September 20, 2021

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2021 Kia Forte

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What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Kia Forte? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Kia Forte compact sedan competes in a shrinking segment with robust contenders in the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda 3, and Toyota Corolla. 

Is the 2021 Kia Forte a good car?

Review continues below

Yes. The stylish looks, roomy interior, standard safety and convenience features, and overall value offset its mixed crash-test results and mediocre powertrains to earn a TCC Rating of 6.2 of of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2021 Kia Forte?

Redesigned for 2019, then updated in 2020 to include GT and GT-Line trims, the 2021 Forte stands pat, though some options on higher trims are now standard.  

With available 18-inch wheels and a low, raked profile channeling the Kia Stinger performance sedan, the 2021 Kia Forte looks good on the inside and out. Available accent stitching, soft-touch panels, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and a silver on black design theme with circular outboard vents improve upon the economy car’s past.

But the powertrain options betray the good looks and compelling features. The base 147-hp 2.0-liter inline-4 is meant for efficiency, not power, as long as you spend up for the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT); it gets 4 mpg better than the standard manual transmission to an EPA-rated 35 mpg combined. An uprated 201-hp 1.6-liter turbo-4 fills the bay of the GT model, but the unpredictable 7-speed dual-clutch transmission would make us opt up for the manual.  

The Forte’s roominess and clever packaging puts it on par with the Honda Civic, but the base FE model’s bench seat limits the versatility offered in 60/40-split folding rear seats in LXS, GT-Line, EX, and GT trims. The 15.3 cubic feet of trunk space is pretty good for a compact sedan, but a hatchback would do it better.

The safety scorecard on the Forte is mixed, with the NHTSA giving it only four stars on front crash prevention. On the other hand, the IIHS rated it a Top Safety Pick, and it comes with essential driver-assist features such as automatic emergency braking. 

Kia loads the 2021 Forte with compelling standard features, such as keyless entry, an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and an excellent 5-year/60,000-mile warranty. 

How much does the 2021 Kia Forte cost?

The base FE model with a 6-speed manual transmission costs $18,885, and the available CVT adds $900. The price spread remains reasonable until the EX and GT, which tops the range with the turbo-4 at $24,385.

Where is the 2021 Kia Forte made?

In Mexico. 

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