2022 Kia Forte

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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
October 17, 2021

Buying tip

Manual-shift Fortes omit some active safety features, so it’s best to stick with the dual-clutch transmission if you care about resale value.

features & specs

FE IVT
GT DCT
GT Manual
MPG
31 city / 41 hwy
MPG
27 city / 35 hwy
MPG
22 city / 31 hwy
MSRP
$19,090
MSRP
$23,490
MSRP
$24,490

The 2022 Kia Forte jams its compact cabin with value, though performance falls flat.

What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Kia Forte? What does it compare to?

The Forte has a big cargo hold and room for five, but it’s not a crossover. The four-door rivals other sedans hanging on during the SUV onslaught; it’s aimed at cars like the Hyundai Elantra, Honda Civic, and Toyota Corolla. 

Is the 2022 Kia Forte a good car?

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Yes, though base-car performance sags and safety scores have been mixed. We give it a TCC Rating of 6.3 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2022 Kia Forte?

Kia added more safety features, dropped the EX trim, and reshaped the Forte’s front and rear ends. It’s a more handsome car now, with a rakish profile and handsome details. The look is now more closely allied with the bigger K5 and Stinger thanks to a slim set of headlights and a revamped cabin with a big standard touchscreen (8.0 inches) and an even larger available one (10.3 inches). 

Driving a Forte can be less pleasing than seeing one. The base 147-hp engine struggles to build speed quickly through the CVT, and it generates a fair share of powertrain noise when pressed. The 201-hp turbo-4’s the cure, but it’s only offered as a GT—and only sold with a fiddly 7-speed dual-clutch or 6-speed manual transmission. Either way, ride and handling strike a balance between prosaic transportation and edgier performance.

The Forte has room to rival a Civic inside, but FE models have more hard plastic trim and don’t have a fold-down back seat. The Forte’s seats can house four 6-foot-tall passengers in comfort, but the 15.3-cubic-foot trunk’s the storage star. Of course, an SUV can do more, still. 

The Forte’s NHTSA crash-test scores check in at four stars overall, with one three-star rating for front passenger protection. The IIHS calls it a Top Safety Pick in top spec, however. All cars have active lane control and automatic emergency braking. 

How much does the 2022 Kia Forte cost?

The $20,085 Forte FE has power features, a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, but spend up for the LXS version’s nicer interior and split-folding rear seat—or for the $22,885 GT-Line’s even bigger touchscreen. 

Where is the 2022 Kia Forte made?

In Monterrey, Mexico. 

7

2022 Kia Forte

Styling

Sharp looks mask the Forte’s budget roots.

Is the Kia Forte a good-looking car?

It is, and this year’s updated front end brings it closer to the style of the bigger K5. We give it a 7, with a point each for the body and the cabin.

The Forte’s raked windshield and long wheelbase mimic some cues from the bigger Stinger. The new nose, with trimmer headlights and redesigned bumpers, takes the next step; they’re composed of lots of lines without looking cluttered or kitschy. The Forte’s plainer sides and decklid dress up its stock economy-car shape with a small spoiler and fancier taillights. GT models get big wheels and dark trim pieces.

The Forte’s cockpit places an 8.0-inch touchscreen on a dash with a streamlined shape, pleasantly plain climate controls, and stylish circular vents. FE versions have more hard plastic and cloth upholstery, but all others dress nicely with soft-touch materials and matte metallic trim. GT-Line and GT Forte sedans gain contrast stitching and a flat-bottomed steering wheel, along with perforated synthetic leather upholstery.

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4

2022 Kia Forte

Performance

The GT ups the performance ante, but most Fortes leave power off the menu.

The 2022 Forte ranges from cool to warm in performance. Base cars have a sluggish drivetrain, while the GT puts turbos into play for sprightly corner work. More Fortes find homes as base cars, so we rate it at a 4, with a point deducted for its base pace.

Is the Kia Forte 4WD?

Front-wheel drive rules the day, and the GT will remind you of it with its torque steer.

How fast is the Kia Forte?

From the FE to the GT-Line, the 2022 Forte fits a 147-hp 2.0-liter inline-4 with 132 lb-ft of torque under the hood. Given that the car weighs between 2,769 and 3,079 lb, acceleration isn’t its strong point; fuel economy is. Connected to a CVT that sloshes between ratios to keep the engine humming near its power peak, it doesn’t push forward in any hurry, and it’s loud to boot. Driven gently, it responds gently.

In the other corner, the 201-hp 1.6-liter turbo-4 in the Forte GT would score a 6 here, so long as it’s paired with the 6-speed manual and not the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. With 195 lb-ft of torque, it’s good for a 60-mph dash in 6.7 seconds. We haven’t driven it with the manual, but it has to be better than the yo-yo shift quality of Kia’s dual-clutch gearbox. Twisted into a Sport drive mode and constantly prodded with throttle, the dual-clutch answers calls for gearchanges predictably; otherwise it searches for the right cog, which becomes annoying at city speeds.

The Forte’s handling isn’t elevated, either. Base cars have a simple torsion-beam rear suspension that quells bad pavement reasonably well. The GT adopts an independent rear suspension which doesn’t damp out the considerable lean into corners and through swift lane changes. A truly sporty Forte would be welcome; look to the Civic Si or even the Hyundai Elantra N Line for more entertaining driving.

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6

2022 Kia Forte

Comfort & Quality

The Forte has space to spare.

The Forte carves out space for four or five passengers, but it’s the 15.3-cubic-foot trunk that overdelivers, especially for its size. 

It’s a 6 here with a point above average for the trunk. The Forte’s seats don’t pick up extra points, though they’re decent for support and space for a couple of tall passengers in front. Covered in cloth on base versions, upgraded to synthetic leather on other trims, the Forte’s 6-way manual front seats can also be spent up to power adjustment for the driver, and heating and cooling in front. The GT has side-hugging sport seats with firm bolsters and better support.

At 182.7 inches long, with a 106.3-inch wheelbase, the Forte isn’t quite as large as a Civic or a Jetta, but its rear bench seat has 35.7 inches of leg room, good enough for a 6-footer to ride behind a 6-footer. Forte FE sedans don’t have a fold-down rear seatback, but other trims do.

The Forte LXS, GT-Line and GT also get nicer interior materials, while the GT-Line and GT add in red stitching, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, and more metallic trim. 

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6

2022 Kia Forte

Safety

The NHTSA doesn’t like what it sees.

How safe is the Kia Forte?

With mixed results in crash testing, the Forte rates a 6 here, pending updated scores for 2022.

The IIHS dubs the small sedan a Top Safety Pick, but that award applies only to GT editions with upgraded headlights; other headlights score “Poor” ratings.

The NHTSA, meanwhile, gives the Forte a four-star overall rating, with a three-star rating for front passenger protection.

The Forte now comes with more standard active safety equipment. All versions have automatic emergency braking and active lane control. Blind-spot monitors with braking assistance are available or standard on most trims, as is adaptive cruise control.

We’ll update this section if safety data changes.

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9

2022 Kia Forte

Features

It’s a good value, from its warranty to its infotainment.

The Kia Forte carries a standout 5-year/60,000-mile warranty, and pairs it with good standard equipment and great infotainment. It’s a strong value; it’s a 9 here. 

Which Kia Forte should I buy?

The $20,085 Forte FE comes with 15-inch wheels, cloth seats, power features, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We’d spend a little more for the Forte LXS, which adds 16-inch wheels, a split-folding rear seat, and better interior trim—and then spend $500 more for blind-spot monitors and heated mirrors.

For $22,885, the GT-Line upgrades to 17-inch wheels, sporty exterior trim, a power driver seat, keyless start, cloth and synthetic leather seats, and a 10.3-inch touchscreen. It can be optioned up with a sunroof, a 320-watt Harman Kardon sound system with eight speakers, and wireless smartphone charging, as well as heated and cooled front seats, and a rear USB port and HVAC vents.

How much is a fully loaded Kia Forte?

The $24,485 Forte GT sports 18-inch wheels, wireless smartphone charging, and LED headlights. Its options list includes adaptive cruise control and for $1,000, the manual transmission.

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6

2022 Kia Forte

Fuel Economy

The Forte posts high fuel economy ratings.

Is the Kia Forte good on gas?

It is, especially in base FE trim, where it’s EPA-rated at 31 mpg city, 41 highway, 35 combined. Kia sells more of the LXS and GT-Line trims, but those still post numbers of 29/39/33 mpg. We give it a 6 here, based on the latter.

Turbo engines dim the gas mileage picture. The Forte GT checks in at 27/35/30 mpg, and with the manual transmission it’s the worst of the lineup, losing 4 mpg across the board.

Review continues below
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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$19,090
MSRP based on FE IVT
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6.3
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 4
Comfort & Quality 6
Safety 6
Features 9
Fuel Economy 6
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2022 Kia Forte Pricing Insights

  • 2022 Kia Forte arriving; 2021s sold out
  • Lease: From $179 for 36 months
  • Rebate: No cash incentives
  • Finance: From 1.9% APR for 60 months
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