2012 Kia Forte Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Kia Forte Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Kia Forte Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 173 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 23/32 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Kia Forte

  • The 2012 Kia Forte is a bit outclassed by newer competitors, but it still has a lot to offer in terms of value and style.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Wide variety of body styles; affordable pricing; long warranty; excellent handling in SX trim.

  • Cons

    Tepid handling except for SX; intrusive road noise; lackluster interior; rear seat short on legroom.

  • What's New for 2012

    For 2012, the Kia Forte lineup returns largely unchanged save for the midrange EX model, which gets a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Revised gauges have also been added to the EX Technology package.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Low priced car--great value, great

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Forte

I have logged 34k miles with no reliability issues whatsoever. I am nearly 6ft tall, 220lbs, and feel very comfortable in this smallish car. I find it notably more spacious in the footwell than both the Focus and Mazda3 I recently rented on biz trips. I am very partial to manual transmissions, and chose this car for that reason. Clutch action is very predictable, and gear changes are positive. Though this car is not exactly fast, the transmission adds great fun to driving, and I recommend a manual for all people who enjoy driving as I do. I average about 33mpg in mixed driving, 37+ on sustained freeway trips.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

I absolutely love this car!

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Forte

My husband I just bought this car a week ago and it has been the best decision we have made in a long time. The dealer we use has also helped with making it a great experience, but the car sold itself. Even tho it was used, you would never know. The handling, dependability, and overall car is great.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Love my new car

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Forte

I purchased a used 2011 Kia Forte. I didn't want a new car Note so I decided to get a used vehicle... I Love my Vehicle. It is the first time I have driven a small vehicle in a very long time... My previous vehicle was a durango. I am getting use to the smaller size but the ride is ok, I love the interior design. I love the gas milage.

Kia has many flaws

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Forte

I bought my Forte EX 2011 new. I am disappointed with the gas mileage I've obtained which for an entire tank remains averages between 20-25 mpg with about 60% city and 40% hwy driving. Yet the worst features are the audio unit and the customer service (both corporate and local). My audio unit will randomly start whistling loudly, will turn itself off, bluetooth turns on and makes settings changes without prompting, the CD device fails, and all of these issue repeated after KIA replaced my audio unit with a brand new one. These glitches occur a few times a week while I'm driving. I've had complaints with KIA that have not been resolved for the past 4 months. I feel ignored by KIA.

2 of 8 people found this review helpful

Steer clear from kia, silver

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Forte

In April 2011 I bought Kia Forte. since i drove off the dealers lot the car seemed sluggish like there's a brake or gear is stuck on. Within two weeks after i bought the car i asked the Kia service station to look at the car and that's when a employee at Kia service stated that the catalytic converter could be clogged or not functioning properly. (I think Kia hide him because I never saw him again). Since than my check engine light which i actually thought wouldn't even come on if came on as I was on the beltway coming from my office at Andrews going 60 mph it did come on and the engine automatically slowed down which concerned me because this could have caused an accident during rush hour. A day after the check engine light came on i brought it into the Kia service station and Kia said we reset the light and we do know it was a misfire code but we don't know why or if it will happen again. For a new car this scares me. 6 days later i started my car and began to drive and AGAIN i noticed the check engine light stayed on but went off in 47 seconds Again for a new car this scares me and represents a safety issue and for Kia to disregard safety complaints from customers is disgraceful. The dealer Silver Spring Kia was great UNTIL i bought the car I actually brought the car back 3 days later and told the sales Mgr Laura Jerlet the i had a problem with the car and what i can do now to get trade it or get a refund (again this was after 3 three days) she said "once you buy a Kia your screwed" the dealership GM Betty ann Mendelsohn Aschenbach a the part of the KING AUTO group should be steered away from at all costs, the customer service after you buy the car is awful. So far I spent at least $1000.00 on this car due to something wrong with the engine operation that can be causing the bad fuel economy and the check engine light to come on and slow down in beltway traffic. (it happened 3 times since i bought the car 9 Mounts) Under the Md State Lemon Law I Asked Kia to Re-purchase or at least help me get into a car that doesn't have issues. The BBB arbitrator actually stated at the arbitration hearing before the hearing started "Kia doesn't want to do anything to assist you anyway." I did explain the issues to the Arbertrater (Harold Cohen) and the person from Kia Ted Renfrow explain his side (he lied and covered up issues about the vacuum system and the safety issues i explained To be safe Customers that are looking to buy a new or used car must stay away from Silver Spring Kia. and Kia all together. Kia is a very poorly made very cheaply built car and at highway speeds the car is very unsafe and the Kia corporation that covers up safety issues and lies to customers are best just kept away from.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Luv my kia's

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Forte

Traded in our '04 Optima EX V-6 @ 133,000 for our Forte. The Optima was a great car. Only had to replace the starter. Absolutely luv the forte. Spirited 2.0L, great 6sp auto. Outstanding gas mileage, on a trip from Jax, Fl to Philly it avg over 40 mpg during 1 tank run, i.e. 403 miles and only took 9.7 gal to fill. Averaged 37-38 mpg on the trip. A definite gas saver over the 2.7L Optima. I am 6'1", 256#, a little cramped but otherwise REALLY like this car. Started out with a 2001 Sephia, bought '02 Optima EX V-6 for Mama, Traded both cars in on the same day in Dec '03 for an '04 Spectra and the '04 Optima. Still have the Spectra @ over 103,000 miles.

Gas Mileage


  • 23
  • cty
  • 32
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2012 Kia Forte Review

What's New for 2012

For 2012, the Kia Forte lineup returns largely unchanged save for the midrange EX model, which gets a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Revised gauges have also been added to the EX Technology package.


When the Kia Forte debuted a few years ago, we were pretty impressed with this new small car, finding it offered levels of style, engineering and overall quality that were on par with more well-known Japanese competitors. For the 2012 Kia Forte, the game has changed, as other manufacturers have rallied and made notable improvements. But overall the Forte still holds appeal.

Of particular merit, the 2012 Forte is offered in coupe, sedan and four-door hatchback body styles, one of the few small cars to offer such a selection. If you're interested in something sporty, the Forte coupe (the "Koup") will likely satisfy thanks to its sharp styling and firmer suspension tuning. If it's practicality you desire, Kia's got you covered with the roomy Forte hatchback. The Forte has other positive qualities as well, including long warranty coverage, plenty of standard features and high fuel economy when equipped with the optional Fuel Economy package.

That said, we consider some newer small cars to be more appealing overall. The Hyundai Elantra, for instance, has a nicer interior and better fuel economy no matter how you equip the car. The new Ford Focus is another well-regarded choice, as are the revitalized Mazda 3 and Volkswagen Golf hatchback. But if you're looking for something sporty, practical or just high on value, the 2012 Kia Forte is worth a look.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Kia Forte is available in sedan, four-door hatchback and coupe (or "Koup" in Kia-speak) body styles. The sedan is offered in three trim levels including the entry-level LX, midrange EX and sporty SX trim levels, while the hatchback and coupe are available in EX and SX trims only.

Standard equipment on the LX base model includes 15-inch steel wheels, a six-way-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, a tilt steering column, Bluetooth and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary audio jack.

Step up to one of the EX models and you get keyless entry, air-conditioning, cruise control, a trip computer, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, illuminated vanity mirrors, full power accessories and a six-speaker sound system. The EX coupe adds 16-inch alloy wheels, firmer suspension tuning, front sport seats and a more robust exhaust note.

The SX comes equipped with a more powerful 2.4-liter engine, a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, unique cloth upholstery and metallic interior trim, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The SX coupe also gets 17-inch alloy wheels, a sportier version of the SX sedan's suspension, and illuminated red speaker surrounds that can blink in time to the beat.

Options on LX models are limited to air-conditioning. The EX has a longer list of available extras, including 16-inch alloy wheels (sedan only) and a sunroof. A Fuel Economy package for the EX sedan and hatchback adds electric power steering, low-rolling-resistance tires and aerodynamic enhancements. SX options include a sunroof and leather upholstery with heated front seats. A Technology package that bundles keyless ignition/entry, automatic climate control, a navigation system and chrome exterior door handles is also available on the EX and SX.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Kia Forte LX and EX are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 156 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque. The sportier SX gets a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that puts out 173 hp and 168 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on LX models and the Koup, while EX and SX models come equipped with a six-speed automatic that's also offered as an option on the LX. In Edmunds performance testing, an SX hatchback with an automatic went from zero to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds, which is on par with similarly powered cars. The Koup is a bit quicker. With the manual it hits 60 in 7.6 seconds.

The EPA fuel economy estimates for the LX and EX with the manual transmission are 25 mpg city/34 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined. Those numbers edge up to a respectable 26/36/29 with the automatic. Opting for the EX Fuel Economy package ups those numbers to 27/37/30. The more powerful Forte SX isn't too shabby either, with EPA estimates of 22/32/26 with the manual and 23/32/26 with the automatic. The two-door Koup returns estimates within 1 or 2 mpg (some higher, some lower) of the sedan and four-door hatchback numbers noted above.


The 2012 Kia Forte's list of standard safety equipment includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags that cover both rows of seats, and active front head restraints. In Edmunds brake testing, a Forte Koup SX came to a stop from 60 mph in an excellent 118 feet. An SX hatchback stopped in a still above-average 122 feet.

In government crash tests, the Kia Forte earned four stars (out of a possible five) in overall safety, with four stars for overall frontal-impact safety and four stars for overall side-impact safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Forte sedan the top score of "Good" in that agency's frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Kia Forte's interior is a fairly comfortable place, with good room up front and backseats with legroom that, while not great, is about par for the category. One notable exception is the coupe's rear seat, which is a tight squeeze by anyone's standards. The quality of the interior is certainly acceptable, but it's a noticeable step down from what you'll find in a Focus, Elantra or Volkswagen Golf. Some Forte test cars we've sampled have also suffered from haphazard construction.

Both the coupe and sedan have a good amount of cargo room, with 12.6 cubic feet and 14.7 cubic feet, respectively. The hatchback version is even better, with 19.4 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats that expands to 44.2 cubic feet with those seatbacks folded down to make a flat load floor.

Driving Impressions

When it comes to the fun-to-drive factor, the 2012 Kia Forte is a mixed bag. The softer suspension underpinning LX and EX models allows for a little too much body roll in spirited driving, and the relatively numb steering feel doesn't help matters any. Both are perfectly passable in everyday motoring, although folks who put a premium on solid handling will want the firmer sport-tuned suspension that's standard on SX models. With it, these are legitimately fun little cars.

Ride comfort is generally good either way you go. Similarly, the smaller engine under the hood of LX and EX models will suit most folks just fine, but the larger 2.4-liter engine powering SX models feels noticeably stronger. We highly recommend the automatic transmission, as the manual is both unpleasant and difficult to use.

Talk About The 2012 Forte

Read more about the 2012 Kia Forte

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