The Kia Forte’s A Sedan For The Savviest Budgets

The Kia Forte’s A Sedan For The Savviest Budgets

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The Kia Forte enters the 2021 model year with an exciting mix of modest price and great value. With a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $17,890 for the base FE model, the car costs thousands less than the leaders of its segment. Yet Kia Forte gives you most or all of the features you’d get when choosing any of the class leaders.

The Kia Forte rolls into 2021 with no significant changes in styling, powertrains, or features. When Kia unveiled its third-generation Forte in January 2018, it introduced a raft of major updates. The current Kia Forte does provide substantially better performance and technology than the second-generation model.

What Is the 2021 Kia Forte?

The 2021 Kia Forte is a compact sedan the clever packaging of which is on a par with higher-priced models in its class, including the Toyota Corolla, Mazda 3, Hyundai Civic, and Hyundai Elantra. Although the Forte has its shortcomings, it’s an easy choice if you’re a budget-conscious shopper. The Forte combines attractive styling with an extended warranty that will attract a broad range of enthusiasts for compact sedans.

The 2021 Kia Forte has trim to match your commuting needs. The lineup consists of the base FE, the GT-Line, the LXS, the EX, and the chart-topping GT trim level. The entry-level FE has all the features you could want in a compact sedan. But things get even more interesting with the GT-Line and higher. The new Forte GT-Line comes wrapped in a stunning suite of style upgrades as well as advanced tech and convenience features.

Under the Hood of the 2021 Kia Forte

The 2021 Kia Forte offers two powertrain options. All trim levels except the GT are powered by a two-litre inline-four engine matched to a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional continuously variable automatic transmission. The basic powerplant sends 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque to the car’s front wheels. Of course, this capacity is more important for efficiency than for power. It’s not going to win any races.

With respect to fuel economy, Forte models with the manual transmission are EPA-rated at 27 miles per gallon in the city, 37 mpg in the highway, and 31 mpg in both combined. Models with automatic transmission achieve 31 mpg in the city, 41 mpg in the highway, and 35 mpg in both combined. With the non-turbocharged engine, Kia Forte can sprint from zero to 60 miles per hour in 8.2 seconds.

If you want more power, go for the turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine in the GT trim. When equipped with a standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the GT delivers 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. An optional six-speed manual transmission is also offered.

According to the EPA, GT models with a manual transmission achieve 25 mpg in the city, 32 mpg in the highway, and 28 mpg in both combined. Models with an automatic transmission achieve 27 mpg in the city, 35 mpg in the highway, and 30 mpg in both combined. The Forte GT trims can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in an estimated 6.8 seconds, so that it takes a little longer to get up to speed than the Honda Civic Si or the Volkswagen Golf GTI.

The Interior of the 2021 Kia Forte

The 2021 Forte boasts an eye-catching cabin with an intuitive layout and upscale materials. Everything you need is within easy reach.

There’s also plenty of space for four adults to relax and unwind during long road trips. In the front row, passengers get 38.8 inches of headroom and 42.2 inches of legroom; in the back row, 37.5 inches of headroom and 35.7 inches of legroom.

The 2021 Kia Forte FE trim features comfortable seats with cloth upholstery as standard. The higher-tier GT and GT-Line trims feature sport bucket seats with synthetic leather upholstery and red contrast stitching. In the GT trim and higher, drivers also get dual-zone automatic climate control, a heated flat-bottom steering wheel, and heated and ventilated front seats.

The new Kia Forte has one of the most spacious trunk volumes in its class. When all of the Forte’s seats are in an upright position, you have 15.3 cubic feet of cargo room, enough for up to seven carry-on bags. In the LXS trim and higher, a 60/40 split-folding arrangement enables you to expand the trunk space to fit larger items.

The Technology of the 2021 Kia Forte

Kia’s 2021 Forte offers a boatload of technology for the price. All Forte trim levels come standard with an 8.0-inch infotainment screen that is compatible with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. In the EX trim and higher, built-in navigation is also supported.

Lower Forte trims feature one front-row USB port; higher trims feature two USB ports. A wireless smartphone charging pad is an option for the GT-Line, EX, and GT trims. The LXS and lower trims have a standard four-speaker audio system. The GT-Line has a six-speaker system, and the EX and GT have an eight-speaker system. The range-topping GT also foregoes the basic 3.5-inch black-and-white gauge cluster display in favor of a 4.2-inch color unit.

With respect to safety and driver assistance, the 2021 Kia Forte is a cut above most models in its segment. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has awarded the Forte a safety rating of four out of five stars, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has awarded this sedan its top score of Good in every crashworthiness test that the Institute has conducted.

For 2021, every Forte is equipped with standard forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, and automatic emergency braking. The EX and GT-Line get all of the standard safety features and also a rear cross-traffic notification and blind-spot detection system. The chart-topping GT also offers the option of adaptive cruise control.

Our Take on the 2021 Kia Forte

The current third-generation Kia Forte is a sporty little car that stands out in the competitive sedan segment. Its stylish looks, well-thought-out interior, and standard safety and convenience features make for a value-focused car. Its intuitive and user-friendly infotainment system is another plus.

Although the non-turbocharged Forte doesn’t offer much in the way of high-speed fun, it delivers a calm, easy ride with exemplary handling that lends itself well to an urban environment. If you want thrills, the speedier GT’s 201-hp turbo-4 engine combines with the upgraded 18-inch wheels and a rear suspension to provide livelier driving dynamics. All in all, the 2021 Kia Forte offers a strong value proposition for budget-savvy sedan shoppers.

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