Whatever your Forte, it's worth the test drive!

Kia Forte | CarMax

Compact cars are work horses, designed to shuttle you back and forth everywhere in style without breaking the bank. If you're looking for a great commuter car, consider the Kia Forte. With sedan and hatchback options and a comfortable interior, the Forte allows you enough options for individualization, while delivering must-haves like seating for five. Check out this Kia Forte review to learn more below:

Key Specs & Features (2018 Kia Forte)

  • 147-horsepower to 201-horsepower, 2L engine (horsepower varies for different trim levels)
  • Available as a hatchback or sedan
  • Seating for five, with two complete LATCH systems
  • Kia Forte: Engine | CarMax


  • 10th - Best Small Cars

5 Reasons to Buy

1. Spacious, Upscale Interior

Kia Forte: Front Seats | CarMax

The Kia Fote is a budget friendly vehicle budget-friendly brand, so you'll be pleasantly surprised by its roomy and upscale interior. The most recent design update (in 2017) includes available technology features like Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™. In addition, for a compact car, the Forte has a nice amount of passenger space.

2. Stylish and Sleek Exterior

The Kia Forte is a sleek and well-styled compact car. With options for a sedan or hatchback (or a coupe if you're shopping models before 2016) you can chose the body shape that makes the most sense for you. All of them share similar styling that makes the Forte look great on the road.

3. Hatchback Option

Kia Forte: Trunk Cargo | CarMax

The three different body shape options make this car suitable for nearly all lifestyles. The hatchback is a good option for people who need a bit of extra cargo space. Behind the back seats, the 2017 or newer Forte has 23.2 cubic feet of cargo space (compared with 14.9 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk of the sedan).

4. Fun to Drive

If you're looking for a zippy commuter car, the Kia Forte is a good option. The engine is small but fun. The 2017 Hatchback Forte5 SX for instance has the most gumption, with a turbo engine and option for a manual gear box for those who like to be a bit more heavily involved in their drive.

5. Array of features

Kia Forte: Tech Dash | CarMax

The Kia Forte boasts so many options to choose from to meet your needs. Whether you are looking for advanced tech features or a turbo engine option, the Forte delivers. For example, the 2016-2018 Kia Forte and Forte5 LX come with standard features such as a USB connection, infotainment system and a seven-inch touchscreen.

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What You Need to Know

Kia Forte Average CarMax Price1

  • 2014-2017: Average price less than $13,500
  • 2018: Average price less than $15,000


The Kia Forte is available as a sedan or as a hatchback (known as the Kia Forte5). Until 2016, the Kia Forte was also sold as a two-door option, known as the Koup. Each body type (from 2016-2018) has three trim options available:

  • Forte and LX: The Forte and Forte 5 LX have 147-horsepower four-cylinder engines, with an optional upgrade to six-cylinder, and a six-speed gear box. Inside you'll find a cloth interior; four-speaker stereo, USB connection, and Satellite Radio. The Hatchback Forte5 LX has a 164-horsepower engine and is available with Plus package, which includes a rearview camera, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, and infotainment system with seven-inch touch screen.
  • Forte S: The Forte S comes with a rearview camera, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and infotainment system with seven-inch touch screen. The Technology Plus package includes a sunroof and features like blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning.
  • Forte and EX: In the EX, you'll find leather seats, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and features including blind spot monitoring, lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert. The Premium Plus package includes a sunroof, power-adjustable driver's seat, ventilated front seats, navigation, and HD Radio.
  • Forte5 SX: The SX has all the features of the EX, with a 201-horsepower, four-cylinder turbo engine, seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. It's also available with an optional six-speed manual transmission.


The Kia Forte has a great interior with lots of technology and is relatively spacious for a compact car. It has seating for five, with two full car seat LATCH systems in the rear seat. The 2018 model hatchback offers 23.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the back seats, while the sedan has 14.9 cubic feet trunk space.


The 2017-2018 Kia Forte is available in the following colors:

  • Aurora Black
  • Currant Red
  • Deep Sea Blue
  • Phantom Gray
  • Silky Silver
  • Snow White

Years In Review

2013 Kia Forte

The 2013 Kia Forte was the last year of the first-generation Kia Forte. The model year has the decent cargo space that the Forte is known for. Available in two-door coupe (Koup), four-door sedan (Forte) and hatchback (Forte5). Depending on the trim and body type, the engine will push out 156-173 horsepower.

2014 Kia Forte

Completely redesigned with the launch of the second generation. With engine options ranging from 148-173 horsepower, it also has a slightly larger body and great standard features such as adjustable-steering, and steering wheel controls for the radio. An optional eco package was introduced with start/stop system too.

2015 Kia Forte

No major changes from the 2014 redesign.

2016 Kia Forte

Keyless entry becomes standard. Hatchback becomes available in base LX trim option.

2017 Kia Forte

Significant interior and exterior updates, although not a total redesign. An updated range of more efficient engines offering 147-201 horsepower. In 2017 the two-door Koup discontinued but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were introduced. Optional features such as forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning were added.

2018 Kia Forte

No major changes, ahead of a complete redesign in 2019.

2019 Kia Forte

The 2019 model year marked a new generation of the Kia Forte. Kia steps ups standard features on the FE and LX trims with an eight-inch touch screen, rear-camera display, and dual zone automatic temperature control. Higher trims like the EX and Launch Edition add goodies like a rear spoiler, compact spare tire, LED headlights with auto-leveling and high-beam assist, optional power sunroof, navigation with voice recognition, and push-button start.

The Bottom Line

The Kia Forte is a compact car that has many advantages. It is comfortable with a decent amount of cargo space, especially in the hatchback option. The interior is stylish, making the Kia Forte a good choice for people who want a practical and budget-friendly compact car.

Looking to learn more about the Kia Forte? Check out these related resources:

1Based on CarMax average prices between August 1, 2018 through January 31, 2019. Actual prices may vary based on your selected model year, features and trim packages. Prices do not include tax, title, tags, and any applicable fees.
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