Whereas many automakers are shifting away from constructing compact sedans in favor of providing new utility autos, Kia is doing no such factor. In spite of everything, the Forte is the corporate’s best-selling product, and the largest gateway into the Kia model. That makes the Korean automaker’s determination to launch this brand-new 2019 Forte a complete no-brainer.

Stinger inspiration

The third-generation Forte’s entrance finish borrows closely from the rakish Stinger, leading to a slim “tiger nostril” grille and swept-back headlights. The result’s a entrance finish that makes a considerably aggressive assertion — definitely extra so than the earlier Forte, at any price. Sadly, the sporty seems to be soften out again. The form of the greenhouse and quick trunk lid are extra Nissan Sentra than Kia Stinger, which is not precisely a praise.

Sadly, the Stinger’s seems to be do not proceed out again.

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Inside, some Stinger affect is once more current within the round air vents carried out into an intuitive cabin format. Be aware the clearly marked HVAC controls and ample soft-touch supplies on the dashboard and door panels — this all makes the Forte feel and look extra premium than a few of its rivals. There’s ample area in back and front for adults, although going three-deep within the rear will likely be cozy and finest. The trunk’s 15.three cubic-feet of area is the most important within the class, edging out the 15.1 cubes discovered within the Honda Civic and Nissan Sentra.

After all, many rivals, together with the Civic, provide hatchback physique types. For the earlier Forte, Kia did provide the Forte5, however has but to substantiate if a brand new one is coming. A Kia spokesman says extra Forte information is coming, although.

General, the cabin is snug. The leatherette seats in my range-topping EX take a look at automobile are soft and supply simply the correct quantity of aspect assist — after a protracted drive via Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, I am freed from fatigue. It is a quiet cabin, too, with thicker entrance door glass holding the cabin hushed, even over tough stretches of street

Tech heavy

Normal on all fashions is an Eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, in addition to each Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities. The system presents clear imagery, snappy response to instructions and fast switching between totally different menus. On my EX, an non-obligatory Harman Kardon audio setup belts out crisp tunes via its eight audio system.

Navigation can also be accessible on EX fashions, working as marketed, however annoyingly the map all the time defaults again to a wide-out view. My take a look at route had many easy-to-miss turns, and a zoomed-in map is useful when attempting to navigate unfamiliar areas. Consistently having to re-zoom-in is irritating.

To assist win the struggle on lifeless good gadgets, the Forte EX is affected by charging choices, with an everyday USB port, two quick-charging USB ports and a 12-volt energy outlet commonplace. A wi-fi charging pad on the backside of the middle stack is obtainable as an choice.

All 2019 Fortes have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto commonplace.

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For security, all Fortes come outfitted with ahead collision warning with automated emergency braking and lane departure warning with lane-keeping help. EX trims add commonplace challenge blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change help, whereas auto high-beams, parking sensors and adaptive cruise management are non-obligatory. The latter works properly on curvy two-lane roads outdoors of downtown Pittsburgh, adjusting speeds with the move of visitors and holding an affordable distance between me and the automobile forward.

Competent performer

From a dynamic standpoint, the Forte is a much more refined automobile than its predecessor. The two.Zero-liter four-cylinder churns out 147 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque, which positively will not win you any drag races, however is competent sufficient to get the Forte in control with out challenge.

On LXS, S and EX fashions, a brand new constantly variable transmission routes energy to the entrance wheels serving to to return an EPA estimated 30 miles per gallon within the metropolis and 40 mpg on the freeway. With steps programmed into the gearbox, below light-to-medium throttle it operates like an everyday torque converter automated and the guide shift operate is probably the most responsive in a CVT that I’ve come throughout thus far — even when it is not really shifting any gears.

The Forte’s 2.Zero-liter four-cylinder will get the job achieved with 147 horsepower.

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You may nonetheless get a Forte with a six-speed guide transmission if you’d like, however solely on the bottom FE trim with 15-inch metal wheels. With 27-mpg metropolis and 37-mpg freeway gas financial system rankings, it isn’t as environment friendly as CVT-equipped Fortes, however the decrease price of entry, avoiding the fixed engine drone at wide-open-throttle and having three pedals might make the gas financial system penalty value it to some.

The range-topping EX confidently carves via bends with managed physique roll, serviceable grip from the 225/45R17 Kumho Majesty Solus all-season tires and robust energy from the brakes. The hefty-feeling steering is pretty fast to answer inputs, making the Forte fairly entertaining to toss round.

The place the Forte has a leg up on the competitors is within the experience consolation division. Its McPherson strut entrance and torsion beam rear suspension setups are nothing groundbreaking, however they’re stellar at absorbing impacts from ruts and potholes. Surprisingly, the more cost effective torsion beam setup in again copes with mid-corner bumps properly throughout regular driving. Nonetheless, when you’re on the lookout for a compact sedan to drive in a extra enthusiastic method, you will probably need to go along with the Civic or Mazda3 for his or her multilink rear suspensions and total extra participating character.

A quiet cabin and experience consolation are the brand new Forte’s greatest standouts.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Vast enchantment

When the 2019 Kia Forte arrives in sellers this month, it will start at $18,585 together with $895 vacation spot for the FE guide. The Forte with the CVT begins at $19,485 to undercut the automated transmission-equipped variations of the Chevrolet Cruze ($20,400), Civic ($20,635), Mazda3 ($20,040) and Corolla ($19,620). My well-equipped EX tester begins at $22,885.

On prime of its worth proposition, its mixture of favor, respectable dealing with, glorious experience consolation and tech place the brand new Forte properly to play to extensive viewers. No person ought to be stunned if it continues to be Kia’s finest vendor.

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