2016 Kia Forte Review
2016 Kia Forte Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Spacious interior for both sedan and coupe
- numerous standard and optional features are available
- quick acceleration from Forte EX and SX
- dashboard and infotainment controls are easy to use
- warranty coverage is better than most in the segment.
- Some rivals offer better fuel economy
- ride quality can get uncomfortable at times
- IIHS frontal-impact safety scores are lower than most competitors.
The 2016 Kia Forte receives just minor revisions to standard and optional feature availability. Most notably, the base LX trim is now offered on the Forte hatchback as well as the sedan.
Compact cars aren't usually known for being chock full of the latest and greatest toys, but if you take a closer look at the 2016 Kia Forte, you'll quickly find out that it's got a lot to offer. Plus, you can get the Forte as a sedan, hatchback or coupe, so it can satisfy a variety of different needs. Find out why the Forte is one of our favorite compact cars.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2016 Kia Forte LX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.12 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$128/mo for Forte LX
Avg. Compact Car
Kia redesigned the Forte in 2014, and the results were impressive. Here's a car in any of its three iterations -- sedan, hatchback or coupe -- that offers a fair price, peppy acceleration, generous standard features and a comfortable cabin with quality materials. Regardless of which body style you prefer, you'll likely find the Forte to be one of the most attractive cars in its segment.
The 2016 Kia Forte keeps that ball rolling with nothing but mild tweaks to trim levels and packages. We're particularly impressed with the level of standard and available equipment. The base LX trim level offers Bluetooth and USB connectivity as standard, while traditionally high-end options such as xenon headlights, keyless ignition and entry, and selectable steering assist are available. Even a ventilated driver seat and heated rear seats are on the Forte's option sheet.
The 2016 Kia Forte is one of our top recommended sedans.
There are three different engines for the 2016 Kia Forte, two of which offer competitive power and acceleration. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder makes the Forte one of the quickest cars in the segment, while an even stronger, turbocharged 1.6-liter four is available on SX versions of the coupe and hatchback. For those who place economy above excitement, however, none of the Forte powertrains offers exceptional fuel efficiency.
There are plenty of excellent choices for a compact car this year. The Mazda 3 is a class leader thanks to its sophisticated blend of comfort, athleticism and impressive real-world fuel economy. Also notable are the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Golf or Jetta. All are well-rounded and come with competitive levels of refinement and comfort. But with its roomy interior, upscale features, strong engine lineup and sharp styling, the 2016 Kia Forte remains a very credible choice when you're shopping for an affordable sedan, coupe or hatchback.
The One to Buy
You'll be saving money simply by choosing the Forte over its competition. We recommend spending a little more to get the Forte EX with Premium package solely for the 7-inch touchscreen, which features an infotainment system that is one of the best in the segment.
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 a six-speed automatic transmission. The EPA's fuel economy estimates for the Forte LX sedan are 31 mpg combined (26 city/39 highway) with the automatic. The LX manual returns 30 mpg combined (25/37).
The EX gets a 2.0-liter four-cylinder generating 173 hp and 154 lb-ft of torque (148 lb-ft with SULEV emissions). This engine comes only with the six-speed automatic. Forte EX sedans rate 28 mpg combined (24 city/35 highway), but we were impressed with the 32 mpg that a Forte EX achieved on our Edmunds evaluation route. EX hatchbacks and coupes also rate 28 mpg combined, but have slightly lower highway figures.
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 a 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.
For all Forte engines, the above EPA fuel economy estimates are decent, though some rival compacts can eclipse them by a few mpg, particularly those with specialty eco-themed models.
In Edmunds testing, a Kia Forte EX sedan accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds, while a Forte 5 SX with a manual transmission did the sprint in 6.9 seconds. Both times are quick for the compact car segment.
Every 2016 Kia Forte comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is optional on LX and standard on EX. The optional Uvo eServices telematics bundle includes roadside assistance, emergency crash notification and secondary driver (i.e., teenage) monitoring features that include notifications when curfew, vehicle speed and vehicle location limits are exceeded.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Forte EX sedan came to a stop from 60 mph in 121 feet, while a Forte 5 SX turned in a 114-foot effort. Both are slightly better than average for this segment.
Government crash tests of the 2016 Forte sedan saw it earn a five-star rating (out of five), with four stars for overall frontal-impact protection and five stars for overall side-impact protection.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Forte its highest score of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact test as well as its 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 received the second-lowest rating of "Marginal."
The 2.0-liter, 173-hp four-cylinder in the 2016 Kia Forte EX is one of the more responsive engines you'll find in this class. Although the output doesn't translate to blazing acceleration, the Forte EX is certainly quicker than the norm. From an aural standpoint, however, the 2.0-liter can both sound and feel somewhat buzzy during hard acceleration. The available 201-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter engine makes for an even livelier experience in both the hatchback and coupe, transforming the Kia into a genuinely speedy little car.
The 2016 Kia Forte coupe and hatchback have a strong available turbo engine that provides some of the best acceleration in this class.
The automatic transmission provides smooth shifts, and it's surprisingly responsive with downshifts during typical passing and merging situations. The slick-shifting six-speed manual for the SX versions is pleasant to operate and makes the most of the turbocharged engine's power.
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, whereas rivals like the Focus, Mazda 3 and Volkswagen Golf feel relatively isolated over broken pavement. They're also typically more precise when negotiating turns. The Forte feels steady on winding roads, but it's not particularly engaging.
The 2016 Kia Forte is much more than just an economy car stuffed with gadgets. Boasting a handsome cabin furnished with quality materials in the higher trim levels (EX and SX), the Forte gives premium-brand compacts a run for their money. In addition, the Forte's high-tech features are well-designed and easy to use. Its touchscreen interface, with large, logically positioned virtual buttons, is one of the better examples of this technology.
Whether you're taking along kids or adults, the Forte's rear seat should be sufficiently roomy.
Seat comfort front and rear in the sedan is very good, and even 6-foot adults should be comfortable sitting in back. The Koup's backseat is also spacious enough for average adults, and reasonably easy to access. The Koup's driver seat, however, is mounted a bit high, enhancing visibility for shorter drivers but compromising headroom for those who are taller.
The Forte sedan offers very generous cargo capacity, with a trunk capacity of 14.9 cubic feet, while the Forte 5 hatchback boasts 23.2 cubic feet with the rear seat up. The Koup provides 13.3 cubic feet of trunk space, a strong number for a compact coupe.
2016 Kia Forte models
The 2016 Kia Forte is available as a sedan in LX and EX trim levels. The two-door coupe (Koup) is offered in both EX and sportier SX trims, while Kia's Forte four-door hatchback (Forte 5) comes in LX (new for 2016), 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 port and an auxiliary audio jack.
Optional for the LX is the Popular package, which includes automatic headlights, cruise control, upgraded interior upholstery and trim, a rear seat armrest, a rearview camera, a 4.3-inch touchscreen and six speakers. There's also the Popular Plus package that includes the above equipment and adds 16-inch alloy wheels.
Upgrade to the EX and you'll enjoy all of the above plus the more powerful 2.0 liter engine, 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, LED running lights, power-folding outside mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, adjustable steering effort and a cooling glovebox.
For the EX, there's an optional Premium package with a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a 7-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, Kia's Uvo eServices telematics and HD radio.
A touchscreen interface and a ventilated driver seat are some of the upscale features available on the 2016 Kia Forte.
On top of that you can add the EX Premium Plus package with LED taillights, a 10-way power driver seat with ventilation, driver memory settings, a heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control (with rear seat air vents), an upgraded gauge cluster and heated outboard rear seats.
From a features and equipment standpoint, the EX hatchback and coupe essentially mirror the sedan. SX versions include those features but add a turbocharged engine, larger front brakes, 18-inch wheels and unique front and rear styling. The EX and SX's Premium Tech packages essentially provide the optional features found in the Premium and Premium Plus packages.
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Well made & designed car for a bargain price!
2016 Kia Forte LX 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A)
Bought the 2016 LX Forte automatic equipped with the popular equipment package, floormats, mud guards and a spare tire for $18,000.00 cash including all fees and taxes out the door. Be aware, it actually only comes with a tire repair kit and inflator as standard equipment. No trade was involved and that price included a $2,000.00 cash back and $400.00 military offer. I can honestly say … that I haven't found anything that I don't like about this car. I have mostly been driving in the city and I have averaged a solid 29 MPG over the past 1,250 miles with the a/c always on. The 1.8 L engine has ample power and is smooth. The car rides and handles well and is very quiet. The seats both front and rear are very comfortable and I love the overall driving experience. I haven't found a single fault in this car and I have been over it with a fine tooth comb. I buy all my cars new and I usually keep them for about 12 years. I also do all of my own maintenance. I've owned Toyota, Honda and Nissan vehicles and to date this is the best example of value, function, and quality that I've encountered. I compared and drove all of the other cars in the Forte's class and for me this was the clear winner, even if I ignored the higher pricing of the competition. If you want a very well made car, packed with tons of standard options at a very good price, put this car at the top of your list!
4 out of 5 stars
Inexpensive well equipped car
Charles S., 05/02/2016
2016 Kia Forte EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
Ride handles well for the most part. Steering feels sluggish at times and engine sounds cheap. But overall the car accelerates quick and delivers a sportier driving feel than most cars in the segment. It also has good looks and nice technology options. Would buy another forte
5 out of 5 stars
Bye bye '12 Forte SX 5 door & hello '16 Forte5 EX
2016 Kia Forte EX 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
We shared the '12 for over 3 years and over 80,000 miles until I bought myself a 2015 Sonata Sport 2.0T Limited 6 months ago. Love that car and reviewed it on here also. Got a great deal. Now that we're back to two cars, mileage will accumulate a lot less. While I was getting the 12 serviced 2 weeks ago and "someone" took my car to work, I was asked "Do you think you can get me a deal on … trading my car like you did buying yours ?" So I walked the lot and found a Snow White Pearl Forte5 EX 2.0 GDI - loaded with Premium/Technology package and remote start with black leather with white stitching. I texted the pictures. "I really wasn't a fan of white until you got yours (Quartz White Pearl) but I really like it. See what you can do. If it works out, I'll come sign the papers". The 12 was in excellent condition except for the 82,000 miles they beat down the trade in value on, but with the rebate and financing, it was a good deal regardless. The 12 had leather and sunroof. Great little car. No complaints other than it could have used more sound insulation. Compared to the 12: The tech options are great. Stereo is better. Bluetooth streaming is a world better. It's quieter. Much better legroom - we're both 6ft tall. Headroom was never an issue even with the 12 - sunroof in both. The 2.0GDI doesn't have the off the line punch of the 2012s 2.4 port-injected engine but feels fine overall (same 173hp rating) and better fuel mileage makes it worthwhile. Neither are pocket rockets but we're not race car drivers lol. Has plenty of zip. Warranty can't be beat. This now makes 4 Hyundai / Kia products since 2008 and don't regret any of them. I'm a semi-retired mechanic and choose my/our cars wisely. The only 2 gripes with the 16: 1 - gone with the 2014+ 5 door redesign is the split-folding rear seat bottoms which was great when we needed to haul stuff around. A minor gripe really because the 16 is still plenty roomy with the seat backs folded down. 2 - For the 2016 Forte line up, HID headlights were deleted, even with the Tech package. I remedied that with the same brand HID kit I installed in the 2012. Also installed LED plate and reverse lights - nice difference with the back-up camera at night. Experience has us anticipating the same reliability. The 2008 Sonata we traded for the 2012 Forte is still on the road with nearly 250,000 miles on it. Traded with nearly 120,000 trouble-free miles and came across it recently. UPDATE 3/27/2017 Six months and 7,500 miles now. Engine has loosened up. Feels puncher. Averaging 31-32mpg which is 7-8mog better than the 2012. Nothing other than an oil change and tire rotation. UPDATE 9/28/17 15,000 miles. Just did the 3rd oil change and replaced the cabin filter - I change them once a year. Zero issues. More of a novelty but my other half loves the heated steering wheel on cold mornings. UPDATE 3/28/18 A little over 25,000 miles now. Between work, grad school, and internship, the other half has racked up some miles. Nothing really to report. Still runs and looks great. Wiper blades replaced other than oil changes and tire rotation. The only gripe is the OE Nexen tires. While they certainly look like they will go another 15 or 20 ,000 miles, they have gotten a bit noisy. Probably just going to run them through the summer and replace them.
5 out of 5 stars
toasty (almost "hot") hatchback
G. Johnson, 07/22/2017
2016 Kia Forte SX 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
Got my 2016 Forte5 SX (6-speed, manual transmission) brand new five months ago, and I am still in love with my turbo hatchback. For my needs, it is the perfect fun-to-drive commuter. It is not as sporty/fast as a VW GTI (which is arguably the leader in affordable hot hatchbacks), but it is much less expensive, it should be much more reliable, and it has a much better warranty. Also, … the Forte5 SX has the best seat and driving position I found in any compact car I test-drove (I'm a larger fellow, at 6'2 and 220 lbs). Another plus? The Forte5 SX takes regular gas (not premium like many turbos). I had already decided to buy the car before I even found that out. I'm only getting 27.8 mpg so far, but the gas mileage is slowly getting better the more miles I put on the car. No regrets at all, and I plan on keeping it for a long time. For you car guys out there, the driving dynamics may be a little bit different, but the fun-factor/value reminds me of my old 1998 Civic EX but with a comfortable seat. I'm starting to think that Kia is doing now what Honda was doing in the late 1990s--which is a very good thing indeed. Update: I remain very happy with my Forte5 SX, and I can't believe that more people don't know about this gem. I can even fit my mountain bike in the back of the hatch with the rear seats folded down (granted that the bike's front wheel needs to be taken off to fit). The ride is sporty but comfortable--perfect for real-world driving--and the car is so practical yet fun, and it is reliable. I have also found the Kia dealerships to be awesome; clearly they place a premium on excellent customer service. Update: by Feb. 2019, I will have owned it for two years. Still loving it, and not a single mechanical problem. Great car! Update: Feb. 2020--owned it for three years. Continue to love it, and it still hasn't had a single mechanical issue.
2016 Forte Highlights
|Combined MPG||28 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$136/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||5 years / 60,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover10.3%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestMarginal
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood