The Kia Forte is a top-rated compact car. Many people love the Forte’s outstanding value. Not only is the Forte priced to be affordable, but it also benefits from Kia’s long warranty. Drivers seeking more performance will especially enjoy the sporty GT model. Let’s find out what makes the new Forte such a great pick.
What’s New for 2021?
For 2021, the Forte’s popular EX trim receives more standard features. GT models equipped with a manual gearbox also receive upgraded Michelin summer performance tires.
What Styles Does It Come In?
The 2021 Kia Forte is available as a compact sedan. All trim levels feature a front-wheel-drive setup.
What Are the Available Trims?
Kia dealers offer the Forte in five trims: FE, LXS, GT Line, EX, and GT. The base Forte FE is a money saver. Despite being at the bottom of the lineup, it does come loaded with desirable features. Drivers will appreciate Kia’s UVO infotainment system, which provides an 8.0-inch touch display with standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration. Featuring a soft-touch dash and nicer 16-inch alloy wheels, the Forte LXS is a step above the base model.
Drivers seeking the look of a true performance sedan will favor the Fore GT-Line. It comes equipped with sport body kit and larger 17-inch wheels. LED taillights are also found on the GT-Line trim. Sport seats and a flat-bottom sport steering wheel give the interior a more exciting character.
While the EX trim does not look quite as sporty as the GT-Line trim, it does offer more luxury. It receives upgraded amenities, including dual-zone automatic temperature control and heated/ventilated front seats. Sofino synthetic leather upholstery gives the cabin a more upscale feel. Another highlight is the Harmon Kardon premium audio system.
The most fun-to-drive model is the Forte GT. Aside from offering enhanced performance, it also has a more aggressive exterior. Dual exhaust outlets and larger 18-inch performance wheels separate it from the other trims. LED headlights are standard.
The Forte’s Exterior Styling
The 2021 Kia Forte is considered by many people to be among the best-looking compact cars in the class. Many of its styling cues are derived from the exciting Kia Stinger sports sedan. While the base FE model comes equipped with a basic set of steel wheels, upper trims are equipped with attractive alloy wheels. Drivers who don’t need the GT’s model’s extra power should consider the GT-Line model, which looks nearly just as sporty.
Many automotive journalists rank the Forte’s UVO infotainment system as a top feature. The interface is effortless to use. Its touchscreen also sits atop the dash for easier viewing while driving. For folks who desire more thump in their music, Kia offers an eight-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. This system’s rear subwoofer brings a stronger bass response.
The Forte’s standard four-cylinder engine develops 147 horsepower. While this engine isn't a powerhouse, it does get the job done. A manual gearbox comes standard. Kia’s optional Intelligent Continuously Variable Transmission performs far better than the typical CVT. Drivers seeking more power will enjoy the Forte GT. Its turbocharged engine squeezes out 201 horsepower. Most of the lineup comes equipped with Drive Mode Select, thus allowing you to sort through different driving modes.
Most drivers will have no complaints about the Forte’s stable handling. An upgraded multi-link suspension is featured on the GT model, which enables the car to offer more agility on twisty roads. Upgraded performance tires also help the Forte GT to deliver a more athletic performance.
Rated to return up to 31 mpg town/41 mpg freeway, the base Forte FE returns the lineup's best fuel economy. However, even the more exciting GT model can average up to 35 mpg at normal highway speeds. Regular gasoline is recommended for both engines.
Quality and Comfort
For a budget-priced car, the 2021 Kia Forte has a high-quality cabin. Its driver’s seat also slides back to provide enough legroom for taller people. Unlike some other cars in the segment, the Forte offers ventilated seats. Most importantly for drivers who have a family to consider, this compact sedan provides a good amount of space in its rear seat. When loading travel bags and groceries, Kia’s available hands-free Smart Trunk will prove its worth.
The 2021 Kia Forte received a four-star NHTSA safety rating, which puts it a notch below the class leaders. Nevertheless, this car does receive standard Kia Drive Wise safety technologies. Driver attention warning, forward collision braking, and active lane control are included. Blind-spot monitoring is offered starting on the GT-Line trim. Smart cruise control is another great driving aid that makes long commutes more relaxing.
Drivers who want a practical car with lots of style will like the new 2021 Kia Forte. All models are covered by Kia’s 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, which adds to the sedan’s value. Meanwhile, performance-hungry motorists should definitely consider the fun Forte GT.
Formula for Calculating Dealer Cost:
Total Dealer Cost - Rebate and Incentive + Taxes / Licensing Fees = True Dealer Cost. (You can get rebates and incentives here)
Note: All Kia Forte MSRP, invoice and dealer cost dollar figures above are approximate amounts. Prices are subject to change without notice.
A note about rebates: Most rebates are subtracted from the "on the road" figure. In most cases, you can have the rebate if you are arranging your own financing or you are paying cash. If you decide to use the manufacturer’s low interest financing, you do not usually get the rebate. Ask your dealer for details.