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2022 Honda Civic vs Kia Forte

The Honda Civic has been the economy sedan king for decades and now the Kia Forte looks to upset it with new features for 2022.

Compact Car Clash

hondanews.com | kiamedia.com
hondanews.com | kiamedia.com

Headroom, shoulder room, wheelbase, track, overall length, and overall height… Each of these metrics are nearly identical between the 2022 Kia Forte and the 2022 Honda Civic. In fact, they’re within just two inches or less of one another in each of the above mentioned categories. Can they really be so similar though? How is each of these brands differentiating themselves? And which one is actually the better car at the end of the day? We answer all those questions and more below.

2022 Honda Civic vs Kia Forte Specs

2022 Honda Civic - hondanews.com
2022 Honda Civic - hondanews.com

For 2022, Honda has released an all-new Civic. It kicks off the 11th generation of the historically excellent economy car. Inside of it you’ll find a slew of new features including a partially digital instrument panel, a 7-inch infotainment system, automatic climate control, and smartphone integration (albeit the wired type). It also gets a bunch of standard safety features like adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, forward collision mitigation, and lane-keep assist. The base price of the new Civic is $22,915 and comes with a three-year or 36,000-mile limited warranty as well as a five-year or 60,000-mile powertrain warranty. It also gets 36 mpg combined in its most efficient form.

2022 Kia Forte - kiamedia.con
2022 Kia Forte - kiamedia.con

The 2022 Kia Forte is part of its third generation that was introduced in 2019. Nevertheless, Kia has provided a facelift for the current model year. It includes new exterior styling to bring it more into the family, LED fog lights, and LED DRLs. Inside, it gets a new 4.2-inch digital instrument cluster, an 8-inch infotainment system, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (unless you opt for the larger screen for some reason). Safety is also good in the Forte as it comes with forward collision mitigation, lane-keep assist, and rear cross-traffic alert. The Kia comes with a five-year or 60,000-mile Limited warranty and a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Its most economical version gets 35 mpg according to the EPA. At its lowest trim level, the Forte costs $20,585.

Driving Characteristics

2022 Honda Civic 1.5L I4 - hondanews.com
2022 Honda Civic 1.5L I4 - hondanews.com

These cars completely change their characteristics based on the engine that you spec in them. For example, the Honda Civic is pretty good with its base engine, but dramatically better with the 1.5-liter turbocharged option found in the EX or above. With the base motor, it’s only passable as a daily driver. It’s never athletic or playful. At the same time, it is quiet and easy to drive. The CVT it is paired to is smooth and unobtrusive. That’s the standard transmission in the Civic, unless you go for the Si trim which is dramatically more enjoyable than any other with its 6-speed manual.

2022 Kia Forte 1.6L I4 - kiamedia.com
2022 Kia Forte 1.6L I4 - kiamedia.com

The 2022 Kia Forte is a similar story, but with a more dramatic gap between trims. The base trim is by far the least enjoyable car between both the Forte and the Civic. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine makes just 147-horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque. That’s almost so low that it’s laughable in this category. The turbocharged 1.6-liter engine option is a completely different story though. It’s properly fun and, to us, feels more impressive when near the edge of performance than the Civic Si. The dual-clutch transmission is also fantastic and rewarding to use.

The thing that keeps the Civic in the conversation is that, unlike in the Kia, you don’t have to spring for the top-of-the-range trim to get the fun motor. Of course, in the Civic EX, EX-L, Touring, and Touring Sport, the 1.5-liter engine only makes 180-horsepower. Still, it’s a good middle ground.

Interior Comfort, Quality, and Cargo

The new Honda Civic only feels like the old Honda Civic in that it’s very comfortable and familiar. There are some huge steps forward though. They have drastically improved the climate control and stereo controls. Seating is comfortable and supportive, but lacks solid lumbar support. Headroom is quite cramped for taller folks though. As the Civic travels down the road, it’s a bit louder than the Forte. Road noise finds its way into the cabin almost all the time and the ride is less sophisticated when compared to the Kia.

The new Kia Forte offers just a touch less rear legroom. In the front row though it’s impressive. Seat adjustability is above average. It also provides a bit more of an integrated feel in the cabin while still being spacious. We love the touchscreen as well. It’s bigger and easier to use than in the Civic. The heated seats are also seriously toasty at their maximum setting. Overall, the quality and interior comfort of the Kia Forte is just better. That same thing applies to cargo, as the Kia offers half a cubic foot more space.

Trims and Features Available

2022 Honda Civic Si - hondanews.com
2022 Honda Civic Si - hondanews.com

The new Honda Civic comes in five main trims and then has a couple of special ones relating to its hatchback body style. At the bottom is the LX which gets 16-inch wheels, LED lights, a 7-inch infotainment system, and adaptive cruise control. Bump up to the Sport and you’ll get 18-inch wheels, eight speakers, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

The EX and the EX-L (which is on the hatchback only) both get 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, heated front seats, and most importantly, the 180-horsepower version of the 1.6-liter engine. Then there’s the Touring and the Sport Touring for the hatchback version. These trims gets 18-inch wheels, a 9-inch infotainment system, 12 speakers, an integrated navigation system, and more.

Then there’s the Civic Si. It’s the top trim until the new Type R arrives next year. It gets a 200-horsepower engine, a six-speed manual transmission, bigger brakes, a sport suspension, and a limited-slip differential.

2022 Kia Forte GT - kia.com
2022 Kia Forte GT - kia.com

The 2022 Kia Forte comes in a much more straightforward set of four trims. At the base FE level, you’ll get an 8-inch infotainment system, 15-inch wheels, lane-keeping assist, and more. Step up to the LXS and you’ll get slightly nicer interior trim, different drive modes, 16-inch wheels, and 60/40-split folding rear seats.

The GT-Line is the next trim and it gets 17-inch wheels, heated mirrors, LED DRLS and taillights, six speakers, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The GT, which is trim we’d suggest going for, gets the 1.5-liter 201-horsepower engine, a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission or an optional six-speed manual, LED headlights, 18-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, and a sports exhaust.

So, Kia Forte or Honda Civic?

These cars are indeed very similar and depending on each buyer’s needs, the one we’d recommend might be different. The 2022 Honda Civic is the choice if resale value is a key factor. It’s also the one to go for if you’re not looking to get the top trim level of either vehicle, because the Civic Si is the better driver. If those two lines of reasoning don’t apply, then the 2022 Kia Forte is the better value. Its extensive Kia warranty alone makes it a great deal, and considering that it’s better to drive and sit in the GT trim than the Civic Si, it’s the one we’d have.

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Stephen Rivers

Stephen Rivers is a car enthusiast who loves all things built with passion, extending to nearly all car cultures. After obtaining an occupational studies degree in sports medicine, Stephen turned his attention to sports cars. He was employed as an auto shop manager, spent time in auto sales, and worked as a software developer for a racing company, but Stephen began writing about cars over 10 years ago. When he's not in front of a computer screen, he's racing his own Bugeye Subaru WRX in as many autocross and rallycross competitions as he can.

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