Redesigned 2019 Kia Forte Promises Better Fuel Economy, More Room
Kia's updated compact sedan ramps up its interior tech and tries on a new transmission
Kia has redesigned the 2019 Forte compact sedan, and the new version promises many improvements, including a more spacious interior, better fuel economy, improved interior technology, and standard safety features.
Kia says the new car's improved fuel efficiency comes thanks to a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which replaces the previous six-speed automatic that we thought worked quite nicely. The new Forte keeps its predecessor's 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, which makes the same 147 horsepower as before. But Kia estimates the CVT will help the new car manage an EPA-rated 34 mpg combined--a two-mpg improvement. The FE version gets an EPA-rated 35 mpg combined. A six-speed manual transmission is also available.
The Forte’s new body is about three inches longer, with small increases in height and width. Kia says the car’s additional size gives more space--specifically head- and legroom--to an interior that was already one of the most generous in its class.
The front seats have denser foam, which hopefully helps the cushions hold their support better over longer drives, something we found lacking in the old version.
Although the last Forte’s ride was one of the more comfortable in the class, the soft suspension compromised its handling agility. The new car has a reworked suspension and improved steering feel, Kia says, which should give the car a more nimble character.
All four Forte trims--FE, LXS, S, and EX--come standard with an eight-inch color touch-screen infotainment system, compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. A wireless phone-charging tray will be optional, enabling Android, Apple iPhone 8-series, and iPhone X devices to charge without plugging them in.
Automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist are standard which CR applauds. Other available advanced safety features include blind-spot warning and rear-cross-traffic alert. Adaptive cruise control is available on the top EX trim--a new option for 2019.
The outgoing Forte is already one of CR's top-rated compact cars, This new one has the potential to be even better.
We look forward to buying our own car for testing soon.