2020 Kia Forte

#10
in Sedans
2020 MODEL
$18,790 - $22,090
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7.9

Overall Rating

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2020 Kia Forte Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: February 25, 2020
Aaron Smith's image

Aaron Smith

Automotive Journalist

There are many compact sedans that offer loads of tech-filled features, lots of space for practical storage and reliability when on road but all good things come at a price. The Kia Forte is one of the all-rounders that have it all with a justified price tag. Kia has targeted the market in every segment and with their new design philosophy; it is working out just fine for them too.

Adhering to the Korean manufacturer's standards, the Forte has been nourished with some top-notch materials and build quality. However, in this age where the sedans are slowly making a departure, can the 2020 Forte become an exemption? Let's find out.

See detailed review »

Pros

Impressive Fuel Economy

Loads of features from the base up

Intuitive Infotainment Interface

Cons

Mediocre performance

Unsettled ride

What's New?

S trim has been discontinued

EX model gets a Special Edition package with a host of creature comfort features

Revamped cabin for more legroom and cargo space


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$17790

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

drivetrain

FWD

engine type

displacement

122 cu.in.

horsepower

147 hp @ 6200 rpm

torque

132 lbs.-ft. @ 4500 rpm

transmission

6 speed manual

chassis

frame type

Unibody

suspension front

Independent Front Suspension

dimensions

wheelbase

106.3 in.

length

182.7 in.

width

70.9 in.

height

56.5 in.

curb weight

2707 lbs.

ground clearance

5.3 in.

capacity

payload capacity

931 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

8 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

27/31/37 mpg

ev range

378 mi.

highway range

518 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

5 yr./ 60000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

10 yr./ 100000 mi.

roadside assistance

5 yr./ 60000 mi.


Pictures

Exterior
Interior

Styles

2020 Kia Forte in Aurora Black color 2020 Kia Forte in Clear White color 2020 Kia Forte in Currant Red color 2020 Kia Forte in Deep Sea Blue color 2020 Kia Forte in Silky Silver color
Aurora Black

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

8.2

Interior

8.2

7.9

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2020 Kia Forte FE

FE

power
147 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
35 combined

$18,790 - $19,690


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
FE 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl 6M) Starting at $18,790 MSRP (27/31/37) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
1-speed cvt front wheel drive 5
FE 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $19,690 MSRP (31/35/41) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
6-speed manual front wheel drive 5

2020 Kia Forte LXS

LXS

power
147 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
33 combined

$19,290


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
LXS 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $19,290 MSRP (29/33/40) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
1-speed cvt front wheel drive 5

2020 Kia Forte GT-Line

GT-Line

power
147 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
33 combined

$20,490


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
GT-Line 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $20,490 MSRP (29/33/40) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
1-speed cvt front wheel drive 5

2020 Kia Forte EX

EX

power
147 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
33 combined

$22,090


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
EX 4dr Sedan (2.0L 4cyl CVT) Starting at $22,090 MSRP (29/33/40) 147 hp @ 6200 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4, regular unleaded
1-speed cvt front wheel drive 5

Expert Review

7.9

Overall Rating


The Kia Forte is a compact sedan that offers you good value for the money it asks. It has loads of space to make it a very practical daily commuter and alongside that is able to provide good performance alongside reliability as well as comfort.

With the base price of $17,600 going up to $23,300, the Kia Forte is a bang for its buck, or is it? There are not many cars that offer the space, power, and quality in this price tag and it has many more things that cannot be missed easily.

2020 Kia Forte Sedan Front View
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Rear View

8.2/10
Features

 
 
 

8.2/10
Interior

 
 
 
 
 

2020 Kia Forte Features

8.2/10

The Kia Forte sedan is a power-packed monster that looks sharp and stylish. There are five trims available for the Forte sedan as per the features. The lower trim lacks a rearview camera, a touchscreen display and a few other luxury features that are presently automated in the higher trims.

Trims

FE

LXS

GT-Line

EX

GT

MSRP

$17,790

$19,190

$20,390

$21,990

$23,815

Features

Optional CVT Gearbox

All the features in FE trim added or replaced and:

All the features in LXS trim added or replaced and:

All the features in LXS and GT-Line trim added or replaced and:

All the features of EX plus :
 

15-inch steel wheels

16-inch alloy wheels

17-inch alloy wheels

17-inch alloy wheels

18-inch alloys 
 

DRLs

60/40 Split-Folding Seats

Black Trunk lid spoiler

LED DRLs

LED headlight with automatic high beam
 

Projector headlamps

CVT Gearbox

Front Fog lights

Heated Outside Mirrors

Unique interior trim
 

Solar Control Glass

Chrome exhaust tip

Heated Outside Mirrors

Dual-Zone Automatic Temperature Control

 
 

4-Speaker Audio System

Drive Mode Select(DMS)

6-Way Adjustable Driver’s seat

Adjustable rear headrests

 
 

3.5-Inch TFT LCD Display

Soft-touch upper door panels

Perimeter Approach lighting

10-Way Power Adjustable Driver Seat

 
 

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Black bumper accents

6-Speaker Audio System

Heated Front seats

 
 

Cruise control with steering controls

 

Leather-wrapped steering wheel

   
 

Leather-wrapped steering wheel

 

LED Taillamps

   
 

Day-Night Interior Rearview Mirror

       

We Recommend 

We would recommend you to go all out with the Kia Forte. The EX trim which isn’t on the pricey end despite the amount of insane features on offer will surely get you drooling. You get a competent sedan that will even put the so-called premium sedans in this segment to shame at just under $22k.

2020 Kia Forte Engine and Performance

The Kia Forte sedan is packed with a 2 liter DOHC D-CVVT MPI motor that produces a good 147 peak horsepower at 6200rpm and a maximum torque of 132 lb-ft. at 4500rpm. You get a six-speed manual transmission as standard or a CVT as an option. Finally, for the purist, the Forte GT now comes with a 1.6 turbocharged powertrain which puts out 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque.

2020 Kia Forte Sedan Has a 2.0L I4 Engine

It comes coupled to either a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the GT lives up to its moniker, giving an enhanced performance. Moreover, the rev-happy and mostly vibration-free engine of the Kia Forte is hardly a match for rivals like the Mazda.

Models

Kia Forte FE

Hyundai Elantra SE

Toyota Corolla L

Mazda 3 Base

MSRP

$17,790

$18,950

$19,600

$21,500

Engine

2.0L I4

2.0L I4

1.8L I4

2.5L I4

Transmission

6-Speed Manual

CVT

CVT

6-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

147 hp

@ 6200 rpm

147 hp

@ 6200 rpm

139 hp

@ 6100 rpm

186 hp

@ 6000 rpm

Torque

132 lb-ft

@ 4500 rpm

132 lb-ft

@ 4500 rpm

126 lb-ft

@ 3900 rpm

186 lb-ft

@ 4000 rpm

When the power and torque of the competitors compared, the Mazda Mazda3 is found to deliver the highest amount of power when compared to the other three rivalries. It delivers an outstanding power of 186bhp @ 6000rpm and a torque of 150 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm. The humdrum Corolla stands at last when it comes to horsepower.

Acceleration

Kia Forte does not provide outstanding power or acceleration, but it is the perfect sedan for the performance expected out of a commuter car. Due to its lesser curb weight and high revving engine, it proves to be a good player.

2020 Kia Forte Sedan 0-60 MPH In just 8.2 sec

However, being a front-wheel-drive vehicle, the body type is not stable and has a lot of body roll and understeer while cornering. Hyundai Elantra has an identical motor and power figures on paper but is slower than the Kia Forte.

Models

Kia Forte FE

Hyundai Elantra SE

Toyota Corolla L

Mazda 3 Base

0-60 MPH

8.2 s

9.0 s

9.8 s

7.0 s

Quarter mile

16.4 s

16.2 s

17.4 s

15.2 s

Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15k mi/yr)

4.8

4.3

4.4

4.9

The Toyota Corolla takes the maximum amount of time for reaching both the 60mph speed as well as the quarter-mile. This may be due to the lower capacity engine. On the other hand, the Mazda 3 is the fastest in attaining 60 mph mark.

Ride and Handling

Kia Forte offers front-wheel drive where all the grunt is injected into the front wheels. It lets the driver choose between the different modes of driving namely the Standard, Sport, and Comfort. These modes allow the driver to tailor the dynamics of the vehicle according to his liking.

The 6-speed transmission is smooth in shifting provides better fuel efficiency in automatic mode. It is a good handling car with agile chassis. The suspension is a bit rough and ride quality is hard on the badly paved road.

2020 Kia Forte Sedan Rear View

The Forte makes you experience a smooth ride by avoiding a large amount of jerk on the bumpy roads, however, it does have a lot of roughness at some road conditions. The Kia Forte comes with an electrical power steering that helps you turn the vehicle at sharp turns with less amount of effort on the steering.

Braking Performance

The Forte comes with a braking system with 4-wheel disc brakes with Anti-Lock Braking System. The Kia Forte has the greatest curb weight of 3880 lbs when compared with the other competitors. The Anti-Lock Braking System is built to sense the wheel lockup at times when the driver applies a heavy brake.

Models

Kia Forte FE

Hyundai Elantra SE

Toyota Corolla L

Mazda 3 Base

Brake Front (in.)

11.0

11.0

10.8

11.0

Brake Rear (in.)

10.3

8.0(drum)

10.2

10.4

60-0 MPH (ft)

118

125

119

118

In terms of the panic brake test from a speed of 60mph, the Hyundai Elantra is the slowest and takes only 125 feet to come to a halt. The Kia Forte and the Mazda 3 are similar in terms of braking performance and coincides with Corolla.

2020 Kia Forte Fuel Economy

Kia Forte FE  trim level is not up to the mark in terms of fuel efficiency, however, when compared with its competitors, it is found to be delivering decent fuel efficiency. It comes with a fuel tank that has a capacity of 14 gallons and it uses the Multi-Point Injection Fuel Delivery System for improved efficiency.

Models

Kia Forte FE

Hyundai Elantra SE

Toyota Corolla L

Mazda 3 Base

MPG (city)

27

31

30

26

MPG (highway)

37

41

38

35

MPG (combined)

31

35

33

30

Fuel Tank Capacity (Gal.)

14.0

14.0

13.2

13.2

Range

(City/Highway)

378/518

434/574

396/502

343/462

The Hyundai Elantra is the most fuel-efficient here and comes with 35 mpg combined while Toyota Corolla comes right after it with 33 mpg combined . The Mazda 3 and Kia Forte ties with each and there is not much of a diffrence .

2020 Kia Forte Interior

8.2/10

The Kia Forte is built with the best interiors in the class, featuring all the high-quality materials. Both the front and the rear rows are capacious and offer more room to both the driver and the passengers. The seats are made of cloth upholstery as well as leather upholstery and the driver’s seat is 10-way power-adjustable.

A ventilated driver’s seat is also available as an added option. And yes, it also offers larger trunk space and the noticeable factor about the trunk is that it can be opened hands-free.

2020 Kia Forte Sedan Front Seats

The cabin is spacious and constructed beautifully but the rear seats lack a bit of headroom for tall passengers. The air conditioning works very well with dual-zone climate control and other necessities that a compact sedan is required to have. The infotainment system is user-friendly and very simple to use.

Models

Kia Forte FE

Hyundai Elantra SE

Toyota Corolla L

Mazda 3 Base

Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

38.8/56.1/42.2

40.3/56.2/42.2

38.3/54.0/42.0

38.0/55.7/42.3

Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)

37.5/55.3/35.7

37.3/55.3/35.7

37.1/51.7/34.8

37.3/53.5/35.1

Hyundai has attained a distinct path as they have given more importance to the cabin. It has a tad bit more headroom and legroom. This comes in with sacrificing cargo capacity. Mazda has a very low roofline and so flags in the headroom. Kia stills have the roomiest cabin of the group due to the intelligent use of seat design.

Interior Features

  • 10-Way Power Adjust Driver’s Seat
  • 5-inch TFT LCD Display
  • 6-Way Adjustable Front passenger seat
  • 60/40 Split-Folding Rear Seats
  • Cruise Control with Steering wheel controls
  • Dual 12V outlets
  • Leather Wrapped Steering Wheel
  • Drive Mode Select (DMS)
  • SOFINO Seat trimming
  • Heated Front Seats

Infotainment System 

Kia Forte comes with the most user-friendly UVO infotainment system. It includes a 7-inch high-resolution touchscreen display that contains the navigation system, offers connectivity with the Bluetooth and also enables connectivity to smartphones with the Apple Car Play and the Android Auto. It comes with a four-speaker stereo, satellite radio, and a USB port.

The interface of the UVO infotainment system is very much intuitive and offers easy usability. Kia also gives you the opportunity to opt for a 320W 8-Speaker Harman Kardon Audio System with an integrated subwoofer.

Infotainment Features

  • 6-Speaker Audio System
  • 8-inch infotainment display
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Bluetooth Hands-Free Connectivity and audio

Cargo Capacity

Kia Forte comes with a generous cargo space, which is more than average for a compact sedan. Even when compared with the competitors, the Kia Forte has the maximum cargo volume, in spite of the Hyundai Elantra offering 14.4 cubic feet of cargo volume. 

Kia Forte manages to offer this 14.9 cubic feet of cargo volume because of the foldable rear seats that fold up to nearly flat for maximizing the cargo space. Another feature that contributes to more cargo space is the wide-opening trunk space that makes it easy to load more cargo into the sedan.

Models

Kia Forte FE

Hyundai Elantra SE

Toyota Corolla L

Mazda 3 Base

Cargo Volume (cu.-ft)

15.3

14.4

13.1

13.2

The Forte is the king of the hill when it comes to cargo. While the Elantra manages the same, the Corolla was a tad less but it was Mazda 3 which was the lager in the lot. 

2020 Kia Forte Sedan Interior
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Interior
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Interior
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Interior
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Interior
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Interior
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Interior
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Interior
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Interior
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Interior

2020 Kia Forte Exterior

With a curb weight of 2,804 pounds and the use of materials for constructing it, the Kia Forte is no doubt able to perform better than before. The front rake angle is almost as of a sports-car to reduce drag coefficient and increase fuel economy. Kia has done a good job designing the new headlights and the sloping arched roofline.

2020 Kia Forte Sedan Three Quarter View

With the updates in 2020, the Kia Forte gets a more appealing outside, with sharper lines and the striking tiger grille upfront. Taller and wider than the prior generation, the Forte has a more dignified demeanor than ever since. At the back, the taillights feature a full-length LED strip, which keeps the design relevant for the latest generation.

Models

Kia Forte FE

Hyundai Elantra SE

Toyota Corolla L

Mazda 3 Base

Length (in)

182.7

181.9

182.3

183.5

Width (in)

70.9

70.9

70.1

70.7

Height (in)

56.5

56.5

56.5

56.9

Ground clearance (in)

5.3

5.3

5.1

5.5

Wheelbase (in)

106.3

106.3

106.3

107.3

Track width (in) F/R

61.5/61.9

61.5/61.9

60.3/60.4

61.7/62.2

Curb weight (lbs)

2707

2844

2910

3071

The rivals are heavier and longer than the Forte. They are a bit more spacious than the Kia to which it compensates for its performance. Toyota Corolla is the compact one of the lot and Mazda boasts its striking and athletic design language.

Exterior Features

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Auto Headlight Control
  • Trunk lid spoiler
  • Daytime Running Lights (DRLs)
  • Chrome Exhaust tip
  • Heated Outside Mirrors
  • LED Taillamps
  • Projector headlamps
  • Solar Control Glass
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Exterior
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Exterior
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Exterior
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Exterior
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Exterior
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Exterior
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Exterior
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Exterior
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Exterior
2020 Kia Forte Sedan Exterior

2020 Kia Forte Safety

Besides the performance, capabilities, advancements, exteriors, and interiors, there are a lot of safety features that are noticeable in the compact sedan. The 2020 Kia Forte has scored an overall rating of 5 from the NHTSA in terms of safety. Standard features like rearview camera, lane departure warning, and driver attention features are a rare sight in base trims. The NHTSA was impressed by the Forte and gave it a healthy four out of five stars.

Apart from the above-mentioned features, the Forte also gets adaptive LED headlamps and a host of passive safety features as we move up the trim. No compromise on safety here.

Safety Features

  • 4-Dual Stage Airbags
  • Driver Attention Warning(DAW)
  • Forward Collision Warning(FCW)
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA)
  • Lane Departure Warning(LDW)
  • Electronic Stability Control(ESC)
  • Hill Start Assist Control (HAC)
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System(TPMS)

2020 Kia Forte Competition

Kia Forte vs Hyundai Elantra

It is due to the relationship Hyundai and Kia have, the Forte and Elantra are basically the same cars in a different body shell. The price tag for the Elantra is $19,150 because of the quality of the interior and other features along with the customization options available.

2020 Hyundai Elantra

However, it has a much slower acceleration time due to the engine being tuned by Hyundai for smoother power delivery. The Kia Forte is a better performance machine, has all the necessary features and is better than the Elantra altogether.

Kia Forte vs Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla offers more room to the rear passengers whereas the Kia Forte is more comfortable for the driver and the front passenger. Both the sedans offer moreover the same fuel efficiency and the Kia Forte is a bit shorter than the Corolla, making it easier to park. The Kia Forte delivers more power and offers more cargo space, however the Corolla makes a lesser impact on your bank balance.

2020 Toyota Corolla

Corolla has the slowest acceleration time and matching brake performance. The Corolla is designed decently but the Kia Forte beats it in every domain very easily maintaining its name for a better overall experience. The Kia Forte is better than the Toyota Corolla.

Kia Forte vs Mazda 3

The Kia Forte delivers less power when compared to the Mazda 3 Sport, but it is faster in both accelerating and decelerating. The Forte offers more fuel efficiency and it is lengthier and wider than the Mazda 3 Sport. The Kia Forte offers more cargo space and it is the best choice among the two if price matters.

2020 Mazda 3

The heavier weight of the Mazda makes it slower during acceleration by a bit but redeems itself at the time of braking. It is the quickest in acceleration after Kia Forte though. \xa0It looks sporty and is a better buy than the Forte for the extra money paid.

2020 Kia Forte Final Verdict

The Kia Forte is a mighty, compact sedan that comes with the best in class interiors, roomy, spacious cabin and also a more than average cargo space. It comes with the most user-friendly UVO infotainment system and an engine that offers good performance.

The performance of the car, though not bad, is the only drawback of the sedan. The Forte is an advancement with its features and advancements from the previous year models and the price factor makes it an ideal deal.