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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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Buying this car?

2013 Kia Forte Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 209 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
    8.6/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

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."

3 people out of 4 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."

3 people out of 6 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

Enjoyable Drive

By on Monday, August 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable, good highway car"

Cons: "Mediocre gas mileage, a bit too low-slung"

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

"Overall, the 2012 Forte EX is a great car and I've been very pleased with it. In addition to local, around-the-neighborhood driving the car has been on a couple of long distance road trips and it performs beautifully. It's quiet on the highway, comfortable, and has sufficient power to pass slower vehicles easily and get up to speed quickly when entering the highway. Both long trips were in the summer and the a/c works very well and keeps the car comfortable, even in very hot weather. The Sirius radio is a real asset on long, cross-country drives. The only downsides are that the car's gas mileage doesn't seem to be as good as my previous Corolla's, and the front end design is a bit problematic because the hood is raked so steeply that it's impossible to know exactly where the front of the car is when you are trying to park and avoid hitting something in front of you. The car also is lower than my previous Corolla, so when driving into a head-in parking spot the front end often doesn't fully clear the curb and there's a loud "scrape" to remind you that it's a low vehicle! These are relatively minor quibbles but are design flaws that I hope have been fixed in newer models. From a maintenance standpoint the car has been completely trouble-free!"

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

great value for the price

By on Sunday, August 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Saw this car a year before I bought one. Also looked at Chevy Cruze and Volks. Jetta. Styling was a major reason I chose the Forte Koup. Three years later I still enjoy looking at it. Absolutely no problems; still runs great with good gas mileage. I get enough power and torque to keep me happy. If I was trading now I would go to Kia again."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

I like it, but don't love it. Good car for the $.

By on Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Nice looks, reliable, good mpg. Great audio sys."

Cons: "Touchy throttle."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"I bought the "High MPH" option, with low rolling resistance tires. Those tires did yield about 36mpg, but wore out quickly (about 22Kmi) & were terrible in the snow. I now have regular tires on the car & get about 33mpg avg driving. The car rides well & can easily stay with traffic. Love the sound system, although I don't subscribe to the satellite service. The BlueTooth phone interface is nice. I like the rear fold-down seats for hauling long things. A couple of minor driving issues; 1] The initial acceleration from a stop is very aggressive. The car tends to jump with very little pedal push. Makes smooth starts touchy, especially when teaching my son to drive! 2] The electric pwr steering doesn't return to neutral position as reliably as my previous vehicles did. This makes constant steering adjustments necessary to stay on course. I view those issue as minor in relation to the overall reliability & quality of the car."

2 people out of 3 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?