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2019 Kia Forte

Starting Price: $18,585 | Price Yours

Above Average: Roomy, good-looking, tons of safety features, fuel efficient all wrapped up with an impressive powertrain warranty.

Below Average: Only offered with a CVT transmission, some hard plastics inside.

Consensus: The 2019 Kia Forte is more refined and sportier than the previous generation and comes replete with a variety of standard safety and infotainment technology. It’s also gotten a good-looking exterior redesign. 
 

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2019 Chevrolet Cruze

Starting Price: $18,870 | Price Yours

Above Average: Small sedan with large car appeal-comfort and ride quality is solid, plus it’s offered with an optional diesel engine.  

Below Average: No manual available and not very athletic, plus you have to upgrade to a higher trim to get safety features like automatic emergency braking.

Consensus: The 2019 Chevrolet Cruze is comfortable and capable plus it comes with an optional diesel engine that gives you up to 48 mpg. 
 

The 2019 Kia Forte may not be a compact sport sedan but it certainly feels like one. On curvy roads, the Forte is firm and responsive, but comfortable. The CVT, despite its lack of fixed ratios, does a decent job of behaving like a 6-speed automatic and can be driven in three different modes: Normal, Smart, and Sport. Smart mode adapts to how the car is being driven and toggles between Sport and Normal.  The 2019 Kia Forte comes standard with an 8-inch touch screen and minimalist interior. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. For our money we’d add the 320-watt Harman Kardon stereo on the Forte EX as well as navigation, wireless smartphone charging and LED lights. For 2019 Kia also offers a Launch Edition package which includes a suite of active-safety features like smart cruise control, sunroof and alloy wheels.

Like the Forte, the 2019 Chevrolet Cruze gets big car looks with smaller car feel. For 2019 Chevrolet has updated the front end and restyled the rear taillights, added new colors and wheel designs, and included a 7-inch display as standard, but sadly, they dropped the manual transmission for this year. When paired with the optional diesel engine, you could get up to 52 mpg. The 2019 Cruze stands out because it isn’t like economy cars of the past and offers quiet confidence on the road. While it does have options like forward-collision mitigation, lane-keep assistance, and other advanced safety features, there is no adaptive cruise control available. If you log a lot of miles on the highway this could be a deal breaker. The Cruze comes equipped as standard with a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and does 0-60 in an estimated 7.7 seconds. The base model is priced about $1,000 more than last year’s model. We recommend the Cruze LT trim if you can afford it because it comes with a single-zone automatic climate control system, 6-speaker audio with satellite radio, and cruise control. If you want forward-collision alerts with automatic emergency braking and lane-keep assist, you’ll need to go all the way to the Premier model and add the Driver Confidence II package.

Similarities

Both are roomy and fuel efficient.

Kia Forte Advantages

Great bang for your buck—for $26,000 you can get into the top-of-the-line Forte EX Launch Edition and you get a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty.

Chevrolet Cruze Advantages

A diesel option and 18.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. With the seats down you get 47.2 cubic feet of cargo in the Cruze hatchback.

Final Recommendation

For our money, we’d go with the Kia Forte. It’s packed with features at the base level and feels a bit sportier while still offering a good amount of interior space.  

  2019 Kia  Forte 2019 Chevrolet Cruze
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 2.0-liter I4 1.4-liter turbo I4
Horsepower 147 hp @ 6,200 rpm 153 hp @ 5,600 rpm
Torque 132 lb-ft @ 4,500 RPM 177 lb-ft @ 2,000-4,000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual 6-speed automatic
Fuel Economy 31 combined/27 city/37 highway 32 mpg /28 city/ 38 hwy
Also Available Automatic CVT 1.6L turbodiesel, 9-spd auto
Specs    
Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 3 years or 36,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating n/a 5 stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 106.3 inches 106.3 inches
Overall Length 182.7 inches 183.7 inches
Width 70.9 inches 70.5 inches
Height 56.5 inches 57.4 inches
Turning Diameter 34.8 feet 38.7 feet
Headroom, Front 38.8 inches 38.9 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.5 inches 37.3 inches
Legroom, Front 42.2 inches 42.0 inches
Legroom, Rear 35.7 inches 36.1 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 56.1 inches 54.8 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 55.3 inches 53.7 inches
EPA Passenger Volume n/a 94.0 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 15.3 cu. ft. 14.8 cu. ft.
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