Today, entry-level compact cars do not necessary mean substandard quality and strictly minimal features. Many of them offer a level of comfort and style that almost equal that of high-end cars. The 2013 Kia Forte is one such entry-level car. It debuted in mid-2008 as a replacement for the Kia Cerato in coupe, sedan, and hatchback variants. It is a strong competitor in a crowded segment full of equally, if not more, capable rivals, and one of the best small cars to have come from Kia’s stable.
New For 2013
A new sixteen-inch wheel design is standard in the coupe and hatchback models and optional for the sedans. LED daytime running lights are standard in the SX models. Power-folding exterior mirrors are now standard in EX and SX models. Crimson red and metallic bronze replace spicy red and metal bronze as exterior colors.
The 2013 Kia Forte has a crisp, streamlined, and agile exterior design that is based on the Hyundai Elantra. Kia has also borrowed some exterior elements from other cars. The front of the Forte looks a lot like the Honda Civic, and the taillights are similar to those of the Mitsubishi Lancer. The 2013 Kia Forte gets 15-inch steel wheels with covers as standard and optional 16-inch alloys and sunroof. The Forte SX has 17-inch alloy wheels and a sport suspension.
Interior & Cargo
The interior of the 2013 Kia Forte sedan is spacious and comfortable. The front seats and rear bench get more than the average legroom of the segment. The hatchback offers the best space of all three variants, but it is still not the most spacious cabin in its class. The coupe is a different story, however. While its front seats offer enough space to keep the driver and passenger comfortable, the rear seats feel very cramped. All three variants get cabins with good quality materials, but the entries from Hyundai, Volkswagen, and Ford offer better quality interiors. The build quality is also strictly acceptable- nothing more and sometimes less.
The controls in the 2013 Kia Forte are placed well within reach of the driver, and they are easy to use and understand too. In terms of cargo space, the hatchback beats the other two variants, with 19.4 cubic feet. When the rear seats are folded down, the space increases to 44.2 cubic feet, which is a very respectable figure for this segment. The coupe and sedan offer good amounts of cargo room too. The coupe gets 12.6 cubic feet, and the sedan gets 14.7 cubic feet. The car has cloth seats as standard, but a number of optional features too, including leather upholstery, air conditioning, heated front seats, telescoping steering wheel, push-button
All models of the 2013 Kia Forte get anti-lock disc brakes, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, and traction and stability control. The SK coupe has a stopping distance of 118 feet from 60 mph, which is better than the average in its class. The hatchback variant does the same thing in 122 feet, which is only average. Both, the sedan and hatchback, got four out of five stars from the NHTSA in their frontal and side impact crash tests. The IIHS gave the sedan its highest rating of ‘Good’ during roof strength, side, and frontal offset impact tests.
The LX and EX models of the 2013 Kia Forte have a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 156 horsepower and 144 lb-ft of torque. In some states, a Super-Ultra-Low-Emissions (SULEV) certified engine is available that delivers 154 horsepower and 139 lb-ft of torque. The standard transmission is a six-speed manual, but a six-speed automatic is also available. The 2013 Kia Forte SX gets a more powerful 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers 173 horsepower and 168 lb-ft of torque. The transmission options remain the same, but the SX offers better acceleration. It goes from standstill to 60 mph in around 8.8 seconds, which is pretty much the same as other cars in this segment. The coupe is faster, but the margin of difference is very little. The 2013 Kia Forte has a far more insulated cabin than its previous model year. This is a very welcome change, but the car still does not have as much a refined ride as other competing models.
The handling and ride characteristics of the 2013 Kia Forte are a little crude as compared to other cars in the segment. The LX and EX offer a comfortable ride, but have poor handling. On the other hand, the SX fixes up the handling issue, but compromises on ride quality. Rivals like the Mazda 3 and Ford Focus combine both comfort and handling successfully, but this combination seems to elude the Forte even after around five years of production.
Neither engine offers much refinement either. However, they do offer lots of power and amazing fuel economy. The 2.0-liter engine has a fuel economy of 26/36 mpg city/highway, while the 2.4-liter engine has a slightly lower 23/32 mpg city/highway. The Forte Eco has a fuel economy of 27/37 mpg city/highway. Even with the 2.4-liter engine, customers get more than respectable economy figures. The manual transmission is a little unpleasant and difficult to use, so the automatic transmission is all right for those who do not mind the lack of refinement.
Key Competitors For The 2013 Kia Forte
- Honda Civic
- Hyundai Elantra
- Mazda 3
- Toyota Corolla