2019 Forte New Car Test Drive
The 2019 Kia Forte rolls into the new model year with high fuel economy, a great warranty, and excellent value. It's sold as a sedan only; the former hatchback model has been dropped.
The engine is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, making 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. It's coupled to a new continuously variable transmission, or a 6-speed manual in one model. The Forte is front-wheel drive.
The new Forte is 3.2 inches longer and 0.8 inches wider than the previous sedan, with a curb weight of about 2,800 pounds. It remains handsome, more like the sporty Kia Stinger than before, and the interior is sleek and functional.
It continues to get excellent gas mileage, with the CVT-equipped base FE model rated by the EPA at 31 mpg city, 41 highway, 35 combined. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard on the FE, but it gets 4 miles per gallon less, at 27/37/31 mpg.
The 2019 Forte earns a Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS, but it hasn't been crash-tested by the NHTSA yet. .
The Forte comes as FE, LXS, S, and EX models. The base FE costs $18,585 including destination, and is very well equipped, starting with automatic emergency braking and active lane control. It gets the manual gearbox standard, a big 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and smartphone compatibility, 6-way adjustable front seats, Bluetooth, USB port, power windows and locks, dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, and 15-inch wheels with hubcaps.
Adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, and LED headlights with automatic high beams are optional.
The Forte LXS, for just $500 more than the FE with the CVT, adds significant value, with the CVT, 16-inch alloy wheels, a split-folding rear seat (instead of a one-piece folding seatback), some exterior tweaks and better interior trim.
The Forte S for about $1,100 more adds a rear-seat armrest, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and satellite radio. Options for the S include a $1,200 power moonroof, and those LED headlights with automatic high-beams.
The EX costs about $23,000, and adds synthetic leather seats that are heated and cooled, a power driver's seat, keyless ignition, and other things such as LED turn indicators in the side mirrors, a glove box light, and two USB ports. .