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2018 Kia Forte KBB Expert Review

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KBB Expert Rating 8.5 / 10
10/8.5
This Car - 2018 Kia Forte
How It Compares to Similar Cars
10/
Highest -
10/
Lowest -
10/
Average rating for similar cars
More Details
Consumer Rating 8.8 / 10
10/8.8

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KBB Expert Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By Scott Oldham -- Contributing Editor


Kia’s entry in the competitive and crowded compact-car class is available in two body styles, the stylish 2018 Kia Forte sedan and the even sexier Forte5 hatchback. Both are refined, fuel-efficient and packed with features including available driver-assist systems. Each offers high-quality interiors, impressive infotainment systems that incorporate Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a choice of three trim levels, while the top-of-the-range Forte5 SX features a turbocharged engine with over 200 horsepower. Prices start just under $18,000 for a Forte LX sedan with a 6-speed manual transmission. Under the hood is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 147 horsepower. An optional 6-speed automatic transmission is available and kicks up fuel-economy ratings to 29-mpg city and 37 mpg on the highway. Competitors include the Honda Civic, Chevy Cruze, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda3 and Toyota Corolla.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2018 Forte lineup offers you a choice of a practical 4-door or Euro-styled 5-door hatchback, each replete with a generous warranty, lots of standard features and a decent price. If you’re looking for an attractive, stylish, comfortable and well-equipped compact with the highest crash-test safety ratings, you’ll like the Kia Forte.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for a diesel engine in this class, the Kia Forte is not for you; check out the Chevy Cruze. If all-wheel drive is on your wish list, shop the Subaru Impreza or the VW Golf SportWagen. If a hybrid interests you, shift over to the Kia Niro. The Kia Forte is also light on rear-seat legroom compared to the Honda Civic.

What's New for 2018

For 2018 Kia has improved in the Forte’s list of luxuries. The Forte LX now has standard cruise control and available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The Forte S gets new 16-inch wheels and the Technology Package now includes a sunroof. The Forte EX gets standard Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist.

Driving It Driving Impressions

There’s a pleasing and satisfying entertainment value to the driving characteristics of the Kia Forte. This is not a boring car to drive. It isn’t an exciting hot rod either, but the Forte’s steering, engine, transmission and suspension are all tuned well and they feel lively and responsive. This is not by chance; Kia engineers like their cars to have a sporty feel. That said, there are sportier and more thrilling cars in this class. Despite the available 201-horsepower engine in the Forte5, enthusiasts should check out the Mazda3, Honda Civic SI, Ford Focus ST, Volkswagen Jetta GLI or VW Golf GTI for their fix. For the rest of us, the Forte’s 147-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is adequate. The 164-horsepower version of the engine in the Forte LX sedan, and Forte5 LX and EX models is better and it works well with the 6-speed automatic transmission. Around town and on the highway, the Forte sedan and hatchback are all excellent choices.

Favorite Features

DRIVE MODE SELECT
Much like similar systems found in more expensive cars like the BMW 3 Series and the Cadillac CT6, Kia’s Drive Mode Select system allows the Forte’s driver to choose among three settings, Normal, Eco and Sport depending on mood and the driving situation. Each adjusts the car’s engine, transmission and steering, maximizing comfort, fuel economy or performance.

AUTONOMOUS EMERGENCY BRAKING
This important safety technology is optional on the 2018 Kia Forte S and EX. The system reads the road ahead for obstacles in your path, including vehicles or pedestrians. If it determines a collision is imminent and the Forte’s driver is not taking action, it will apply the vehicle’s brakes for you.


For vehicle details and pricing notes… Read More
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