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2021 Kia Forte Pros vs Cons

Why Buy a 2021 Kia Forte?
Reviewed & fact checked by
James MurdochNorman Ruckpaul

Are You Considering a 2021 Kia Forte? Here Are Some Reasons For and Against

In the past, the Kia Forte remained just a few strides behind the competition. However, it now ranks among the class leaders in several key categories. A compelling list of standard equipment and great warranty coverage make this compact sedan a wonderful value. Drivers seeking fun on the road will especially enjoy the more powerful GT model. Should you visit your local Kia dealer to buy a new Forte?

What’s New for 2021?

This year, the value-packed EX trim now comes standard with Kia’s UVO app. After downloading this app, drivers can remotely set the climate and access roadside assistance. Meanwhile, Kia has updated the sedan’s GT-Line Premium package with by adding a 10-way power driver’s seat.

Ten Reasons You May Like the 2021 Kia Forte – The Pros

1. Excellent Value for a Commuter Car

The 2021 Kia Forte is an excellent pick for car shoppers looking to save money. Prices start at less than $18,000, which is more than reasonable for a commuter car. Buyers also benefit from Kia’s superior warranty. A 100,000-mile powertrain enables owners to ride with greater confidence. Drivers will also appreciate the car’s 60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. Above-average reliability further highlights the new Forte as a good investment.

2. Powerful and Efficient Enough to Satisfy Most People

In its standard form, the 2021 Kia Forte boasts enough performance for most drivers. Its base four-cylinder engine puts out 147 horsepower, which promotes good acceleration around town and confident highway merging. Automotive reviewers also give the Forte solid marks for its predictable handling. When it comes to fuel economy, the Forte ranks among the best in the segment. Drivers can expect the automatic Forte to return up to 31 mpg town/41 mpg freeway.

3. Really Fun GT Model

While the standard Forte performs well, some people will ultimately yearn for a more fun machine. True driving enthusiasts will enjoy being behind the wheel of the Forte GT. It’s the only trim level that features a stronger turbocharged engine with 201 horsepower. The extra punch under the hood results in much stronger acceleration. Not only is the Forte GT quick, but it also comes equipped with an upgraded rear suspension for enhanced handling.

4. Very Well-Designed Continuous Variable Transmission

In an effort to further boost gas mileage, many of today’s automakers have started to use continuous variable transmissions. While these transmissions may improve efficiency, they often have a sluggish feel that takes away from the car’s driving experience. Fortunately, the Forte’s Intelligent Variable Transmission doesn’t suffer from this issue. It actually mimics the gear shifts of a traditional automatic transmission, which translates to a more engaging performance. Drivers can enjoy better fuel economy without making any sacrifices.

5. Practical and Roomy

The 2021 Kia Forte is a practical car. All versions of the sedan return good fuel economy. Even the more performance-focused GT model can return up to 35 mpg. You can also take advantage of the Forte’s roomy design. Despite being a compact vehicle, this car has no trouble accommodating the average family. There’s a fair amount of legroom in the rear, which is a big advantage for drivers who have growing children. A big trunk with more than 15 cubic feet of cargo space adds to the Forte’s practicality.

6. Very Stylish Exterior

Many people gravitate to the Forte’s sleek exterior design. It shares quite a few styling cues with the racy Stinger sports sedan. The GT-Line model has a very sporty look. Kia decks it out with cooler alloy wheels and LED projector headlights. Expect the turbocharged GT model to have an even more aggressive appearance. Drivers will love the look and sound of its dual-outlet exhaust. Some exhilarating paint options are also offered, including Fire Orange and Deep Sea Blue.

7. Excellent Standard Infotainment System

Buyers don’t have to climb the trim ladder in order to enjoy Kia’s excellent UVO infotainment system. This standard interface makes the Forte an even better bang for the buck. Drivers love the 8.0-inch touchscreen’s user-friendly design. Convenient buttons and knobs help make the system easy to operate. Because the display is positioned atop the dash, drivers don’t have to look down when on the go. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration features are included as well.

8. Some Nice Luxuries Available

While the 2021 Kia Forte isn’t a luxury car, it does offer some premium amenities. The optional 10-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support is definitely a worthy upgrade. It’ll make daily commutes a bit more comfortable. Available heated and ventilated front seats with various settings bring more relaxation on the road. Dual-zone automatic climate control is another high-end feature on the Forte’s list of upgrades. While genuine leather upholstery isn’t offered, expect Kia’s synthetic Sofino material to have a premium feel.

9. Valuable Safety Features Come Standard

Value Kia Drive Wise safety features are found at every trim level. The Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist system, which can automatically trigger the brakes, does a great job of reacting to potential impacts. Lane-keep assist and driver attention warning also come standard throughout the Forte lineup.

10. Available Smart Trunk Can Be a Big Asset

Drivers who regularly haul stuff will enjoy the Forte’s available Smart Trunk. Unlike some other power trunks, it’s completely hands-free. This means owners won’t have to do any extra hand waving or kicking. Simply stand behind the car to prompt the trunk to automatically open.

Reasons You May Not Like the 2021 Kia Forte – The Cons

1. No All-Wheel Drive System

Every new 2021 Kia Forte features front-wheel drive. While the Forte proves to be an excellent pick for most of the country, the lack of an available AWD system limits the sedan’s capabilities in the snow. Folks who desire an AWD-equipped compact sedan should take a look at the Subaru Impreza. It comes standard with Subaru’s full-time Symmetrical AWD system.

2. No Hatchback Body Style

Unlike the Honda Civic and the Mazda3, the Kia Forte is only available as a sedan. Some buyers will ultimately prefer a hatchback body style. Hatchbacks typically offer a lot more cargo space. This could be a big factor for drivers who need to pack extra gear.

3. Base Engine Sounds a Bit Harsh

Some critics describe the Forte’s engine as being quite noisy. It sounds especially loud under acceleration. This may be an issue for drivers seeking a whisper-quiet performance. The more potent turbocharged engine sounds more pleasant.

4. Front-Seat Comfort Could Be Improved

While the Forte’s front seats aren’t terrible, they could use some improvements. A few test drivers have found the standard seats to be a bit too flat. Also, some taller individuals may not favor the car’s pedal placement. The pedals sit a bit too close to the seat for long-legged drivers.

5. Four-Star Overall Safety Rating

The 2021 Kia Forte received a four-star overall safety rating from the federal government. This puts the Forte a notch below some of its closest competitors. For instance, both the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic received better overall crash scores. In contrast to the Forte, these sedans earned an NHTSA five-star overall safety rating.

How It Stacks Up to the Competition

2021 Kia Forte vs 2021 Honda Civic

In the eyes of many automotive gurus, the 2021 Honda Civic is among the top cars in the class. It offers a lot of driving fun for the money. Drivers applaud the Civic for its strong engine options and stellar handling. However, prices for the base Civic are much steeper. Honda lists the Civic Sedan with a starting MSRP of roughly $22,000, which is a difference of more than $4,000. Kia also covers the Forte with a significantly longer warranty.

2021 Kia Forte Vs 2021 Toyota Corolla

The 2021 Toyota Corolla will likely remain the segment’s best-selling model. Not only does the Corolla boast an outstanding safety rating, but it also offers class-leading reliability. However, no version of the Corolla accelerates as quickly as the Forte GT. A longer warranty gives the Forte yet another advantage over the Corolla.

2021 Kia Forte vs Subaru Impreza

Folks living in America’s Snowbelt love the Impreza’s standard AWD system. It also provides an impressive amount of passenger room for a small car. However, the edge in performance goes to the Forte GT. Motivating the Impreza Sport is a four-cylinder engine with 152 horsepower, which is at a nearly 50-horsepower disadvantage.


Folks in the market for a new daily-driver should take a serious look at the 2021 Kia Forte. It scores extremely well in the value department. Aside from being affordable, this compact sedan also comes with one of America’s best warranties. Drivers seeking the most fun with love what the racy Forte GT has to offer. While the Forte has many upsides, taller drivers should make sure they have enough legroom.

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Why buy a 2020 Kia Forte? w/ pros vs cons