21 vehicles within 50 miles of
Tim Charlet
Automotive Editor - October 29, 2018

Expert Rating

3.15 (Good)
29 City / 39 Highway

Unlike other websites and magazines, our ratings are not based solely on a singular road test, but rather a more encompassing batch of criteria: quality, safety, comfort, performance, fuel economy, reliability history and value. When comparing vehicles using our Rating System, it's important to note that the rating earned by each vehicle correlates only to the models within its class. For example, a compact car cannot be compared to a SUV—They are different vehicles altogether.

You can interpret our ratings in the following way:

5-Star: Outstanding vehicle. Only the most exceptional vehicles achieve this rating.

4-Star: Very Good vehicle. Very good and close to being the best vehicle in its class.

3-Star: Good vehicle. Decent, but not quite the best. Often affordable, but lacking key features found in vehicles of the same class.

2-Star: Below average vehicle. Not recommended, and lacking attributes a car buyer would come to expect for the price.

1-Star: Poor vehicle. Simply does not deserve to be on the road.

2019 Kia Forte OVERVIEW

The 2019 Kia Forte shines in a sea of bare-bones compact cars. This well-appointed four-door sedan is available in four trim levels, is powered by a fuel-efficient 2.0-liter engine, and introduces Kia’s first in-house Intelligent Variable Transmission in select trims. It’s not necessarily a head-turner, but the 2019 Kia Forte will take you from point A to B in comfort.

What's New for 2019

The 2019 Kia Forte sedan has been redesigned for the 2019 model year (Kia has been quiet on the hatchback Forte5 front). In addition to design tweaks, the Forte also receives a new standard eight-inch touchscreen infotainment display screen across all trims, featuring Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. The most notable upgrade is the Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) – offered as standard in all 2019 Kia Forte trim levels except the base FE, where it’s a $900 upgrade. Also, a few more active safety technologies are standard, including forward collision warning and lane departure warning.

Choosing Your Kia Forte

Kia focuses on simplicity for the 2019 Forte. The standard engine across all Fortes is the reliable 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard with the base FE trim, while the LXS, S, and EX trims all receive the IVT. Each Forte is front-wheel drive. With the manual transmission, the Kia Forte returns an EPA-estimated 27 miles per gallon city, 37 mpg highway, and 31 combined. The IVT improves fuel economy dramatically to 30/40/34 mpg (city/highway/combined), or 31/41/35 mpg on the base model.


The entry-level 2019 Kia Forte is the FE, which starts at $18,585 (all prices include the $895 destination charge), or $19,485 with the IVT. The base comes with an impressive list of standard features that includes an eight-inch infotainment display, Android Auto and Apple Car Play integration, Bluetooth connectivity, a rearview camera, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, and a driver attention warning system. Power windows and locks are also included, as is dual-zone climate control. The FE can be appointed in one of three exterior colors with a single interior color pattern available. There are no available package upgrades.


The second trim for the 2019 Kia Forte is the LXS that begins at $19,985. The LXS rides on standard 16-inch alloy wheels and comes standard with the IVT transmission. The LXS also includes variable intermittent windshield wipers, projector headlights, and a drive mode selection to choose normal, sport or comfort driving styles. The LXS also includes steering-wheel mounted audio and cruise controls, a tilt and telescopic steering column, and a 3.5-inch LCD meter display. There are six exterior color options and a single interior color pattern, but no package upgrades.


Kia’s third Forte trim level is the S, which carries a $21,085 starting price. The S ups the ante by adding front fog lights, LED daytime running lights, and LED rear combination lights. The S also features a leather-wrapped steering wheel and power windows with driver one-touch up and down functionality. The sound system is enhanced for better high-range audio clarity, while a keyless entry system, folding center armrest, and premium cloth interior are also standard. Consumers can add a $1,200 S Premium Package that includes a power sunroof, LED headlights, high beam assist, LED lighting, and an auto-leveling dynamic bending light function.


The range-topping Kia Forte is the EX, which starts at $22,885. As with most premium trims, the EX focuses on creature comforts, adding a 10-way power adjustable driver seat with power lumbar support, heated and ventilated leatherette seating, smart key integration with push-button starting, dual center console USB charging ports, and several exterior color enhancement options.

Where the EX can elevate significantly is by adding the EX Launch Edition package for $3,210. It includes 17-inch graphite finish alloy wheels, UVO eServices including voice-command navigation, a Harman/Kardon premium surround sound system, a power sunroof, a rear trunk lid spoiler, wireless phone charger, LED interior lighting, alloy sport pedals, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, high beam assist, and adaptive cruise control.

CarsDirect Tip

The sky is the limit with the value offered by the redesigned 2019 Kia Forte. Each trim offers something unique for different consumers. For the money, the S trim is quite impressive, with standard keyless entry, improved audio, and power functions. Coming in at just over $26,000, an EX with the EX Launch Edition package is also a pretty good value to consider.

Get your price on a Kia Forte »

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