1 Star Reviews for Kia Forte

Overview & Reviews

Average Score

4.48/5 Average
295 Total Reviews
Model Overview:

In recent years, some of the most improved players on the automotive playing field have been entry-level compact sedans. Many of these so-called economy cars now offer levels of style and equipment that rival larger and more expensive cars. A good example is the Kia Forte.

Although the first Forte was generally a good car that also boasted strong crash test scores, the more refined second-generation version propelled this Kia to high honors in a very competitive class. Specifically, the newer Forte more than holds its own against the old segment standbys in terms of style, features, driving dynamics, fuel economy and value. Thanks to its choice of three body styles versus the more typical one or two, the Forte is able to appeal to several types of buyers whether they prefer a traditional sedan, a dynamic coupe or a practical hatchback.

Current Kia Forte
Redesigned for 2014, the current Forte is available as a sedan in LX (1.8L) and EX (2.0L) trim levels. The four-door hatchback (Forte 5) and two-door coupe (Koup) are available in EX and turbocharged SX trims.

There are three four-cylinder engines: a 1.8-liter with 148 horsepower, a 2.0-liter with 173 hp and a turbocharged 1.6-liter packing 201 hp. Power runs to the front wheels through either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The EPA combined fuel economy estimates range from 24-29 mpg, depending on engine and transmission.

Standard feature highlights include air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and USB/iPod/auxiliary inputs. Midlevel trims add a more powerful engine, alloy wheels, foglights, keyless entry, a voice-activated infotainment system with Bluetooth audio connectivity and a rearview camera. The SX trims also include sporty styling tweaks, xenon headlights, LED taillights, dual-zone air-conditioning and a navigation system. Options (depending on trim) include a sunroof, keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a ventilated eight-way power driver seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

In reviews we've found the EX's substantial equipment level more than compensates for its slightly lower fuel economy. Furthermore, the 2.0 is one of the peppier four-cylinders out there so it never feels like an economy car. In Edmunds testing, a Kia Forte EX sedan accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.1 seconds, making it one of the quickest cars in its segment. Of course, if sporty is what you're after in a compact car, we'd recommend the turbocharged engine with the manual transmission for maximum performance and fun.

Overall, the Forte has precise steering, and handling is steady. On upper trim levels, you can even adjust the steering effort via a three-mode (Comfort/Normal/Sport) button on the wheel. Most shoppers in this segment will likely be satisfied with the Forte's overall ride quality. That said, broken pavement can produce a somewhat rougher ride than what you'll find in the Forte's well-established European or Japanese rivals.

Used Kia Forte Models
The first-generation Kia Forte was available from 2010-'13 as a four-door sedan or two-door coupe (Koup). The four-door hatchback (Forte 5) joined the lineup in 2011. The sedan was available in LX, EX and SX trims, while the hatchback and coupe were EX and SX only. The LX and EX came with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that made 156 hp. The SX came with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder good for 173 hp.

For the LX and EX, the initial transmission choices included a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic, while the SX offered a standard six-speed manual transmission or optional five-speed automatic. The latter came standard on the EX with the available Fuel Economy package. For 2011, transmissions choices were simplified, as the six-speed manual transmission was standard on all but the hatchbacks, which came with a six-speed automatic. The latter was an option on the others.

The base Forte came standard with air-conditioning, Bluetooth phone connection, satellite radio and a CD stereo with auxiliary/USB audio jacks. Upgrading to the EX model added alloy wheels, full power accessories, cruise control and, on 2012-'13 models a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. The Forte coupe featured a firmer suspension, a retuned exhaust and sport seats. The EX sedan and hatch were available with that Fuel Economy package, which added low-rolling-resistance tires, aerodynamic enhancements and electric (rather than hydraulic) power steering. The sportier SX trim featured the larger engine, 17-inch alloy wheels, firmer suspension tuning (sedan) and various interior upgrades. The SX coupe further received suspension retuning. Leather upholstery, heated seats and a sunroof were optional on the SX.

The driving experience largely depends on which version and from which year Forte you're in. We feel the first year (2010), while not to be avoided, isn't the year to look for due to the somewhat dated automatic transmissions. As such, we'd suggest going with a 2011 or later Forte, which in addition to featuring six-speed transmissions across the board, also had better standard and optional equipment including navigation. Taller drivers should note that a telescoping steering column was available on SX models only in 2010 and '11, then also on the EX in 2012 and '13.

In reviews, our editors praised the Kia Forte's relatively generous front and rear seating, tidy styling and clean and pleasant cabin layout. The LX and EX handled like typical economy cars, meaning distant steering, noticeable body roll when pushed and a comfortable, though sometimes noisy ride. The SX -- the coupe in particular -- was a completely different story with its sportier handling and notably firmer ride. Although it still wasn't quite as much fun as the sprightly Honda Civic Si, the SX provided enough entertainment behind the wheel to make it a good choice for driving enthusiasts.

Previous to the Forte, Kia's small car offering was the underwhelming Spectra.

User Reviews:

Showing 1 through 10 of 295.00
  • steer clear from Kia, Silver Spring Kia and the King automotive group - 2011 Kia Forte
    By -

    In April 2011 I bought Kia Forte. since i drove off the dealers lot the car seemed sluggish like theres 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 thats 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 wouldnt 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 dont 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 doesnt have issues. The BBB arbitrator actually stated at the arbitration hearing before the hearing started "Kia doesnt 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.

  • Buy a donkey not KIA - 2010 Kia Forte
    By -

    I have had this KIA for a year and 1/2. Been in shop more than a dozen times but still have problems with it. Even worst, in the last 1 1/2 year it lost more than $15,000 in value. Payed $19,000 for it in May 2011, it is now August 2012 and the trade in value is at $4,000. The exterior and interior are in great shape. DO NOT BUY KIA you will loose big time. You and american economy.

  • Water leak in trunk compartment - 2014 Kia Forte
    By -

    I am having the same issue as seen in this thread: http://www.forteforums.com/forums/noobie-questions-forum/39418-water-leak-trunk-compartment.html#post682049 The dealership couldnt figure out where the water was coming from and just dried out/cleaned my car without fixing anything. It appears to be coming from under the trunk liner and it is already starting to get more moisture/water just a few days after it was cleaned (only drove 10-15 miles since then). Brand new car bought in May 2013 that smells terrible even after the dealer removed the water and cleaned out the car. Hope this gets fixed the next time I bring it in...

  • DO NOT BUY THIS CAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - 2010 Kia Forte
    By -

    I am amazed they have not recalled this car! My engine has stalled on me 4 times now and no one knows how or why. According to other sites, I am not the only one! I drive only 4 miles away from my home daily to go to work on a very busy street. The last time it stalled, my lights were still on in my car, except my engine cut off, as well as my power steering, in drive, and I had to throw on my emergency lights and use my entire body weight to pull into a lot. This is day 5 of having a rental car through Kia and they still cant "recreate the situation" or "fix it". If you wouldnt put your loved one in it, dont buy it!

Kia Forte Reviews By Year:
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