The 2018 Kia Forte is offered in two different body styles, either as a 4-door sedan or as a 4-door hatchback. The 4-door sedan comes in LX, S, and EX grades, while the hatchback is available in either LX, EX or SX trims. LX models are powered by a 147-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, while EX models gets a more powerful 2.0L direct-injected 4-cylinder that makes 164 horsepower and 154 pound-feet of torque. The Kia Forte SX Koup comes with a turbocharged 1.6L 4-cylinder making 201 horsepower. Both of the non-turbo engines include continuously variable valve timing, which helps provide responsiveness over a wide range while enhancing fuel economy. LX models offer a choice between a 6-speed manual gearbox and a 6-speed automatic transmission, while EX 4-doors only come with the automatic. Both versions of the Koup come standard with a 6-speed manual, while an automatic is optional on either trim.
The Kia Forte sedan features an available Eco Package that adds Idle Stop & Go, a system that will automatically shut off the engine at stoplights; it also adds dual-zone climate control, rear-seat ventilation and special badging. LX trims now offer a Popular Plus Package, which provides cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels and a rear camera display.
The Forte has a MacPherson strut-type front suspension and coupled torsion-beam rear setup. Across the model line, electric power steering is included. An available Flex Steer system lets drivers choose between Comfort, Normal and Sport modes, changing the steering feel with the press of a button. Base LX 4-door models have 15-inch steel wheels while 16-inch alloys are available. EX model includes 16-inch alloys with lower-profile tires while, 17-inch alloys are an option. The Forte Koup SX includes 18-inch wheels as standard.
Inside, the instrument panel is canted 10 degrees toward the driver for a cockpit feel and there are large, easy-to-read gauges. There's a multi-information display with 4.2-inch screen on EX models and trims and materials are in line with more upscale vehicles.
Forte LX models come standard with air conditioning, power windows, power heated mirrors, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, Bluetooth connectivity and Sirius Satellite Radio compatibility. EX models add remote keyless entry, a rear backup camera, a sliding center armrest and a cooled glovebox.
EX options are grouped into several packages. The Premium Package includes heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, cooling for the driver's seat, leather upholstery, a power sunroof, push-button start, a Smart Key system and a heated steering wheel. Separately, a Technology Package combines HID headlamps, LED tail lamps, dual-zone climate control, rear-seat ventilation and a 4.2-inch color display screen.
The Forte Koup SX includes projector beam foglamps, gloss black painted, dual heated power mirrors, chrome exhaust tips, steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, bigger front brakes and of course a more powerful engine than is available on any other Forte.
Choice Of Powertrains
Great List Of Standard Equipment
Standout Comfort And Convenience Options
In 2018 the Kia Forte gets minor updates to its packages and safety features. UVO3 with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay have been added to the Popular package, the S model receives 16-inch alloy wheels, the Technology package now includes a sunroof.
The Forte is a compact that's one size down from the Kia Optima and one up from the Kia Rio. It competes in a crowded segment, against some very established nameplates like the Toyota Corolla, Honda Accord, Nissan Sentra, Hyundai Elantra, Volkswagen Jetta and Ford Focus, as well as the Chevrolet Cruze. The Kia Forte stands out for offering a little more equipment for the same price -- as well as some standout comfort options, such as a heated steering wheel and cooled driver's seat. There's also a choice between three engines, a fuel-efficient 2.0L, a stronger 2.0L or, in the 2-door Koup, a 1.6L turbocharged unit. Every buyer should be able to find the right combination of power and fuel economy.