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2020 Kia Forte Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2020 Kia Forte Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: FE vs LXS vs GT-Line, EX & GT

What 2020 Kia Forte Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

The sedan remains a popular vehicle choice moving into 2020. These days, they are typically more fuel-efficient than ever. Thanks to advances in technology, this efficiency does not necessarily come at the cost of performance. The newest sedans also have most, if not all, the tech and safety features you would find on an SUV.

Kia is known for making vehicles that are consumer-oriented. They typically are more affordable than a great deal of their competition but still offer a long list of standard and available features. The new Kia Forte continues this tradition in 2020.

Gone for this year will be the S trim. Instead, you now have the GT and GT-Line trims to consider. This brings the trim list up to six options if you count the GT Manual as its own level, which Kia does.

In the following guide, all of the differences found between these vehicles are summarized. The goal is to help consumers make an informed choice when it comes to which version of the 2020 Forte is correct for them.

Price Tip
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Compare the 2020 Kia Forte FE vs LXS Trims. What is the difference?

The entry-level version of the Forte goes by the FE. Its power comes from a 2.0L inline-four engine that is paired with a six-speed manual transmission. What Kia calls an "intelligent variable transmission" is also an available option. Either way, expect approximately 147-horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque from this setup. Going with the IVT automatic gives you considerably better gas mileage.

All versions of the 2020 Forte come with standard front-wheel-drive. All-wheel-drive is unavailable. It has a steel unibody frame and comes with MacPherson front struts. For the FE, the rear suspension has a torsion beam axle with two shock absorbers. This changes when reaching the top-of-the-line trims.

If you are looking for a flashy version of the Forte, you'll need to skip the FE. This trim level is only available with white, black, or gray exterior paint. It has 15" steel wheels and no available upgrades in that department. The FE has body-color door handles as well as side mirrors.

Coming standard on this trim, you will find daytime running lights. It also has projector-beam headlights. Rounding out the exterior features is solar control glass.

Moving inside the FE, you will find a six-way adjustable driver's seat as well as passenger's seat. The seats are made from woven cloth. This may be one of the only vehicles out there today that does not have the 60/40 folding rear seat, at least for this trim. Your FE models have manual single-zone air conditioning.

Technology-wise, you get an 8" touchscreen that runs Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This trim comes standard with Bluetooth capabilities. There is also a 3.5" LCD meter display. For your music, you get a four-speaker audio system. You get one USB port, one auxiliary jack, and dual 12-volt outlets.

There are a decent amount of standard advanced safety features on this entry-level trim. You get forward collision warning, forward collision avoidance assist, a driver attention monitor, lane keeping assist lines, lane departure warning, and hill start assist control. There is also a rearview camera as well as the now-common tire pressure monitoring system. These features work well with the standard traction control system and vehicle stability management system.

Moving up to the LXS trim level doubles the number of paint colors available to you. It also gets you 16" alloy wheels. The LXS gains stylish black bumper accents and a chrome exhaust tip. Underneath the hood, this trim goes with the IVT standard. The six-speed manual is not an option.

Inside, the rear seat gets the 60/40 split-folding feature. You get soft-touch door panels. It also gets drive mode select, which was an available feature on the FE.

The FE is certainly an affordable vehicle, but lacks a lot of the convenience and comfort features people are becoming accustomed to. Moving up to the LXS gains a few nice touches, but likely not enough to justify the extra cost to most drivers.

Compare the 2020 Kia Forte LXS vs GT-Line Trims.  What is the difference?

When going with the GT-Line, you get eye-catching 17" machine-finished alloy wheels. It has gloss black side mirrors and adds a gloss black trunk lid spoiler. Further making this trim stand out is a sport grille as well as black accented sport side sills

You get many convenience features here, such as heated side mirrors with integrated turn signals and front fog lights. Your daytime running lights and rear combination lamps get upgraded to LED. This is the first trim level that offers a power sunroof as an available option.

Going with the GT-Line trim level means getting a six-speaker audio system. You have the option of upgrading to a Harmon Kardon eight-speaker system instead. The GT-Line gives you the option of adding two charging USB ports to the center console. You can also add dual illuminated visor mirrors.

Picking this trim also means getting a D-shaped steering wheel. This trim is the only one with a leather steering wheel with white stitching. The shift knob is leather-wrapped as well. For your seating, you get sport seats with the same white stitching as the steering wheel.

There are a few available tech upgrades here. You can add a wireless charging pad if desired. You can also upgrade your infotainment system to include voice recognition, HD radio, and SiriusXM traffic services.

Moving on to safety, the GT-Line gives you standard blind spot monitoring. It also adds a rear cross-traffic alert feature and lane change assist. Overall, the GT-Line represents a significant upgrade over the trims that came before it.

Compare the 2020 Kia Forte GT-Line vs EX Trims. What is the difference?

For the EX trim level, Kia gave the 2020 Forte 17" alloy wheels with a graphite finish. The black gloss spoiler becomes an available rather than standard feature. This trim also returns to the body-color side mirrors. The EX trim is the only one to feature chrome window molding. Although the sports grille is not available, you can add the side sills to this trim if you want.

The EX is the first trim to give you a space-saver spare tire. Your driver's seat gets an upgrade thanks to the 10-way power adjustment feature with lumbar support. This trim and above offer you adjustable rear headrests. The EX trim adds comfort to all passengers thanks to the dual-zone automatic climate control. Your front seats even get heated with this trim. SOFINO-appointed seats help add to the luxury of the EX.

The previously optional USB charging ports and visor mirrors are now standard. This trim gives you a handy front center console sliding armrest. You get an illuminated glove box. For the EX, you can upgrade your infotainment system to include navigation. The steering wheel loses the D-shape but maintains the leather.

There are no safety differences between the GT-Line and EX trim levels. That said, there are enough comfort and convenience features added to still give the EX serious consideration.

Compare the 2020 Kia Forte EX vs GT Trims.  What is the difference?

The GT is the first of two trims to get an upgraded turbocharged 1.6L inline four-cylinder engine. This is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission for the GT. Going with this transmission are paddle shifters. As fun as this is, know that it does come with a hit to your fuel-economy.

You can expect 201-horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque out of this engine. The GT has significantly larger front brakes. The final performance-oriented change is the multi-link rear suspension.

Helping the GT stand out are the 18" two-tone alloy wheels. This trim goes back to the gloss black outside mirrors and regains the standard trunk lid spoiler. It gets dual chrome exhaust tips to help further distinguish it. The Forte's sport grille comes back and the side sills become standard once more.

Lighting gets an upgrade for the GT. It comes with standard high beam assist as well as auto-leveling LED headlights. Inside, the driver's seat goes back to six-way power adjustment. You have the option of upgrading the EX's 10-way power adjustment. Your steering wheel is D-shaped again, but this time with red stitching. The same goes for the seats. Your sliding front console armrest becomes an available feature here.

Special GT ambient lighting is a standard feature for this trim. Heated seats are an option, rather than standard feature. Adding ventilation to the front seats is also an option. The GT also goes back to manual single-zone air conditioning.

Several previously standard safety features go back to being optional on this performance-oriented model. This includes the blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, and rear cross-traffic. Interestingly, this is the only trim to offer available smart cruise control and forward collision avoidance featuring pedestrian detection. Also available is a rear parking distance warning.

It is plain to see that the GT is a completely different type of vehicle than the EX. Whether or not it is more appealing depends on what you are looking for in your Forte.

Compare the 2020 Kia Forte GT vs GT Manual.  What is the difference?

You might think the only difference between the GT and the GT Manual is the transmission. There is some truth to this, although you do get more standard features inside the GT Manual. This trim returns to the six-speed manual transmission but otherwise is mechanically the same as the GT. The manual transmission is not as fuel-efficient as either automatic option.

The GT Manual is the only trim to make the power sunroof a standard feature. Your front center console sliding armrest returns as a standard feature as well. This is also the only trim to give you the Harmon Kardon stereo system with eight speakers as standard equipment. This trim gains stylish LED interior lighting. The previously available rear parking distance warning becomes standard as well.

Your color LCD monitor display goes from 3.5" to 4.2" with the GT Manual. This was an available option only for the GT. You get a standard wireless charging pad. Neither heated nor ventilated front seats are available on the GT Manual.

Some of the safety features lost on the GT come back for the GT Manual. You get blind spot monitoring once more, as well as lane change assist and the rear cross-traffic warning.

If you do not need the automatic transmission and are willing to pay a bit more, the GT Manual returns a lot of the sophistication that the GT lost.

Buying Tip: To avoid overpaying on a new car, shop prices online first. Get up front pricing before you walk into a dealership. We recommend the following free services; Rydeshopper,   Edmunds,   CarsDirect,   NADAguides  &  Motortrend. These free services will offer you the lowest prices and supply you with multiple competing price quotes. You will know the best price before you visit the dealer.

Which Trim to Choose?

Although there are positive things to be said about each trim level, the EX seems like an obvious choice here. The FE is lacking a lot of common features that really add convenience to your everyday life, and moving up to the LXS does not help much. The GT-Line is fun but does not add the performance to back-up the sporty appearance.

If you really want more power out of the Forte, the GT and GT Manual may be worth considering. You just have to be prepared to lose out on some comfort features, particularly with the GT. Wanting to combine the luxury and the horsepower means buying the most expensive Forte, and possibly needing to learn how to drive a stick.

The Forte EX is a great car. It will serve you well as either a family vehicle or a daily commuter, thanks to its standard comfort, tech, and safety features.

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Previous Kia Forte Trim Configurations:

Compare the 2019 Kia Forte Trim Levels