The 2019 Kia Forte is one of those cars that impresses and pleases with its well-rounded goodness. It has few foibles, its engineers and designers capably checked as many boxes as they could, and after a week spent driving around town running errands, I found myself saying, "Yeah, this could be my permanent car for driving around town running errands." And yet, if it wasn't for my test drive notes, I'm pretty sure I would've forgotten the Forte. Its styling is handsome and will certainly age well, but it's not bold nor particularly memorable. The gray paint doesn't help. The interior is well-equipped and sensibly laid out, but I had to consult the photo file to recall what it looked like. The Mazda3 and new Toyota Corolla had no such problems. The driving experience, which is perfectly pleasant and vice free around town, merely manages to demonstrate poise and not be flummoxed by mid-corner heaves when pushed on a mountain road. Multiple drive settings are included — a nice touch — and although Normal is just a little too light and numb, even when driving on the highway, the Sport setting dials in just the right amount of extra effort. So too does the "Smart" setting, which I assume lived up to its name by figuring out how I'd prefer my steering. And yet, it could use more feel and is certainly not a Stinger in a small package. Again, I don't need notes to remember what the wheels of the Mazda3, Honda Civic and Corolla Hatchback felt like in my hands. The Forte ... ah ... So this compact Kia comes standard with a neuralizer from "Men in Black" that wipes out your memories after contact. Oh well. Because what it lacks in memorability, it makes up for with that general foible-free goodness. Take the infotainment system as but one example. The Forte's standard 8-inch touchscreen is a paragon of user friendliness and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Honda Civic's, by contrast, is wonky and optional. The Corolla's can't be had with Android Auto. The Mazda's isn't a touchscreen. The cabin? It's spacious for four adults aboard. Driver seat comfort? The eight-way power adjustment was spot on for this 6-plus-footer. The trunk? It has 15.3 cubic feet, which is midsize sedan territory, and even bests the previously-thought-to-be jumbo Honda Civic (15.1 cubic feet). The in-car storage? Thoughtful, with a nifty phone-storing shelf (above, right) adjacent to the usual bin that houses the USB and aux ports, and is more than large enough to house a second (or third) phone). The accident avoidance tech features? All present as standard equipment. What about price? My absolutely loaded Forte EX sedan with Launch Edition package hit the register at $26,220, including the $895 destination charge needed to get it from its assembly point in Mexico (nope, not Korea). Besides the goodies mentioned above, it had leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, a sunroof, …
Hide Full Review
Smart Buy Price
|MPG||27 City / 37 Hwy|
|Transmission||6-spd man w/OD|
|Power||147 @ 6200 rpm|
Savings without having to haggle for it.
Switch to State Farm and save an average of $536* on your car insurance.