2022 Kia Forte

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Updated: March 23, 2022

2022 Kia Forte

The Kia Forte is a compact sedan with crisp lines and a lot of standard equipment for the money. Its conventional three-box shape wraps around a spacious interior with a big touchscreen.

Kia offers the Forte in either mainstream 147-horsepower version aimed at impressive fuel economy, or as the GT with a 201-hp turbo-4 paired with either a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission or one of just a few 6-speed manual offerings still left on the new-car market. Enthusiasts, rejoice! Kia has you covered.

For 2022, Kia consolidated the Forte lineup by dropping a mid-level trim level and added more standard safety features and a larger, 10.3-inch touchscreen option. Tweaked exterior styling brings this compact sedan more in line with the larger Stinger also sold by Kia dealers.

The base engine delivers on its fuel-economy mission with EPA ratings as high as 31 mpg city, 41 highway, 35 combined. The GT’s power gain means more consumption, to the tune of 30 mpg combined.

While the IIHS crowns it a Top Safety Pick in GT guise thanks to its upgraded headlights, the NHTSA rates it at four stars overall. Automatic emergency braking and active lane control are standard across the lineup, while adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitors with braking assistance are optional.

Model lineup

Kia offers the Forte in FE, LXS, GT-Line, and turbocharged GT trim levels.

For about $20,500, FE models check off the basics and ride on tires designed to maximize fuel economy. Look for standard 15-inch wheels, power features, automatic emergency braking, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The step-up LXS version adds alloy wheels, a handy split-folding rear seat, and upgraded interior trim, plus the option to add blind-spot monitors. It costs around $21,000.

The GT-Line lives up to its name with sportier looks inside and out, 17-inch wheels, and a 10.3-inch touchscreen with built-in navigation. Options can dress up the GT-Line with a sunroof, Harman/Kardon audio, heated and cooled seats, and other items typically reserved for costlier or larger models.

At around $24,500, the Forte GT builds on the GT-Line with more underhood muscle, to the tune of 201 hp from a 2.0-liter turbo-4. More than just an appearance package and engine swap, the GT also includes a more sophisticated multi-link rear suspension not available on other Forte versions. Adaptive cruise control and a manual transmission are optional extras.

Exterior

A gentle nip-and-tuck this year adds a sportier front end that mimics the bigger Stinger. GT-Line and GT models go a step beyond with special bumpers and trim that look more like a proper sports sedan from Germany than a mainstream compact car.

Standard 15-inch steel wheels on the base FE are designed for low rolling resistance to improve fuel economy. Step-up models grow from 16- to 17- and finally 18-inch wheels, giving shoppers plenty of choice.

Interior

Inside, the Forte has a low-slung dash that sprouts a touchscreen for infotainment. Below sits a well-organized panel of switches and controls. Styling flair comes via circular air vents and various trim colors.

GT-Line and GT versions have zippy-looking synthetic leather upholstery with deviating stitching, plus a racecar-like flat-bottom steering wheel.

Look for good interior room from both the supportive front bucket seats and the spacious rear bench, which offers up 35.7 inches of leg room. The trunk impresses for a compact car at over 15 cubic feet.

Driving Impressions

Kia essentially offers two versions of the Forte: those with and without a turbocharger. FE, LXS, and GT-Line models use a 147-hp 2.0-liter inline-4, which is mated exclusively to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Driven gently, the setup delivers reasonable around-town punch with an emphasis on fuel economy.

GT models swap in a 201-hp 1.6-liter turbo-4 that may be down on displacement but provides a big power boost. The standard 6-speed manual transmission is a joy to hustle through gears, and something of a rarity in the compact sedan class. An optional 7-speed dual-clutch automatic is available for drivers more focused on easier commuting, however.

Forte FE models ride on narrow tires designed for low rolling resistance to reduce fuel consumption. LXS and GT-Line models provide sharper handling, but it’s the GT that really ups the ante with its balanced chassis thanks to a unique independent rear suspension.

Final Word

Stylish, well-equipped, and capable of delivering hybrid-level fuel economy, the 2022 Kia Forte is a cut above typical compact cars.

 

—by Andrew Ganz, with driving impressions from The Car Connection