Looking for a Compact Sedan? Check Out the Kia Forte

February 16th, 2024 by

A silver 2023 Kia Forte GT is shown parked near a Kia dealer.

Looking for a four-door sedan that is both affordable and reliable? Swing by a Kia dealer, like Rusty Wallace Kia of Knoxville, and check out the Kia Forte. The Forte is a sporty-looking compact sedan that currently sits nicely between the Kia Rio and the K5. Drivers will notice that Kia has really come into its own in the last few decades. After spending years being an underdog in the automotive world, it received a boost thanks to an investment from Hyundai. This helped Kia refine its overall design strategy and engineering processes and led to award-winning vehicles and rising sales in the US market.

With the introduction of the Forte, Kia hoped to continue building on its success with drivers, by marketing to a younger crowd with the small sedan. The first generation of the Forte hit the roads in 2010. It replaced Kia’s then-compact sedan, the Spectra. The Forte offered drivers a stylish economy car with a healthy driving range and plenty of standard features.

Kia paid attention when designing the four-door sedan. With the term “forte” meaning “strong,” the Forte sedan is a balanced ride with a strong set of standard options that range from comfort to performance. With supportive seating for five passengers and a quiet cabin, the Forte can brag as being one of the best sedans in the compact car segment.

The Forte is still going strong and is currently in its third generation. It’s considered a sophisticated and modern sedan that gives drivers plenty of refinement for the price. Whether shopping for a pre-owned gem or a brand-new model, the Forte’s price point and sporty handling make it an appealing choice for drivers.

What We Love About the Kia Forte

There is plenty to praise the Forte for, making it the go-to choice for budget-savvy drivers who don’t want to compromise on comfort or a fun performance. The entry-level model is loaded with the advanced driver safety suite, Drive Wise, that includes Forward Collision Avoidance, Smart Cruise Control, and more. A sports-tuned turbo exhaust and available 6-speed transmission can take your average ride up a few notches.

Superior fuel economy makes the sedan worth the investment for drivers who spend a lot of time on the road and want to save a few dollars when it comes to the pumps. The latest 2024 model boasts the potential for a highway fuel economy of up to 41 MPG. The sophisticated urban design adds to the Forte’s upscale good looks without tipping the scales, while the driver-centered cabin makes driving feel intuitive. Connecting with your car using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is seamless and delivers a personalized driving experience not always available at this price point.

It’s not just us who find a lot to love about the Forte, but the 5-seater sedan has a reputation for scooping up titles and awards at every turn. The Forte offers drivers a class-leading 10-year/100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty. In 2023, the sedan was awarded the “Most Dependable Compact Car” from JD Power along with the 2023 title “#1 in Initial Quality Among Compact Cars” also from JD Power. The Forte was designed to be a show stopper, not a budget breaker, adding to its diverse design that puts drivers in control of their journey. The Forte has a solid reputation, so buying new or pre-owned offers drivers a lot for their dollar.

The black dash in a 2023 Kia Forte is shown.

Which Generation Should You Look for When Shopping Used?

When shopping for a pre-owned model, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and second-guess yourself; after all, not all cars are created equal. So, which Forte should you keep a special eye out for? Considering the Forte spans three generations and has been in production for over a decade, there’s lots to choose from. But it all depends on the needs of the driver. Do you want the newest creature comforts without a heavy price tag? Or do you simply desire a no-fuss, reliable car, even if it is a few years old? Knowing your driving habits can help you narrow down your wishlist to decide if the Forte is indeed the right match for your needs.

The first and second generations of the Forte feature two engine options: a 2.0L or a 2.4L. However, Kia saw an upgrade was needed to maintain product quality and sought to change out these engines for increased longevity for drivers. So, if you happen to come across a Forte from either generation, don’t be surprised to learn that the engine has more than likely been updated to meet Kia’s standard of quality and give drivers the most for their money. The third generation saw Kia switch the Forte to a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). The switch helped boost the Forte’s performance, allowing the engine to reach its full potential and maximize power, all while delivering money-saving fuel efficiency for drivers.

2019 started fine for the Forte, but like most auto generations, the best is usually yet to come. The compact car really took off once the 2020 models hit the road. Opting for 2020-2022 models is a smart move for consumers looking for a lightly used Forte. The transmission and engine choices are refined, and customers report a higher level of satisfaction during these years, making the models worth considering if you’re browsing lightly used Fortes.

The 2020 is a value machine for drivers looking for options. This year saw the introduction of two new trim levels, building on the loved features and design of previous years for a well-rounded sedan with a lot to offer. If you’re looking for a Forte that packs a value punch, 2020 delivers plenty of bang for your buck.

Looking for new tech? Check out a 2021 model and get ready to be impressed. Though the Kia sedan remained mostly unchanged from 2020, the tech is streamlined and updated for drivers wanting to get connected without breaking the bank. The value-minded 2021 Forte offers modern-day quality performance and is loaded with standard features that set it apart from other rivals in the compact segment.

2022 is reported to be one of the best Forte models on the market. This might be due in part to the enhanced driving that makes your ride smoother than ever, or it’s a sporty, sleek design that puts a high-end spin on things while keeping the sedan affordable for everyday consumers. The two different engine options paired with either a Continuously Variable Transmission or a 6-speed manual transmission puts the power into the hands of the driver, allowing them to craft their ride to fit their lifestyle. An impressive fuel economy only adds to the 2022 Forte’s overall appeal.

A blue 2023 Kia Forte is shown driving on a highway near mountains.

More Than Your Standard Compact Sedan

Drivers agree that the current tail end of the third generation offers the best Forte models that Kia has to offer. The Forte has come a long way in terms of design and performance since its debut in 2010. While things might have started off a little shaky, Kia has learned along the way and stepped up its game in terms of engineering and styling.

The newest 2024 Kia Forte is a sight to see. Not only does it look really stunning, but it drives like an upmarket sports car with punchy engine choices and responsive steering that makes driving fun again. It’s no wonder the Forte is known as a value powerhouse for drivers looking for overall excellence at a reasonable price.

The Kia Forte is on the wishlist of many drivers looking for a co-pilot they can depend on and won’t break the bank. When you want one of the best compact sedans, you don’t have to settle or cut corners to get behind the wheel of the Forte. From a comfortable cabin loaded with streamlined tech to the available 201 hp turbo engine, there’s a lot about the Forte that makes it more than just another economy car.

Posted in Kia Dealer