2018 Kia Forte Hatchback

#36
in Compact hatchbacks
2018 MODEL
$18,300 - $26,100 See Inventory Prices

7.4

Overall Rating

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Detailed Review

Kia hasn't been always this adept at consistently designing good looking vehicles with tight bodywork. With appealing front ends and well-proportioned physique, the 2018 Kia Forte5 is the one with all the boxes checked. This hatchback has the brains to go with the beauty; the engine is punchy yet fuel efficient.

Starting at $18,300 the base LX trim scrapes the bottom of the barrell in terms of features, as most of those come as optional toppings, the EX trim gets an adequate serving, while the SX would feel like a buffet, but raises the price to $23,900.

See detailed review »

Pros

Fuel-efficient inline-4 engine

Nimble handling due to compact size

Class-leading cargo capacity

Up-to-date infotainment

Cons

SX trim lacks flair

Mediocre 6-speed automatic transmission

1.6L engine is inefficient

Major redesign scheduled for 2019

What's New?

New wheel design for the SX trim

More safety features made standard



Styles

 2018 Kia Forte Hatchback in Black color  2018 Kia Forte Hatchback in Deep Sea Blue color  2018 Kia Forte Hatchback in Vice White color  2018 Kia Forte Hatchback in Phantom Gray color  2018 Kia Forte Hatchback in Snow White Pearl color
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

Exterior

6.5

Engine

6.5

Interior

6.8

Safety

8.6

Fuel Economy

8.4

Comfort

6.9

Driving

8.6

Features

6.9

7.4

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2018 Kia Forte Hatchback LX

LX

power
173 hp @ 6500 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
28 combined

$18,300


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Lx 4dr Hatchback(2.0L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $18,300 MSRP (25/28/34) 173 hp @ 6500 rpm, 2 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic front wheel drive 5   Aurora Black Pearl
  Garnet Red
  Silky Silver
  Snow White Pearl
  Titanium Bronze

 2018 Kia Forte Hatchback EX

EX

power
173 hp @ 6500 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
28 combined

$22,200


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
Ex 4dr Hatchback(2.0L 4cyl 6A) Starting at $22,200 MSRP (25/28/34) 173 hp @ 6500 rpm, 2 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed automatic front wheel drive 5   Aurora Black Pearl
  Garnet Red
  Silky Silver
  Snow White Pearl
  Titanium Bronze

 2018 Kia Forte Hatchback SX

SX

power
201 hp @ 6000 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
27 combined

$23,900 - $26,100


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M) Starting at $26,100 MSRP (23/25/29) 201 hp @ 6000 rpm, 1.6 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
6-speed manual front wheel drive 5
SX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) Starting at $23,900 MSRP (25/27/30) 201 hp @ 6000 rpm, 1.6 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
7-speed automatic front wheel drive 5

Top Kia Cars

2017 Kia Cadenza
8.0/10

Engine: 290 hp @ 6400 rpm, 3.3 L V6

MPG: 23 combined

2019 Kia Optima Sedan
8.0/10

Engine: 185 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.4 L I-4

MPG: 27 combined

2018 Kia Stinger
8.1/10

Engine: 255 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L I4

MPG: 25 combined

2017 Kia Optima plug-in hybrid Sedan
8.2/10

Engine: 202 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2 L I4

MPG: 40 combined

2019 Kia Stinger
8.4/10

Engine: 255 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L I-4

MPG: 25 combined

2017 Kia Optima hybrid Sedan
9.1/10

Engine: 154 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2 L I4

MPG: 42 combined

2019 Kia Sorento
8.1/10

Engine: 185 hp @ 6000 rpm, 2.4 L I-4

MPG: 25 combined

2017 Kia Soul EV Wagon
8.2/10

MPG: 105 combined


Expert Review


CARHP Editorial September 21, 2018

7.4

Overall Rating


6.5/10
Exterior

 

6.5/10
Engine

 

6.8/10
Interior

 

8.6/10
Safety

 

8.4/10
Fuel Economy

 

6.9/10
Features

 
 
 

The competitive segment of small hatchbacks is flooded with a variety of brands and more models than anyone would care to count, but we can shorten down the competition to the promising Mazda3, the Kia's cousin Hyundai Elantra GT and the prodigious 2018 Volkswagen Golf. Let's see how the Kia holds up against its numerous rivals.

2018 Kia Forte Hatchback Exterior

6.5/10
“Kia calls the design the Tiger Nose. Regardless of this feline influence, the Forte’s sleek, respectable design makes an impression that far outstrips its price.” - Car and Driver

Design

Kia’s design team has set a trend with modern stylish vehicles across the range with the iconic Stinger at the helm, which the front fascia of the Forte5 takes cues from. The hatchback gets a more poised and proportioned look, compared to the Forte sedan, with a swooping rear ending with a roof spoiler. The bigger wheels in the SX trim give the hatchback a hunkered down stance and good road presence.

Dimensions and Weight

The Kia is quite a narrow ride and this aids its maneuverability. The Volkswagen Golf takes on a wider stance and is shorter than any of the others. The Mazda3 has the tallest ground clearance closely followed by the Elantra GT, and have a very similar width.

Model

Kia Forte5 (LX)

Mazda 3 (Sport)

Hyundai Elantra GT

Volkswagen Golf (S)

Curb weight(lbs)

2928

2875

2901

2963

Length(in)

171.3

175.6

170.9

167.5

Width(in)

70.1

70.7

70.7

70.8

Height(in)

57.1

57.3

57.7

57.2

Ground clearance(in)

5.5

6.1

5.9

5.4

Wheelbase(in)

106.3

106.3

104.3

103.8

Track width(in) F/R

61.5/62.0

61.2/61.4

61.1/61.5

61.0/59.8

The Golf weighs the most but you won’t feel the inertia through the corners, kudos to the laser-precise steering and suspension setup. The Mazda and the Elantra GT are pretty light but that doesn’t reflect onto the acceleration and braking stats.

Exterior Features

  • Rear Spoiler
  • Dual Heated Power Mirrors
  • Illuminated door handles
  • Optional Power Sunroof
  • Projector Beam Headlamps
  • Chrome tipped exhausts

2018 Kia Forte Hatchback Engine

6.5/10
“The Forte5’s more powerful engine is quick and can be fun, but the less powerful, naturally aspirated engines fail to inspire.” - Car and Driver

Engine and Transmission

With a 2.0L naturally aspirated inline-4 engine under the hood, the Forte5 churns out 164 hp power and 151 lb-ft torque. The 6-speed automatic transmission may not be thrilling like a hot-hatch, but its smooth enough for hassle-free daily drives. The SX model gets a performance boost to 201 hp and 195 lb-ft from the turbocharged 1.6L engine. The 1.6L makes the hatch peppy and fun to drive, compared to which the 2.0L engine feels lackluster.

Models

Kia Forte5 (LX)

Mazda 3 (Sport)

Hyundai Elantra GT

Volkswagen Golf (S)

MSRP

$18,300

$19,345

$19,350

$20,910

Engine

2.0L, DOHC, 16-valve I-4

2.0L DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder

1.6L I-4 DOHC 16-valve

1.8L TSI DOHC 16V Turbocharged 4-cyl

Transmission

6-Speed Automatic

6-speed manual

6-speed manual

5-Speed manual

Power

164 hp

155 hp

161 hp

170 hp

Torque

151 lb-ft

150 lb-ft

150 lb-ft

184 lb-ft

Against the contenders, the Forte5 stands tall with quite a punchy engine, although the german hatchback has the most horses and also the most impressive driving dynamics. The competition come with manual transmissions as standard, which might be good news to a few enthusiasts, however, the Forte5 offers a manual with the SX trim as well.

Acceleration

The power figures clearly translate onto the acceleration of the hatchback. The 164 horsepower four-banger propel the Kia to 60 mile-an-hour in 6.9 seconds from a standstill, which continues to reach the quarter-mile mark in 15.2 seconds. Now don’t forget that there also exists a turbocharged version of the Forte5 which covers the 60mph dash in a quicker 6.7 second time.

Models

Kia Forte5 (LX)

Mazda 3 (Sport)

Hyundai Elantra GT

Volkswagen Golf (S)

0-60 MPH

6.9 sec

7.6 sec

7.2 sec

6.7 sec

Quarter mile

15.2 sec

16.0 sec

15.5 sec

15.3 sec

Engine

2.0L i-4

2.0L i-4

2.0L i-4

1.8L i-4

Emission

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

6.3

5.6

6.8

6.1

The Volkswagen Golf is faster to the mile-a-minute mark than the competitors, while the Kia Forte5 SX can match the numbers, the Elantra GT gets to the finish line in 7.2 seconds and the Mazda3 lags with 7.6 seconds.

Ride and Handling

Sportiness is a relative term, while Kia believes they have endowed a certain character to the car, the competition is, however, already a step ahead. The fun, turbocharged engine is beyond the budget of most entry-level enthusiasts. The Forte5 is agile in the city, thanks to its compact size, and stable cruising along highways.

The body roll, although noticeable through sharp corners, won’t be a deal-breaker for most drivers. However, you’d find a much more precise steering and dynamic ride in the Volkswagen and the Mazda3.

Braking

With the 11-inch brakes up front, Kia’s engineers have designed the hatchback to have the shortest stopping distance in the lot. Moreover, the brakes are predictable and inspire confidence driving at highway speeds.

Model

Kia Forte5 (LX)

Mazda 3 (Sport)

Hyundai Elantra GT

Volkswagen Golf (S)

Brake Front(in)

11.0

11.0

11.0

11.3

Brake Rear(in)

10.3

10.4

10.3

10.7

Curb weight(lbs)

2928

2875

2901

2963

60-0 MPH (ft.)

115

120

118

117

Despite the lowest curb weight, the Mazda needs the most tarmac before it can come to a halt in the panic brake test, while the germans have equipped the Golf with bigger brakes to nullify the extra weight in their hatch.

2018 Kia Forte Hatchback Interior

6.8/10
“Forte5 is simple and a bit understated, but interesting, attractive and artistically detailed. Control layout is intuitive and the soft-touch dash and high-quality materials add an upscale ambiance.” - Kelley Blue Book

Seating and Comfort

Kia has given the Forte5 well-furnished and surprisingly upscaled interiors, compared to its cousin, the Elantra GT. The materials on the dash are premium to the touch and ergonomically designed. Despite the sloping roofline, the rear seats are comfortable for adults and can snugly fit a third as well.

Model

Kia Forte5 (LX)

Mazda 3 (Sport)

Hyundai Elantra GT

Volkswagen Golf (S)

Passenger capacity

5

5

5

5

Passenger Volume (ft cube)

98.2

96.4

96.5

NA

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg)

(In.)

39.4/56.1/42.2

38.6/57.2/42.2

39.1/56.2/42.2

38.4/55.9/41.2

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg)

(In.)

38.7/54.9/35.9

37.6/54.4/35.8

38.5/55.4/34.8

38.1/53.9/35.6

Comparing the interior, the Kia has the most front and rear headroom compared to the competitors. The 10-way power adjustable, heated and ventilated leather seats. The SX trim adds lumbar support and a leather-wrapped flat-bottomed steering to the mix.

Infotainment System

The 7-inch infotainment, although optional extra on the LX trim, is smooth, responsive and loaded with features. You get to take your pick between Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. On the steering you’d find the controls for the audio within your thumb’s reach and in the SX trim, the cruise control and shift pedals at your fingertips. The UVO infotainment from Kia offers great connectivity options with optional navigation system and voice-controls.

Interior Features

  • Dual-Zone temperature control
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirrors
  • Interior lighting
  • Woven cloth seats
  • Optional leather upholstery
  • 60/40 split folding rear bench seats

Cargo Capacity

Forte5 boasts the highest cargo storage capacity among the hatchback competition, with the rear seats folded down. The Mazda3 lags behind in this arena with the smallest cargo space. The Elantra GT, with a similar shape as the Forte5 has a slightly less storage, while the reigning champ, the Volkswagen Golf takes the backseat, quite literally.

Model

Kia Forte5 (LX)

Mazda 3 (Sport)

Hyundai Elantra GT

Volkswagen Golf (S)

Behind second Row (ft.cube)

23.2

20.2

24.9

17.4

Second Row Folded (ft.cube)

56.4

47.1

55.1

53.7

2018 Kia Forte Hatchback Safety

8.6/10

Compared to the 2017 model, Kia has made quite a few optional safety features, standard across all trims which has improved the passenger safety crash ratings for the hatchback. A few of the safety features in the Kia are:

  • Dual Front Advanced Airbags
  • Dual Front Seat Mounted Side Airbags
  • Full-Length Side Curtain Airbags
  • 3-Point Seat Belts For All Seating Positions
  • Front Seat-Belt Pretensioners
  • Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
  • Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Traction Control System (TCS)
  • Electronic Brake-Force Distribution (EBD)
  • Brake Assist System (BAS)
  • Hill Start Assist Control (HAC)
  • Tire-Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • Side-Impact Door Beams
  • Front and Rear Crumple Zones
  • Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH)
  • Rear Child-Safety Door Locks
  • Impact-Absorbing Steering Column

2018 Kia Forte Hatchback Fuel Economy

8.4/10

The Forte5 has struck a balance between economy and performance. The 2.0L engine gives a decent fuel economy of 28 miles-to-the-gallon combined, while still delivering good power to the wheels.

Model

Kia Forte5 (LX)

Mazda 3 (Sport)

Hyundai Elantra GT

Volkswagen Golf (S)

mpg (city)

25

27

23

25

mpg (highway)

34

37

31

34

mpg (combined)

28

31

26

29

On the other hand, Mazda has engineered their powertrain to give superb mileage through the city as well as highways, but stranded a few horses on the way. Elantra GT, despite the smaller displacement engine cannot deliver good mpg. While the Golf rivals the Forte5 in fuel economy, let’s not forget the massive torque it produces, keeping the Golf at the top spot.

2018 Kia Forte Hatchback Features

6.9/10

The Forte5 is the better looking 5-door hatchback version of the Kia Forte sedan. Kia has released the Forte5 with three trim levels the base LX, the upgraded EX and the sport variant SX which gets a turbocharged engine along with a few more performance tweaks.

Trims

Forte5 LX

Forte5 EX

Forte5 SX

MSRP

$18,300

$22,200

$23,900

 

Key Features

2.0L inline-4 164hp

2.0L inline-4 164hp

1.6L turbocharged inline-4 201hp 195 lb.-ft.

15 and 16-inch wheels

17-inch wheels

18-inch wheels

Fog lights (optional)

Fog lights

7-speed DCT and optional 6-speed manual

Body-colored exterior mirrors

Body-colored exterior mirrors

Sports tuned suspension Sport steering wheel

Gloss black grille with white chrome

Gloss black grille with white chrome

Gloss black exterior mirrors Black and Chrome grille

Single chrome tipped exhaust

Single chrome tipped exhaust

Dual chrome tipped exhaust.

We Recommend

The LX is the affordable trim and you get most features from the EX trim as optional extras, which ends up costing more than the EX. So, if you feel the need to tick more boxes when customizing your ride, you’d be better off choosing the EX instead. For the performance enthusiasts, we’d like to advise you against the SX, because there are much better performance hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf and the Honda Civic at the price point.

2018 Kia Forte Hatchback Competition

Kia Forte5 vs Mazda3

If you’re looking for good fuel economy, comfortable city rides and feel that horsepower is just a number, the Mazda3 is the hatch for you. However, the Kia offers more cargo space and a smoother automatic transmission gives the Forte5 an upper hand. Not only that, the Forte5 also comes at a more affordable price, making the Kia the obvious choice.

Kia Forte5 vs Hyundai Elantra GT

The Hyundai Elantra GT is the Kia’s cousin from the future, with a more advanced infotainment and brimming with safety features. However, the Kia gets a better engine, powertrain, and trumps the Elantra in almost all other arenas. The Elantra GT is the more comfortable cruiser, while the Kia Forte5 delivers a relatively sportier and dynamic ride.

Kia Forte5 vs Volkswagen Golf

The Deutschlanders have struck a hole in one with the Volkswagen Golf, with a superb 1.8L engine, a seamlessly shifting gearbox, laser-sharp handling, while maintaining class-leading fuel economy. The Golf is a sleeper, tame through the city but awakens with a roar when you jam the pedal. Kia Forte5 may have better practicality and cargo volume, but it’s not a deal-breaker. You won’t regret choosing the Volkswagen over the competition.

2018 Kia Forte Hatchback Final Verdict

The 2018 Kia Forte5 is a no longer the underdog, It is a veritable contender in the overflowing hatchback segment, with a powerful engine, good ride quality and goes easy on your pocket with low running costs. The LX and EX are budget friendly options but we suggest you to invest a slightly higher sum and choose the 2018 Volkswagen Golf instead.