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When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A blue 2020 Kia Forte is in front a field and mountain.

A Full Review of the 2019 Kia Forte and What to Expect in 2020

In today’s auto climate, being a stand out sedan isn’t easy. Automakers are shifting more and more towards the efficiency and utility of the SUV, and while there is a handful who still focus on creating truly remarkable sedans, that number is certainly shrinking. Kia is one of the remaining manufacturers still introducing sedans at the forefront of their lineup. One such vehicle, is the 2019 Kia Forte, a stylish sedan that hopes to be a stand out in a field crowded with oversized and undersized utility vehicles. The Kia Forte, first introduced in 2009, has continued to be a staple of the Kia family, and as Kia’s own share of SUVs take center stage, it is important that we check out what the Kia Forte brings to the table, and what’s in store for something like the 2020 Kia Forte.

A Check-In of Appearance

When it comes to making a great car, appearances are certainly near the top of the priority list. A great car shouldn’t just perform well; it should look good on the road too. With its long hood and shortened rear, the 2019 Kia Forte certainly offers a sporty appeal. While early iterations may have been considered plain at the time, the 2019 Kia Forte certainly does a decent job at standing out in terms of appearance.

With a sticker price starting at $17,790 MSRP, the 2019 Kia Forte allows for easy entry into the model lineup which includes four trims, the FE, LXS, S, and EX. All four trims come with their share of special features, such as a slew of safety features, and some infotainment features that won’t necessarily leave you wanting. The 2020 Kia Forte hopes to repeat the same design, while at the same time incorporating more names to the lineup of trim options including the FE, LXS, GT-Line, EX, and GT. Starting at the same sticker price, the 2020 Kia Forte is still a high-value package.

A red 2019 Kia Forte is taking a corner with the ocean in the distance.

The Performance of the 2019 Kia Forte

Packed beneath the hood of every 2019 Kia Forte is a 147 horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. Which supplies drivers with 132 lb-ft worth of torque. If that sounds underpowered, that’s because it kind of is. With competitors offering more robust engine options in their compact sedans, the Kia Forte falls a little short, especially considering owners will have no chance at an upgrade. Although, it should be said that this sluggish power comes at a tremendous benefit to fuel economy.

The 2019 Kia Forte earns a particularly tremendous 31 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. While certainly not at the top in terms of fuel efficiency, it is up there and is bound to satisfy drivers and daily commuters who are hoping to conserve as much gasoline as possible. That said, the 2019 Kia Forte seems to stick in a single lane when it comes to appeal, as the stilted power and the lack of a hatchback option is bound to turn some potential drivers away.

The 2020 Kia Forte hopes to capitalize on the previous model’s mistakes, employing a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine in their GT model which brings in 201 horsepower and 195 lb-ft worth of torque to the table. All of this power comes at no sacrifice to fuel economy still earning 30 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. While there is still no word on a hatchback option, these engine improvements certainly have us excited.

More than Expected

When people say compact sedan, the first thing that often comes to mind is tight seating arrangements and a minimal amount of room for rear passengers. Fortunately, this is the polar opposite for the Kia Forte. Two full-sized adults can sit comfortably in the back, and still have plenty of wiggle room leftover. This is a refreshing respite, considering even some modern SUVs struggle to provide passengers with a considerable amount of legroom. Unfortunately, the interior comforts of the 2019 Kia Forte aren’t all good. If you’re hoping to save some cash and purchase the base model of the 2019 Kia Forte you might find yourself rather disappointed. Base models come with some pretty barebones features, such as 6-way manually adjusted seats, and some pretty bland interior trimmings. That said, if you’re willing to forward the cash, you’ll certainly see it as money well-spent.

At the jump, the 2019 Kia Forte gets power locks and windows, 15-inch wheels, an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen that is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and dual-zone climate control. These standard offerings can feel pretty bare for some, but fortunately, the Kia Forte improves steadily with the LXS trim. In the LXS model, you’ll find 16-inch wheels, an interior with higher-quality dressings, and split-folding seats in the back.

For roughly $1,100 more, you can upgrade to the S trim, which moves things up a notch adding a leather-wrapped steering wheel, satellite radio, an armrest for the rear seats, and the option of adding a power moonroof, and LED headlights for the small extra price of $1,200. At the top of the pack, is the Kia Forte EX, which provides synthetic leather seating which is heated and cooled, keyless ignition, two USB ports, and LED turning signals in the side-view mirrors.

All that said, the 2019 Kia Forte is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to interior comforts. While the top-trim option is certainly luxurious, some drivers may not want to spend the pretty penny it would cost to get some of these premium features; fortunately, the 2019 Kia Forte makes up for this shortcoming in terms of safety. The 2019 Kia Forte is a true standout thanks to the fact that all trim options (yes, even the base model), receive near-futuristic safety features like automatic emergency braking and active lane control. Spend a bit more cash on the higher trims, and you’ll be given premium-level features including automatic LED high-beam headlights, blind-spot monitors, and adaptive cruise control.

The 2020 Kia Forte hopes to take a step up in terms of auto tech, adding a power sunroof, overhead LED front and rear lamps, and a wireless charging pad for your smartphone all a standard. Safety is also getting a robust upgrade including blind-spot collision warnings, rear-cross traffic collision warnings, smart cruise control, and parking distance warnings as optional and making it the most tech-friendly Kia Forte to date.

Our Verdict and Looking Forward to 2020

A the front of a blue 2020 Kia Forte GT is shown.

When it comes to car design, perfection is difficult to achieve. A lot goes into making a great car, and there are a lot of different preferences and priorities to satisfy. The 2019 Kia Forte is far from perfect, yet it manages to find a lane and sticks with it. A great choice for the budgeted commuter, the small family, or the new college driver, the 2019 Kia Forte certainly has a solid appeal, that makes it a standout of its class. However, it misses the mark in other areas, providing less than superb engine power and the lack of a hatchback option. Some drivers may also be sorely disappointed in the number of amenities packed into the base model. Although, all that considered, the 2019 Kia Forte continues to be an impressive choice, offering a full package of safety features as standard, and pretty decent entry price.

As we look at the 2019 Kia Forte, it is difficult not to look forward to the 2020 Kia Forte. From the improved engine power, to the boost in auto tech, the 2020 iteration is going to be quite the package. While we are still a little ways off from the 2020 Kia Forte, we’re excited to see what Kia has in store for the future. Making a great standout sedan is challenging, and yet the Kia Forte continues to strive to be at the front of the pack.

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