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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Kia Forte

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Expert's Rating

4.4Excellent

MPG 25 City / 34 Highway
Pros
  • Good power for four-cylinder
  • Excellent warranty
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Attractive styling
Cons
  • Entry level interior quality
  • Transmission lacks refinement
, Automotive Editor -
Often overlooked, the Kia Forte represents good value in the compact sedan segment. It comes with lots of standard features, offers good fuel economy and comes with the company's long 10-year powertrain warranty that makes it a good buy for people looking for dependability in their small sedan. If you're not into having the latest, flashiest toy out there, the Forte makes a lot of good sense.

Introduction

The Forte starts with the LX trim level. It gets a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 156 horsepower mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed automatic. Also included is a split-folding rear seat, air conditioning, 15-inch wheels, power mirrors, Bluetooth and a four-speaker audio system with USB input. The EX adds power windows and locks with remote keyless entry, trip computer and six-speaker audio system. The more premium SX adds a stronger 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 173 horsepower. It also includes 17-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension, sporty interior trim and paddle shifters. Optional features include keyless entry and start, navigation, backup camera and an Eco Package on the EX that adds styling and gearing tweaks to improve fuel economy.

The Hyundai Elantra has more exciting styling and gets the same fuel economy on all trim levels, but its engine isn't as strong at the SX's and can be noisy at speed. The Ford Focus has better in-car technology and is better to drive, but can be very expensive. The Toyota Corolla is inexpensive and reliable, but is less refined and doesn't get good fuel economy for the class. The Volkswagen Jetta offers lots of engine options, including an efficient turbodiesel, and has more rear seat room, but has an cheap interior on some trim levels.

While the Forte doesn't particularly stand out in any area, it's a competent car that will please buyers who want something comfortable and efficient for a good price. The SX model adds a dose of performance that some cars in this category lack and there's a long list of advanced optional features that should interest those who want phone and audio capabilities. Especially for budget-minded consumers, the Forte is worth a look.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Kia Forte
Starting price
$9,431

2013 Kia Forte EX

Recommended for: Shoppers who want access to better technology and fuel economy

The EX adds a raft of features aimed to make the Forte more comfortable. Those include power windows and locks with remote keyless entry, heated outside mirrors, six-speaker audio system, lighted vanity mirrors and outside temperature display. The Premium Package adds 16-inch alloy wheels and a power sunroof. The Technology Package adds the Premium Package, plus automatic transmission, touchscreen navigation system with traffic and weather, backup camera, automatic climate control, fog lights, LED running lamps and automatic headlamps. Finally, the ECO package improves the fuel economy with electric power steering, a special alternator and low-rolling resistance tires.

2013 Kia Forte
Starting price
$9,431

2013 Kia Forte LX

Recommended for: Buyers looking for an inexpensive compact sedan

The LX is a basic sedan that includes more than a few features unexpected at this size and price. It starts off with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 156 horsepower and is mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Fifteen-inch wheels are standard, as are power mirrors, auto-off headlamps, four-speaker audio system with USB input and SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth, cruise control, steering wheel mounted audio and phone controls, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, height-adjustable driver's seat and a split-folding rear seat. Other than an optional six-speed automatic transmission, the LX has no options.

2013 Kia Forte
Starting price
$9,431

2013 Kia Forte SX

Recommended for: Buyers who want a sportier Forte

The SX is the performance-minded Forte. It has a more powerful 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 173 horsepower, sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, front fog lights, LED lights, chrome exhaust tip, paddle shifters for the automatic transmission, sport cloth seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever and metal pedals. The Leather Package adds leather upholstery, auto-dimming rearview mirror and heated front seats. The Technology Package adds automatic transmission, touchscreen navigation system with traffic and weather, backup camera and automatic climate control.

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