2019 Kia Forte Review
2019 Kia Forte Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Dan spent many years covering the go-fast, look-good, get-loud corners of the automotive universe. First, he served as editor of enthusiast magazines AutoSound and Honda Tuning, then as executive editor at SEMA News, the publishing arm of the trade group that produces the annual SEMA Show (yes, that show). As a contributor to Edmunds, he now likes to keep the volume low and the speed limit legal, providing expert car-shopping advice to drivers looking for the perfect match.
- Plenty of features for the money
- Strong fuel economy estimates
- Generous warranty coverage
- Easy-to-use technology interface
- Stiff ride quality
- Back seat isn't quite as roomy as those of some rivals
- Not much fun to drive on winding roads
- The Kia Forte sedan has been fully redesigned for 2019
- Stinger-influenced style and many new features
Introduced back in the 2010 model year, the Kia Forte was originally aimed at young buyers seeking a stylish and affordable compact car. The redesigned 2019 Kia Forte continues that mission, but it's no longer just an alternative to the establishment. This Forte is a desirable car in its own right thanks to a sharp design, engaging performance, and plenty of technology and safety features for the money.
The Forte enters its third generation with new styling cues. The long hood and fastback-style sloping roofline mimic those from Kia's top Stinger sport sedan. Power hasn't changed; the Forte still uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 147 horsepower, but a new continuously variable automatic transmission promises improved fuel economy. Last year's sporty Forte SX, with its turbocharged 201-hp engine, has been discontinued, but a similarly themed Forte GT is set to arrive for the 2020 model year.
The new-generation Forte also retains the model's main draws: a wealth of desirable standard features starting from the base trim level, including dual-zone air conditioning, an 8-inch touchscreen tech interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and driver safety aids including automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist.
That's just the start, too. The top EX trim offers premium touches such as faux leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, and a hands-free trunk. All Fortes also have 15.3 cubic feet of cargo space, a sizable amount for any compact car.
The new Forte isn't without compromise, however. Acceleration is adequate, but we wouldn't call it impressive. Improved handling characteristics come at the expense of a stiffer ride, and overall the Forte's performance chops aren't quite as polished as those of its Honda and Mazda rivals. But for many drivers, the differences will be hard to spot. Overall, the Forte more than satisfies with its mix of great features, attractive style and appealing price.
Edmunds' Expert Rating7.9 / 10
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Kia Forte EX (2.0L inline-4 | CVT automatic | FWD).
|Overall||7.9 / 10|
The Forte is ultimately a middle-of-the-road performer. Kia has done a good job making the relatively low-power engine feel stronger than its numbers suggest. In routine driving, the Forte feels confident enough. But start to push it and the Forte simply can't keep pace with top rivals.
The Forte feels adequately punchy around town and accelerates well at freeway speeds. It can keep pace with turbocharged competitors, but its CVT automatic is unrefined in its power delivery. Our as-tested 0-60 mph time of 8.7 seconds is middle of the road for the class.
The brake pedal is solid and responsive, especially as you dig down for stronger braking. Its linear response instills confidence even in emergency situations. We measured a 60-0 mph panic-stop distance of 120 feet, which is right up there with the best in the class.
The on-center feel is vague, but the Forte tracks well on long freeway drives. Steering weight builds rapidly, suggesting a sportiness that's at odds with the rest of the car's dynamics. There's no real feedback from the front wheels, but steering is precise enough that there's no issue for routine driving.
The Forte corners relatively flatly and feels stable at moderate speeds. Its torsion-beam rear suspension is upset by midcorner bumps in quicker driving, and its overbearing stability control system further discourages you to have fun along a twisty road. Past a certain point, its dynamics are unrewarding.
Kia's CVT automatic generally works well but at times feels unpolished. It delivers power promptly when commanded, avoiding a rubber-band sensation, but is too eager to drop revs when you ease off the throttle slightly. This characteristic can make for a surging power delivery, especially in sporty driving. Honda's CVT is better.
The supportive seats, quiet cabin, and straightforward climate controls are the highlights. The Forte has a stiffer and less refined ride compared to some competitors, but otherwise this car scores well for comfort.
The bottom seat cushions are a bit flat, but they can be inclined, which helps. The seatback is contoured nicely and there's just enough padding for long-distance comfort. We appreciate the relatively soft and unobtrusive headrests, which might be the most comfortable spot to rest your dome in the whole class.
The Forte's ride is on the stiffer side. However, it doesn't feel busy over rough paving or shallow imperfections. Where it stumbles is in smoothing out larger bumps. The rear suspension in particular is especially troubled by uneven bumps.
Noise & vibration8.0
On the whole, the Forte is quieter than many other cars in the class. There's some wind and traffic noise that comes in through the doors, but it's not overwhelming. Road noise is handled well. Poor surfaces can create intrusive road noise, but on the whole noise is less of an issue than for quite a few cars in the class.
The dual-zone system is easy to set to your liking, and it manages temperature nicely when left to its own devices. The rear seat vent is a nice touch. It's great to see heated and cooled seats at this price point, although its seat cooling is only marginally effective.
Kia has done an excellent job designing the Forte's interior. A mix of textures makes the well-built interior look more grown-up and refined. The controls are logical and easy to find, and the seating position offers a wide range of adjustability. That said, the rear seats don't offer much legroom, and visibility is a mixed bag.
Ease of use9.0
Kia is generally very smart about control layout, and the Forte is no exception. The buttons are clearly marked and grouped logically, and the infotainment is easy to navigate with physical buttons for important features. Overall, it's easy to figure the Forte out.
Getting in/getting out8.0
The seats are at a nice height relative to the ground, making it easy to pivot in and out, and the door openings are tall enough that only taller passengers will have to duck. The lower sills are a bit wide, making for more deliberate movements when entering the back seat.
Usably high armrests on both sides are a plus, and there's plenty of seat adjustability for those drivers who want to sit closer and higher. The steering wheel telescopes far enough that taller drivers won't have to stretch to reach controls.
The front seat is roomy with plenty of knee and shoulder room. Taller drivers have sufficient headroom, too. Rear-seat knee room falls short of class leaders (and the hard plastic seatbacks don't help), but headroom will only run out for passengers over 6 feet tall. There's generous toe room under the front seatbacks.
The windshield pillars are wide but shaped in a way that prevents serious blind spots. Side and rearview mirrors provide a good aft view. Porthole windows in the rear roof pillars don't help much since they're quite small and positioned oddly. The rearview camera provides a clear view, even at night.
The Forte feels solidly put together, and even better it presents well, with an attractive mix of materials and surfaces. Most touch points are covered with something pleasant, and while there's a lot of hard plastic it's generally well-integrated and it doesn't make the car look cheap or lightweight.
For a small sedan, the Forte offers excellent utility. The trunk is large for the class, with a wide, flat load floor and a generous opening. Inside the cabin, there's lots of small-item storage options to help you organize your stuff.
There are a decent number of options for stashing small items, with some neat little trays and a decently sized center console box. All four doors get door pockets that can hold a water bottle as well. It doesn't have more space than top competitors, but it allows for some separation and organization.
The trunk has an accommodating opening, and the liftover isn't too high for a sedan. The load floor is both wide and deep, and the rear wheelwells don't create too dramatic an incursion. It's a very usable space.
Child safety seat accommodation7.0
LATCH points are clearly marked, and the anchors sit close to the surface of the cushions, making them easy to access. The somewhat limited backseat room means bulky rear-facing seats might interfere with front-seat movement.
Overall, the Kia offers a lot of well-integrated features, from an excellent touchscreen interface to good device integration and useful — if limited — voice controls. There's also a full suite of safety features and driver aids. But adaptive cruise is an option available only on the highest trim level.
Audio & navigation8.5
Our tester's upgraded stereo has decent clarity for the class and plenty of volume, although it can get harsh at higher volumes. There's no nav, but you do get smartphone integration, and the infotainment system is easy to navigate.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integrate well, and the Uvo app has some useful features. On lower trims you get two USB ports. Higher trim levels get three ports, and you can even get a wireless charging pad. Wi-Fi isn't available.
We were surprised to find adaptive cruise missing from our top-tier tester (it's an option even on the highest trim level), but it has a full suite of driver aids including blind-spot monitoring and forward collision warning. These systems worked well, avoiding false alerts.
Smartphone controls integrate seamlessly, and the native system handles basic commands with little confusion. A command menu is displayed, but in some cases you can bypass steps once you learn the logic.
Which Forte does Edmunds recommend?
With four trim levels, choosing the right Forte largely depends on what you're looking for. For a practical and well-equipped car, we'd suggest the LXS. It's a step above the base model, and with that you get larger alloy wheels, the upgraded transmission, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, and nicer interior soft-touch surfaces.
2019 Kia Forte models
The 2019 Kia Forte is available in four trim levels: FE, LXS, S, and EX. All are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (147 horsepower, 132 pound-feet of torque). A six-speed manual transmission comes with the FE, while a continuously variable automatic transmission is standard-issue on all other trim levels.
Standard features on the FE include 15-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, rear air vents, an 8-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a four-speaker audio system with USB and auxiliary audio jacks. The FE also comes with a rearview camera, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist.
Moving up to the LXS adds 16-inch alloy wheels, selectable drive modes, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, and soft-touch dash and door surfaces. The S trim continues the upgrades with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, foglights, a rear-seat armrest, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a six-speaker audio system, satellite radio and Kia's Uvo communication services. Features included in the optional S Premium package are a sunroof, LED headlights and automatic high beams.
The EX trim adds the final touches with heated side mirrors, windshield wiper de-icer, push-button ignition, keyless entry, keyless trunk opener, simulated-leather upholstery, a power adjustable driver's seat, heated and ventilated front seats, a sliding armrest and two extra USB ports. Additional driver aids on the EX include blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist.
Still want more? The EX Launch Edition package adds a load of premium features, including unique 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, a rear decklid spoiler, LED headlights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a larger gauge cluster display, a navigation system with voice controls, a wireless device charger, and an eight-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with HD radio. This package also includes adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection for the automatic emergency braking system, rear parking sensors, and automatic high beams.
Jump to:Related 2019 Forte articles
Read what other owners think about the Used 2019 Kia Forte.
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4 out of 5 stars
2019 Kia Forte S 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT)
Great looking very comfortable car .Lots of fun to drive although not a great pickup.Ride and handling are very good and steering is first rate.Feels more like a mid size than a compact car.Lot of room inside both front and rear, controls are easy and very thought out.The only set back is that Kia removed the auto folding side view mirrors that were standard on all Kia cars.Overall very … good value compared to other competitive cars.
1 out of 5 stars
2019 Kia Forte EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT)
had this car since april Drive it a lot because of work. at 18500 miles the CVT transmission has died on me. was at light and the car wouldn’t go until i turn off and turned on the from there on it moved slowly. there are multiple other people with the same issue just google forte cvt complaint. i brought it to the dealership and they said i need a new transmission, but there were 4 … other fortes with the same problem so the part is on back order for 6 weeks. it is an amazing car, but this makes it a no go
5 out of 5 stars
13 mustang to a 19 forte
2019 Kia Forte LXS 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT)
I really love this car. I purchased it to replace my 2013 v6 mustang as a daily driver. It performs adequately for what it is. I would classify myself as a more aggressive driver and I have no issues getting on the freeway. The transmission is far better than I expected. Very rarely do i even realize it is a CVT. Snow performance is sub par if you live in a wintery area a different set … of tires is advised. (I drove my mustang regularly in 10 inches of snow on blizzacks and it performed better) Pay for the heated mirrors they're worth it. The ride is stiff but it's not uncomfortable. Entertainment system is superb as well as the climate control. I regularly get 400+ miles on 11 gallons of gas. The automatic wipers arent fantastic. Interior quality is great I dont have any rattles and my state has some of the worst roads in the country. Great roadtrip car, the trunk is massive and I've had four 6 ft adults in the car for long periods of time with no complaints. I wish the trunk lining was a material with more grip as things slide around the trunk like crazy. Plenty of storage space though. I had one issue where a lightbulb burned out and Kia went above and beyond to resolve the issue. They even sent me a gift card in the mail for the inconvenience. Great car for the money would highly recommend.
5 out of 5 stars
Revamped, re-engineer and ready to rumble!
Haystack Calhoun, 03/27/2019
2019 Kia Forte LXS 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT)
Okay if you're like me you don't want to spend $30,000 on a sedan. You don't have money to throw away but yet you want a high technology car with a great warranty. Probably the first two cars that come to mine are from the Honda and Toyota line. However there's a new horse in town with the Kia Forte 2019. This is not the same car that you drove in the rental Fleet just last year. Kia up … the game on this model put in lots of Technology like the Android nice 6 inch screen and the lane assist and frontal crash warning system all standard on all models. Then it threw in dual climate control and various other safety features like sound dampening windows to make this car ready to rumble. And also has a nice shift select thing near the transmission where you can choose what type of driving you want to do. So all these features are on all the models of Forte's . These various options are usually found on the Lexus and Infiniti models that people pay in the high 30s and 40,000. So you've got the technology you've got the safety and not so bad engine if there is any drowning point for this Forte it is the engine the 2.0 that has been around for quite a while. However they also added a chain drive CVT to the middle of the road model Forte which is called lxs which is the model I drive. And that is helping this car average 40 miles to the gallon . I have been around the Hyundai and Kia family since 2013. I have driven the old Forte and drive currently the Hyundai Elantra as a standard daily driver. Kia decided to up the game on this standard sedan to make it a truly awesome all the way around buy for the money. When you start seeing 40 miles to the gallon on the interstate the shortcomings are not as few. The drive is a little stiffer on the steering but it still holds curves about as well as anybody out there. And if you dial up the sport mode it makes the curves and the car sporty enough to satisfy a guy like me that can take some curves a little fast. Also for the entertaining of individuals that has Apple carplay an Android with a nice little 9 inch screen, and dual climate control which is standard in all models. Okay the big bottom line on this car is it can be had for the price of a used car. I was getting ready to buy a used Altima and then I saw this price point in the same category. I walked out of the dealership under 18,000 for a brand new car that has the same technology as a Lexus or a Infiniti. So my payments less then a used car and I don't have to suffer less safety features. So if you have half a brain you will test drive this new model and you will probably drive out with one. This car has been awesome as a daily driver and even has good road manners. You don't have to pay 30000 to have a awesome car. Save your money and go get this Kia Forte lxs and you won't be disappointed. Like I said in my title revamped , re-engineered and ready to rumble! Kia can be mentioned with Honda and Toyota now as a go-to option.
2019 Kia Forte video
[MUSIC PLAYING] MARK TAKAHASHI: Not everyone can afford a Maybach, or even a Mustang. That's where the compact class of sedans and hatchbacks come in. Behind me here is the all-new, fully redesigned 2019 Kia Forte. And it's a great place to start. [MUSIC PLAYING] This time around, the Forte is slightly bigger overall. And as you can see, it takes a lot of [INAUDIBLE] cues from the evocative Kia Stinger. And that's a good thing. It looks sharp, sharper than you'd expect for the compact class of sedans. The question is, how does it stack up against the rest of the competition? We'll get to that in a bit. In the meantime, do us a favor and hit Subscribe below. [MUSIC PLAYING] In the compact sedan class, you sort of have to temper your expectations. But the Forte exceeds expectations in a number of ways. I wasn't all that jazzed about 147-horsepower continuously variable transmission. Those CVTs tend to suck the life out of any car. But the Kia's CVT does a really good job of being more responsive and quicker to accelerate right off the line. It doesn't have that sluggishness or rubber band feel that other CVTs have. And when you're going to pass slower traffic, it does a good job of dropping down into a lower ratio, much like an automatic transmission would, where it just drops you into a lower gear by about two or three. So you get that good punch when you need it. And that's pretty unique in the class, or unique for CVTs in general, actually. The ride quality, it's a little stiff, but not objectionable. In return for that stiffness, it handles pretty well. Not quite as well as the Mazda 3, but far better than most drivers will ever need. One thing counting against it is the rear torsion-beam suspension. And that tends to be a little nervous over mid-corner bumps. That is the case with the Forte, but again, not to objectionable levels. There is a noticeable amount of wind and road noise, though. But again, I'm driving with the radio off. And this has the premium Harman/Kardon system. Just turn it up a little. It should drown it out just fine. In the class, the Forte competes against kind of entry-level sedans. So Corolla from Toyota, Honda Civic, Mazda 3. Those are kind of my picks in the class. Not so much the Corolla, but I really like the Mazda 3. And this, well, it seems to offer quite a bit more than the Mazda, especially when it comes to advanced safety features. This comes standard with forward collision warning, blind spot monitors, and all the latest modern cars have. One thing I like about it, though, is I'm not getting a lot of false alarms. And the Lane Keep Assist on this top trim is actually really good. Comparing prices between the Civic and the Mazda 3 to the Forte, the Forte has a slight advantage just because it has a lot more features. For the base-model Forte, prices start right around 18.5, 18.6. That's manual transmission, lowest trim level. Probably not going to be a lot of people taking that. For another 1,000 or so, you get the CVT. This is the Launch edition EX. This is the EX with all the options. So all the advanced safety features, different colored wheels, sunroof, navigation. It goes on and on and on. It's just over $26,000, though. That's a bit much for this class. But the regular EX, right around $23,000. And that makes a lot more sense, because you get a lot for that, as well. And you have the option to add stuff. But you probably won't need the navigation because it comes standard with Apple Car Play, as long as you have a cell signal, obviously. And the voice recognition is still probably the best out there, in any car. Not only does the Forte draw on some of the Stinger's exterior styling, but also on the interior. It's got the wide dash, just like that, as well as these racy-looking round vents. Materials quality is really good for the class. Everything that you touch has nice, good, soft cushioning to it. So your elbows are well-padded. And elsewhere, when it is plastic, is grained really well. There's really not a whole lot of hard plastic in here to kind of take you out of the fantasy of driving a nicer car. One thing I really did like as soon as I sat down, though, was the amount of travel the steering wheel has. Now, that's quite a bit, so that means that taller drivers aren't going to have to sacrifice their driving position. You have a ton of features here, as well. The infotainment has a standard eight-inch screen. It's sharp, it's responsive, it's quick. And you have a good amount of physical buttons here, which means you won't have to dig through menus just to get some simple operations done. Also standard is dual-zone automatic climate control. That's unusual for the class as a standard feature, even on the base model. On this top trim, you also get ventilated and heated seats, which makes it really comfortable on a hot, muggy day like today. On this top trim, you also get a wireless charging pad, as well as a USB port right under it, and another one right under your center armrest. Despite being a compact sedan, the Forte doesn't skimp on rear seat space. I'm five foot 10, sitting behind the driver's seat, which is set for me. And I have plenty of leg room and knee room. And my hair's just barely brushing the headliner. That means the average adult will be just fine back here. Materials quality, as you'd expect, isn't quite as nice. A little more hard plastic. But if I didn't tap that, I wouldn't have known. I also have a nice center armrest here. I'd be comfortable back here for a road trip. Not a single complaint. And I also have vents right here for climate control. So, well done, Kia. [MUSIC PLAYING] After spending a lot of time with this Forte, I can say it gives the class-leading Mazda 3 and Honda Civic a run for the money. Honestly, I would take it over the Civic. The Mazda, in my view, is still the best driving in the class. But for a lot of people, it's not that important. What is important is stretching their dollar. And the Forte does that. It delivers a lot. A lot of advanced safety features, a lot of infotainment, a lot of just quality overall. For more information on the Forte, as well as its competition, head on over to edmunds.com. If you want to see more videos like this, hit Subscribe. [MUSIC PLAYING]
2019 Kia Forte | First Drive
Edmunds Senior Writer Mark Takahashi took a spin in the all-new 2019 Kia Forte, the latest entrant in the affordable compact sedan class. The Forte faces some tough competitors in the class, but it rises to meet the challenge with praiseworthy driving dynamics and a value-packed list… of standard features. Mark covers everything that shoppers need to know in his drive between Pennsylvania to Ohio and back.
2019 Forte Highlights
- Combined MPG
- 31 MPG
- Cost to Drive
- 5 seats
- front wheel drive
- Engine Type
- 5 years / 60,000 miles
Our experts like the Forte models:
- Automatic Emergency Braking
- Applies the brakes automatically to avoid a collision with an obstacle in front of the vehicle.
- Blind-Spot Detection
- Alerts the driver to the presence of other vehicles in the car's blind spots.
- Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
- Monitors for moving traffic behind the vehicle when in reverse.
NHTSA Overall Rating4 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger3 / 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 Rollover10.7%
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More about the 2019 Kia Forte
Used 2019 Kia Forte Overview
The Used 2019 Kia Forte is offered in the following submodels: Forte Sedan. Available styles include LXS 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT), S 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT), FE 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT), EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT), and FE 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6M). Pre-owned Kia Forte models are available with a 2.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 147 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2019 Kia Forte comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: continuously variable-speed automatic.
What's a good price on a Used 2019 Kia Forte?
Price comparisons for Used 2019 Kia Forte trim styles:
- The Used 2019 Kia Forte LXS is priced between $14,995 and$24,000 with odometer readings between 6903 and87075 miles.
- The Used 2019 Kia Forte S is priced between $17,998 and$21,998 with odometer readings between 23851 and59487 miles.
- The Used 2019 Kia Forte FE is priced between $16,990 and$20,998 with odometer readings between 19016 and74286 miles.
- The Used 2019 Kia Forte EX is priced between $14,495 and$22,998 with odometer readings between 6001 and91389 miles.
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Which used 2019 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) 2019 Kia Forte for sale near. There are currently 103 used and CPO 2019 Fortes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $14,495 and mileage as low as 6001 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 2019 Kia Forte.
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Should I lease or buy a 2019 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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