Thanks to last year’s refreshment, the 2018 Kia Forte remains competitive in a class filled with much newer rivals. Kia updates the interior quality, safety features, infotainment system, and of course power. All complement the Forte strength that already exists, spacious seating and cargo and a lot of value.
Some of the newer rivals have indeed generated advantages in fuel efficiency, acceleration, handling, interior space and technological features. But the 2018 Kia Forte long list of features, competitive pricing and outstanding warranty coverage keeps it as an attractive option for a compact hatchback or sedan. It even offers a sporty SX hatchback trim with engine that produces over 200 horsepower, putting it into a box with just a few other compact.
Trim and Features
The 2018 Kia Forte is available in both sedan and hatchback (the Forte5) body styles. The Forte sedan offered in LX, S and EX trim levels, while the hatchback offered in LX, EX and SX trim.
Standard equipment for the LX sedan include 15-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, full power accessories, a trip computer, air conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, Bluetooth, a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, USB connectivity and satellite radio.
The optional Popular package for the LX (automatic only) includes automatic headlights, a rearview camera, cruise control, a sliding front armrest, upgraded interior upholstery and trim, a rear seat armrest, Kia Uvo telematics service, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 7-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker stereo. The Popular Plus package adds special alloy wheels, LED taillights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The 2018 Kia Forte S sedan includes all those items plus 16-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, LED running lights, a chrome exhaust outlet, a rear spoiler, adjustable drive modes, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, unique black cloth upholstery with white contrast stitching, and the 7-inch touchscreen system.
The S optional Technology package adds keyless entry and ignition, a sunroof, LED taillights, foglights, and safety features such as automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and prevention.
The 2018 Kia Forte EX sedan drops the sport-themed but adds keyless entry and ignition, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED turn signal indicators, foglights, LED taillights, dual-zone automatic temperature control, ambient interior lighting, heated front seats, leather upholstery and rear vents. Also standard is blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
The EX optional Premium Plus package adds forward collision alert and automatic emergency braking, a sunroof, adaptive xenon headlights, driver-seat memory settings, a power-adjustable driver seat, ventilated front seats and a navigation system.
The hatchback LX and EX trims mostly follow the sedan, with minor differences.
The Forte SX hatchback adds dual exhaust tips, a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels, sporty front and rear styling.
The 2018 Kia Forte LX and S sedans is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. Power sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual (LX only) or a six-speed automatic transmission. In performance testing, the Forte S with automatic accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds. EPA estimated fuel economy at 32 mpg combined (29 city/37 highway) with the automatic and 28 mpg combined (25 city/34 highway) with the manual.
The 2018 Kia Forte EX gets a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine generates 164 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered. EPA fuel economy at 28 mpg combined (25 city/33 highway), which is unimpressive given the modest power output.The Forte5 LX and EX share this same powertrain, and the power and fuel economy are nearly identical.
The 2018 Kia Forte5 SX has a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder good for 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. It’s paired with either a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic or a six-speed manual transmission. In performance testing, the Forte5 SX with manual hit 60 mph in 6.6 seconds. EPA rated this engine at 25 mpg combined (23 city/29 highway) for the manual, while the seven-speed dual-clutch models return 27 mpg combined (25 city/30 highway).
The 2018 Kia Forte is more than just an economy car equipped with gadgets. It offers a handsome cabin with good quality materials, especially at higher trim levels. In addition, high-tech features are well designed and easy to use. The 7-inch touch screen interface equipped with large logically placed virtual buttons is one example of better technology.
Both in sedan and Forte5, front and back seats comfort are excellent, even 6-foot adults can comfortably sit in the back. The Forte sedan offers generous cargo capacity of 14.9 cubic feet, while Forte5 hatchback has 23.2 cubic feet with back seat used and more with the back seat seat folded down.
Release Date and Price
The LX sedan starts at $17,695 (include the $895 destination fee) and $19,195 for the Forte5 LX. The S trim s priced from $20,295, while the EX sedan starting at $22,595. The Forte5 EX has a price tag of $23,095 and Forte5 SX priced from $24,795.