New for 2015There are a number of revisions on the 2015 Kia Forte: two engines have become more efficient, the LX and EX trim levels can be had with a UVO package with 16- (LX) or 17-inc (EX) alloys, and the Koup and Forte5 gain UVO eServices as an option.
Vehicle OverviewThe Kia Forte family consists of the four-door sedan, two-door Koup, and four-door hatchback Forte5. The Forte fits above the Rio and below the Optima in Kia’s lineup.
SummaryThe 2015 Kia Forte sedan, Forte Koup, and Forte5 all feature front-wheel drive and are paired with a six-speed transmission; manual is standard, but automatic is an option. The base engine is a 1.8-liter I-4 that makes 145 hp and 130 lb-ft of torque, which is good for an EPA-estimated 25/37 mpg city/highway with the manual, and 26/39 mpg with the automatic. The optional engine for the sedan but the base engine for the Koup and Forte5 is a 173-hp 2.0-liter I-4 that makes 154 lb-ft of torque.
An optional turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4 that makes 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque is available on the Forte5 and Koup, netting EPA-estimated mileage of: 21/29 mpg with either transmission on the Forte5; and 22/29 mpg with the manual-equipped Koup, or one-mpg better on the highway with the automatic. We recommend rowing your own gears, as the six-speed is well balanced and shifts are direct.
The 2015 Kia Forte sedan received a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars), and in IIHS testing received four ratings of good and one of marginal for the new – and more difficult – small front overlap category; the highest possible rating is good.
What We ThinkFor “enthusiast types” such as the people who write for this fine publication, the 2014 Kia Forte5 SX was a breath of fresh air. Kia has paired an excellent six-speed manual (we suggested that it wouldn’t feel out of place on a rear-drive sports coupe) and a generous power curve from the turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4. In a 2014 Compact Sedan comparison we preferred the Kia Forte to the 2014 Ford Focus, but had to hand the victory to the Mazda3 in the end. We faulted the three driving modes that adjusted steering effort, but none seemed to get it right. Some of the praises we heaped on the Kia were the much improved ride, the simple infotainment system, and the attention to small details in the interior. For a line that plays to the logical side of the brain when buyers shop for the sedan, Kia has managed to create an impressive set of vehicles in the Koup and Forte5 SX models.
If the Volkswagen GTI is a hot hatchback, then the 2014 Kia Forte5 SX is a warm hatch in the most complimentary sense. It's not quite as sharp as the best sport compacts, but no other Kia is as much fun to drive as this turbocharged [hatchback].
- SX model performance with manual transmission on Koup and Forte5
- Great value
- Easy-to-use infotainment system
You Won’t Like
- Steering could use more feel
- Non-turbocharged engines are bland
- Sedan doesn’t get the turbo 1.6-liter I-4
- Honda Civic
- Toyota Corolla
- Ford Focus