2023 Kia Forte: Value-Packed and Safety-Minded

See what our experts think of the 2023 Kia Forte. We take a look at powertrain, interior options, trim levels, and more.  

What’s New for the 2023 Kia Forte?

After a sizeable refresh in 2022, the 2023 Kia Forte is mostly unchanged. The GT Technology package is no longer available, but the Forte GT now gets new standard safety features on models equipped with automatic transmission.

2023 Kia Forte - kiamedia.com

2023 Kia Forte – kiamedia.com |  Shop 2023 Kia Forte on Carsforsale.com

Body Style

Starting Price

MSRP $19,490

Drivetrain

Drivetrain

FWD

Drivetrain

Fuel Economy

30 City / 41 Hwy (MPG)

Number of Seats

Seating

Seats 5

The Breakdown

Lots of standard safety features

Generous warranty

Excellent fuel economy

Base engine is lacking

No standard adaptive cruise control

Handling isn’t great

An overall great value

2023 Kia Specs

Trims & Pricing

LX- $19,490
LXS - $19,990
GT-Line - $21,690
GT - $24,190

2023 Kia Forte Powertrain

2023 Kia Forte 2.0L I4 - kiamedia.com
2023 Kia Forte 2.0L I4 - kiamedia.com

The LX, LXS, and GT-Line models come with a 147-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The GT gets a turbocharged 201-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission or an optional six-speed manual for an extra $700.

All trims come with front-wheel drive. The 2.0-liter feels lethargic, especially thanks to the CVT. However, the turbocharged engine delivers a punch and puts the Forte on a more even playing field to rivals like the Honda Civic. In fact, the Civic’s more powerful base engine is what set it apart in our 2022 Honda Civic vs Kia Forte review. The Forte provides a comfortable ride, but handling is unimpressive and while the steering weight is fine it offers very little feedback.

2023 Kia Forte Fuel Economy & MPG

The Forte gets excellent fuel economy with the base engine – an estimated 30 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. The turbocharged engine on the GT is slightly less efficient, getting an estimated 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. The turbocharged manual models are the least efficient, getting an estimated 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

Interior, Comfort, & Cargo Space

For a budget compact car like the Forte, we were impressed with the design and quality of its interior materials. The front seats offer plenty of knee and shoulder room and the back seat is roomy enough for two adults to ride comfortably on short jaunts.

The Forte’s trunk is one of the biggest in its class and will fit seven carry-on bags with the rear seats folded down. There are many small-item storage options within the cabin including useful door pockets, a generously sized center console box, and miscellaneous storage trays.

Entertainment & Technology

2023 Kia Forte - kiamedia.com
2023 Kia Forte - kiamedia.com

The Kia Forte also impresses with its offering of tech and entertainment features. We put it ahead of most of its rivals in the technology category for standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration and Bluetooth. The standard 8.0-inch touchscreen is well positioned and easy to use with some physical knobs for key features.

The GT-line and GT trims come with a larger 10.25-inch touchscreen, navigation, satellite radio, and an upgraded sound system. All models come with a second 4.2-inch color display between the gauges. A wireless smartphone charging pad and a USB charging port are available options.

Safety Features

All Fortes come with a generous lineup of standard safety features including forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, lane keeping system, and driver attention warning.

Blind-spot monitoring and a safe-exit system are available on the LXS and above trims. The top GT trim with the dual-clutch automatic transmission gets an electronic parking brake, navigation-based smart cruise control, front collision alerts with cyclist detection, and highway driver assist.

The only thing Kia missed the mark on here is not making adaptive cruise control standard on any trim level like most of its competitors do.

2023 Kia Forte Trims & Pricing

2023 Kia Forte LX - kia.com
2023 Kia Forte LX - kia.com

LX- $19,490

The entry-level LX (formerly FE) comes standard with cloth upholstery, 15-inch steel wheels, cruise control with steering wheel controls, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, and a four-speaker audio system. The Forte made our list of 10 New Cars that Won’t Break the Bank, largely for its generous offering of standard safety features. Every Forte is equipped with forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, a lane keeping system, and driver attention warning.

2023 Kia Forte LXS - kia.com
2023 Kia Forte LXS - kia.com

LXS – $19,990

The LXS trim gets upgraded interior trim, 60/40-split folding rear seats, and 16-inch alloy wheels. The optional LXS Technology package adds blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a safe-exit system, and heated side mirrors.

2023 Kia Forte GT Line - kia.com
2023 Kia Forte GT Line - kia.com

GT-Line – $21,690

The GT-Line trim adds the LXS options along with cloth sport seats with faux leather inserts, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a leather-wrapped, flat-bottom sport steering wheel, keyless entry and push-button start.

The exterior features 17-inch alloy wheels, LED fog lights, LED running lights and taillights, heated exterior mirrors, a six-speaker audio system, a 10.25-inch touchscreen, navigation, and dual-zone climate control.

Other available features include a sunroof, an 8-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, heated and ventilated front seats, a wireless charging pad, a rear-seat USB charging port, and an electronic parking brake.

2023 Kia Forte GT - kia.com
2023 Kia Forte GT - kia.com

GT – $24,190

The range-topping GT trim gets nearly all of the standard and optional features of the lower trims and adds LED headlights, wireless smartphone charging, a 1.6L turbocharged four-cylinder, seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, sport tuned suspension, sport tuned exhaust, and 18-inch wheels.

For an additional $700 you can get the GT Manual that installs a six-speed manual transmission. Models equipped with automatic transmission gain blind-spot intervention and rear automatic braking.

Before you begin your search for a new Forte, be sure to check out our New Car Incentives article for a comprehensive list of all the leasing options, finance offers, and other specials being offered.

Warranties

What really sets the Forte apart from most of its competitors is its 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and its 5-year/60,000-mile limited warranty. The Hyundai Elantra is the only other compact car to offer this much standard coverage, but the Elantra beats its corporate cousin thanks to the additional complimentary maintenance. The Kia Forte doesn’t offer any complimentary scheduled maintenance.

What we think

2023 Kia Forte - kiamedia.com

2023 Kia Forte – kiamedia.com |  Shop 2023 Kia Forte on Carsforsale.com

Kia is leading the pack with this compact sedan. The 2023 Kia Forte offers frugality without sacrificing safety and style. We’d go with the GT model primarily for its turbocharged engine. Pairing it with the dual-clutch automatic transmission is the way to go for even more added safety features. But no matter which you choose, the Forte is a value-packed solid car.

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Ben Hill

Ben Hill grew up seeing his neighbor restore classic MG cars. Soon, Ben was building his own model cars. Then, in high school, he started restoring early model Ford Mustangs. The combination of art and science is what first drew Ben to the automotive industry. He appreciates the engineering and aesthetics of a well-designed vehicle. Ben earned writing recognition as a writer Kentucky Young Author of the Year. Today, he uses his bachelor of arts degree from Furman University, writing car reviews, comparisons, and about automotive financing.

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