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2013 Kia Forte

Overview
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2013 Kia Forte Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.2

Kia has been on a roll as of late, and nowhere is its momentum more obvious than in the 2013 Forte. Available as a sedan, 5-door hatch and coupe (Kia spells it "Koup"), the Forte takes direct aim at the segment leaders Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, and beats them in just about every category. While not as stylish or fun to drive as Ford's Focus or Mazda's Mazda3, the Forte nevertheless can hold its own against most compacts. It offers an impressive list of available features, including a navigation radio with rear backup camera, Bluetooth hands-free calling and keyless access with push-button start. There's also Kia's standard 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, which is still one of the best in the business.

You'll Like This Car If...

If your budget says mac and cheese, but your self-worth demands prime rib, one of the three 2013 Kia Forte compacts is sure to satisfy both demands. Good resale and reliability ratings should ease worries for first-time Kia buyers, as should the robust standard warranty.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Looks can sometimes be deceiving. While the 2013 Kia Forte LX and EX may appear sporty, their overall ride and handling aren't as tight or refined as the Ford Focus or VW Jetta. The exception here is the SX trim, which has a more responsive suspension and a stronger engine.

What's New for 2013

For 2013, the Kia Forte receives only minor changes. There are new 16-inch wheels for the Koup and 5-door, while power-folding side mirrors are added to the EX and SX trims. All models receive a low washer-fluid warning light, and LED daytime running lights are offered on the EX and made standard on the SX.

Driving the Forte

Driving Impressions On the open road, the 2013 Kia Forte is the master of its domain – so long as the road to that domain remains straight and level. Toss in a...

few curves, however, and the Forte LX and EX, with their smaller engine and wheel/tire combo, aren't as much fun to drive as the more powerful SX trim. Even in its most aggressive SX suit, the Forte won't deliver the kind of seat-of-your-pants cornering found in the Ford Focus or Mazda3, and its manual transmission is nowhere near as refined. Don't get us wrong; the Forte is not terribly slow or devoid of feedback to the driver, it's just that the sporty exterior had us hoping for a bit more performance. Most drivers will likely appreciate the Forte's ability to prevent wind, engine or road noise from making their ways into the cabin.

COMPREHENSIVE AUDIO SYSTEM
Every 2013 Kia Forte boasts a flexible AM/FM/CD/MP3/satellite audio system with USB and auxiliary ports. When matched with the upgraded speakers, it's among the best sound systems in the segment.

BLUETOOTH
An option reserved for most high-end models, Kia makes Bluetooth connectivity standard on every 2013 Kia Forte. Are you listening, competition?

2013 Kia Forte Details
Interior

The 2013 Kia Forte is given a visually appealing dash and seat setup, with lots of colorful instruments, a big LCD screen for the audio and plenty of soft-touch materials throughout the cabin. We think a bit more attention could have been paid to the seats, which lack support for the lower back and thighs. Despite its small size, the Kia Forte sedan and hatchback (and to a lesser degree, the Koup) provide surprisingly large cabins, with more interior volume than a Nissan Maxima. The big back seat offers lots of legroom, but headroom is cut short due to the low-slung roofline.

Exterior
2013 Kia Forte photo

In the compact car class, the 2013 Kia Forte's styling falls somewhere mid-pack. Not as modern or aggressively styled as the Ford Focus or Mazda3, the Forte easily outshines the tepid Toyota Corolla and Nissan Sentra. Although the Forte Koup steals the show, the sedan and hatchback both share the signature Kia grille and headlight design as well as handsome wheel choices. Base-model cars don't look the part, rejecting the unpainted bumpers, mirror caps and door handles of lesser cars and replacing them with properly painted parts for a more harmonious exterior statement.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Even the most basic Kia Forte for 2013 will include Bluetooth phone connectivity, iPod integration, an AM/FM/CD/MP3/SiriusXM 4-speaker stereo, color-keyed manual side mirrors, 60/40-split rear seat with folding armrest, a tilt steering wheel and an impressive array of safety equipment including six airbags and electronic traction and stability control. Unfortunately, if you want such simple pleasures as power windows, remote keyless entry or cruise control, you'll have to pony up a bit more cash and move up to the EX or SX trims, which also bring a 6-speaker AM/FM/MP3/SiriusXM audio head unit, heated power side mirrors and a tilt-telescopic steering wheel.

Optional Equipment

Options for the 2013 Kia Forte are limited to the EX and SX trims and include a number of packages as well as some stand-alone features. The Forte EX sedan offers a Premium Package that adds alloy wheels and a power sunroof, as well as a Technology Package (sedan/hatchback/Koup) that includes navigation with Sirius real-time traffic updates, a rearview camera, automatic climate control, smart-key entry with push-button start, foglights and automatic headlights. Options for the SX trim include leather seating surfaces, heated front seats and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Under the Hood

The front-wheel-drive 2013 Kia Forte offers a 156-horsepower, 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that can be matched with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed Sportmatic automatic transmission. On top-line, sport-tuned SX trims the standard engine is a 173-horsepower, 2.4-liter engine. The Forte's automatic transmission has a manual-shift mode and is standard on SX and EX sedan and hatchback models, and available on the Koup. The mid-trim EX is also offered with a Fuel Economy Package that includes the 6-speed automatic plus Motor Drive Power Steering, a load-managing "smart" alternator, low rolling-resistance tires and unique aero enhancements to boost its EPA numbers to 27/37 mpg and deliver class-leading city/highway combined fuel economy of 30 mpg.

2.0-liter inline-4
156 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm (Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle [SULEV]: 154 @ 6200 rpm)
144 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm (SULEV: 139 @ 4600 rpm)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/34 mpg (manual), 26/36 mpg (automatic), 27/37 mpg (Economy Package), 24/33 mpg (manual, coupe), 25/34 mpg (automatic, coupe)

2.4-liter inline-4
173 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm (SULEV: 165 @ 6000 rpm)
168 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm (SULEV: 161 @ 4000 rpm)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/32 mpg (automatic, sedan), 22/32 mpg (manual), 23/31 mpg (automatic, Koup)

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2013 Kia Forte Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 213 Ratings for the 2010 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    8.6/10
  • Reliability
    9.1/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

Great Car

By on Friday, November 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,836

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car as been great for how we use it. I've had it for over 3 years now and about 75,000 miles and have never had an issue with it. The only thing I would say is a negative is that the headrests jut forward to the point that long trips become somewhat straining on your neck. (works to flip the headrest backwards) Other than that it is at the top of its class. Good gas mileage, I average 32 mpg on a tank, 36-42 on long trips depending on the type of driving. Great value."

YUCK

By on Thursday, November 20, 2014

I don't own this car

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "great air conditioning and heaters."

Cons: "Needed a lot of servicing per dept."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"I am leasing this car. I got it in December 2011 and my lease is up March 2015. This car is awful in the snow, rain, any weather that is not sunny, really. It is too small. It is very uncomfortable, especially on long trips. The tires that came with the car only lasted about 15-20,000. I had to buy new tires on a leased car.. that makes no sense to me. I am not sure if it is just the dealership I used, but maintenance was crazy. Every time I went in for an oil change, the service department found other things that "needed to be done" that cost at least $100 more than expected. I had to get a "transmission tune-up" per the service department and after it was done, the car seems to shift worse."

Super reliable, very low maintenance vehicle

By on Monday, November 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "For the inexpensive cost, great value and ride."

Cons: "SX style not great in snow but great in AO weather"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Bought my 2010 Forte SX brand new off the lot and have put 150,000 miles (almost all freeway) on this. I have never had to have a major repair, while keeping up on the regular scheduled maintenance as recommended by the manufacture. Due to premium, sporty type of style of the SX, tire options are limited to higher performance with low tread life styles. Have had to replace tires more than enough times in the 5 years. Handles great in regular or wet weather, however, not great in the snow for being a FWD vehicle (again, tires are the real reasons). Front seats are not the most comfortable, but the overall ride makes up for the lack of cushiony seats. Style is great and interior design is up to date, even after 5 years of newer vehicles have hit the market. It's been a great car and other than basic maintenance, my Forte has not spent any real time in the repair shop or dealership."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Loved everything about this car

By on Monday, September 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great price, warranty, safety, MPG"

Cons: "Center hump in back not good with child car seats"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Only two small complaints I had about this car. No protection from door dings/shopping carts, and seat could get uncomfortable on long trips. Other than that, I. loved. every. single. thing. about. this. car! Regularly exceeded HWY MPG. Rated city MPG on specs fairly accurate."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Great car. Fun and easy to drive.

By on Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "A VERY GOOD PRICE AND SO EASY TO DRIVE."

Cons: "I BELIEVE IT IS THE BEST CAR IN ITS PRICE RANGE."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"THIS KIA IS COMFORTABLE AND SO EASY TO DRIVE. FRONT AND BACK SEATS ARE EQUALLY COMFORTABLE. THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST CARS I HAVE DRIVEN AND OWNED... GOOD JOB ON THIS ONE."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Excelent Buy

By on Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 98,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Nearly 100k and not a single problem. It's peppy, it's pretty, it's pleasing, it's problem free, it's perfectly priced."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?