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  • 3/4 Front Glamour 2016 Kia Forte
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Expert's Rating

4.5Excellent | Details

MPG

24 City / 33 Highway
James FlammangJames Flammang, Contributing Editor -

More than the typical maker of compact sedans, Kia relies on sleek European styling to draw attention to its Forte. Exhibiting a design influenced by sport sedans, which conceals its economy-car role, Forte slots between the subcompact Rio and the midsize Optima. As a contender in the competitive compact-sedan group, Forte has an impressive number of standard features, yet it’s priced near the bottom of that class.

What's New for 2016

Two new option groups help enhance the Forte’s value, according to Kia, but otherwise it’s largely a carryover. Keyless entry with remote trunk release is now standard. New optional Popular Plus and Premium Plus packages are available, for LX and EX, respectively.

Choosing Your Kia Forte

The Forte LX sedan holds a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 145 horsepower, mating with either a six-speed manual gearbox or optional six-speed automatic transmission. EX trim upgrades to a 2-liter engine that makes 173 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. Only the automatic transmission is available in an EX.

Fuel economy with the 1.8-liter engine is estimated at 25 mpg city/37 mpg highway with manual shift, and 26/39 mpg with automatic. The 2-liter gets an estimate of 24/35 mpg.

Two trim levels are offered, each with a different engine:

LX

Powered by the 1.8-liter engine, the entry-level Forte has a $15,990 MSRP with manual shift; the automatic transmission adds $1,710 to the price. Heated mirrors, cloth upholstery, Bluetooth phone and audio, remote keyless entry, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, a tilt/telescopic steering column, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, and 15-inch steel wheels are standard. The four-speaker sound system includes satellite radio and USB/aux jacks. An Active Eco system is included.

The Popular package includes cruise control, upgraded speakers, knit and tricot cloth seat trim, a rearview camera, and other interior features. A new optional Popular Plus group is similar, but also adds 16-inch alloy wheels. Individual options include cruise control, a sliding front armrest, lighted visor mirrors, and LED turn-signal indicators.

EX

Only an automatic transmission comes with EX trim, driven by Kia’s 2-liter engine. Adding $2,290 to the price of an LX automatic, the EX basically contains the items in the Popular Plus package offered for the LX edition. Also included are foglights, LED positioning lights, a rearview camera, six-speaker audio, sliding armrest, leather-wrapped steering wheel, lighted visor mirrors, power-folding mirrors, a chilled glovebox, and 17-inch alloy wheels. EX seats are upholstered in knit and woven cloth. FlexSteer has Comfort, Normal, and Sport settings to vary the level of steering assist.

Pick the Premium package, and the Forte EX starts to turn into a compact luxury automobile, complete with leather seat trim, heated front seats, Uvo eServices, sunroof, pushbutton start, and puddle lamp. Navigation and an HD radio have been added for 2016.

A new Premium Plus package for the Forte EX adds a 4.2-inch TFT color LCD supervision meter cluster, 10-way power driver's seat with ventilation, heated steering wheel and outboard rear seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and LED taillights.

CarsDirect Tip

For the most part, an LX makes a good choice, excelling in the quantity of features for a reasonable price. However, only a limited number of options are offered for the LX. Unless you really need to spend as few dollars as possible, you’ll probably be more content with an EX. Kia also offers a two-door Forte Koup, and a five-door Forte5 hatchback.

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