2015 Kia Forte Review

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious interior for both sedan and coupe
  • many features available
  • strong engines on EX and SX trims
  • easy-to-use controls
  • lengthy warranty coverage.
  • Below average fuel efficiency
  • ride quality sometimes unrefined
  • middling frontal-impact safety scores.
List Price
$9,875

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Upscale design, quality and value underscore the 2015 Kia Forte's appeal. It's certainly a great choice for a small sedan, hatchback or coupe.

Vehicle overview

To better compete in the small car segment, Kia redesigned the Forte last year. We were pretty impressed with the result, and it earned an "A" rating from our staff as a result. And the 2015 Forte keeps that ball rolling. Pick the Forte and you get a fair price, peppy acceleration, generous standard features and a comfortable cabin with high-quality materials. Plus, Kia sees to it that the Forte comes in three body styles: sedan, four-door hatchback (known as the Forte 5) and two-door coupe (Forte Koup). No matter the body style, we doubt you'll find much argument when we say that the Forte is one of the sharpest-looking cars in its segment.

We're particularly impressed with the level of standard and available equipment at the Forte's price. The base LX trim level offers Bluetooth and an iPod interface as standard, while high-end amenities like xenon headlights, keyless ignition and entry and even a ventilated driver seat are available.

There are also three different engines for the 2015 Kia Forte, two of which are competitive in terms of power and acceleration. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder on EX models makes the new Forte one of the quickest cars in the segment, while an even stronger, turbocharged 1.6-liter engine is available on SX versions of the Forte coupe and hatchback. The downside, though, is that none of these engines excels in the fuel economy department, even with this year's slightly improved EPA numbers.

There are many fantastic choices in the compact-car class of 2015. The more expensive Ford Focus and Mazda 3 are class leaders for their sophisticated blend of comfort, dynamism and impressive real-world fuel economy. Also notable are the Honda Civic, Kia's cousin the Hyundai Elantra and the 2015 Volkswagen Golf. These are well-rounded models with lots of refinement and comfort. But with its roomy interior, upscale features, strong engine lineup and sharp styling, the 2015 Kia Forte, which earns a spot in both our 2015 Sedan and Coupe Buying Guides, is an excellent choice if you're shopping for an affordable sedan, coupe or hatchback.

2015 Kia Forte models

The 2015 Kia Forte is available as a sedan in LX and EX trim levels. The two-door coupe (Koup) and four-door hatchback (Forte 5) are available in EX and SX trims.

Standard features on the LX sedan include 15-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a trip computer, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, a USB/iPod interface and an auxiliary input jack.

Optional for the LX is the Popular package, which includes keyless entry, cruise control, two additional speakers, upgraded seat trim and other interior upgrades, including extra storage, a sliding console armrest and a fold-down rear center armrest.

Spring for the EX, and you get all of the above plus a more powerful engine, 16-inch alloy wheels, adjustable steering effort, foglights, LED running lights, power-folding outside mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a cooling glovebox.

Both Forte sedans are available with Kia's Uvo eServices infotainment system with a rearview camera and upgraded wheels (16-inch alloy wheels for the LX and 17s on the EX).

For the EX the optional Premium package adds a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a ventilated eight-way power driver seat with memory (still a manual-adjustment seat on the Koup), an auto-dimming rearview mirror and illuminated exterior door handles.

The EX Technology package includes xenon headlights, LED taillights, an upgraded display screen, dual-zone air-conditioning, rear seat vents, a navigation system, HD radio and upgraded Uvo functionality.

The EX hatchback and coupe essentially mirror the sedan. The SX versions include those features but with a sportier mission and mechanicals: a turbocharged engine, 18-inch wheels and unique front and rear styling. Option packages for the coupe and hatchback essentially echo those for the EX sedan.

2015 Highlights

For 2015, the Kia Forte makes slight gains in fuel economy, but is essentially carried over. Kia's Uvo telematics system is no longer standard on the EX trim.

Performance & mpg

The Forte LX is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine making 145 horsepower and 130 pound-feet of torque. Power runs to the front wheels through a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The EPA fuel economy estimates for the Forte LX sedan are 31 mpg combined (26 city/39 highway) for the 1.8-liter engine and automatic transmission. With the manual transmission it's rated at 30 mpg combined (25/37).

The EX gets a 2.0-liter four-cylinder generating 173 hp and 154 lb-ft of torque. On the sedan and hatchback, this engine comes only with the six-speed automatic, but on the coupe, you can also get it with the manual transmission. Forte EX sedans with the 2.0-liter engine rate 29 mpg combined (25 city/36 highway), but we were impressed with the 32 mpg the Forte EX achieved on our Edmunds evaluation route. EX hatchbacks and automatic-equipped EX coupes rate 28 mpg combined, but have slightly lower highway figures. Manual-shift Forte EX coupes come in at 27 mpg combined (24/33).

The SX versions of the Forte Koup and Forte 5 have a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder good for 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. On both body styles, you have a choice of the six-speed manual or six-speed automatic. Kia Forte SX hatchbacks rate 24 mpg combined (21/29) with either transmission. For the Koup, fuel economy estimates stand at 25 mpg combined (22/29) with the manual and the same 25 mpg combined (22/30) with the automatic, which gives an extra 1 mpg on the highway.

In Edmunds testing, a Kia Forte EX sedan accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds, while a Forte SX Koup with a manual transmission did the sprint in 7.0 seconds. Both times are exceptionally quick for the compact car segment.

Safety

Every 2015 Kia Forte comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is optional. The optional Uvo telematics service includes roadside assistance, emergency crash notification and secondary driver (i.e., teenage) monitoring features including notifications for exceeding curfew, vehicle speed and vehicle location limits.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Forte EX sedan came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet, while a Forte SX Koup turned in a 118-foot effort. Both are slightly better than average for this segment.

Government crash tests of the 2015 Forte sedan saw it earn a top overall score of five stars (out of five), with four stars for overall frontal-impact protection and rollover performance and five stars for overall side-impact protection.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Forte its highest score of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact test as well for the side-impact, roof-strength and whiplash protection (seatbelts and head restraints) tests. In the agency's small-overlap frontal-offset impact test, however, the Forte scored the second-lowest rating of "Marginal."

Driving

The 173-hp four-cylinder in the 2015 Kia Forte EX is one of the stronger engines you'll find in this class. This output doesn't translate to blazing acceleration, but in general, the EX is quicker than the norm. The only downside is that the 2.0-liter sounds and feels a bit buzzy during hard acceleration. The available 201-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter engine makes for a lively experience in both the hatchback and coupe and is one of the strongest engines you'll find in the class.

The automatic transmission provides smooth gearchanges, and it's surprisingly responsive with downshifts during typical passing and merging situations. The slick-shifting six-speed manual is also quite a bit of fun if you're so inclined.

Most shoppers in this segment will likely be satisfied with the Forte's overall ride quality. But the Forte's suspension is occasionally a bit firm and unrefined. Rougher roads produce a somewhat busy ride, unlike rivals like the Focus and Mazda 3, both of which have a more isolated ride over broken pavement. Those cars are also sportier when going around turns; the Forte feels steady, but not particularly engaging.

Interior

Far from being an economy car stuffed with gadgets, the new Kia Forte boasts a handsome cabin furnished with quality materials that, in the higher trim levels, would give premium-brand compacts a run for their money. What's more, the Forte's high-tech features are well designed and easy to use. The touchscreen interface, with its large, logically positioned "buttons," is one of the best examples of this technology, regardless of market segment or price range.

Seat comfort front and rear is very good thanks to thick, well-bolstered seats. Even 6-foot adults should be comfortable sitting in back. The Forte sedan is also very generous when it comes to cargo capacity, boasting a trunk capacity of 14.9 cubic feet. The Forte 5 hatchback offers 23.2 cubic feet.

Even the two-door Koup is surprisingly practical, with a 13.3-cubic-foot trunk that rivals many compact sedans. Its backseat is also spacious enough for adults and reasonably easy to reach. Unfortunately, the driver seat is mounted a bit high, and as a result some of our taller editors found it difficult to get comfortable behind the wheel.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2015 Kia Forte.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

I Love My KIA Forte 5 Door EX Hatchback
Robert Tishkevich,01/19/2016
Forte5 EX 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
Let me start by saying I LOVE my 2015 Forte Hatchback. It's probably the best car I ever owned. Are there things about it I don't like? Yes, that's why I only gave it 4 stars (didn't know how to give it 4 1/2 stars). Having said that, I would buy another one in a heartbeat. PROS 1. This is the 2nd KIA I've owned and both of them have been perfect mechanically. I haven't had one mechanical issue. It just cannot get any better than that. I also know two other people who had KIAs for at least 3 years and neither one of them had a single mechanical problem. 2. The car is sleek and people constantly tell me how cool it looks. I love looking at it every time I approach my car. 3. It's extremely comfortable and I thoroughly enjoy driving it. Is it fun to drive? I think so. 4. The A/C system works great in a very hot, southern climate. It even came with front seats which can be heated (I don't need that where I live) and/or cooled. 5. The UVO system is terrific and very easy to use. 6. The instrument panel is clear, easy to read, and very informative. I could do almost everything I wanted without ever looking at the manual. 7. I love my Sirius XM Satellite Radio. 8. Lots of storage space with 5 door Hatchback plus the special storage container under the normal floor in the rear is very handy. 9. My KIA dealer treats the customers like gold. 10. Very affordable but it has the quality of a more expensive car. 11. Very good highway mileage 12. Nobody beats the KIA warranty. I feel great because I had no problems, but if I did, it's always covered under the warranty. CONS 1. Wind noise, especially on the highway (seems to be a problem with KIAs) 2. Poor city stop and go mileage. Maybe it's because I'm always taking very short trips with lots of traffic lights where I accelerate briskly? It's hard to tell if it's my driving style or the vehicle. I think it's a combination of both. 3. The standard tires are just OK but very noisy. I'm used to riding on Michelins which are far superior. 4. The instrument panel is very cool but one gauge says MPH instead of MPG for the average miles per gallon 5. With one exception the navigation system works great, plus it has a large, easy to read screen. That one exception,unless I have a specific address to punch in, is it's often difficult to find what I'm looking for . For some unknown reason it's hard to find venues. In other words, it isn't user friendly.
The Forte5 SX Manual is a great car to drive.
Forte5 SX manual owner.,08/08/2015
Forte5 SX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
This car excels in terms of design, comfort, and features. In addition, when an opportunity presents itself, the manual shifting turbo engine is wickedly good fun. Is this a car to take track-racing? Of course not, but the upside is that it's a pleasant and fun daily driver. However, know that the stiffer suspension disallows this car from being a comfortable highway cruiser when the pavement gets dicey. Nevertheless, if you're in the market for a fun-to-drive hatchback with space for 4 (not just seating, but actual space!) definitely check out the Forte5 SX. So far, my mileage has been about 3 better than the rated MPG from KIA, and that's in 50/50 mixed driving. I've also gotten (mostly) used to the much-maligned flex-steer. I rarely take it out of the 'normal' setting. On occasion I'll use 'sport' on a crowded, twisty interstate, and even less frequently I'll use 'comfort' when cruising on a well-paved, empty highway. Worth noting, even though UVO works well, the stock speakers are absolutely terrible. Given that UVO is such a key component of KIA's marketing, they should immediately discontinue the current speakers and use the Infinity upgrade materials they have available for other vehicles (but not the Forte . . .?). Finally, given KIA's incentivized sales approach, there is no way not to get a good deal. Especially on this under-marketed, under-appreciated, and undersold car. Based on all the info I can find online, I ended up paying less than inventory price by a couple hundred dollars.
Great Car in an Excellent Package
Gary Balionis,11/24/2015
Forte5 SX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
We shopped for a replacement car when the previous vehicle was declared a total loss. Couldn't beat the financial incentives at Kia, and this car is an extremely attractive package for the money. Fit and finish is fantastic, base equipment exceeded our expectations. Was a bit concerned about the smaller engine/turbo combination, but it has proved to be a perfect powerplant for this car: keeps it light and more than adequate acceleration. Ride quality, even with the low profile tires fitted, is several levels above the car we replaced, a 2010 Kia Forte Koup. At this point, admittedly early on, we are completely satisfied with this vehicle, and love the practicality of the 4 door hatchback design.
OMG are you serious here?
Ann Angel-Parker,10/23/2016
LX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A)
I'm coming from a little Scion which was purchased primarily for it's performance and gas mileage. However, the older I get the less I can take a bumpy ride. So I began the search for a sedan with a better ride and more comfort. Since my husband had recently bought a Kia Sportage and loved it, I looked into the Forte. I purchased my car through a deal offer on Edmunds and am I happy? You Bet Cha! I'm getting 31to 32 miles per gallon and the smoothest ride anyone could want. I got a great price and the Hendrix Group in Concord, NC, followed through on the deal with no bait and switch! Love the service, car and the price. Thanks Edmonds for making the introduction1

Features & Specs

MPG
22 city / 30 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
201 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
22 city / 29 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
201 hp @ 6000 rpm
MPG
25 city / 34 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
173 hp @ 6500 rpm
MPG
24 city / 33 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
173 hp @ 6500 rpm
See all Used 2015 Kia Forte features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 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 2015 Kia Forte

Used 2015 Kia Forte Overview

The Used 2015 Kia Forte is offered in the following submodels: Forte Hatchback, Forte Sedan, Forte Coupe. Available styles include LX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A), EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6A), LX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6M), Forte5 EX 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 6A), Forte5 SX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Forte5 SX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Koup SX 2dr Coupe (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6A), Koup SX 2dr Coupe (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Koup EX 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6A), and Koup EX 2dr Coupe (2.0L 4cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2015 Kia Forte?

Price comparisons for Used 2015 Kia Forte trim styles:

  • The Used 2015 Kia Forte LX is priced between $6,995 and$11,998 with odometer readings between 32724 and97516 miles.
  • The Used 2015 Kia Forte EX is priced between $9,850 and$9,850 with odometer readings between 45047 and45047 miles.
  • The Used 2015 Kia Forte Forte5 EX is priced between $10,500 and$10,500 with odometer readings between 8914 and8914 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 2015 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) 2015 Kia Forte for sale near. There are currently 17 used and CPO 2015 Fortes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,995 and mileage as low as 8914 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 2015 Kia Forte.

Can't find a used 2015 Kia Fortes you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Kia Forte for sale - 3 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $22,900.

Find a used Kia for sale - 8 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $15,618.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia Forte for sale - 9 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $22,417.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia for sale - 5 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $15,190.

Should I lease or buy a 2015 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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