The verdict: Bunched cars are generally purchased as basal transit, and the 2020 Kia Forte answers that call, but if you splurge for a GT trim you’ll get a bit of bargain fun after sacrificing accustomed drivability.
Versus the competition: Some bunched sedans activity versions with adventurous actualization bales that abort to bear on the fun mechanics, but the Forte GT is not accusable of that. Its achievement and berth upgrades bear abundant activity to advice the car angle out yet accumulate costs reasonable.
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The Forte competes in the bunched auto chic adjoin the brand of the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Corolla; see them compared. Each of those cars offers an enthusiast version: the Civic Si, Elantra N Band and Corolla Apex.
Kia’s bunched auto was redesigned for 2019 and has apparent few changes since. The bigger was 2020’s accession of a sport-oriented GT trim akin with a new turbocharged agent and action suspension.
The Forte GT is abundantly peppy. Its upgraded agent — a 201-horsepower, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder — hustles adequately bound off the line, and you’ll apprehend it; the bright bankrupt agenda comes on able and is a nice accompaniment to the engine’s added oomph. The four-cylinder is commutual with a seven-speed dual-clutch automated chiral that behaves nicely, with well-timed, bland shifts; a six-speed chiral is additionally available. Added Forte trim levels accomplish do with the accepted 147-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder and continuously capricious automated transmission.
Regardless of whether you acquire the chiral or automated transmission, the GT’s added fun will amount you 3 mpg accumulated adjoin the accepted engine: The approved Forte 2.0-liter is EPA-rated 31 or 33 mpg accumulated with the chiral and CVT, respectively, while the GT is rated 28 or 30 mpg, respectively. The Forte GT and Elantra N Band are a bit thirstier with a chiral than is the Civic Si, which is rated 30 mpg combined, but they activity added able automatics, which the Honda lacks. The Corolla Apex acme them all at 32 mpg with a stick about-face and 34 mpg with an automatic, but it comes with trade-offs I’ll abode below.
The Forte’s selectable active modes adapt its appearance absolutely a bit — for bigger and for worse. For added responsiveness, pop it into Action approach for added advancing dispatch acknowledgment and about-face timing. Smart approach is advised to save gas, and it dulls dispatch and all-embracing responsiveness.
Besides its different drivetrain, the GT additionally gets a sport-tuned suspension. It handles nicely; the close abeyance cautiously navigates curves with little lean, and there’s able shock assimilation over bumps. Its council has a activity that added helps bear a playful, connected-to-the-road feel.
The Forte GT is adequately able-bodied akin in agreement of ability adjoin the Honda Civic Si and Hyundai Elantra N Line, which shares its agent with the Forte GT. (This allegory is best accordant because their weights are almost similar.) Toyota’s sport-oriented adaptation of the Corolla disappoints; like the others, the Corolla Apex has the added beheld ability of a action archetypal and some abeyance upgrades, but not abundant achievement aliment to accomplish it abundant added absorbing to drive than a approved Corolla — which is to say, about as fun as accessory a address lath meeting.
The Forte’s clean, accumbent dashboard architecture appeals for its simplicity; elsewhere, the berth strikes a animated accent with action seats with red adverse stitching, a flat-bottom council wheel, and ancestor of bright atramentous trim on the birr and doors. There’s some adamantine artificial on the aperture panels and at knee level, but best surfaces feel abundantly padded.
The sedan’s multimedia arrangement is additionally well-done. The accepted tabletlike 8-inch touchscreen sits aerial on the birr for acceptable visibility. It’s responsive, and the system’s bright cartoon and aboveboard card anatomy abridge operation.
Under the awning are several concrete altitude controls, which are additionally amid aural accessible reach. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone affiliation are standard, and a wireless charging tray for accordant phones is optional. Added accessible appearance accommodate acrimonious and aerial advanced seats and a 320-watt Harman Kardon exceptional audio system.
The Forte is mid-pack in both backseat allowance and legroom, but it loses credibility for child-safety bench accommodations. Advanced legroom is bound back rear-facing car seats are in place, and accession isn’t easy; the lower Latch anchors are active in annealed upholstery and crave some beef to access. Added bunched sedans acquire agnate legroom issues but easier-to-access Latch anchors.
According to architect specifications, the Forte’s block amplitude is hardly beyond than its competitors’ at 15.3 cubic feet. In practice, though, it’s disappointing. The block is deep, but the aperture isn’t actual tall, so applicable annihilation added than baby items central is tough. Its hinges additionally intrude into the space, potentially crushing cargo. Its burden net, however, is a nice way to accumulate abate items from rolling about (and accepting crushed).
The 2020 Kia Forte is well-equipped with a lot of accepted assurance features. All models get a advanced blow admonishing arrangement with automated emergency braking, lane abandonment warning, lane accumulate abetment and a disciplinarian absorption admonishing system.
Upper trim levels get alike added accepted assurance equipment: a dark atom admonishing arrangement with lane change abetment and rear cross-traffic active is accepted on EX, GT-Line and GT trims. On the GT, adaptive cruise ascendancy and a about-face parking ambit admonishing arrangement are optional; they’re bare on added trims.
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Competitors activity agnate levels of accepted and accessible assurance features, but the Forte GT costs a lot less. With the automatic, it starts at $23,655 — lower than automated versions of the Elantra N Band ($26,195) and Corolla Apex ($26,065). The Civic Si — which comes alone with a chiral chiral — starts at $26,155 in auto trim. All prices accommodate destination charges.
Budget is usually top-of-mind for bunched auto shoppers, but those accommodating to absorb a little added for fun will get aloof that with the Kia Forte GT.
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