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2018 Kia Forte KBB Expert Review

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Transaction Data

Info based on
5637 transactions
in the last
90 days
within the U.S.
Transaction Data

This meter represents a sample range of recent transaction prices for vehicles of the same year, make and model as the vehicle specified, but sometimes with a different style and/or equipment. Analyzed transaction prices exclude taxes, DMV fees, documentation fees, other dealership charges and any available rebates or incentives.

KBB Expert Rating 8.5 / 10
This Car - 2018 Kia Forte
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Consumer Rating 8.8 / 10

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KBB Expert Review

Vehicle Details Interior  Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo

Much like its exterior, the interior of the 2018 Kia Forte and Forte5 is simple and a bit understated, but interesting, attractive and artistically detailed. Control layout is intuitive and the soft-touch dash and high-quality materials add an upscale ambiance. Seat comfort is excellent and four adults can ride in comfort. EX models get standard leather and there are heating and cooling seats available, as well as a 10-way-power driver’s seat with power lumbar support. Even the rear seat offers a center armrest with cup holders. Then there's the Forte5's excellent 23 cubic feet of cargo space, in case the sedan's 15-cubic-foot trunk isn't enough.

Exterior   photo

Kia has forgotten how to make ugly cars. The Korean automaker is now a style and design leader, with trendsetting sedans like the Optima and Stinger and cool-looking SUVs like the Soul and Sportage. The 2018 Forte and Forte5 are also lookers, with tight bodywork, LED accent lights and athletic proportions. Kia also gets the stance right, and the Forte looks right on the road. Although the two body styles share a nose, the Forte5 hatchback is the better-looking of the two with its short rear overhang and rear spoiler. Overall, it's a fresh and good-looking group of cars with a number of luxurious features like power-folding exterior mirrors, puddle lights and illuminated door-handle pockets.

Notable Standard Equipment

All 2018 Forte sedan and Forte5 hatchback models come with keyless entry, standard Bluetooth and USB smartphone connectivity, air conditioning and a split-folding rear seat. The base LX model Forte sedan is fairly dressed down, even offering steel wheels and a manual transmission. A new mid-level S model sedan offers nicer interior appointments at a lower price than the EX. A full complement of active and passive safety features is standard on every Forte. The 2.0-liter 4-cylinder base engine in the Forte LX sedan makes 147 horsepower, while the more expensive Forte5 LX hatchback starts with a 164-horsepower version.

Notable Optional Equipment

Options for the 2018 Kia Forte lineup include navigation, leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control and Kia's UVO infotainment system. Most of that's included in the Forte's Premium Plus package, although leather is now standard on EX sedans. Many features are bundled by trim level, and the Forte5 models offer a level above the sedan called SX that adds a 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 201 horsepower, as well as 18-inch wheels. A Technology Plus Package includes a power moonroof, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, push-button start, fog lights, LED taillights and other features.

Under the Hood

The base engine for the 2018 Forte and Forte5 is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. It's standard in the LX and S models of the Forte sedan. The other 2.0-liter engine is a direct-injection 4-cylinder that puts out a more robust 164 horsepower. Transmission choices in the sedan are a 6-speed manual or a smooth and responsive 6-speed automatic. The Forte5 gets just the more powerful 2.0-liter, while the 1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder in the Forte5 SX can be paired with a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

2.0-liter 4-cylinder (Forte Sedan LX, S, EX)
147 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
132 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/34 mpg (manual), 29/37 mpg (automatic)

2.0-liter 4-cylinder (Forte5 LX, EX)
164 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm (ULEV-II)
160 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm (SULEV)
151 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm (ULEV-II)
149 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm (SULEV)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/34 mpg

1.6-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder (Forte5 SX)
201 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
195 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/29 mpg (manual), 25/30 mpg (automatic)

Pricing Notes

Prices for the 2018 Kia Forte lineup start at about $17,600 (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price/MSRP) for the low-end Forte Sedan LX model with a manual transmission. That includes the $850 destination charge; an automatic transmission adds about $1,000 to the price. The new Forte Sedan S model starts at about $20,000, while the top-end EX sedan starts at around $22,500. Prices for the Forte5 hatchback start just over $19,000 and can reach close to $27,000 for a loaded version of the powered-up SX. That's a solidly competitive price structure for the compact Kia, right in line with offerings from Honda, a little above Nissan and Toyota, and a little below Mazda. Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. On the resale front, the Forte models are expected to have below-average residual values.

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