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2021 Kia Forte: Preview, Pricing, Release Date

Willis Kuelthau
Automotive Editor - June 25, 2020

Model Preview

Only a couple years removed from the debut of its third generation, the 2021 Kia Forte is expected to carry over with minimal changes. We wouldn’t be surprised to see lower trims gain a few standard features, but the platform will stay the same.

That includes the exterior, which draws cues from the larger Kia Stinger. 2020 brought the addition of the sporty GT trim, which looks every bit the polished sport sedan. If you’d rather not splash for the extra power, the GT-Line trim (which brings much of the same styling) should remain for 2021.

Inside, the current Forte builds an intuitive design around a central eight-inch touchscreen. The interior feels more premium than the price would suggest, especially in mid- and upper trims. If the lower trims gain features in 2021, the value will be even better.

Kia Forte

The 2021 Forte will use the same 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine in most trims. Paired with either a six-speed manual or a CVT, the engine lacks refinement but remains remarkably efficient. The GT trim lifts a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine from the Hyundai Elantra Sport, bringing 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque.

The 2020 Forte had a conflicting safety record. The NHTSA flagged front-passenger crash test results, awarding only four stars overall. The IIHS was much more positive, awarding the Forte a Top Safety Pick+ award thanks to strong test results and excellent standard safety tech. That includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control on all trims.

Pricing & Release Date

A release date for the 2021 Kia Forte hasn’t been finalized. Based on previous years, we’d expect the new Forte to land sometime in the summer of 2020.

Last year’s Forte started at $18,855 (including destination fees), and we don’t expect any large price increases. If features get shuffled around, some trims could see modest price increases. As things stand, the Forte lineup covers six trims. The most expensive (a GT manual) will set buyers back $24,055 but includes features like a power sunroof and Harman Kardon audio.

The market for compact sedan includes competitors with a long track record of success. The Forte will enter the ring with cars like the Mazda Mazda3, Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, and Hyundai Elantra.

Learn more about the current Forte on sale now »

Pictured: 2020 Kia Forte

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