2019 Kia Forte

MSRP $17,790 - $21,990

Ranked #9 in Compact Sedan

7.3

Overall Rating

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2019 Kia Forte Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: July 16, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


Since its debut in 2010, the Kia Forte only had one aim in sight, to establish itself as a stellar alternative for all of its younger audience in the compact sedan segment. Years down the line, the Forte is no longer just a secondary contender but rather has evolved into a mainstream competitor in the competitive compact sedan segment. The growing love for the Kia Forte is just no mere coincidence, as the sedan offers a slew of standard features and excellent technology at a budget-friendly price.

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Pros

Excellent handling in urban scenarios

High-tech infotainment suite

Stylish youthful looks

Frugal fuel economy

Cons

Noisy engine

Sluggish acceleration compared to rivals

No hatchback variant available

What's New?

Completely redesigned model

Introduction of the CVT transmission

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay gets standard


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$17790

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

top speed

140 mph

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

122 cu.in.

horsepower

147 hp @ 6200 rpm

torque

132 lb.-ft. @ 4500 rpm

transmission

6 speed manual

chassis

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension w/anti-roll bar

suspension rear

Semi-independent rear torsion beam suspension

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

8.2 sec.

zero to 100 mph

17.9 sec.

rolling start 5-60 mph

7.1

standing 1/4-mile

16.5 sec.

braking (70-0 mph)

176 ft.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

27/31/37 mpg

highway range

465.0 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

10 yr./ 100000 mi.

powertrain warranty

10 yr./ 100,000 mi.

corrosion warranty

5 yr./100,000 mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

FE$17,790 onwards

LXS$19,190 onwards

S$20,290 onwards

EX$21,990 onwards

Colors and Styles

2019 Kia Forte in Currant Red color
Currant Red

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

Pricing and Features

7.0

Engine and Performance

5.7

Fuel Economy

7.0

Interior

8.5

Exterior

7.0

Safety

8.0

Competition

8.6

7.3

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

7.3

Overall Rating


With its 2019 iteration, the Kia Forte heads into its 3rd generation. This new generation revamps Forte’s overall style statement. The new Forte imitates the sporty looks of the bigger and more expensive Stinger sedan. These looks give it a distinctive edge over other popular rivals like the Toyota Corolla, the Honda Civic, and the Hyundai Elantra. So how does the 2019 Kia Forte fair as an overall urban commuter? 


5.7/10
Engine and Performance

7.0/10
Fuel Economy

8.5/10
Interior

7.0/10
Exterior

8.0/10
Safety

8.6/10
Competition


2019 Kia Forte Features

The 2019 Kia Forte is offered in 4 trim levels FE, LSX, S, and EX. All the trims include the base 2-liter inline-4 engine as standard. The manual gearbox is only available with the base FE trim, while the rest of the trims get CVT as standard. Each trim has its own perks and features, as discussed in the table below:

Trim

FE

LSX

S

EX

MSRP (FWD)

$17,790

$19,190

$20,290

$21,990

Key Features

15-inch steel wheels with covers

In addition to or replaces FE trim features with:

In addition to or replaces LSX trim features with:

In addition to or replaces S trim features with:

 

Automatic headlights

60/40 split-folding rear seats

17-inch alloy wheels

Heated and cooled front seats

 

Cloth seating upholstery

Drive mode selector

Leather-wrapped steering wheel

Sofino leatherette upholstery

 

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration

Chrome exhaust tip

LED DRLs and taillights

Hands-free smart trunk

 

Dual-zone automatic climate control

16-inch alloy wheels

Satellite radio

Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert

 

Keyless entry

 

Gloss black grille

Heated side mirrors

 

3.5-inch instrument cluster display

 

Rear-seat armrest

10-way power driver's seat

Which Trim should you buy?

We will definitely recommend the mid-of-the-range S trim if you decide to opt for the 2019 Kia Forte. This trim adds several features that family-conscious shoppers will relish, including a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, six-speaker audio system, and satellite radio. Buy the S Premium package as well to add goodies like a sunroof, LED interior lighting, adaptive LED headlights, and automatic high beams. All of these features will fit in right within a $25000 budget.

2019 Kia Forte Engine and Performance

5.7/10

The 2019 Kia Forte Sedan gulps its energy from a 2-liter naturally aspirated inline-4 engine, supplemented by a fuel injection system to boost the efficiency figures. Kia pairs this combination to either a 6-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission for even power distribution. Like most other compact sedans in its class, the Kia Forte runs only on the classic front -wheel-drivetrain.

Speaking of the base powertrain, the 4-cylinder engine gives you a punchy response whenever you push the accelerator pedal. Kia has also programmed its CVT setup to maintain pre-selected ratios. This simulates the working and feel of a smooth automatic transmission. The Forte does run out of breath while you up the ante on a busy highway. Speaking of which, the Forte breaches the 0-60 mph mark in a time of 9.5 seconds. The sedan completes the quarter-mile run in 17.2 seconds. These mediocre acceleration figures may not be very appealing for most car enthusiasts.

Models

2019 Kia Forte Sedan

2019 Honda Civic Sedan

2019 Toyota Corolla Sedan

2019 Hyundai Elantra Sedan

MSRP

$17790

$19550

$18700

$17200

Engine

2.0-liter Naturally Aspirated Inline-4

2.0-liter Naturally Aspirated Inline-4

1.8-liter Naturally Aspirated Inline-4

2.0-liter Naturally Aspirated Inline-4

Drivetrain

FWD

FWD

FWD

FWD

Transmission

6-speed manual/ CVT w/OD

6-speed manual/ CVT w/OD

CVT w/OD

6-speed manual/ 6-speed automatic w/OD

Power (hp @ RPM

147 @ 6200

158 @ 6500

132 @ 6000

147 @ 6200

Torque (lb-ft @ RPM)

132 @ 4500

138 @ 4200

128 @ 4400

132 @ 4500

0-60 MPH (seconds)

9.5

8.2

8.6

9.3

Quarter-Mile (seconds)

17.2

16.3

16.2

16.9

Top-Speed (MPH)

129

137

118

130

Although the Kia Forte fulfills its very basic duties of urban commuting efficiently, its engine isn’t the type that would put you to the back of your seats. In the power charts, it offers more power than the Toyota Corolla and is at a similar wavelength to its sibling, the Hyundai Elantra. However, the Honda Civic leads the way with its class-leading power output. The difference between these two sedans manifests in the speed charts as well, as the Honda Civic finishes the fastest of its lot while the Kia Forte struggles in the last position. 

How well does the 2019 Kia Forte Sedan handle?

The 2019 Kia Forte is an engaging sedan that excels in cruising through tight city traffic. Handling is pretty smooth thanks to a firm steering setup. The new steering feedback is a welcome change compared to the overtly light steering of the previous models. Kia has reserved a simple shifter setup with discrete positions for Park, Reverse, Neutral, and Drive modes. This simple gear shifter setup is extremely utilitarian compared to the complex shifters that you see in most cars today.

The cabin remains stable and quiet as a pin drop even while cruising at high speeds. The acoustic glass on higher trims keeps the majority of the outside disturbances at bay. The Forte’s ride quality is on the softer side of the spectrum, maintaining a comfortable ride for your family. 

2019 Kia Forte Braking Performance

A lightweight sedan like the 2019 Kia Forte needs a sturdy braking setup to stop its momentum before any mishap occurs. Kia equips the SUV with a 4-wheel disc brake system. Its front and rear brake rotors of 11-inches and 10.3-inches are capable enough to stop the sedan’s momentum in crucial panic situations. Automatic emergency braking comes in handy while in panic situations. The Kia Forte comes to a halt from 60-0 mph within a distance of 125 feet, a decent figure which rivals most modern-day sedans and crossovers.

Models

2019 Kia Forte Sedan

2019 Honda Civic Sedan

2019 Toyota Corolla Sedan

2019 Hyundai Elantra Sedan

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

11

11.1

10.8

11

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

10.3

10.2

9

8

Curb Weight (lbs)

2707

2762

2937

2844

60-0 (feet)

125

117

131

110

The 2019 Kia Forte is a midrange performer in the braking sector, dominated by the likes of its very own blood sibling, the Hyundai Elantra. Hyundai Elantra offers the best braking performance as it comes to a complete stop from 60 mph in just 110 feet. The Honda Civic Sedan comes at the second position at 117 feet while the Toyota Corolla Sedan comes at the last position at 131 feet.

2019 Kia Forte Fuel Economy

7.0/10

The 2019 Kia Forte can stroll for an MPG of 31 in the city and 41 on the highway. This lends it an exceptional combined MPG OF 35. With its fuel tank capacity of 14 gallons, the mileage equates to a figure of 524/690/580 miles on city/highway/combined.

While most stick-shift lovers may opt for the manual gearbox, this combination takes a toll on the MPG figures. EPA estimates its figures at 27 MPG in the city, 37 MPG on the highway, and a combined MPG of 31. Moving above the trim pyramid still keeps the thrifty nature of the Forte alive, as the fuel economy figures only drop to a solid 30/40/34 MPG for city/highway/combined. 

Models

2019 Kia Forte Sedan

2019 Honda Civic Sedan

2019 Toyota Corolla Sedan

2019 Hyundai Elantra Sedan

MPG (City)

31

30

28

29

MPG (Highway)

41

38

36

38

MPG (Combined)

35

33

32

33

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

14

12.4

13.2

14

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

434/574/490

372/471.2/409.2

369.6/475.2/422.4

406/532/462

Kia’s fuel-saving endeavors pay dividends, as the Forte is amongst the least fuel-hungry sedans in its segment. Its exceptional EPA fuel economy figures put it on par with some excellent hybrid sedans as well. The Honda Civic Sedan also performs very well and the Hyundai Elantra Sedan is not far behind either. 

2019 Kia Forte Interior

8.5/10

The 2019 Kia Forte Sedan brings an economy-class cabin to the table with some slight touches of high quality. The cabin strikes a perfect balance between its cheap hard plastic materials and its soft-touch plastics. The dashboard ergonomy is well organized and very intuitive to use even for a newbie driver. The front seats are a spacious lot sufficient enough to fit in tall individuals with ease. The decent height adjustability and bolstering are comfortable enough to support your spine on those tiring road trips. 

Heated and ventilated seats further amplify your experience on higher trims. All these comfort features are quite a rarity in the compact sedan class. Moving on to the rear seats, the comfort level is quite exceptional considering Forte’s compact size. The rear shoulder room and headroom are just about fine for a tall individual. However, ingress and egress into the cabin may be a tricky situation for most owing to the low position of the doors. The Forte offers a trunk capacity of 15.3 cubic feet, which is also very commendable for a compact sedan. 

Models

2019 Kia Forte Sedan

2019 Honda Civic Sedan

2019 Toyota Corolla Sedan

2019 Hyundai Elantra Sedan

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

38.8/56.1/42.2

39.3/57/42.3

38.3/54.8/42.3

40.3/55.3/42.2

Rear Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

37.5/55.3/35.7

37.1/55/37.4

37.1/54.8/41.4

37.3/55.3/35.7

Trunk Capacity (cubic feet)

15.3

15.1

13

14.4

The Kia Forte has one of the roomiest front cabins in its segment thanks to its generous interior dimensions. However, the Toyota Corolla grapples the reins in the rear department thanks to its spacious legroom. The Forte still has the bragging rights in the cargo space department, as it possesses the roomiest trunk out of all sedans in this list. The various interior goodies inside the Kia Forte include-

  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seats
  • Available LED interior lighting
  • Available heated and ventilated front seats
  • Available Sofino leatherette upholstery

What’s there to keep you entertained?

The Kia Forte offers an exceptional infotainment suite which isn't quite the norm for its budget-friendly segment. You can access the onboard infotainment of the Renegade through an intuitive 8-inch touchscreen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration are offered as standard. 

For entertainment purposes, the base FE and LXS models get a 4-speaker sound system while the S and EX make way for a better 6-speaker sound system. Higher up the trim pyramid, an 8-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system and inbuilt navigation make life in the modern jungle easier for you. The tech suite of the Kia Forte can be described in a nutshell as-

  • The 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • 4-speaker sound system 
  • Available 8-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system
  • Satellite radio
  • Available navigation

2019 Kia Forte Exterior

7.0/10

The Kia Forte laid the founding ground for all future Kia models thanks to its distinctive style statement. The sedan sports a visually appealing look that looks humble yet eye-catching in the vast sea of sedans and crossovers. To implement such a delectable design language is no child’s play, as the Forte plays around with its multiple sporty visual cues and vivid bodywork. 

Excluding the base model, all Forte variants ride on 16- or 17-inch alloy wheels. Kia designers strived to replicate most of the exceptional visual elements of its bigger brother, the Kia Stinger sedan. They implemented this by pushing the windshield some inches back, thus achieving a long-hood, short-deck style that is the very essence of most sport sedans out there.

Models

2019 Kia Forte Sedan

2019 Honda Civic Sedan

2019 Toyota Corolla Sedan

2019 Hyundai Elantra Sedan

Curb Weight (lb)

2707

2762

2937

2844

Length (inches)

182.7

182.7

183.1

181.9

Width (inches)

70.9

70.9

69.9

70.9

Height (inches)

56.5

55.7

57.3

56.5

Ground Clearance (inches)

5.3

 

6.7

5.3

Wheelbase (inches)

106.3

106.3

106.3

106.3

Dimensionally, the Kia Forte is very similar to most of its rivals. The exterior dimensions have been reworked extensively to raise the charm of the redesigned Forte sedan. The Forte also has the lightest curb weight among its competition and the wheelbase remains the same for all the sedans in the comparison here. The standout exterior elements of the Kia Forte are-

  • Quad-LED daytime running lights
  • Sunroof
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Sloping roofline
  • Long hood
  • Available rear spoiler

2019 Kia Forte Safety

8.0/10

The 2019 Kia Forte Sedan grabbed an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award thanks to the generous list of standard and optional safety tech and driver assistance features for the segment. However, the federal safety ratings were a source of concern, as the Kia Forte only managed a 4-star overall safety rating from NHTSA. The Forte makes amends for this debacle by providing these standard and optional safety features on all Forte models:

  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Forward collision warning
  • Active lane control
  • Blind-spot monitoring (Available)
  • Rear cross-traffic alert (Available)

2019 Kia Forte Competition

8.6/10

2019 Kia Forte Sedan vs 2019 Honda Civic Sedan

This is a battle between the two very best sedans in the segment, hence the differences between them are almost nominal. The Honda Civic does have the onus in terms of performance, outclassing its Kia rival in the speed and acceleration charts. However, Kia hits back with its stellar fuel economy. The Civic does get pricier as you move up the trim pyramid, but it retains its value better than any other sedan in the segment. 

2019 Kia Forte Sedan vs 2019 Toyota Corolla Sedan

The Toyota Corolla has earned its name as the best-selling car in the entire history of automobiles. The stakes are very high for the Kia Forte. The redesigned Forte holds its ground against the almighty Corolla thanks to its exceptional fuel economy figures. The Forte appeals to the youthful audience with its expressive styling, while the outdated Corolla sedan is in dire need of a redesign. The Toyota Corolla still remains a value for money option and the reliability of the Corolla can not be matched by any other car in the segment.

2019 Kia Forte Sedan vs 2019 Hyundai Elantra Sedan

Both these Korean stalwarts have made a name for themselves in their segment by offering excellent comfort, efficiency, and a touch of sportiness in a compact sedan package. Both the sedans have an identical list of features and optional tech offered in top-draw trims. The Kia sibling has the advantage in terms of fuel economy. However, the Elantra gets the plus points for its better interior quality. The Hyundai Elantra offers a wide selection of engines to choose from and offers a relaxing drive quality very similar to its Kia sibling. On a final note, we feel that both the sedans are quite evenly matched in terms of price and features.

2019 Kia Forte Final Verdict

The new Kia Forte Sedan is a jack-of-all-trades, offering all the positive traits of an excellent compact sedan in a very affordable price range for families. Although the powertrain isn’t the most exciting, the Forte is still one the best handling sedans in its business. Kia’s growing reputation and popularity establishes the Forte as an excellent offering thanks to its plethora of standard gizmo. The redesigned Forte also grabs eyeballs with its youthful and sporty design language, although the Forte isn’t meant to be a sports sedan. It is a good option in the segment for the value it offers for the price.

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