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Base model shown as 2020 FE Manual
2020 Kia Forte FE Manual - front view

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Top Features of Base Model

  • Fantastic warranty for 10 years/ 100,000 miles
  • Comes with tons of safety features and technology as standard
  • Affordably priced starting under $20,000
Pro Review

Kia Forte: Everything You Need To Know

What is the Kia Forte?

The Kia Forte is a compact sedan that seats five. It is built by the Korean company, Kia. The Forte comes in two body styles, the Forte sedan and the Forte5, or hatchback version.

The Kia Forte gets tons of space inside and comes with a bunch of standard safety and technology equipment as standard. At its base, the Kia Forte starts under $20,000, which makes it a great deal.

While Kia is relatively new to the U.S. market, the Forte has won several awards including MotorWeek’s Driver’s Choice Award and the IIHS has rated it a Top Saftey Pick+ for 2019.

What’s New in the Kia Forte?

For 2019, the Kia Forte is all new. The Highlights include a more efficient and newly tuned 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. It gives the new Kia Forte an EPA estimated 41 MPG combined.

Kia designers have completely updated the Kia Forte, both inside and out for its third generation. They based the design on the very popular Kia Stinger. The Kia Forte is one of Kia’s best-selling vehicles.

For the 2020 model year, Kia has introduced the Kia Forte GT line. This adds race styling and performance enhancements to the Kia Forte. The Forte GT will get a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that makes 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque.

The engine is the same across all Kia Forte trim levels: a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine that makes 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque.

The Kia Forte comes in four trims for 2019:

  • Kia Forte FE—This trim comes with standard six-speed manual transmission and optional automatic transmission.
  • Kia Forte LXS -This trim comes with standard automatic transmission and split folding rear seat
  • Kia Forte S- This trim comes with a blacked-out grille, fog lights, LED lights, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
  • Kia Forte EX- This trim comes with additional active safety features, a spare tire, integrated turn signals in the side mirrors, upgraded interior seat fabric,

There is also the Forte Launch Edition version which gets a unique exterior color paint (orange), a sunroof, voice-command navigation, smart cruise control, and an upgraded stereo system. It costs around $26,000.

What Does the Kia Forte Compete With?

The Kia Forte competes with the following compact cars:

The Kia Forte is great for new drivers, young families (especially if you opt for the Forte5 hatchback body style) and for those who want an affordable commuter car with tons of safety and technology equipment.

Exterior Design of the Kia Forte

The Kia Forte comes in two body styles, sedan, and hatchback (known as the Forte5). The exterior of the Kia Forte is all new for 2019.

Kia designed the Forte based off of the success of the good-looking Kia Stinger. This is the third generation for the compact sedan. The Kia Forte is one of Kia’s best-selling vehicles because of its looks and price.

The Kia Forte gets a long hood and short deck for 2019, giving it a more fastback design. Creases in the hood mimic those found on the Stinger. Designers at Kia also updated the "tiger nose" grille at the front of the car to make it look more aggressive.

Additionally, Kia designers made the car longer by 3.2-inches, and wider by 0.8-inches allowing for more passenger and cargo space.

The new Kia Forte is more sporty and refined looking than previous generations.

Interior Style in the Kia Forte

The 2019 Kia Forte gets an all-new interior. It is good-looking and simple inside and takes cues from other luxury vehicles. When you get into the Kia Forte, you'll notice circular vents and an infotainment screen that stands up above the dash and digital displays that give the interior the feel of a far more expensive luxury car. In fact, many of the interior design cues remind us of brands like Audi and Mercedes.

That sense of luxury carries throughout the cabin, too. Because designers made the Kia Forte more fastback shaped, there is more passenger space inside the Kia Forte. Rear passengers get more legroom, and the cargo area in the trunk has increased to 15.3 cubic feet.

Touchpoints around the interior of the Kia Forte are soft, and all Kia Forte’s get standard dual-zone climate control. The seats both in front and in the back are comfortable and contoured nicely. The cabin is quiet at highway speeds.

What Technology Comes in the Kia Forte?

Kia has packed the Forte with tons of standard technology, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The standard 8-inch touch screen is clear and bright in daylight and comes on all Kia Forte trims. It is easy to use and well-integrated into the car, thanks to Kia's UVO system. Two USB ports come as standard while you can move to a higher trim to get three. Wireless charging is also available on higher trims.

One thing to note is that adaptive cruise control is only available on the highest trim, the EX.

An optional 320-watt Harmon Kardon stereo is available as an upgrade and, we think, worth it.

What Safety Features are in the Kia Forte?

The Kia Forte comes with a suite of standard safety equipment including:

  • Forward collision warning and avoidance
  • Lane keeping assistance
  • Driver attention warning

Available advanced driving aids include:

  • Smart cruise control
  • Blind spot warning
  • Rear cross traffic collision warning

These features are only available on the highest LX trim, however.

NHTSA gives the 2019 Kia Forte, a four-star overall crash rating. The IIHS has awarded the Forte it's coveted Top Safety Pick+ rating.

What is the Kia Forte Like to Drive?

The Kia Forte is sporty and fun to drive on the road. It has a firm, but communicative ride and the cabin damps road noise enough that passengers can carry on easy conversations while cruising down the highway.

The steering on the Kia Forte is communicative, and the continuously variable transmission (CVT) is subtle enough that most people won't even realize that it's a CVT. There is no drone from the engine, and the Forte handles well on curvy roads. While the engine feels a bit underpowered in some overtaking situations, it's sufficient enough to get you up to highway speeds without breaking a sweat.

You can choose to drive the Kia Forte in three different modes: Sport, Smart, and Normal. In Smart, the Forte learns your driving habits and can switch between Sport and Normal to adapt to the way you like to drive. While it’s not as fun to drive as a Mazda3 or a Honda Civic, the Kia Forte is more than adequate for a commuter car.

Should I Buy a New Kia Forte?

Yes, you should buy a new Kia Forte. The work that Kia has done to improve MPG ratings and make the Kia Forte more fun and responsive on the road makes it enjoyable to drive. It also comes with an amazing ten year, 100,000-mile warranty that cannot be beaten. The Forte is packed with technology and safety amenities as standard all for a starting price under $20,000.

It’s a great bet.

Should I Buy a Used Kia Forte?

A used Kia Forte can be a good buy, but be sure to avoid 2017, 2012, and 2010 model years. According to, those years suffer from engine knocking.

As with any used car, it pays to have it checked out by a certified professional mechanic before you buy.

How Much Does a New Kia Forte Cost?

The Kia Forte is a great deal that starts under $20,000. The base model Kia Forte FE begins around $17,500 plus delivery of $895.

We recommend getting into an LXS or EX for your money because they offer more features (like automatic transmission) as standard.

Pros and Cons of the 2020 Kia Forte


  • Prices start under $20,000
  • One of the best warranties out there: Ten years or 100,000 miles of coverage
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard
  • Lots of standard safety and technology


  • Improved but slightly stiff ride
  • Not as much fun to drive as some of the competitors
  • Automatic transmission is CVT with no fixed gears
Model History

History of the Kia Forte: A Korean Car for the World

The Kia Forte was first introduced in 2009 at the New York International Auto Show. It was originally sold in markets like Australia, Costa Rica, Russia, Brazil, Columbia, Korea, and China. The Forte is in its third generation and has become one of the top-selling Kia vehicles. The latest model was designed by Peter Schreyer and his team at Kia. Schreyer is a German automobile designer who is famous for designing the Audi TT which is largely considered to be one of the most influential automotive designs in the world.

Specs & Key Features of the 2020 Kia Forte


Body Style
2.0L 4-Cylinder MPI 16V DOHC w/Dual CVVT
147 hp
6-Speed Manual
Passenger Doors
Passenger Seating
Front Wheel Drive
City MPG

Key Features

  • Air Conditioning
  • Android Auto
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Audio
  • Back Up Camera
  • Bluetooth
  • Cruise Control
  • LCD Monitor
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Monitors
  • Remote Keyless Entry
  • Tinted Glass

More Features

  • Engine: 2.0L 4-Cylinder MPI 16V DOHC w/Dual CVVT -inc: Atkinson
  • Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
  • Front-Wheel Drive
  • 4.33 Axle Ratio
  • 60-Amp/Hr Maintenance-Free Battery w/Run Down Protection
  • 120 Amp Alternator
  • Gas-Pressurized Shock Absorbers
  • Front Anti-Roll Bar
  • Electric Power-Assist Steering
  • 14 Gal. Fuel Tank
  • Single Stainless Steel Exhaust
  • Strut Front Suspension w/Coil Springs
  • Torsion Beam Rear Suspension w/Coil Springs
  • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes w/4-Wheel ABS, Front Vented Discs, Brake Assist and Hill Hold Control
  • Wheels: 15" Steel w/Wheel Covers
  • Tires: P195/65R15 All-Season
  • Spare Tire Mobility Kit
  • Clearcoat Paint
  • Body-Colored Front Bumper
  • Body-Colored Rear Bumper
  • Black Side Windows Trim
  • Body-Colored Door Handles
  • Body-Colored Power Side Mirrors w/Manual Folding
  • Fixed Rear Window w/Defroster
  • Light Tinted Glass
  • Variable Intermittent Wipers
  • Fully Galvanized Steel Panels
  • Black Grille w/Chrome Surround
  • Trunk Rear Cargo Access
  • Fully Automatic Projector Beam Halogen Daytime Running Headlamps w/Delay-Off
  • Radio: AM/FM/MP3 Audio System -inc: 4 speakers, support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, Bluetooth wireless technology and auxiliary and USB input jacks
  • Radio w/Seek-Scan, Clock, Speed Compensated Volume Control, Steering Wheel Controls and Radio Data System
  • Streaming Audio
  • Window Grid Antenna
  • 2 LCD Monitors In The Front
  • Front Bucket Seats -inc: 6-way adjustable driver and front passenger seats
  • 6-Way Driver Seat -inc: Manual Recline, Height Adjustment and Fore/Aft Movement
  • 6-Way Passenger Seat -inc: Manual Recline, Height Adjustment and Fore/Aft Movement
  • Bench Front Facing Rear Seat
  • Manual Tilt/Telescoping Steering Column
  • Gauges -inc: Speedometer, Odometer, Engine Coolant Temp, Tachometer, Trip Odometer and Trip Computer
  • Power Rear Windows
  • Front Cupholder
  • Rear Cupholder
  • Remote Keyless Entry w/Integrated Key Transmitter, Illuminated Entry and Panic Button
  • Remote Releases -Inc: Mechanical Cargo Access and Mechanical Fuel
  • Cruise Control w/Steering Wheel Controls
  • Manual Air Conditioning
  • HVAC -inc: Underseat Ducts
  • Glove Box
  • Driver Foot Rest
  • Interior Trim -inc: Metal-Look Instrument Panel Insert, Piano Black Door Panel Insert, Piano Black Console Insert and Chrome/Metal-Look Interior Accents
  • Full Cloth Headliner
  • Urethane Gear Shift Knob
  • Woven Cloth Seat Trim
  • Day-Night Rearview Mirror
  • Driver And Passenger Visor Vanity Mirrors
  • Full Floor Console w/Covered Storage, Mini Overhead Console w/Storage and 2 12V DC Power Outlets
  • Front Map Lights
  • Fade-To-Off Interior Lighting
  • Full Carpet Floor Covering
  • Carpet Floor Trim and Carpet Trunk Lid/Rear Cargo Door Trim
  • Cargo Area Concealed Storage
  • Cargo Features -inc: Spare Tire Mobility Kit
  • Cargo Space Lights
  • FOB Controls -inc: Trunk/Hatch/Tailgate
  • Instrument Panel Bin, Driver / Passenger And Rear Door Bins
  • Power 1st Row Windows w/Driver 1-Touch Down
  • Delayed Accessory Power
  • Power Door Locks w/Autolock Feature
  • Trip Computer
  • Analog Display
  • Manual Adjustable Front Head Restraints and Manual Adjustable Rear Head Restraints
  • Front Center Armrest
  • Perimeter Alarm
  • 2 12V DC Power Outlets
  • Air Filtration
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • ABS And Driveline Traction Control
  • Side Impact Beams
  • Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA)
  • Lane Keeping Assist-Line (LKA-L) Lane Keeping Assist
  • Lane Keeping Assist-Line (LKA-L) Lane Departure Warning
  • Low Tire Pressure Warning
  • Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Front Airbags
  • Curtain 1st And 2nd Row Airbags
  • Airbag Occupancy Sensor
  • Rear Child Safety Locks
  • Outboard Front Lap And Shoulder Safety Belts -inc: Rear Center 3 Point, Height Adjusters and Pretensioners
  • Back-Up Camera

Warranty Options for the 2020 Kia Forte (4)










Roadside Assistance



Available Trims for the 2020 Kia Forte (7)

FE Manual
MSRP Starting at
MSRP Starting at
MSRP Starting at
MSRP Starting at
MSRP Starting at
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GT Manual
MSRP Starting at

Safety Ratings for the 2020 Kia Forte

US NHTSA Crash Test Results

Results shown are for the 2020 Kia Forte FE Manual:

Overall Rating
Overall Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
Overall Side Crash Rating
Side Barrier Rating
Side Barrier Rating Driver
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
Side Pole Rating Driver Front Seat
Combined Side Rating Front Seat
Combined Side Rating Rear Seat
Rollover Rating

Dynamic Test Result

No Tip

Risk of Rollover


Rollover Note

Dynamic (moving) test results (Tip or No Tip) and measured rollover-related properties determine vehicle's risk of rollover in single vehicle crash and its rollover rating. The Rollover Resistance Rating utilizes a "fishhook" maneuver which is a series of abrupt turns at varying speeds to see how "top-heavy" a vehicle is.


Male: Average sized adult male dummy in 35-MPH crash into fixed barrier. Rating is evaluation of injury to head, neck, chest, legs. Female: Small-sized adult female dummy in 35-mph crash into fixed barrier. Rating is evaluation of injury to head, neck, chest, legs.