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 without any fixed ratios which most people don’t love and some of the hard plastics inside attest to the affordable nature of the Kia Forte.

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 that makes it more handsome. 


2019 Ford Fiesta

Starting Price: $15,235 | Price Yours

Above Average: Great looks, sporty ride, and decent fuel-efficiency.

Below Average: Accident avoidance features are lacking, and resale isn't great.

Consensus: While Ford won't be making any more Fiestas past 2019, the Fiesta is still economical, reliable, and fun to drive. 

The 2019 Kia Forte may not be a compact sports 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 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.

RELATED: Read our Kia Forte Review

The 2019 Ford Fiesta marks the end of an era for Ford, who has said that they are getting out of the passenger-car business to focus on the booming SUV market. As a result, 2019 will mark the final year for the Fiesta. Offred in sedan, hatchback, and sporty ST versions, the Fiesta offers a wealth of good looks, sporty handling, and since it’s the last year of the vehicle, you’ll likely be able to score a good deal.

For 2019 the Ford dropped the Titanium trim from the lineup and added the new, sportier ST line. The ST Line gets the looks and features of the ST, without the turbocharged engine, 17-inch wheels and the 6-speed manual transmission.

RELATED: Read our Ford Fiesta ST Review

One of the drawbacks that comes about as Ford winds down its passenger-car business is that the Fiesta sits on an aging platform. That means that it doesn’t get all the bells and whistles that others in the competitive set have—particularly key safety features. On the road the Fiesta is well-behaved and fun to drive, offering a sense of balance and nimbleness while still communicating what’s happening under the wheels. The 1.6-liter engine doesn’t offer robust power, but it’s enough when paired with the 5-speed manual transmission (the 6-speed automatic is optional) and it is plenty fuel-efficient getting an EPA-estimated 33 mpg.

Inside the Ford Fiesta is comfortable for front-seat passengers but cramped for those in the back. The touch points are made of high-quality materials, and the Fiesta is solidly built. We'd recommend going for the upgraded 1.6-liter engine in the ST line and the Sync infotainment system. The only drawback of the ST Line is that there is no automatic transmission available.


Enjoyable, amenity-packed sedans that are nice to drive no matter which one you choose.

Kia Forte Advantages

Great bang for your buck—for $26,000 you can get into the top-of-the-line Forte EX Launch Edition.

Ford Fiesta Advantages

A fun-to-drive sporty car that’s economical and good looking.

Final Recommendation

It’s a close race between the 2019 Kia Forte and 2019 Ford Fiesta. For our money, we'd go with the Forte because it has more modern safety amenities and a better warranty. 

Ready to buy? Find a Ford Fiesta or a Kia Forte on sale at a dealership near you

  2019 Kia  Forte 2019 Ford Fiesta
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 2.0-liter I4 1.6-liter I4
Horsepower 147 hp @ 6,200 rpm 120 hp @ 6,350 rpm
Torque 132 lb-ft @ 4,500 RPM 112 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual 5-speed manual
Fuel Economy 31 mpg (27 city/37 hwy) 30 mpg (27 city/35 hwy)
Also Available Automatic CVT Automatic
Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 3 years/ 36,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 4 Stars 4 stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 106.3 inches 98.0 inches
Overall Length 182.7 inches 173.6 inches
Width 70.9 inches 77.8 inches
Height 56.5 inches 58.1 inches
Turning Diameter 34.8 feet 34.4 feet
Headroom, Front 38.8 inches 39.1 inches
Headroom, Rear 37.5 inches 37.1 inches
Legroom, Front 42.2 inches 43.6 inches
Legroom, Rear 35.7 inches 31.2 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 56.1 inches 52.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 55.3 inches 49.0 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 96.0 cu. ft. 85.1 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 15.3 cu. ft. 12.8 cu. ft.
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