2019 Kia Forte: Quick Drive — Cars.com

Compact sedans are all about value and
for the most part so our brands like Kia. So let’s see what Kia cooked up here in
the redesign of its compact sedan the Forte. Now if the Forte looks a little
bigger, well, it’s because it is. It’s about three inches longer than before,
nearly an inch wider. Those are significant dimensional increases among
compact cars. There’s also a lot of new styling elements. First of all this kind
of light strip that goes all the way across, kind of joining the taillights
here. Below it there’s more lights with some reflectors here that kind of sit in
this pod. You come around to the front there’s another pod here on each side of
the bumper it has more reflectors, more lights here even in these headlights.
There’s kind of these four reflectors, they sort of look like the wings on a
Star Wars x-wing fighter, I don’t know a lot going on perhaps a little bit too
busy for my taste. I don’t know it’s a little Jar Jar-ring for me but if it works
for you well, may the Forte be with you. A fairly straightforward interior here
that features a very horizontal kinda low set dashboard with sort of a tablet
like display here that sits above the center controls. That’s kind of a layout
that you’re seeing in a lot of new cars nowadays, a lot of recent redesigns, and
it’s all pretty easy to use from Kia’s standpoint. You know, physical volume and
tuning knobs big climate controls here and plenty of storage space to kind of
throw your stuff. A decent amount of room as well. Doesn’t seem like it’s a huge
step forward or step back in terms of quality versus the prior generation
Forte but that wasn’t really a problem and this seems fairly competitive with
other compact non luxury cars. Now a lot of kind of interesting features here you
get some nice touches things like a height adjustable front passenger seat
here that’s standard. Another standard feature dual zone automatic climate
control, usually you don’t find those things standard in base compact cars,
even some midsize and full-size cars, nice to see them here in this Forte.
The other sheet drops a little bit when you actually get behind the wheel
and start driving which we’re doing here at the 2018 Midwest
Automotive Media Association’s fall rally in the Chicago suburbs. Now the big
news for the new Forte is a CVT, a continuously variable
transmission as the automatic option instead of the six-speed automatic in the prior
generation of the Forte. Kia says it did a lot of things to try to make it as
user-friendly as possible but I gotta say it just doesn’t really kind of
advance the bar for CVTs and there are a lot of compacts out there now with
pretty good examples of continuously variable transmissions this one not so
much. It just kind of feels rubber bandy and the sort of linearity between
your right foot and engine revs and there’s just kind of modest overall
power so the cars just never really feels that exciting to get out on the
road and drive. Still, 147 horsepower 132 pounds feet of torque from this
port injected four-cylinder engine. There is no direct-injected
four-cylinder which was available last year in the Forte, it had a little bit more
power, doesn’t seem like that’s gonna be around here at least out the gate. Ride
and handling are okay. Handling is a little bit mushy in terms of just
steering turn in and overall feedback. Not a lot of fun to throw the Forte
around and ride quality seems sort of generically soft, not terribly well
controlled, but soaks up bumps reasonably well for what this is I think that’ll
suit shoppers better than the outgoing Forte which we always kind of thought
was a little bit busy and more poorly controlled. All of that aside back to the
value story, the Forte has tons of it. Now this car can be had for under
$20,000 with an automatic transmission and the destination charge and that
gives you standard features like an 8 inch multimedia screen with Apple
Carplay and Android Auto, forward collision warnin,g automatic emergency
braking and even high-tech lane centering steering. A lot to be had in a
pretty inexpensive package. The new Forte – on sale right now. Check it out if you