The sedan car market is one that has been dominated by Honda, Hyundai, and Ford in recent years. However, Kia is starting to gain traction with the Forte. The brand-new 2018 Kia Forte brings with it plenty of added features from the 2017 version to give the Honda Civic, Ford Focus, and other cars in the sector a good run for their money.

The base model of the 2018 Kia Forte, the LX Manual, comes in at $16,700, with the LX Auto moving up to the $17,800 price range. The top-of-the-line model of the Forte is the SX Manual Hatchback, which tops out at $26,000.

Performance Specifications

Under the hood sits a 147-horsepower, 132 pounds-feet of torque with a 2.0-liter I4 engine. In terms of fuel economy, the 2018 Kia Forte LX and S models present 25 miles in the city and 34 on the highway with the six-speed manual transmission, seeing those numbers improve to 29 in city and 37 on the highway with the six-speed automatic transmission.

If you need a little more power from the Forte, upgrade to the EX sedan which brings 164 horsepower, 151 lb-ft of torque and provides 25 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway with the six-speed automatic transmission.

Kia also carries a hatchback called the Forte5 which has 164 horsepower under the hook and comes rated at 25 miles in-city and 34 on the highway for both the LX and EX base trim models. The top-of-the-line SX model loads up a 1.6-liter turbocharged I4 that produces 201 horsepower and 195 pounds of torque that gets 25 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The six-speed manual will get you 23 and 29 mpg in city and on the highway.

Both version of the Forte and Forte5 are available in front-wheel drive only.

By using direct injection over port injection, the 2.0-liter I4 in the EX model can now produce an extra 17 horsepower and 19 lb-ft of torque.

Fuel Efficiency

The 2018 Kia Forte LX Manual model offers up 25 mpg in-city driving and expands to 34 on the highway through the 2.0-liter front-wheel drive engine. The LX Auto model offers 29 mpg in-city and 37 on the highway, with the LX Auto Hatchback, S Auto, EX Auto, EX Auto Hatchback and SX DCT Hatchback all getting 25 mpg in-city and varying from 30-37 on the highway. The SX Manual Hatchback will get you 23 mpg city and 29 on the highway.

Safety and Entertainment Features

One benefit of the Forte has always been the safety of the vehicle. The 2017 version was considered a 2017 Top Safety Pick by the IIHS, earning the highest award possible. The 2018 model has received a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA, with the Forte5 hatchback claiming five stars for the side crash and four for the rollover evaluation.

There are airbags for the driver both at the head and side levels, along with passenger and rear-head. The Kia Forte also features brake assist, electronic stability control, child safety locks and traction control, with four-wheel ABS and four-wheel disc brakes for stopping.

All-season front and rear tires come equipped with tire pressure monitoring system, steel wheels and wheel covers. Plus, rear defrost and power windows are on all models of the car.

Power moon roof, 4.2-inch instrument cluster display, 10-way power adjustable heated and ventilated leather front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 7.0-inch center display complete with UVO3 infotainment system and navigation, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available on the 2018 Kia Forte along with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, HID headlights that turn in the direction the car is travelling, LED taillights, and power-folding and heated side-view mirrors.

AM/FM Stereo, CD player, MP3 player, an auxiliary audio port, and satellite radio are also provided along with air conditioning and a wireless cell phone hookup.

Seating five passengers, the base Kia Forte model offers up 39.1 inches of head room in the front and 37.3 in the rear. There is 42.2 inches of leg room in the front and 35.9 in the rear. Cloth seats give you a great feel while driving or riding, along with second-row bench seating and a pass-through rear-seat.

How It Stacks up Against the Competition

The Kia Forte has been placed in the same category as the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze, and Volkswagen Jetta. That is some stiff competition for a vehicle still trying to gain a foot-hold in the automobile world. With an improved performance and horsepower output, the Forte now has a strong backbone to compete with those long-running vehicles.


  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto make the vehicle more user-friendly.
  • There are a lot of available features in the 2018 Kia Forte.
  • Plenty of interior room and cargo capacity.


  • Adding a powerful engine option has zapped some of the fuel economy.
  • The ride can be a bit rough.
  • The handling of the Forte can leave much to be desired

Final Thoughts

While still chasing the long-running models like the Honda Civic and Ford Focus, the Kia Forte continues to gain ground on the competition. The newest version of the vehicle provides a refreshed exterior styling and loads of added value. For the price, you get exactly what you would want out of a solid, well-maintained car.