2019 Kia Forte
Brands and their mystique hold power over consumers, promising a
lifestyle benefit even if itís not entirely true. After all, you
can wear Nike sneakers or an Under Armour t-shirt, but they wonít
make you any more fit. Similarly, buying a Ralph Lauren outfit that
mimics the look of old money wonít make your bank account any
fatter, although it fools the unsuspecting.
us to the 2019 Kia Forte sedan.
modelís introduction last week in Pittsburgh, a BMW 5 Series
pulled up alongside this new compact four-door. But hereís whatís
so surprising: If you didnít know the price difference between the
two cars, you wouldnít think the Forte started at one-third of the
price of the BMW. The 2019 Forteís styling is so sophisticated,
you could mistake it for something spendier.
fourth-generation Forte owes its exterior ťlan to Kiaís European
styling studio, which endowed the Forte with its sporting look, one
that bears some resemblance to the Optima, although Kia is hoping
youíll see Stinger influence in its looks. Thatís stretching a
and youíll find a modern interior that exchanges the previous
modelís dowdiness for a sophisticated minimalism that lends the
cabin a spacious feel. A fixed 8-inch screen that controls Kiaís
intuitive infotainment system anchors the center of the horizontally
oriented instrument panel. A row of buttons underpins the screen,
giving you quick access to the radio, navigation or other functions.
Below that resides the dual automatic climate control, which is
standard, and a rarity in this class.
The Forte EX
test car featured a two-tone leather/pleather interior, along with
stitched trim along the instrument panel ó an upscale touch.
ample room for four full-size adults. Legroom is generous up front,
and above average for a compact in the rear. The seating position in
the second row is pleasingly high, although those with long torsos
may find headroom tight in the back. Cargo space is generous at 15.3
Given that the
Atkinson Cycle engine is rated at 147 horsepower, you wouldnít
expect the Forte to be as sprightly as it proves to be, although
overall acceleration is merely average. Interestingly, the Forteís
Sport driving mode, offered alongside Normal and Smart driving
modes, learns your driving style and switches between normal and
sport modes automatically. Kiaís new continuously variable
automatic transmission, its first, provides an ideal balance between
performance and fuel economy, returning 33 mpg during the test
continuously variable transmissions (CVTs), the Kiaís unit was
developed in-house and employs a chain belt to improve efficiency,
so thereís little of the delay you typically experience with CVTs.
Thereís little waiting for the CVT to decide which gear ratio to
choose. Also, it can be shifted manually, which works very well.
Only on extreme uphill climbs will you remember itís a CVT.
Otherwise, its performance is so adept, youíll forget itís a CVT.
Itís easily the best one on the market.
as the Forte is, itís the ride and handling that is its biggest
surprise. Thanks should go to Albert Biermann, who once spent his
days running BMWís M division. You can sense his DNA in this carís
feel. OK, itís not a sports car, but the front-wheel-drive Forte
possesses exceptional compliance and composure. Perhaps this is why
Kia chose Pittsburgh to show off its newest compact star. Ride
quality is exceptional for the class. Bumps are noticed, but not
felt, except for the very worst of them. There are no excess body
motions after traversing bumps, no undue rebound. Even body lean is
modest. Couple that with its exceptionally quiet ride, engine and
exhaust, and youíll find a car thatís capable yet quiet.
And the EX is
stuffed with goodies, like heated and cooled front seats, Apple
CarPlay and Android Auto, multiple USB ports, wireless charging pad
and adaptive cruise control.
In fact, the
Kia Forte almost everything was either pleasing or better than
expected. Itís too bad that brands can blind us to the true value
of a product. Thereís little doubt that if youíre considering a
Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Cruze or Nissan Sentra youíd be better
off buying the Kia Forte. But you wonít of course. A Kia? What
would the neighbors say?
the brand name put you off; the 2019 Kia Forte is one of the best
compact sedans you can buy. Look for it when it goes sale shortly.
Double-overhead-cam 2.0-liter four-cylinder
economy (city/highway): 30/40 mpg
capacity: 15.3 cubic feet