2015 Kia Forte5

EX FWD 4-Dr Hatchback I4 auto trans

2015 kia forte5 Reviews and News

2015 Kia Forte5 Side View In Motion
Surely I'm the only guy in America who is conspicuously not impressed by the shape of the 2015 Mazda 3 5-door hatchback. For me, the look of the 2004 version, developed under the direction of designer Morey Callum, is still the measure of 5-door hatchbacks.
This is why the 2015 Kia Forte 5 SX looks so terrific to me. As uninspired as the sedan version of the Forte might be, the hatchback perfectly balances dynamism with practicality, which is the essence of the magic that a 5-door must have before anyone will understand the unique appeal of the package. It's largely unchanged from 2014 except for electronics, so it still looks great: A simple boxy shape, though not square-rigged. A simple, visual force vector that rises from front to back, and no weird grille. Some sculpted character to the surfaces, yet no tortured surface excitement.
The interior of the 2015 Kia Forte 5 SX also looks great, although the leather upholstery of the $2300 SX Premium Package (sunroof, et al) surely plays a role in my impression of quality. The $1900 navigation system (plus HID headlights, et al) also surely plays a role here. The rear seats go down and you can carry stuff and all that. Yet what I like best is the driving position, which combines a relatively low cowl with a squared-up driving position, and you get kind of expansive field of view that you want on the narrow canyon roads out here around Los Angeles.
Sadly, the 2015 Kia SX Forte 5 doesn't drive as well as a Mazda 3, and in this I am not surprised. The turbocharged, direct-injected 1.6-liter inline-4 is rated at 201 hp, but you really need the standard, six-speed manual transmission to get the engine busy enough to impress you. When it's hooked up with this particular car's six-speed automatic transmission, the whole business sounds like a sound-effects loop for Storm Chasers. As far as the chassis calibration goes, this is no Mazdaspeed 3, particularly the clumsy electric-assist steering. All you really have on your side are the 225/40R-18 88V Nexen CP-671 tires, and unfortunately there's a lot of ride harshness in the bargain. Kia's development skills have improved dramatically recently, but the Forte 5 first came to market a bit before all the really good stuff happened.
Sure looks great, though.

2015 Kia Forte 5 SX Specifications

Base price $21,890
Price as tested $27,100
Engine 1.6L turbo DOHC I-4
Power 201 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque 195 lb-ft @ 1750-4500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Drive Front-wheel
Length x width x height 171.3 x 70.1 x 57.1 in
Wheelbase 106.3 in
Curb Weight 3122 lbs
Cargo Capacity 23.2 cu ft behind 3rd seat
Fuel economy 27/46/33 mpg city/highway/combined
2015 Kia Forte5
2015 Kia Forte5

New for 2015

The Kia Forte5 gains the UVO eServices infotainment system with a rearview camera only as part of a package, but remains otherwise unchanged for 2015.

Vehicle Overview

The Kia Forte5 is a four-door hatchback that combines style and versatility with a pair of direct-injection engines and a generous options package to compete in the competitive compact hatchback segment. The Forte5 sits above the Rio and below the Optima in the Kia lineup.


The 2015 Kia Forte5 is powered by a 2.0-liter I-4 that produces 173 hp and 154 lb-ft of torque in EX trims. That 2.0-liter I-4 is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that drives the front wheels. EPA estimated fuel economy is 25/33 mpg city/highway. Anyone wanting to enjoy driving, as opposed to competent transportation, owes it to themselves to consider the Forte5 SX, with its turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4 that produces 201 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, which is paired to an excellent six-speed manual, though it can be equipped with a six-speed automatic as well. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21/29 mpg regardless of transmission.
Even though it's just a compact, the Kia Forte5 delivers a level of content expected on a midsize sedan, with available features such as HID headlights, a heated steering wheel, heated/ventilated front seats, heated outboard rear seats, hands-free keyless entry with push-button start, LED taillights, and an infotainment system that’s easy to use.
The 2015 Kia Forte5 received a five-star side crash and four-star rollover rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars), but has not been tested by the IIHS. The IIHS has tested a Forte sedan, however, which received four ratings of Good and one of Marginal in the small overlap front category (the highest possible rating is Good).

What We Think

The 2015 Kia Forte5 benefits from the same traits that make the Koup a much better enthusiasts' car than the average Kia: a turbocharged engine, and a six-speed manual that doesn’t just change gears, but feels great doing it. In a 2014 Driven review of a Kia Forte5 SX we said, “The six-speed manual transmission is a joy to use. Its rounded knob sits atop a stubby lever that slides directly into each gate with authority; close your eyes, and the transmission's light action, narrow gate, and palm-size shifter wouldn't be out of place in a rear-wheel-drive sport coupe. It's a welcome change from the old Forte -- and even some more recent stick-shift Kias -- in which mushy, imprecise gearboxes undermined the driving experience. The gear ratios are closely spaced and well-chosen for brisk driving, although the engine does buzz above 3200 rpm at highway speeds.”
We then pointed out that the way the transmission sends the turbocharged powertrain's engine to the front wheels is satisfying: “The fat torque band comes on sooner than you can say 'turbo lag,' lighting up the all-season tires all through first gear. The turbo engine's emphasis on low-end torque delivery makes for quick dashes through the gears, but it starts to feel dull as the revs swing toward redline and the engine runs out of zest.”
It’s not a flawless experience, though, as the engine tends to get a little buzzy on the highway, and the hatch tends to run out of steam as you wring the engine out, but it’s a welcome experience in the compact segment. Also, we said there “isn't much indication that the steering wheel is actually connected to any parts of the front suspension.”
Starting at an MSRP of $21,715 (including an $825 destination fee) the Kia Forte5 SX undercuts the 2015 Honda Civic Si Sedan at $23,910 (MSRP with the $820 destination fee), the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI at $26,205 (MSRP with $820 destination fee), and the 2015 Ford Focus ST at $25,195 (with $825 destination fee). Although the Forte5 is a value, it's worth noting that the car is not as “hot” as the other cars we’ve mentioned. The Ford Fiesta ST also begs to be considered by hatchback buyers (at $20,770 with an $825 destination fee), even though that car competes in the subcompact segment. If price is important, and you don’t want to sacrifice size, features, or too much performance, the 2015 Kia Forte5 makes a compelling case.

You’ll Like

  • Manual transmission for the driving enthusiast
  • Value
  • Simple and easy-to-use infotainment system

You Won’t Like

  • Steering effort
  • Non-turbo engine isn’t terribly exciting
  • Engine gets buzzy at highway speeds

Key Competitors

  • Honda Civic Si
  • Volkswagen Golf/GTI
  • Ford Focus
  • Mazda3
  • Hyundai Elantra GT



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2015 Kia Forte5
2015 Kia Forte5
EX FWD 4-Dr Hatchback I4
25 MPG City | 33 MPG Hwy
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2015 Kia Forte5
2015 Kia Forte5
EX FWD 4-Dr Hatchback I4
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2015 Kia Forte5
2015 Kia Forte5
EX FWD 4-Dr Hatchback I4
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2015 Kia Forte5 Specifications

Quick Glance:
2.0L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
25 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
33 MPG
173 hp @ 6500rpm
154 ft lb of torque @ 4700rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats (optional)
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer Rear (optional)
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
100,000 miles / 60 months
100,000 miles / 120 months
100,000 miles / 60 months
60,000 miles / 60 months
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Front Side
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
NHTSA Rating Overall
Not Rated
NHTSA Rating Rollover
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
IIHS Overall Side Crash
IIHS Rear Crash
IIHS Roof Strength
IIHS Front Small Overlap

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5-Year Total Cost to Own For The 2015 Kia Forte5

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Five Year Cost of Ownership: $31,269 What's This?
Value Rating: Average