2013 Kia Forte Review

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Pros & Cons

  • Generous equipment list
  • variety of body styles
  • affordable pricing
  • excellent handling in SX.
  • Lackluster interior materials and construction
  • intrusive road noise
  • so-so rear legroom
  • firm ride in SX.
List Price Estimate
$4,510 - $6,475

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2013 Kia Forte is outclassed by newer competitors, but it still has a lot to offer in terms of value and style.

Vehicle overview

Compact cars have gone from ho-hum to holy cow in a remarkably short time. When the Kia Forte was introduced, we were impressed by its sharp styling, quality cabin, agreeable driving dynamics and generous features list. Then the bar dramatically leapt upward as a slew of newer sedans were introduced that matched or greatly surpassed the Forte's previously praiseworthy attributes.

As such, the 2013 Kia Forte is easy to overlook even though it remains a perfectly acceptable compact car. It's still one of the few that offers three different body styles: a sedan, a four-door hatchback and a coupe. The Forte's features list also remains a bright spot, since Kia has only increased the amount of stuff you can cram into this relatively diminutive car. And in a sign of modern priorities, power locks and windows might not be standard, but Bluetooth, satellite radio and an iPod interface are.

Under the hood, the standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine may not achieve that flashy 40-mpg highway number touted in the ads of rivals, but at 37 mpg, it's still properly efficient. If you're willing to sacrifice some mpg for a little mph, the SX trim delivers handling on par with anything in the class. The ride can be unpleasantly firm, though, which isn't the case for some of its newer competitors.

As for those competitors, the Chevy Cruze, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra and Mazda 3 should be your prime targets. Each provides a substantially nicer cabin, a more refined driving experience and its own fresh take on sharp styling. Their engines are more sophisticated, and even if they don't boast quite the same bang-for-your-buck, their features lists are overflowing with items you wouldn't normally associate with compact cars.

Given this, it should come as no surprise that Kia is fast at work creating a new-and-improved Forte ahead of the usual schedule. Until that car arrives, the 2013 Kia Forte is a decent choice if the right deal comes along, but you should know you'll be settling for something more ho-hum than holy cow.

2013 Kia Forte models

The 2013 Kia Forte is available in three body styles: sedan, four-door hatchback ("Five-Door") and coupe (or "Koup" as Kia calls it). The sedan is available in LX, EX and SX trim levels, while the Five-Door and Koup are EX and SX only.

Standard equipment on the LX includes 15-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, Bluetooth and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface. There are no options for the LX.

The EX includes all of the following plus full power accessories, keyless entry, power-folding mirrors, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, map lights, a trip computer and a six-speaker sound system with steering wheel controls. The Five-Door and Koup get 16-inch alloy wheels standard, whereas the sedan gets them as part of the Premium package, which also includes a sunroof. The Eco package adds to the EX electric power steering, a different alternator, low-rolling-resistance tires and aerodynamic enhancements for improved fuel economy.

The Forte SX adds a more powerful engine, 17-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, automatic headlights, foglights, LED running lights, steering wheel paddle shifters for the automatic transmission, upgraded cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and metal-finish interior trim pieces. The Koup SX gets gloss black exterior trim pieces. The Leather package adds to the SX leather upholstery, heated front seats and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The Technology package available on both EX and SX adds keyless ignition/entry, chrome exterior door handles, automatic climate control, a rearview camera, a navigation system and real-time traffic. The EX version also gets the automatic headlights, foglights and LED running lights.

2013 Highlights

The 2013 Kia Forte gets additional acoustic insulation and upgraded leather for the steering wheel. New available features include LED running lights and power-folding mirrors.

Performance & mpg

The 2013 Kia Forte LX and EX are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 156 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque. In certain states, the engine is certified as a Super-Ultra-Low-Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) and as a result produces 154 hp and 139 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 26 mpg city/36 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined for an automatic-equipped sedan or hatchback. The coupe and manual-equipped cars are just a hair worse. The Forte Eco package bumps efficiency to 27/37/30.

The SX gets a 2.4-liter four-cylinder good for 173 hp and 168 lb-ft of torque. In SULEV form the engine is rated at 165 hp and 161 lb-ft. The 2.4 gets the same transmission choices as the 2.0-liter. 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. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23/32/26 with the automatic and marginally less with the manual.

Safety

Every 2013 Kia Forte comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, a Forte SX coupe came to a stop from 60 mph in an above-average 118 feet. An SX hatchback stopped in 122 feet, which is average.

In government crash testing, the Forte sedan and hatchback received four out of five stars for overall crash protection, frontal protection and side protection. The coupe has not been rated. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Forte sedan the highest possible rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests.

Driving

The 2013 Kia Forte benefits from an increase in acoustic insulation for 2013, but this is still a car that lacks the refinement of its newer competitors. Its ride and handling also lack a certain sophistication. You either get doughy handling and a comfortable ride with the LX and EX, or sharp handling and a harsh ride with the SX. You don't need to make such sacrifices in a Ford Focus or Mazda 3.

The Forte's engine choices might also not be as sophisticated, but nevertheless deliver competitive power and fuel economy regardless of whether you opt for the 2.0-liter or 2.4-liter. Obviously, the latter is stronger. We highly recommend the automatic transmission, as the manual is both unpleasant and difficult to use.

Interior

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. On the upside, interior controls are very user-friendly.

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2013 Kia Forte.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great car for smooth flat roads Awsome MPG
Nicole,12/01/2015
SX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
I had this car a year and a half now and drove it on a 3 month cross country road trip by myself. This car gets excellent gas mileage 39 mpg on highway the lowest in the city was 22mpg but i think thats because the tires got a little low. This car has a lot of great features, bluetooth to sync with phone, usb and Aux inputs were great on long roadtrips to listen to flashdrive or another device, and cd player too, sat radio is available too. I loved all the controls on the steering wheel to control stereo, phone and cruise control. Loved all the storage space in front as well. The front and rear seats are comfortable, the headrests are adjustable in all directions which is nice. Im pretty tall so having a telescoping steering wheel is really nice to have less strain on body. The cons are the suspension, shocks or maybe the tires i am not sure what the cause is but can feel every single crack, bump and rough part of the road. Its ok if you live in the south where the roads are smooth and flat but once you get on roads it kind of rough on your body. The shocks were so bad that after exploring on some rough dirt roads that one of the heat shields broke on my trip. Also when i was in the mountains it seemed to have trouble going up steep hills maintain constant speed with cruise control and had to put the gas to the floor to get up some of them when people behind me seemed to want to go faster. The fan for the air conditioner heater is super loud but not as loud as the road noise when going on the highway add them both together and people cant barely hear ya when you try to make a call using bluetooth and you have to yell to talk with someone next to you. Overall this is a great car to get around town in or if you live where their is nice smooth roads!!! This car doesn't work for my lifestyle at the moment so im looking for an SUV with better socks, less noise, more cargo room, but i think i will have to sacrifice the excellent gas mileage of this Kia Forte has.
Love my new Kia
paulestep,10/20/2012
I recently purchased a 2012 Kia Forte EX. I absolutely love my car. It has plenty of pick-up, very quiet, great features and great gas mileage. Recently took it on a little road trip and was very impressed with how well it ran. It has more than enough room for my family of 4 and the trunk is large enough for our luggage plus my guitar.
Great car!
kevohyuh,04/20/2014
Currently at 15,006 miles and loving it. I heard a lot of complaints about the gas mileage and I have to tell you.. I get 32 to 35 miles to the gallon easy and have nothing to complain about. The car looks great. Inside and out. I would suggest better stock speakers and a metal fuel door, but other than that, perfect little car for the money. Can't go wrong.
Perfect little car
Don Bambarger,10/02/2015
Koup EX 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
Bought for my daughter out right out of college, she got to keep about a year and I took car from her. I love this car for my daily driver, bought her an Optima as I like this car a little better. You can't beat a Kia for the price and warranty, but they also are great cars!! I always bought American until I bought this Kia, l don't think I would own anything else now.

Features & Specs

MPG
26 city / 36 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
156 hp @ 6200 rpm
MPG
23 city / 32 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
173 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 2013 Kia Forte features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat3 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover10.3%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2013 Kia Forte

Used 2013 Kia Forte Overview

The Used 2013 Kia Forte is offered in the following submodels: Forte Hatchback, Forte Koup, Forte Sedan. Available styles include EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6A), LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6A), EX 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 6A), Koup EX 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6A), SX 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 6A), Koup SX 2dr Coupe (2.4L 4cyl 6A), SX 4dr Hatchback (2.4L 4cyl 6A), LX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6M), Koup SX 2dr Coupe (2.4L 4cyl 6M), and Koup EX 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2013 Kia Forte?

Price comparisons for Used 2013 Kia Forte trim styles:

  • The Used 2013 Kia Forte Koup EX is priced between $7,723 and$10,998 with odometer readings between 84396 and85554 miles.
  • The Used 2013 Kia Forte EX is priced between $6,991 and$6,991 with odometer readings between 78813 and78813 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2013 Kia Fortes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2013 Kia Forte for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2013 Fortes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,991 and mileage as low as 78813 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2013 Kia Forte.

Can't find a used 2013 Kia Fortes you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Kia Forte for sale - 2 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $17,339.

Find a used Kia for sale - 2 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $21,850.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia Forte for sale - 1 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $15,729.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia for sale - 12 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $12,369.

Should I lease or buy a 2013 Kia Forte?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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