2018 Kia Forte vs. Its Competition

2018 Kia Forte
Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director

In its current generation, the Kia Forte has occupied a middle ground between the Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Elantra—the comfortable, value-oriented set—and sportier models like the Ford Focus and Mazda 3.

The current Forte doesn't handle as sharply or precisely as either of those models, while its ride has been somewhat noisy.

One strong rival is the Subaru Impreza, which will be redesigned this year.

Its standard all-wheel drive and crisp handling have nudged up against the Forte on value.

The Forte's cousin, the Hyundai Elantra, has spread its wings to include coupe and GT hatchback models, like the Forte.

You should drive them both; we think the latest Elantra is considerably improved, though perhaps still a little more appliance-like.

The Honda Civic, after getting revamped again in recent years, is a refined compact sedan that in some respects, now feels like a smaller Accord.

The current Toyota Corolla is a strong entry and arguably more refined than the Forte.

The Ford Focus has excellent handling, great style, more optional features than anything in the class, and a rip-roaring ST sport edition all under its umbrella.

2018 Kia Forte2018 Kia Forte
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2018 Ford Focus RS Limited Edition2018 Ford Focus
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2018 Honda Civic2018 Honda Civic
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2018 Hyundai Elantra2018 Hyundai Elantra
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2018 Subaru Impreza2018 Subaru Impreza
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2018 Toyota Corolla2018 Toyota Corolla
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Quick Specs
6.5
The 2018 Kia Forte leaves eco-performance to rivals; it focuses on safety and luxury touches.
6.2
The 2018 Ford Focus is irony on wheels: it comes in a dizzying range of models, of which the SEL and ST are our picks.
7.5
The 2018 Honda Civic is a good car made better by plenty of options and value at nearly every stop.
6.8
The 2018 Hyundai Elantra adds a versatile hatchback to the fold and makes a more compelling case as a compact contender in a value-packed segment.
7.2
The 2018 Subaru Impreza offers all-wheel drive for all of us in a comfortable, refined, tech-savvy package.
6.3
Perfectly average in every way, the Toyota Corolla is thoroughly competent, but not at all interesting.
MSRP From     
$16,800$17,950$18,940$16,950N/A$18,600
Gas Mileage     
23 MPG City / 37 MPG Hwy19 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 42 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy27 MPG City / 40 MPG Hwy
Engine     
Regular Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded I-4N/ARegular Unleaded I-4
EPA Class     
Mid-Size CarsCompact CarsCompact CarsMid-Size CarsN/ACompact Cars
Style Name     
LX ManualS SedanLX ManualSE 2.0L Manual (Ulsan)N/AL CVT (GS)
Drivetrain     
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveN/AFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
5555N/A5
Passenger Doors     
N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Body Style     
SedanSedanSedanSedanN/ASedan
Transmission     
Manual w/ODManual w/ODManual w/ODManual w/ODN/ACVT w/OD
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2018 Kia Forte vs. 2018 Ford Focus2018 Kia Forte vs. 2018 Honda Civic2018 Kia Forte vs. 2018 Hyundai Elantra2018 Kia Forte vs. 2018 Subaru Impreza2018 Kia Forte vs. 2018 Toyota Corolla