standard


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$17790

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

FWD

engine type

displacement

122 cu.in.

horsepower

147 hp @ 6200 rpm

torque

132 lbs.-ft @ 4500 rpm

transmission

6-speed manual

chassis

frame type

Unibody

suspension front

front independent suspension

suspension rear

Semi-independent rear torsion beam suspension

brake rotors (f/r)

61.5/61.9

dimensions

wheelbase

106.3 in.

length

182.7 in.

width

70.9 in.

height

56.5 in.

curb weight

2707 lbs.

ground clearance

5.3 in.

capacity

passenger volume

96 cu ft.

cargo volume

15.3 cu ft.

payload capacity

931 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

8 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

27/31/37 mpg

highway range

518 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

5 yr. / 60000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

10 yr. / 100000 mi.

powertrain warranty

120 months. / 100000

corrosion warranty

5 yr. / 100000 mi.

roadside assistance

5 yr. / 60000 mi.



Styles

 2020 Kia Forte in Aurora Black color  2020 Kia Forte in Clear White color  2020 Kia Forte in Currant Red color  2020 Kia Forte in Deep Sea Blue color  2020 Kia Forte in Fire Orange color  2020 Kia Forte in Gravity Grey color
Aurora Black

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

8.0

Engine And Performance

5.7

Fuel Economy

7.0

Interior

8.0

Exterior

7.0

Safety

8.0

7.3

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2020 Kia Forte FE

FE

power
147 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
35 combined

$17,790 - $18,690


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
FE 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6M) Starting at $17,790 MSRP (27/31/37) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, I-4, regular unleaded
6-speed manual front wheel drive 5
FE 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $18,690 MSRP (31/35/41) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, I-4, regular unleaded
continuously variable-speed automatic front wheel drive 5

 2020 Kia Forte LXS

LXS

power
147 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
34 combined

$19,190


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
LXS 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $19,190 MSRP (30/34/40) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, I-4, regular unleaded
continuously variable-speed automatic front wheel drive 5

 2020 Kia Forte S

S

power
147 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
34 combined

$20,290


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
S 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $20,290 MSRP (30/34/40) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, I-4, regular unleaded
continuously variable-speed automatic front wheel drive 5

 2020 Kia Forte EX

EX

power
147 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
34 combined

$21,990


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $21,990 MSRP (30/34/40) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, I-4, regular unleaded
continuously variable-speed automatic front wheel drive 5

Expert Review

7.3

Overall Rating


The 2020 Forte remains unchanged from the yesteryear and frankly, it was already ahead of time back then. Even today, many of its rivals still struggle to match the feature-list of the Kia. Peek under the hood, and you'll be acquainted by a four-cylinder motor that is smooth but lacks the excitement. As a compensation though, it gets you stellar fuel-economy along with an intuitive infotainment system. A slew of active-safety features are also offered, including standard automated emergency braking and optional adaptive cruise control.

With the prices starting at $17,690 for the base trim, the Forte challenges some well-reputed rivals like the Honda Civic, Volkswagen Jetta, Toyota Corolla, and the Hyundai Elantra.

2020 Kia Forte Front Three-quarter View
2020 Kia Forte Front Three-quarter View
2020 Kia Forte Rear Three-quarter View
2020 Kia Forte Rear Three-quarter View

8.0/10
Features

 

5.7/10
Engine and Performance

 

7.0/10
Fuel Economy

 

8.0/10
Interior

 

7.0/10
Exterior

 

8.0/10
Safety

 
 
 

2020 Kia Forte Features

8.0/10

The 2020 Kia Forte starts at $17,690, which is one of the lower base prices in this affordable class and reaches up to $22,000. Kia covers the Forte with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. That's among the best coverage you can get from any automaker.

Trims

FE

LX

S

EX

MSRP

$17,690

$19,80

$20,190

$21,990

Key Features

2.0L I2.0 147hp, 27/37/31 (City/Highway/Combined) mpg*

Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT), 30/40/34 (City/Highway/Combined) mpg*

·17" Machine Finish Alloy Wheels

·

·Front Fog Lights

10-Way Power Driver's Seat with Power Lumbar Suppor

 

8" Rear-Camera Display, Android Auto™, and Apple CarPlay™

·16" Machine Finish Alloy Wheels

·LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL), LED Rear Combination Lamps

 Collision Warning (BCW) and Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning (RCCW

 

Dual-Zone Automatic Temperature Control

60/40 Split-Folding Rear Seat

·

Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel

·
One-Touch Auto-Up/Down Driver's Power
Window

 Smart Key with Push-Button Start and Immobilizer

 

·Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA)

Black Gloss Sport Bumper Accents

·
Drive Mode Select (DMS)

·UVO eServices, Voice Recognition, and SiriusXM® Satellite Radio

 

SOFINO Leatherette with Heated and Ventilated Front Seats

·
USB Charging Ports

2020 Kia Forte Engine and Performance

5.7/10

"In short, the Kia Forte has grown up. It’s more refined and sportier while boasting more tech. It’s also more fuel efficient. And in addition to having a generous amount of safety and infotainment technology, the new Forte has been made more attractive with some styling cues taken from the Kia Stinger sport sedan. - Kellybluebook

All of the 2020 Forte models comes with a 2.0- liter four-cylinder engine which produces 147 horsepower and 132-pound feet of torque. The base variant comes with a six-speed manual transmission while a CVT is optional. Higher spec models come with a standard CVT.

2019 Kia Forte engine
2020 Kia Forte Engine

Known by the name “Intelligent Variable Transmission” (IVT), this is Kia's first attempt at a CVT and developed by Kia in house for a production car. This gearbox uses a chain-type belt instead of a push belt to reduce the rubber-band effect. To curb noise, vibration, and harshness, Kia added more adhesive and thicker glass for the front side windows. The shifts are seamless and power is evenly distributed over the whole rev range.

Models

Kia Forte

Nissan Sentra Sedan

Volkswagen Jetta S Sedan

Hyundai Elantra Sedan SE

Toyota Corolla L Sedan

Honda Civic LX Sedan

Mazda 3 Sport Sedan

Chevrolet Cruze Sedan L

MSRP

$20,100

$17,790

$20,240

$18,100

$18,700

$20,250

$20,240

$18,870

Engine

2.0 liter inline 4

Regular Unleaded I-4, 1.8 L

1.4L Turbo Inline 4

2.0 L inline-four

1.8 L inline-four

2.0 L inline-four

2.0 L inline-four

1.4L Turbo Inline 4

Transmission

6 speed automatic

6-Speed Manual

8 Speed Automatic

6-speed Automatic

CVT

CVT

6-speed Auto

6 Speed Automatic

Horsepower

147 hp @ 6200 rpm

130hp @ 6000rpm

147hp@5000 rpm

147hp @ 6200 rpm

132hp @ 6000 rpm

158hp @ 6500 rpm

155hp @ 6000 rpm

153hp@5600rpm

Torque

132 lb-ft

3500 rpm

128lb.-ft @ 3600rpm

184lb.-ft@1400 rpm

132 lb.-ft. @ 4500 rpm

128 lb-ft@4400rpm

138 lb.-ft @ 4200 rpm

150 lb.-ft. @4000 rpm

177lb.-ft@2000-4000

The Honda Civic is the most powerful car in the lot which produces 158 hp and 132lb-ft of torque. The Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra are somewhat similar in terms of power delivery. The Forte sedan bags second spot in head to head with rivals.

Acceleration

Kia Forte’s little 1.6 liters will give you a pleasant surprise as it is very potent. A slick 6 speed automatic makes most of the horsepower and hits 60 mph in just 9.5 seconds. The acceleration is linear and it takes 16.2 seconds to cover the quarter-mile flag.

2019 Kia Forte Acceleration
2020 Kia Forte Acceleration

Models

Kia Forte

Nissan Sentra Sedan

Volkswagen Jetta S Sedan

Hyundai Elantra Sedan SE

Toyota Corolla L Sedan

Honda Civic LX Sedan

Mazda 3 Sport Sedan

Chevrolet Cruze Sedan L

0-60 MPH(sec)

9.5

9.5

7.7

8.3

9.4

8.2

8.0

7.7

Quarter mile(sec)

16.2

17.4

NA

16.4

17.2

16.3

16.2

16.3

Emission

(Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

8.2

5.9

5.2

10.2

9.8

8.4

11.2

5.6

Curb Weight (lb..)

2668

2866

2959

2767

2840

2742

2899

2870

Once again the Honda Civic with its potent engine is fastest among rivals and merely takes 8.0 seconds to reach 60 mph followed by Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Corolla.

Ride and Handling

The ride quality provided by the (MacPherson struts and a torsion beam in the rear is firm but comfortable, and the car feels stable on the highway, yet willing to change directions when the road starts to curve. The electric-assist steering communicates well what the front tires are doing, and the CVT does a good job of mimicking a traditional 6-speed automatic. In fact, most people would be hard-pressed to identify the Forte’s transmission as a CVT, thanks in part to what Kia calls “adaptive style shift logic.” There are three electronic drive modes: Normal, Smart and Sport. In Smart, the new Forte switches between Normal and Sport, depending on how the car is being driven.

In short, the new Kia Forte is a nimble compact sedan, and its well-tuned steering, gas and brake inputs make for a pleasant driving experience.

Braking

Forte’s brakes are firm with short pedal travel. They are easy to modulate in stop-and-go traffic and also on tight curves. The 125 –foot stopping distance from 60 to standstill is above average. They stay consistent and aspires confidence while sudden stops.

2019 Kia Forte Wheel
2020 Kia Forte Wheel

Models

Kia Forte

Nissan Sentra Sedan

Volkswagen Jetta S Sedan

Hyundai Elantra Sedan SE

Toyota Corolla L Sedan

Honda Civic LX Sedan

Mazda 3 Sport Sedan

Chevrolet Cruze Sedan L

Brake Front (in.)

 11.6

11

11.5

10.3

10.8

10.2

10.7

10.8

Brake Rear (in.)

10.2

9

10.8

9.7

9.1

9.8

9.5

10.4

70-0 MPH (ft.)

125

122(60-0MPH)

191

182

183

180

179

110(60-0MPH)

Most of the car delivers similar braking performance is there is no substantial difference.

2020 Kia Forte Fuel Economy

7.0/10

The Kia Forte’s engine employs the Atkinson cycle, which results in better fuel economy. A base Forte, fitted with the 6-speed manual transmission, delivers EPA fuel economy of 27 mpg/city, 35 mpg/highway, and 30 mpg/combined. If you opt for a Forte FE with the new continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), those numbers increase to 31/41/35, respectively. Over 40 mpg on the highway is impressive.

Models

Kia Forte

Nissan Sentra Sedan

Volkswagen Jetta S Sedan

Hyundai Elantra Sedan SE

Toyota Corolla L Sedan

Honda Civic LX Sedan

Mazda 3 Sport Sedan

Chevrolet Cruze Sedan L

MPG (city)

31

27

30

28

28

32

27

30

MPG (highway)

40

35

39

37

35

42

36

39

MPG (combined)

35

30

34

32

31

36

30

33

Fuel Tank Capacity(Gal.)

14.2

13.2

13.2

14

13.2

12.39

13.2

13.7

Those numbers are similar to what the Honda Civic offers with its base engine and each transmission choice, but the Forte does a little better than the Hyundai Elantra in all those considerations.

2020 Kia Forte Interior

8.0/10

"On top of its value proposition, its combination of style, respectable handling, excellent ride comfort and tech position the new Forte well to play to the wide audience. Nobody should be surprised if it continues to be Kia's best seller."- CNET

Seating and Comfort

The 2020 Kia Forte will remind you of the Optima from inside, or, in other words, it's good looking and well equipped. The minimalistic design, with a wide horizontal theme and beautifully contoured dash, can be compared with an entry-level Audi. Soft-touch materials on the front door panels and armrests while leather-textured black plastic decorates the dashboard.

2019 Kia Forte seating
2020 Kia Forte Front Seat

The front seats, which provide ample comfort throughout the day are well suited for taller drivers. Likewise, the split folding rear seats are pretty decent in terms of legroom and headroom. The middle armrest is around an inch higher and longer than the previous variant, which improves it much for, well, lavishly resting your arm. Forte’s outward visibility is excellent due to the well-designed A & C pillars.

Models

Kia Forte

Nissan Sentra Sedan

Volkswagen Jetta S Sedan

Hyundai Elantra Sedan SE

Toyota Corolla L Sedan

Honda Civic LX Sedan

Mazda 3 Sport Sedan

Chevrolet Cruze Sedan L

Passenger capacity

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

5

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

38.3/54.8/42.3

39.4/54.7/42.5

38.5/55.9/41.1

38.8/56.2/42.3

38.3/54.8/42.3

39.3/57.0/37.1

38.3/54.8/42.3

38.9/54.8/42

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

37.3/55.0/35.7

36.7/53.9

37.2/54/37.4

37.3/55.0/35.7

37.1/55.0/37.4

37.1/55.0/37.4

37.6/54.4/35.8

37.3/53.7/36.1

Interior Features

  • Front Bucket Seats -inc: 6-way adjustable driver's seat
  • 60-40 Folding Bench Front Facing Fold Forward Seatback Rear Seat
  • Power Rear Windows
  • Leather Steering Wheel
  • Remote Releases -Inc: Mechanical Cargo Access and Mechanical Fuel
  • Cruise Control w/Steering Wheel Controls
  • HVAC -inc: Underseat Ducts
  • Power 1st Row Windows w/Driver 1-Touch Down
  • Front Center Armrest
  • Perimeter Alarm
  • Cargo Space Lights
  • Fade-To-Off Interior Lighting

Infotainment System

The touch screen sits high on the dash, within easy view of the driver. There are clearly labeled physical buttons and knobs to adjust audio and cabin climate settings. The infotainment system is intuitive and processes command quickly. The 2020 Forte offers a ton of standard features:

2019 Kia Forte Infotainment Display
2020 Kia Forte Infotainment Display
  • Radio: UVO eServices Infotainment AM/FM/MP3
  • Audio -inc: SiriusXM satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
  • USB/auxiliary input jacks
  • 7" touch-screen display, rearview camera
  • 6 speakers including tweeter speakers
  • Bluetooth wireless technology w/voice recognition, and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls
  • Radio w/Seek-Scan, Clock, Speed Compensated Volume Control and Voice Activation
  • Streaming Audio
  • Window Grid Antenna
  • 2 LCD Monitors In The Front

Cargo Capacity

The Kia Forte has one of the largest trunks in its class. Rear seats can be folded down to make more space for storing your articles but not in the base variant. Also optional is a hands-free power trunk, which pops open when you stand behind the car with the smart key on your person.

2019 Kia Forte Cargo
2020 Kia Forte Trunk Space

Models

Kia Forte

Nissan Sentra Sedan

Volkswagen Jetta S Sedan

Hyundai Elantra Sedan SE

Toyota Corolla L Sedan

Honda Civic LX Sedan

Mazda 3 Sport Sedan

Chevrolet Cruze Sedan L

Cargo Capacity (lb..)

15.3

15.1

14.1

14.4

13.0

15.2

12.4

14.8

The 15 .3 cubic capacity is slightly larger than the Honda Civic (15.1) and Hyundai Elantra (14.4). Corolla stays last in rivalry due to smallest load carrying capacity.

2020 Kia Forte Front seat
2020 Kia Forte front seat
2020 Kia Forte
2020 Kia Forte
2020 Kia Forte interior
2020 Kia Forte Interior
2020 Kia Forte Instrumental Cluster
2020 Kia Forte Infotainment Cluster
2020 Kia Forte Center console
2020 Kia Forte Center console
2020 Kia Forte rear seat
2020 Kia Forte Rear seat
2020 Kia Forte cupholder
2020 Kia Forte Cupholder

2020 Kia Forte Exterior

7.0/10

“The 2020 Kia Forte pairs stylish good looks with a lot of features, making it a compact sedan standout” –car connection.

Dimension and Height

And it's a pretty pleasant face. Although it's far from the Stinger's twin, the Forte adopts some of the most prominent features from the sporty hatch, such as the long hood, fastback profile, and sweptback headlights.

2019 Kia Forte side view
2020 Kia Forte Side View

With the refresh in 2020, the Kia Forte gets a more appealing exterior, with edgier lines and the prominent tiger grille up front. Taller and wider than the previous generation, the Forte has a more imposing presence than ever before. At the back, the tail lights feature full-length LED strip, which keeps the design relevant for 2020.

Models

Kia Forte

Nissan Sentra Sedan

Volkswagen Jetta S Sedan

Hyundai Elantra Sedan SE

Toyota Corolla L Sedan

Honda Civic LX Sedan

Mazda 3 Sport Sedan

Chevrolet Cruze Sedan L

Curb weight (lb..)

 2871

2866

2767

2844

2840

2724

2899

2870

Length(in)

181.9

182.6

185.1

181.9

183.1

182.3

180.3

183.7

Width(in)

70.9

69.3

70.8

70.9

69.9

70.8

70.7

70.5

Height(in)

56.5

58.9

57.4

56.5

57.3

55.7

57.3

57.4

Ground clearance (in)

5.6

6.4

5.6

5.3

6.7

6.3

6.1

6.4

Wheelbase (in)

105.7

106.3

105.7

106.3

106.3

106.3

106.3

106.3

The Forte is few inches shorter in length than most of their competitors but otherwise measure up very close to the rest of the class. As with several competitors, a small footprint helps the Forte feel nimble, although driver and passengers will surely note the Forte’s body roll around curves and corners

Exterior Features

  • Body-Colored Front Bumper and Body-Colored Rear Bumper w/Black Rub Strip/Fascia AccentBlack Side Windows Trim
  • Body-Colored Door Handles
  • Body-Colored Power Heated Side Mirrors w/Manual Folding
  • Fixed Rear Window w/DefrosterLight
  • Variable Intermittent Wipers
  • Front Windshield -inc: Sun Visor StripFully Galvanized Steel PanelsBlack Grille w/Chrome
  • SurroundLipSpoiler
  • Rear Cargo Access
  • Fully Automatic Projector Beam Halogen Headlamps w/Delay-Off
  • Wheels: 16" x 6.5" Alloy w/Dark Inserts
  • Clearcoat Paint
2020 Kia Forte
2020 Kia Forte
2020 Kia Forte
2020 Kia Forte
2020 Kia Forte
2020 Kia Forte
2020 Kia Forte
2020 Kia Forte
2020 Kia Forte
2020 Kia Forte
2020 Kia Forte
2020 Kia Forte

2020 Kia Forte Safety

8.0/10
  • Anti-lock braking system
  • Traction Control
  • Dual advanced front airbags
  • Dual front side-mounted impact airbags
  • Dual side curtain airbags
  • 4-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS)
  • Electronic stability control (ESC)
  • Vehicle stability management (VSM)
  • Hill-assist control (HAC)
  • Rearview camera Blind spot detection
  • Lane-keep assist system
  • An autonomous emergency braking system

2020 Kia Forte Competition

Honda Civic

The Honda Civic and Forte earn lots of praise as an amazing daily driver. Kia is a better value product because of the lower price tag and lots of standard safety features. The Civic has athletic handling along with a comfortable ride. Choosing between these two may just come down to whether you want more amenities at a cheaper price with the Forte or better overall performance with the Civic. The Forte is the better value in base form thanks to a lower starting price and heaps of standard infotainment and advanced safety amenities.

2019 Honda Civic
2020 Honda Civic

Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra has one of the lower base prices in the segment, but its void of standard safety features. Both cars offer turbocharged engines with almost the same power output. The Elantra has low composite safety scores, which makes the Forte a better option. The Hyundai Elantra is a good car but it does not stack up well against the Forte.

2019 Hyundai Elantra
2020 Hyundai Elantra

Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla is an excellent daily driver but is a bit dreary to drive. You will get more of everything, such as cargo space and rear seat room, except fuel economy. The Kia Forte is still a better alternative as it offers subpar interior and an appealing design. In terms of overall performance, the Kia Forte is a sure winner.

2019 Toyota Corolla
2020 Toyota Corolla

 

2020 Kia Forte Final Verdict

The Forte may not be athletic as the Stinger but it does a lot of things well. It falls on the shopping list of nearly every compact car buyer. Kia Forte is spacious, comfortable and well equipped at an economical price tag. With upmarket material and a long list of standard features, this Kia proves to be a compelling choice. The ride quality may not be aspiring like the Mazda 3 or Honda Civic but its turbocharged engine is a blaring deal. The SX model offers a sportier ride, and as the only model with a manual gearbox, it’s the enthusiasts’ pick. By all means, the new Forte is a much better alternative to many subcompacts like the Corolla.